USA Network‘s Mr. Robot eps2.5h4ndshake.sme TV Show Review. Mr. Robot: Season 2, Episode 7: eps2.5h4ndshake.sme forces its characters to reconcile their perceptions of themselves with their actions, making for a strong show.
Taken captive by the duplicitous Ray (Craig Robinson) two episodes ago, Elliot (Rami Malek) remains isolated in the Internet black marketer’s basement where he makes a surprising but significant breakthrough. Coming to terms with Mr. Robot’s (Christian Slater) existence (at least, as much as a hallucination can exist), Elliot goes even further and accepts that it was he, not Mr. Robot, who wanted to trigger the revolution that is now engulfing the country in the first place. This change of heart on Elliot’s part may have been unexpected to many (including this reviewer), but the time and work the program put into building up to it in previous episodes means it arises in a very believable context and makes sense.
The young IT nerd is not the only one to have a road to Damascus moment of sorts however. When he has Elliot brought up for questioning, Ray also has him work on his site, giving him a chance to alert the authorities about their whereabouts. As the two play chess like they used to, the old affable Ray returns as he confides that he didn’t even know what was being traded on his site until recently and admits to being disgusted by the monster he has created. Without disturbing his natural calm, he reveals that he already knows Elliot contacted the FBI, saying he gave him access to his computer for precisely this reason before instructing his old friend to leave before they storm the building.
This twist shows that it’s actually Ray’s hardened criminal persona that is the facade, not his earlier, more fraternal one. He genuinely liked Elliot and hated that the logic of self-preservation dictated that he had to rough him up. The reveal is enhanced all the more by Robinson’s performance, with him appearing almost relieved as he confesses to letting Elliot get ahold of law enforcement. Elliot of course is relieved that he managed to escape with his life, but despite his efforts to shield viewers from the sordid truth, he is taken into police custody and sent to prison, apologizing to the audience for trying to deceive them as he sits in his cell. Not the most original ending, but definitely a very well-done one, and one that Mr. Robot should make no apologies for.
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