Mr. Robot “eps2.5_h4ndshake.sme” Review (Season 2 Episode 7)

I’ll be straight with this one: I really didn’t care for the ending of this week’s Mr. Robot. And trust me, I know where your head is going, but it honestly has little to do with the twist aspect of it. Instead, “eps2.5_h4ndshake.sme” put a fine point on just how meandering Elliot’s arc has been this season, leaving me with a bad taste in my mouth and questions for what’s to come.

I have a feeling the ending is going to fill the bulk of the review, so may as well start there. In and of itself, the reveal isn’t a bad one. There have been a lot of off elements to Elliot’s story this season, things that his story of being at his mother’s never quite covered: the routine, how removed from the main story he was, the lack of his mother actually engaging with him. Retrospectively, there are a lot of weird elements that the prison reveal explains.

In turn, the show played things well enough that a few answers to immediate questions can be worked out. For example, Ray is likely a guard at the prison, which explains both how he was able to get a computer to Elliot and why Elliot so desperately needed Ray’s computer to reconnect. The problem, though, is that as well-constructed as all of this is, it still feels like a huge waste of time. Yes, a lot of this season was built around the idea of Elliot fighting against and finally coming to terms with Mr. Robot, but that plot more or less wrapped a few weeks ago.

The past few weeks, meanwhile, have given us a pointless side-plot that now feels even more like filler. Ray complicated matters just as Elliot and Mr. Robot began to get along to drag things out; now, as the prison reveal is ready to be made, the show quickly ushered him out. And it’s not that Ray’s turnaround would’ve been completely unbelievable no matter what; we’ve seen his trepidation about what he was involved in in the past. But that was a while ago, and there was nothing to suggest he’d had this change of heart between Elliot’s beating and now.

Similarly, the prison reveal on the whole just feels like an unnecessary complication, a plot twist that showrunner Sam Esmail put a great deal of planning into without stopping to consider what it added. There are a lot of places to go from here, and plenty of new questions to be answered. I’m curious to see what the show has in store, but it’s hard to shake the feeling that the first half of this season has been a stalling game.

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