Mr. Robot – Internal Fatal Error

Elliot attempts to shut Mr. Robot down, Angela is entering a dangerous game with Phillip, and fsociety loses one of their own.

Spoilers for “eps2.1_k3rnel-pan1c.ksd”

Hello Friend:

The episode starts off with Romero giving Mobley the history of the old Fun Society building which will eventually be used as fsociety’s headquarters.  The past owners of the building have met grizzly ends and now Romero has joined that sad group.

Image Courtesy of USA Network

Image Courtesy of USA Network

Mobley, looking to check in with his friend in the present time, stops by Romero’s place and finds his fellow conspirator shot in the head.  Unable to just leave him that way (especially with the man’s grandmother living upstairs), Mobley anonymously calls the police.  Since Romero has a record for hacking and he has a list of personal information of various FBI agents, the police call Dominique.  At first she dismisses the list, almost all hackers have that info after a group of them leaked the FBI’s information months before.

But during another night of not sleeping, Dominique notices something on the list.  She goes back to Romeo’s house and talks to his grandmother about him, but there is no information to be found from her.  Needing some water, the older woman asks the FBI agent to unpack a glass for her.  Dominique notices the paper being used to wrap the glasses up are old printouts of code.  She also finds a flyer for the End of the World party fsociety threw to cover their tracks at the old arcade.  Arriving at Coney Island, she realizes she just stumbled onto a windfall.

Mobley and Trenton are freaking out over Romero’s death.  Mobley thinks it could be the Dark Army covering their trail in the hack, but Darlene disagrees.  “If [the Dark Army] wanted us dead, we’d be dead already,” she reasons.  If it isn’t the Dark Army, then could it be Elliot?  He did pull a gun (as Mr. Robot) on Romero once before, Mobley counters.  Darlene promises to talk to her brother, but she is sure it can’t be him either.  After Darlene leaves, Mobley tells Trenton his fear Darlene and Elliot are covering their tracks from the hack.

Image Courtesy of USA Network

Image Courtesy of USA Network

Meanwhile, the Legion of Doom E Corp, Angela gets an invitation to dinner from Phillip to go to one of the best restaurants in town.  Thinking it is a date, Angela breaks out her sexy, little black dress and saunters in only to find it is more of a business dinner with two other major executives at E Corp.  Angela is visibly disappointed at first, but fakes her way thru dinner.  Wanting one more drink after dinner with his protégé, Phillip sends the two other men on their way.

The CEO tells Angela about the lives of the two men who just left.  They are fathers and grandfathers, company men, thieves, and were in the room when the decision was made to cover up the massive amount of pollution that lead to the death of her mother.  Phillip gives Angela a disk containing information of all their devious transactions.  “Whatever you are doing, I don’t trust it,” Angela fires at him.  He tells her to let go of her emotions and destroy the two men.

Image Courtesy of USA Network

Image Courtesy of USA Network

Elliot is not having a good week.  He talks to Tyrell, but is not sure if the conversation was even real.  How can he trust his senses when they have failed him multiple times?  After learning about the death of his former boss, he spirals into guilt and the only way he knows how to cope is to get rid of Mr. Robot.  One method that has worked before is to overdose on Adderall.  Not sleeping, not stopping, his brain going several miles a minute has quieted the antagonistic personality down.  At first, Elliot is manic overjoyed with the results.  He can engage in Leon’s talk of Seinfeld, he understands basketball, life is beautiful.

But the side effects of not sleeping for several days on end start to wear on him.  He begins to shut down as he runs out of speed.  Eventually he snaps and his internal monologue about God and organized religion doesn’t remain internal during his church meeting.  “All religions are just metastasizing mind worms, meant to divide us so it’s easier to rule us by the charlatans that wanna run us…  If I don’t listen to my imaginary friend, why the fuck should I listen to yours?… So fuck God.  He’s not a good enough scapegoat for me.”  Mr. Robot may not have completely shown himself at that point, but he is in that rant.  Enter Ray…

Ray is a heavy for someone, that I know for sure.  What his employer does or needs from a computer security programmer, I’m not sure I understand yet.  Something about bitcoins and a website is currently down causing lost profits.  What I do understand is the person who was doing a job for them is no longer useful, no matter how many beatings have been given.  Knowing Elliot is good with computers, Ray decides he needs to step up getting this kid on his side.

Image Courtesy of USA Network

Image Courtesy of USA Network

Ray understands Elliot.  His wife died several years before and after grieving for her, he went back to his normal routine of breakfast and dialysis and started talking out loud.  At first he wasn’t sure to whom, but eventually he realized it was his wife he was having these imaginary conversations with.  That is how he learned to cope.  Ray thinks Elliot is dealing with someone who meant something to him that occasionally takes over, but not keeping what is inside of him will help Elliot with his problems.

Thoughts, Theories, and Questions:

Ray invites Elliot to play chess with him and all I could think was isn’t Ray already playing that game with Elliot?  Ray is very calm and methodical in the way he handles things.  He applies physical pressure when needed, but it is not his go to.  He is a master manipulator and he knows to get Elliot to help and trust him, Ray must help Elliot with his Mr. Robot situation.

The Prison Theory has become quite popular on the internet and after the first episode I thought they might be right, but Ray as the Warden or a guard doesn’t add up when we see scenes of him engaging with people who are obviously not in a prison like setting.  There still could be some merit to the theory, but I think Sam Esmail is using that type of imagery to make it seem as if Elliot is in a prison of his own making as punishment for his role in the hack.

Image Courtesy of USA Network

Image Courtesy of USA Network

Any theories as to who shot Romero?  Tyrell?  Mr. Robot/Elliot?  Darlene? His old prison cellmate?  Was he killed because he was a possible weak link in fsociety or because he was the man in charge of the arcade?

I wonder about Angela.  She was excited for her dinner with Phillip when she thought it was a date and then defeated when she realized it wasn’t.  Frankly being invited to a boy’s club type dinner would have made her happier.  Her “value” is being shown off by Phillip.  Does she have feelings for Phillip or does she thing her self-worth is tied in with how she is viewed sexually by the men around her?

What is Phillip’s game with Angela?  Is he testing her to see what she would do with the information or is he working on developing her killer instinct?  Grooming her to be the next him?

Does anyone else think the main guy with the suits who kidnapped Elliot looked like Heisenberg?

Image Courtesy of USA Network

Image Courtesy of USA Network

Why, why, why in the hell did we have to endure the throw up scene?  Just plain wrong.

One big theme for two characters was insomnia.  Elliot purposefully induced it, but Dominique seems to suffer from it naturally.  All those 5 Hour Energies she bought in the first episode now make sense.  What also fascinates me about her is her constant engagements with her phone and the obnoxious Amazon product placement.  She talks to Alexa as if it were her roommate, not a device used to order more stuff which makes me think she is incredibly lonely.

As the end of the episode when Elliot is talking about how we stumble onto the right path, we see Dominique stumble onto the fsociety former headquarters.  It is the show’s way of saying that sometimes it is pure dumb luck when we find something, not hard work.  Yes, that is true many times but Dominique doesn’t strike me as someone who relies on luck.  She gets something in her head, something she sees or hears starts to gnaw at her brain in the middle of the night when she can’t sleep.  I have a feeling not much gets by her.

Image Courtesy of USA Network

Image Courtesy of USA Network

What did you think of last night’s Mr. Robot?  Who killed Romero?  Was the conversation with Tyrell real?  What is Phillip doing with Angela?  Let me know in the comments section below.

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About Nerdling

The Nerdling has an unhealthy obsession with books, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Star Wars. She finds hockey to be the best sport in the world (Go Dallas Stars!) and is working on her first novel, but mostly glowers at a blank screen. You can find her on Twitter @nerdlingstale on Facebook @NerdlingTales or Instagram @nerdling_tales

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