Mr. Robot “eps2.2_init1.asec” Review (Season 2 Episode 4)

Last week, I was on board with the slower, more decompressed storytelling of Mr. Robot, but this week’s episode represented the flipside. “eps2.2_init1.asec” was a well-made episode of the show, but not a lot of note or surprise happened in it. It’s one thing for the show to take its time, but there still needs to be some forward movement each week, especially if we’re being given an extra half-hour per episode.

Admittedly, there was progression in Elliot’s storyline, with his constant draws against Mr. Robot convincing him that he needs to get back out there and reconnect with fsociety. He’s still doing what he can to fight Mr. Robot’s influence, but he seems to have accepted that he’s unavoidable. Still, given how inevitable this realization was – we really don’t have a TV show if our protagonist refuses to interact with the world – it does feel like it took a little long to get to this point. Watching Elliot fight so hard last episode was great; here, he’d lost his fight, and it was a more lethargic hour for it. Also, as original and creative a show as Mr. Robot normal is, the use of chess as a metaphor for the battle between Elliot and his other half was far too familiar.

Elsewhere, there was a similar lack of forward progression. Darlene’s role was mainly trying to pull Elliot back into fsociety, which she has mostly succeeded with by the end of the episode, while also doing her best to figure out how to stay ahead of the Dark Army. The twisted relationship between Price and Angela, meanwhile, continued to gain more tension, but it ended in basically the same place; Angela unsure of what game Price is playing with her.

The one character that remains fascinating is Joanna Wellick, who I’ve yet to have much of a chance to comment on. Joanna was an instantly intriguing presence in the first season, surpassing Tyrell in every way that mattered within their relationship. She was far calmer and more collected, more conniving, and clearly an intellectual superior. She’s also one of the few people to truly disarm and unnerve Elliot, which says more about her character than anything I can. So while Tyrell might be missing, it’s great that we’re getting the chance to see Joanna deal with the fallout of all he’s done, and even better that Stephanie Corneliussen has been promoted to main cast this season.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments!