The finale of Mr. Robot depicted a modern kind of revolution, won not with weapons but with keyboards. The troubled yet genius mind of Elliot Anderson (Rami Malek) was responsible for wiping out $400bn of the world's debt, causing a revolt of the most devastating (or, liberating?) magnitude.
A surprise hit from last year, the popular anarchistic TV show is returning this week for its second season. Its sporadic and deceptive narrative left a lot bubbling away under the surface, leaving us viewers deliberately confused by the events they saw unfolding.
With all that going on, now is as good a time as ever to recap some of the most crucial elements from Season 1 to refresh our memories:
Who Are E-Corp, And What Was The Plan?
E-Corp (or Evil-Corp, as they are referred to by Elliot throughout the series) were one of the biggest clients of Allsafe, a cyber security company that our protagonist Elliot worked for.
During the opening episode, Elliot discovers malware hidden on the E-corp server, which leads him to the mysterious Mr. Robot (Christian Slater), who runs the hacking group, fsociety. E-Corp underpin the entire series, and fsociety's grand plan is to hack their mainframe and wipe out world debt.
Who The F Are Fsociety?
As mentioned above, they're the hacking group launched by Mr. Robot, who recruit Elliot to help with their plan to change the world. The group consists of Darlene (Carly Chaikin), Romero (Ron Cephas Jones), Mobley (Azhar Khan) and Trenton (Sunita Mani).
As well as launching the cyber attacks, the group occasionally release videos by Mr. Robot, revealing information of their acts to the world. In the clips, Mr. Robot wears an outfit akin to the Monopoly man, with a strong reference to real-life hacking group Anonymous, who have adapted the Guy Fawkes mask as a symbol of antiestablishmentarianism (bit of a mouthful, that one).
Elliot's role in the group grows and grows until, in the penultimate episode, a huge, jaw-on-the-floor revelation is revealed, that shows...
Elliot Is Mr. Robot!
The first rule of fsociety, is you don't talk about fsociety. Wait, that's the wrong quote. Although it's in the right ballpark; yes, all along Mr. Robot was in fact a Tylder Durden-esque psychotic delusion from Elliot, who had taken on the persona of his dead father. The reveal was all the more impactful due to the well crafted narration from Elliot himself.
Show creator Sam Esmail has drenched the show in pop culture references, with this Fight Club similarity being one. One of the most admirable things about Mr. Robot is its relevance in today's society — even the premiere of Season 2 was leaked, deliberately, by the show's creators.
Elliot Fights An Ongoing Battle Against His Mental Health
Part of the allure of Mr. Robot is the double concept. On one hand, you have a talented hacking group trying to change the world. On the other, you have a first-person narrative, told by a paranoid and delusional protagonist who is suffering from anxiety, depression and psychosis.
Throughout Season 1, Elliot's struggle to keep his mental state under control begin to spiral; he even uses morphine as self medication. While following Elliot's lead through the show, us poor viewers are also left feeling disorientated, unable to decipher between reality and hallucination.
As well as taking on the persona of his father, Elliot also forgets that Darlene is in fact his sister, kissing her before he realizes who she is. Season 2 looks like it won't hold back on Elliot's fragile state, picking up where Season 1 left off, with Elliot waking up in Tyrell Wellick's SUV, unable to recollect the past three days.
What's The Deal With Tyrell Wellick?
Tyrell (Martin Wallström) deserved one of his own beautifully formatted sub-headings for his bizarre and ambiguous role in the first season. He's first introduced as the interim CTO at E-Corp, and shows an interest in Elliot. Although highly polished and well-put-together on the outside, from day one he has an undercurrent of unpredictability.
He hacks his boss's mobile phone, beats a homeless person to a pulp to relieve some stress, seduces a colleague's wife while on the toilet in her home, and later murders her on the rooftop of E-corp, while others party below.
As well as his murderous streak, we get a bizarre insight to the relationship between Tyrell and his wife, who seems even more deranged than he is (she deliberately bursts her own waters while heavily pregnant to distract the police).
At the end of the season, Tyrell approaches Elliot, telling him he knows what he is up to, and proposes they join forces. Considering Elliot woke up in Tyrell's SUV, his whereabouts will no doubt be one of the most important threads early on in the second season.
Finally, The Dark Army Could Become Elliot's Biggest Threat
The Dark Army are a mysterious Chinese hacking group who carry out high-pressure hacks in return for payment. Despite the wealth of talent in the fsociety team, they required helped from the group to hack E-corp's backup facility, which was crucial to the plan.
After The Dark Army mysteriously backed out of the plan, Elliot met with White Rose, the powerful and elusive leader of the group, who tells Elliot that they made the decision due to Elliot's boss, Gideon, turning the E-corp server into a honeypot (a deliberate baiting tactic to catch hackers).
Eventually, The Dark Army go through with their actions, yet the end scene shows the leader White Rose meeting with E-Corp CEO, Phillip Price. He reveals he knows the person responsible for the hack, to which Price offers a chilling response: