Your boyfriend Rami won the Emmy and deservedly so, but Season 2 of Mr. Robot has been spotty, relying too heavily on the surrealism that defined its first season and then twisting the plot so hard it was, in retrospect, totally obvious to begin with. That said, Wednesday night’s season finale was excellent, full of cliffhangers we genuinely want to see resolved. It was most satisfying in the squaring-off of our two favorite Jersey girls and the best parts of the show: fsociety’s de facto leader Darlene Alderson (Carly Chaikin) and the FBI’s ambitious young hacker sheriff Dom DiPierro (Grace Gummer).
Darlene wasn’t ultimately Kalashnikov’d by the (presumably) Chinese-government/Dark Army guys on the Vespa, as we knew she couldn’t be—this isn’t Game of Thrones, and her character is too important to knock off at this moment, though I can’t say I was too sad to see Cisco get offed; he was becoming a liability, and was always kind of a dick. But the way Darlene and Dom played off each other in the FBI interrogation room was a brilliant assessment that they are, as Dom says, “the same”—a non-disturbed allusion to Elliott’s mirror-image relationship with Mr. Robot, an exploration of the way duality defines this show. Both Dom and Darlene are singularly devoted to their (perhaps) polar causes, to the detriment of their mental well being; if only they could swap mindsets, with Dom getting twisted and cynical for a night while Darlene got some much-needed rest kicking it with Dom’s BFF Alexa, they each might approximate something like self-care.
Do we really think the FBI made it that far on the case, though, to have fsociety mapped out so well that everyone involved is accounted for? It’s the Python approach, Dom says, in which they’re lying in wait to strike, but she also knows it’s unfinished. How did Darlene even get on there, unless someone snitched? And with reality having been so malleable to this point, is it possible that someone is Elliott? Or—god—even Leon (Joey Badass), who ends the season by asking for the time, signaling his involvement in the Dark Army, and presumably killing Trenton and Mobley, unwitting computer-store employees, before they can attempt to reverse the results of the E Corp hack.
Or—who knows!—maybe Leon was sent to save them. The finale was doused with reality in a way that paralleled its big reveal in Season 1—only Tyrell, unlike Pops, was all too real, a nice bit of a shocker that led into the notion that Angela might well be more involved in the fsociety plot than we’ve been led to believe. Set against the heaping doses of surrealism over this season, including the brilliant ‘90s sitcom episode and Elliott’s deliciously fun/wacky/gross Adderall freakout, it grounded a show that, at times, seemed on the verge of slipping through our fingers. How long ‘til Season 3, again? I’m already ready for Stage Two.