RECAP: MR. ROBOT S02EP8 - PARANOIA KICKS IN
I wanted a breather and Mr. Robot delivered. Episode 8 was the filler episode that every season needs and not every viewer wants.
But it was pretty great.
The episode begins with a throwback to the infamous Ron’s Coffee joint that Elliot opened up in the first episode of the series. Mobley and Trenton are there, both awkward with Trenton attempting to hack into Mobley’s phone, which she nearly completes before Darlene walks in.
With the recitation of some revolution-inducing words on behalf of Elliot, Darlene initiates Mobley and Trenton into fsociety.
A jazzy track cuts in and up flashes the Mr. Robot title card; it feels very Oceans Eleven.
Trenton and Mobley, and Romero if you really want to throwback a bit, were never really cut out to be the interesting characters. Mobley is your paranoid, slightly clumsy hacker type, which is unexpected because he looks like he could easily be the egotistical, Fedora-tipping character that scoffs at the rest of the team. Trenton is a bit of a wild card. As a Muslim female, she’s a refreshing change to the norm. But there’s nothing much to be said about her character other than the fact she’s trying to support her family, is kind of shy and very smart.
But, taking an objective stance, both of these characters fail to be anyone you’d particularly root for or want to follow for the rest of the series.
I say objective because subjectively, I do like seeing Trenton come up occasionally because she’s different and that’s cool.
Bringing it back to present day, the successful hack of the FBI allows fsociety to enter a conference call about Operation Berenstain. In classic fsociety fashion, they release the call in a video, which outlines how 3.5 million people have been under surveillance since the Five-Nine Attack and how they narrowed the suspects down to 16, with 1 of them being dead.
The scene cuts when Madame Executioner, one of E Corp’s lawyers, returns back to her home to find Cisco, Darlene, Trenton and Mobley arguing.
Real life people being under surveillance without knowing? Ah, doesn’t that sound familiar?
Angela’s on a date and manages to bump into one of her dad’s friends, who degrades her for basically bowing down to the people that killed her mother. But since Angela is the blooming ass-kicker that she is, she WIPES THE FLOOR with him by saying she’s young and earns a 6 figure salary while he’s been a plumber for 60 years.
Angela Moss, I love you.
A scene of Angela singing the ever-fitting ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’ by Tears for Fears at karaoke is interrupted by cuts of fsociety trying to find dirt on the lawyer to shut her up.
I’m sitting here in some sort of amazement because this scene is genius. Angela singing such a classic song that's always used for foreshadowing. fsociety killing it with their abilities to hack, though things are slowly slipping from their hands until Trenton actually saves them.
Things start to go downhill though as Darlene gets into an altercation with the lawyer, with attempts to blackmail her turning into a personal attack on how Madame Executioner basically sealed her family’s fate in never getting justice for her father’s death. The onslaught of words leads to Darlene stun-gunning the lawyer who falls into the water, presumably dead.
The setting and colours were so evil villain-like it was hard to tell who the bad guy was. The shots in this scene were also so perfect. The body hitting the ridiculously blue water, lifeless and floating, illuminated by the pool lights. So tragically aesthetically pleasing.
Darlene prompts the team to leave, acting like a mess because she didn’t know the lawyer had a preexisting heart condition and would die from the taser. She drags Cisco in to help her clean the mess, which she does by stuffing a soaking, dead body into a luggage bag and taking it to an incinerator to burn. She confesses her lack of remorse and gets really dark with Cisco on the train home.
I honestly have no idea how to feel because what was there to do?
If they had let her go, the entire team would be brought down in no time, and I think everyone knew that.
But this death coincidentally was timed with Mobley being hunted down by some FBI to be brought in for questioning.
Minutes before, Mobley was paying a pizza delivery man extra to search around his apartment for anyone suspicious. Suspenseful music behind cuts of Mobley and Trenton receiving knocks to their doors keeps you on edge as both watch black cars speed down their street.
Mobley is the character you end up following through the scene, as he’s found in a questioning room with Dom, who cringingly tries to joke around and get to the basis of Mobley, who fails to say anything. You can almost feel his nerves through the screen as he’s questioned, until Dom mentions how their main suspect is Tyrell Wellick, who Mobley knows little about, thus calming him enough to ask for a lawyer.
After being let go, he asks Trenton to meet him at the Ron’s Coffee joint they first met at in a self-destructing message, disposing off his phone, as his nerves begin to kick in again.
The entire paranoia that Mobley has shows the other, more relatable, side to the hackers, reminding you that they are normal people with normal lives, until you get to the part where they did cause the revolution. If you were to take a “Which Mr. Robot hacker are you?”, there is no doubt you’d probably end up as Mobley. Or maybe Angela. But more likely, Mobley.
Darlene wakes up in Cisco’s bed, a bit disoriented, but sees a laptop open, which she goes to. Seemingly suspicious of how Cisco’s already in the shower so early in the morning, she logs into the laptop to find a photo of her sleeping and messages in Chinese to the Dark Army of how Cisco’s got her.
As Cisco gets out of the shower and finds his laptop smashed to the ground, the episode ends with Darlene smashing him over the head with a bat.
As I said previously, episode 8 felt like the filler episode. The characters in this show are all the middle men and after last week’s reveal, this just felt like something you could mostly breathe during. Though it was super important with Berenstain being leaked and the members of fsociety looking like they’re being found out, the episode was great but not as great, as the past episodes. All I really want to know now is why the hell Cisco told the Dark Army he has his on-and-off girlfriend. What kind of shit is this (kind of) background character up to?