Mr. Robot: eps2.2init1.asec
July 28, 2016 12:53 AM - Season 2, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Elliot befriends Ray, hoping he can finally delete Mr. Robot; Dom makes a discovery; Darlene considers whether the FBI or Dark Army are the bigger threat.
posted by sparkletone (21 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Sam Esmail says he's sorry about the long episodes.

I'm curious if next week actually will be a normal length episode. This felt like Elliot and by extension the show finally finding its way out of the limbo it's been in. I haven't minded the limbo, but Sepinwall is apparently starting to get bored given the tone of his review. For my part, I felt like this episode lacked a lot of the flash of last week but more than made up for it in terms of moving things forward into what really does come next for Elliot, Darlene and the rest of fsociety in the aftermath of last season.

I loved the flashback to Mr. Robot's first appearance. That scene plays so differently now than it would've if they'd showed us at almost any point last season. I still love Joey Bada$$. I am ... still very curious about why Angela's being toyed with. I loved BD Wong (who looked amazing), but still wish they'd found an actual trans person for the part... But likely won't get too bothered by that unless they do something really wrongheaded with the character. I am still trying not to develop a crush on Dominique.

I can't decide if I feel like the final scene in Ray's office points one way or another when it comes to theories about the reality of Elliot's day to day life in the first chunk of this season.

Lastly, LOL at the choice of using a lullaby version of Basket Case to score part of the episode, but I'll be damned if it didn't work for me (at the very least, it worked a lot better than the piano version of the Pixies did last season for me).
posted by sparkletone at 1:18 AM on July 28, 2016 [2 favorites]

I think this was another great episode. I loved the magical transition music, followed by the horror movie stinger music. Very cinematic, beyond the music selections, too.

This was a mask-heavy episode. Starting with Darlene's comment "I can't tell if you're joking behind that mask" in the flashback, she is then on the subway, where there are 2 people in gas masks, 1 person wearing VR goggles, and 1 other guy wearing a cheap air filter mask over his mouth and nose.

Question: when Elliot said "The only way to patch a vulnerability is by exposing it first" while being at his mom's house, is part of that vulnerability his past, which he's getting closer to by being back with his mom?

So, the looking glass. Is Darlene's boy Cisco being completely honest, or is he playing a role with the Dark Army? (And I liked Darlene's line "Be a man and let me be upset.")

Speaking of Dark Army, I'm really happy that Whiterose is back, and I'm interested to see how that character expands and develops.

One final thing: I really want to review past episodes for the location and orientation of faces again. Joey Bada$$ (Leon) was again the centered one, when in the diner talking with Elliot, who was centered in the screen when in bed, and when in his dream sequence.

(OK - final final thing: of course Derek the bartender is also a DJ with dreams of being flown around the world to spin at parties.)
posted by filthy light thief at 8:14 AM on July 28, 2016

Before this episode, I was 50/50 on the theory that Elliot was actually at a mental institution instead of his mom's house, but now I'm pretty much all-in on that. The "I have no access here" conversation followed by going up to Ray's office made it seem more explicit to me that he Elliot is confined and his options are limited; otherwise, why not just stop by home/the library/wherever?
posted by jordemort at 9:02 AM on July 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

While I like that idea, Sepinwell addressed it a few weeks back in a review:
Finally, I want to talk for a moment about a fan theory that's been floating around for the past week. (I have no idea if it's correct or not, but if you'd rather not have something potentially spoiled — or have the way you watch the show fundamentally changed until it's proven true or false — stop reading now.) As the theory goes, Elliot hasn't actually moved back in with his mother, but is currently in prison, a mental hospital, or some other kind of facility with a strict daily regimen, and that's why his schedule is the way it is, why he's hanging around someone like Leon, watching basketball games, etc. It's not impossible, given what we've seen — though the amount of material with Ray moving about and interacting with people in the real world suggests otherwise (or suggests that Ray is either coming to visit Elliot in this place, or works there) — but I'd rather it not be correct. When I spoke with Sam Esmail at the end of season 1, he said he didn't want the audience to constantly be questioning the reality of other characters and locations, and that's smart. The show got to turn over that card once with Mr. Robot's true nature, and there it had been so heavily foreshadowed that it could barely be called a surprise. Do it again — and on this scale — and you risk turning the entire show into a parlor game, where viewers are never paying attention to what's happening between the characters because they're constantly looking for clues as to what's real and what isn't.
Emphasis added, and a nod to Pendragon for picking this up previously.

Even though there's a lot of ways to stitch together all these messages and images into a story of more complete delusion, but I agree with the idea that the story then gets hidden behind the non-stop questioning of "what is real?"

Points for this being real, but also hearing voices that distort his reality: would Ray be in a mental facility as manager, warden or therapist, and also tells a patient who is hearing voices the following:
Did you know... that Moses heard voices too? Abraham, John, Paul, Jesus. In fact, many prophets confessed to hearing voices. People like you... what you have... it can be divinity, Elliot, if you let it.
I think he's only dealing with multiple personalities, with one taking over complete control at times (and hiding his memories from those times).
posted by filthy light thief at 11:07 AM on July 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yeah, that interview came up last week, I think. It's entirely possible Esmail had a change of heart between when season 1 was finishing up airing and when they really got into breaking S2. That sort of thing happens a lot.

Elliot's definitely right that going back to his apartment is a bad idea on any number of levels right now. It's just a question of how literal the presentation we're getting of his little sabbatical is. If they don't clear it up next week concretely, I hope we'll at least probably get a better sense of it as Elliot starts interacting with the fsociety world again.
posted by sparkletone at 1:08 PM on July 28, 2016

I'm dying to learn more about Operation Berenstain. I mean you know about the Berenstein Bears theory right?
posted by komara at 8:58 PM on July 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

♥♥ so glad to see Elliot's fish at the table with his friends and family ♥♥
posted by trunk muffins at 9:42 PM on July 28, 2016 [9 favorites]

This was a mask-heavy episode. Starting with Darlene's comment "I can't tell if you're joking behind that mask" in the flashback, she is then on the subway, where there are 2 people in gas masks, 1 person wearing VR goggles, and 1 other guy wearing a cheap air filter mask over his mouth and nose.

When Darlene steps off the subway train, one passenger has a mask over her eyes, one has headphones over her ears, and the man has a filter mask over his mouth. See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.
posted by tracicle at 1:28 AM on July 29, 2016 [11 favorites]

> the theory that Elliot was actually at a mental institution instead of his mom's house

I think it's a halfway house. Elliot is a hard drug user & familiar with the culture of users & recovery, so it wouldn't be hard to convince the administration of one that he's in trouble (even though his troubles are bigger than his opiate use). That would explain the shabby regular-house look. An institution would look more like a hospital. Also, a lot of God in recovery, explaining Ray's talk of Jesus, Moses, Abraham & John. Some in recovery might be more concerned with avoiding relapse than overall mental health. Hearing voices might not be so bad if you're able to stay off junk.

I don't think Elliot is delusional (besides seeing Mr. Robot), but lying to us, his "friend."
posted by morganw at 8:26 AM on July 29, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I'm a little confused about how the Mom, from Washington Township, NJ ended up in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn. And Darlene seems to be ignoring the Mom in the same manner that Mr. Robot was ignored in the first season.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 10:06 AM on July 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

I loved the magical transition music, followed by the horror movie stinger music.

That would be Neptune - The Mystic cut with a few bars from Mars - The Bringer of War (the specific bars in the title start at 6:22) from Holst's suite The Planets. Written between 1914 and 1916. I had a hard time paying attention because I was just so excited that Neptune was used and it was really perfect for the scene too. It is my absolutely favorite suite and Mars is just about my favorite song in existence (and Jupiter is a very close 2nd). Even if you're not into marching bands, you have to listen to The Cavaliers rendition of a few of the Planets from their 1995 show (sorry, too hard to find a video online).
posted by LizBoBiz at 6:16 PM on July 29, 2016 [6 favorites]

8 minutes of The Careful Massacre Of The Bourgeoisie have surfaced.
posted by Catblack at 9:26 AM on July 30, 2016

By the way, this episode begins with someone knocking on Elliot's door, so I thought we were going back to the end of S2 to find out who was at the door. But it was Darlene and the flashback was further back.

I absolutely loved the "Imaginary future" scene with the dinner table and all of the friends he could imagine (most not really his friends) and an empty seat for me... Although the building falling down in the background seemed like yet another tribute to Fight Club.

I think Ray is really what he looks like -- the delusion scenario doesn't fit because we've seen several scenes with Ray interacting with other people nowhere near Elliot. He runs a sketchy website (porn? Mob? Drugs? Pedophilia?) and needs computer help.

I guess he could be a caretaker at a mental institution and also do those things, though.

Joey Bada$$ (I forget the character's name) appears to have reached the end of "Seinfeld" which makes me think we're moving onto another chapter.
posted by mmoncur at 10:56 PM on July 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

I wondered about the future dinner scene: Romero wasn't in it. And this was before Darlene told him that Romero was dead.
posted by tracicle at 1:59 AM on July 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

I was wondering who the older white guy was in Elliot's fantasy, because I'm bad with faces. Turns out it's Bill Harper, who Elliot had to tear down in order to infiltrate the secure data backup facility last season.
posted by mmoncur at 7:18 AM on August 1, 2016 [4 favorites]

Watched this again and it bothered me inordinately that the chess game between Elliot and Mr. Robot was not plausible. I mean the moves were legal, but Elliot kept doing crazy things with his Queen and Mr. Robot didn't just capture the offered piece. Also they kept calling stalemate when the game was long before decided. I know, silly to pick nits in something like this, but for a show that prides itself on plausible hacking scenes it seemed weird to have implausible chess.

(Speaking of hacking, init(1) is a weird metaphor for "code red I'm in trouble".. It's not really a command either, it's more part of the operating system.)

I assume the movie-in-the-show's title was meant to recall The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie. The serial-murder plot seems more like Texas Chainsaw Massacre though. But I think Esmail owes a bit of a stylistic debt to Buñuel, so it makes sense to have a bit of an homage.
posted by Nelson at 9:58 PM on August 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

oh, Bill!
posted by eustatic at 11:26 AM on September 4, 2016

Init 1 was a great reference to the episode itself, though - For those who don't know, it's typically how you transition a system into "single user mode" - a state in which a single user is in control of all of the processes, one that is largely used for system recovery.
posted by MysticMCJ at 9:43 AM on October 4, 2016 [5 favorites]

This episode felt full of movie references to me:

The chess game seemed completely similar to the tic tac toe game in War Games, where the only way to win was to not play, because every iteration resulted in a draw.

The future scene of the dinner table reminded me of Raising Arizona's vision of the future, combined with the Fight Club ending with the E-Corp building imploding in the background.
posted by mabelstreet at 11:34 PM on October 15, 2019

I'm on my fourth time through this series at this point, I think. Truly a work of literature created for this medium. I don't rewatch things, but this, I rewatch.
posted by hippybear at 8:36 PM on July 2, 2020

Also, that opening scene of this episode is... entirely seminal and amazing.
posted by hippybear at 8:37 PM on July 2, 2020

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