If it wasn’t for Mr. Robot’s unique episode title format, the final hour of its impressive first season could have been called “Welcome to Mr. Robot Season 2.” As Game of Thrones fans know all too well, a season’s penultimate episode is where you get the pay-offs, the big emotional revelations, and answers to questions. So with the truth about Mr. Robot and Elliot’s mental state out in the open, “eps1.9_zer0-day.avi” was able to look forward to what’s next, and as a preview of season 2, the hour suggests that the hack on Evil Corp was only the beginning.
We start with the hack… Or not really. By the time we catch up with the action—and after a brilliant use of ADR to reference the very recent Ashley Madison hack in the cold open—the world is already falling apart. Credit cards aren’t working. Everyone is scrambling to get cash out of the ATM. And no one has seen Elliot for three days. “Who am I?” Elliot asks, stumbling out of Tyrell Wellick’s SUV, before correcting himself. “Where am I?”
Immediately, the show has reestablished a central mystery after making so much clear last week. Now there are so many questions. What transpired between Elliot and the recently fired Wellick that allowed the hack to go off as planned? And did it actually go as planned? The effects are immediately clear and match with what fsociety had expected. Allsafe, like many other companies, is in peril, but there is the possibility that the hack washed away all debt, maybe giving Gideon a fresh start. However, with none of the team actually present when Elliot—his actions taken over by the Mr. Robot portion of his psyche—throws the kill switch, it’s impossible to say what exactly happened.
The first step is to find Tyrell Wellick, who by all accounts has gone missing. A trip to Evil Corp itself turns up nothing other than the fact that at some point in his missing three days, Elliot recorded a new fsociety video all by himself, like a big boy. “We are finally free,” he says. “We are finally awake.” Well, I guess he was recording them all along, but this is the first one where he recognizes his enormous eyes as the ones behind the mask, further merging the two personalities in his mind.
The second stop on the “Where is Tyrell Wellick” Tour takes Elliot to the hobo-beating hobbyist’s home, where he runs into the delightful Joanna Wellick and they have a lovely chat about the weather. Oh, it’s so much fun! Actually, she begins to spin her mental spider’s web around Elliot—who fears that she can hear inside his head—to the sound of music that sounds a helluva lot like Mica Levi’s genius score from the equally genius film Under the Skin. Having talked with creator Sam Esmail about the finale and specifically that musical cue, I can tell you that it is no coincidence. Esmail has already indicated that Joanna will play a larger role in season 2, and contextualizing her very feminine menace here with the sounds of a film about a man-eating alien has me very excited about what’s next for Mrs. Wellick.
As Elliot runs around the city attempting to piece together the time he lost thanks to Mr. Robot, fsociety is busy cleaning up after their crazy, fearless leader. This means ditching all of the hardware in a dog crematory, freeing those dogs, and throwing a party. It literally couldn’t have been more more light-hearted for the rest of fsociety, and that’s a good thing, especially as our main emotional window into this world loses his mind. We still have people who we can connect with.
NEXT: Angela’s story line suffers the same problem