Now Season 2 has come to a thrilling, if somewhat puzzling end, we thought we’d count down Mr Robot Hacks’ Top 10 Moments of the sophomore season.
There were so many amazeomg’s moments to choose from, taking so many different forms: moments of writing mastery, acting genius, directing wizardry… hallucinations, dream sequences, film homages, red herrings, twisty-turny reveals and metaphysical madness, moments of drug-addled ecstasy and comedy genius… So let’s dive on in!
10. Leon – The Dark Army’s Ninja A$$assin
We came to love Joey Bada$$’ character, Leon. Sometimes flippant, sometimes offering philosophical gems such as ”Existence could be beautiful or it could be ugly, but that’s on you…” but his best moment bar none came in the alley.
Elliot was about to take a roasting from those David Duke muthafuckas, when out-of-nowhere, and like a hooded avenging angel, our favorite Seinfeld fan appears, killing the gang members with a knife up the butt for a “Yeah – take that, bad guys” moment.
9. “Where do you think you are right now?”
This reveal would have placed much higher but for the fact that everyone worked out that Elliot was in prison during the season premiere (well, admittedly I actually wrote that Sam Esmail was better than that and it must be a diversion)
But that’s not to say that the reveal itself wasn’t brilliantly executed. The Sixth Sense-style revisiting of events was stunning to behold; from Elliot bumping into the Guantanamo Orange-clad prisoner, to the female guard/mother to Kristal morphing from her surgery to Mrs Alderson’s house to the prison visitor’s room.
8. The first rule of Chess Club is you do not talk about Chess Club
S02E04’s standout sequence came as Esmail gave us a directing masterclass; paying homage to his biggest filmmaking influences – the Westerns of John Ford and Sergio Leone, together with the Easterns of Akira Kurosawa were invoked as Elliot faced Mr Robot, in a finale inspired by Ingmar Bergman’s 1957 Classic The Seventh Seal.
Esmail’s use of extreme close-ups deftly took us further down the rabbit hole into Wonderland, every edit jarring with the tick-tock of a loud, heavy, swinging pendulum, hiking the tension and leaving us on the edge of our seat. The sequence was visionary and only ranks as eighth best moment cos Elliot’s chess battle with Mr Robot ultimately if predictably, ended in stalemate.
7. Is the key in the room?
S02E11 was divisive, after the previous week’s breathless finale, Angela’s kidnapping, terrifying journey in the Horseless Red Doom Bastard, interrogation at the hands of her younger self (complete with fake bruises) slowed the tempo and took much of the sting out of its tail.
Angela’s subsequent meeting with Whiterose threw up more metaphysical, sci-fi questions, but it was the whole Lynchian weirdness coupled with extreme levels of Cold War (Kubrickian) paranoia and suspense that means this Twin Peaks meets Deal or No Deal sequence slots in at number seven.
6. The Careful Massacre of the Bourgeoisie
Elliot, Darlene and Angela’s perennial Halloween movie was another great nod to the 1980’s but giving a presumably junior writer/director the chance to shoot an eight-minute version of the slasher horror for us all to see is testament to how much this show cares about its fans.
5. Tyrell shoots Elliot
For once, we were a step ahead; we’d known for weeks that Tyrell was dead and that he was a figment of Elliot’s imagination. Little fake Tyler Durden muthafucka.
As he insisted to Tyrell and Mr Robot “You’re the same!” we urged Elliot to take control – if Tyrell wasn’t real, he couldn’t pull the trigger. Elliot wins. We win.
This was what the Elliot / Mr Robot / Tyrell triumvirate story had been building to all season and it gave us all a hell of a surprise!
4. Mr Robot spends 15 minutes as a cheesy 90’s sitcom
3. Elliot’s Anti-God Speech
For once, I have no words for this, it’s perfect – but just watch Rami Malek’s performance; rarely has he played Elliot with more vigour and belief.
2. Elliot banishes Mr Robot with Adderall
After three days on Adderall and zero, zip, nada sleep, Elliot reveals that Mr Robot is gone for good and what transpires is one of the most beautiful sequences in an hour of television that I’ve ever seen. I could honestly write a whole blogpost to these four and half minutes in “Kernel Panic.”
I already did? That’s lucky… for all three of us.
1. Lupe’s Diner Shoot-out
The Lupe’s Diner scene only lasted 90 seconds, shot from a locked off camera in one, uninterrupted shot yet our emotions were left as shattered as the glass in the window and exploding bloody ketchup bottles.
Though it isn’t just that one scene that deserves props – it was the palpable amount of tension that was perfectly built into S02E10. For half an hour, these two rookie writers took hold of the show, did away with Esmail’s smoke and mirrors and bossed Mr Robot.
There were so many more moments that didn’t make the top ten, such as:
- Any of Michael Cristofer or B.D. Wong’s scene-stealing moments.
- The Wall Street Bull’s bronze balls crashing through the House Chamber skylight!
- Bill Harper! We love you, Bill!
- Rami Malek winning The Emmy for Best Actor!
- Scott Knowles v Joanna Wellick
- Darlene and Angela’s Mission Impossible moment!
- Those beautiful hacks! From the femtocell to the cantenna to the FBI cell phone hack, we love the hacks and while Sam Esmail, Kor Adana et al made the hacks as interesting as possible, they just weren’t televisual/emotive enough to make the list.
- The geek participation: the easter eggs, the hidden Q.R. Codes, the gamification of television, the fact that every I.P. Address leads somewhere and you can e-mail [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected] and get an actual response! Go on… we did!
Guess what we’re doing next? Ordering the biggest takeout from The Red Wheelbarrow and watching the entire season again!
P.S. We know what you’re thinking: Why does Agent Dom DiPierro only get one fleeting mention when she brought so much? Stop spazzing out and be cool; she gets a blog post all to herself.