The second season of Mr. Robot was a bit of a mixed bag. The first half or so dragged as we spent time inside Elliot’s head while he was “staying at his mom’s house,” which turned out to be the prison a sizable chunk of viewers suspected it was from the beginning. Things got weird. Alf killed a guy. I really don’t want us to forget that. The action picked up after his release, though, thanks in large part to a heavier focus on Angela and Darlene, and how Elliot’s actions and absence impacted them. Stage 2 started rolling, whatever it was, and the Dark Army and the FBI continued circling each other like cobras. There were many questions to be answered.
And the second part of the two-part season finale answered… some of them. It wouldn’t be Mr. Robot if it answered them all, though, so that was to be expected. The last hour moved fast as it careened toward its ending, with both Elliot and Darlene finding themselves in very different kinds of trouble. It was really quite good. Still a little messy, sure, and not quite the mindblowing experience the first season was, but the back half of the season — especially the final three episodes — were a reminder of just how good the show can be when it hit its stride.
Here are 10 thoughts and takeaways I had about this week’s episode and where things might be headed.
1. We finally learned what Stage 2 is: A plan involving malware, hydrogen gas, and a kaboom big enough to take out an entire building that E Corp is using to house its physical records after the hack. We also learned that Mr. Robot has been plotting this all season with Tyrell and Whiterose, which is really weird to think about because it means Elliot has been sneaking off kind of a lot to put all of this together in the time we haven’t seen him. He’s basically been spending half the day as a supervillain and the other half as the one trying to bring himself down. That’s a full day.
2. Oh, also, Tyrell shot Elliot and Elliot collapsed on the floor of their warehouse hideout, with Mr. Robot flickering in and out of existence as Elliot’s world faded to black. The relationship between Elliot and Tyrell has been strange from the jump, and we spent a fair amount of the season wondering if Elliot shot Tyrell in an abandoned arcade, so Tyrell shooting Elliot in an abandoned warehouse ain’t that big of a leap. The bigger deal is that Elliot started questioning his own mind about Tyrell’s existence and wondering if the gun in this situation was just like the gun Mr. Robot “shot” him with earlier in the season. And the biggest deal is that Mr. Robot appears to have given Tyrell the gun to stop Elliot in case this very thing happened, which is a lot to wrap your head around if you stop to think about it for a few minutes.
Two things are worth noting here: One, as crazy as Mr. Robot is, and as much as the show thrived this season when it got out into the world with Darlene and Angela, there’s really no way they kill off Elliot, and the phone call from Tyrell to Angela seems to put any thought about that to bed. Two, I’m not sure how far down the “What if Tyrell is fake?” rabbit hole Elliot went in that moment, but if that had been true about 100 other dominoes would have fallen after it. Like, Joanna would have to be fake, since she recruited Elliot to find Tyrell. Huge chunks of E Corp would have to be fake, too, since he couldn’t have worked at both AllSafe and E Corp in season one. Basically his entire world and everyone in it would have to exist only inside his head. Which, I suppose, is still a possibility. I would not like that. (UPDATE: This didn’t take into account that Elliot could have conjured up Tyrell only after “killing” the “real” version. I am truly, incredibly sorry for the error. It will never happen again.) (It will probably happen again.)