Watching Season 1 of Sam Esmail's USA show Mr. Robot was as full of twists and turns as some of the rides at fsociety's headquarters at Coney Island. Because of that, you're most likely in need of a Season 1 recap of Mr. Robot before embarking on Season 2, which premieres on Wednesday, July 13. If you didn't catch USA's marathon of Season 1 during the weekend before the Season 2 premiere, a refresher of what went down in the life — and mind — of Elliot Alderson will help you prepare for the dark world of cyber hacking when the breakthrough drama returns for a sophomore season. Buckle up, because it's guaranteed to be a windy and wild ride.
Season 1 of Mr. Robot is worthy of many rewatches as the intricate world Esmail created follows the brilliant and troubled mind of main character Elliot. Considering the story is mostly told from Elliot's point of view, nothing is as it seems since he proves time and time again in Season 1 what an unreliable narrator he is. Mostly because of his anxiety, morphine use (don't worry, he keeps it under control with suboxone — as you do — until he finally detoxes), and other mental issues, what Elliot tells the viewers as he breaks the fourth wall should always be questioned. Due to Elliot's status, the line between reality and fantasy blurs with the big Season 1 bombshell forcing you to question what's actually happening and what's just happening in Elliot's mind.
So without much further ado, let's jump into the big revelation that occurred toward the end of Season 1 of Mr. Robot right off the bat in this recap since it pretty much changes everything.
Who Is Mr. Robot?
Meet the reclusive, drug-using, cyber security engineer who moonlights as a vigilante hacker — Elliot (Rami Malek). If you meet Elliot, he'll hack you, as in scour the Internet for all and any information to judge and possibly manipulate you. He's approached by Mr. Robot (Christian Slater), the leader of a secret group of hackers named fsociety, on the subway in the very first episode and discovers fsociety is focused on bringing down the all-powerful E Corp. Elliot has a personal stake in bringing down Evil Corp (what he calls the corporation and how it appears throughout the series after the first mention) since their actions led to the early death of his father. While working for the Allsafe during the day, he joins fsociety and is almost immediately placed in the power position. Why? Well, turns out that Mr. Robot is actually Elliot, but the delusion appears to him in the body of his dead dad. Only Elliot can see Mr. Robot, but just like Fight Club (and Esmail has no issues with the comparisons), Mr. Robot is the more aggressive personality of Elliot. There's more where that came from, but Slater's reappearance in Season 2 means that Elliot isn't done letting this vision of his dead father lead the cyber revolution against Evil Corp.
Speaking of Evil Corp — what's so evil about this corporation? While they manufacture technology, the conglomerate is responsible for most of the world's debt, which is why fsociety has targeted them. Elliot's day job company Allsafe protects Evil Corp from hackers like himself, which poses just a tiny problem. With the goal of destroying Evil Corp, Elliot goes to their offsite backup facility, Steel Mountain, to destroy the corporation's data. That fails after the Chinese hacker group, the Dark Army, does not follow through on their side of the plan with fsociety. However, by the end of Season 1, after blacking out for three days, Elliot awakes to find out that he did successfully hack Evil Corp, with an E Corp executive killing himself on TV during an interview. While Evil Corp is down, they are certainly not out and though the corporation is evil, they are not faceless, with the political power players also getting significant screen time on Mr. Robot.
The most notable employee of E Corp, and a character who could debatably be considered more fascinating than Elliot, is Tyrell Wellick (Martin Wallström). This power-hungry sociopath with technical saavy, who uses sex as a weapon and beats up homeless people in his spare time, first meets — and is fascinated by — Elliot during a visit to Allsafe while he's the Senior Vice President of Technology for E Corp. After his boss, Chief Technology Officer Terry Colby, is arrested due to Elliot planting evidence to frame Colby for a cyber attack, Tyrell becomes unhinged — and that's really saying something — when he doesn't land the permanent CTO position. With his wife, the pregnant and S&M-loving Joanna, he schemes to bring down the man who did get the job as CTO, Scott Knowles. However, this backfires when he ends up murdering Scott's wife Sharon during a party for Scott at E Corp. To distract the police from investigating her husband, Joanna breaks her own water and gives birth to a son, but subsequently turns Tyrell away from their lives while he's also fired from E Corp. He turns to Elliot and presumably assisted him in the major hacking of E Corp, but his whereabouts at the end of Season 1 are far from clear, although Elliot did take him to fsociety's secret headquarters.
Fsociety meets at a secret Coney Island headquarters and its members, beyond Elliot/Mr. Robot, include Mobley, Romero, Trenton, and — most notably — Darlene (Carly Chaikin), who though she is standoffish, appears to form an almost instant connection with Elliot. Mr. Robot continually impresses the importance of Elliot's involvement in fsociety, which is made clear once it's revealed that Elliot is Mr. Robot — the person behind fsociety. In their communications to the public, the hacker group makes videos of their members disguised in masks and with their voices' altered. Elliot and fsociety attempt to collaborate with the Dark Army, which is led by Whiterose (BD Wong), and Darlene's connections to the Chinese hacker group help them bring down E Corp.
How'd I get this far in a Mr. Robot recap without bringing up the other huge reveal for Season 1? Well, in the same episode that Elliot realizes that Mr. Robot is a form of his father inside of his mind, he also realized that Darlene is not just another hacker — she's actually his sister. His mental health had blocked this out for most of the season, but it helps explain why Darlene was so invested in Elliot's life from the get-go. She has a dysfunctional romantic relationship with the hacker Cisco, who is her connection to the Dark Army, and is an invaluable resource to Elliot — even if he doesn't recognize it.
Elliot's day job is at Allsafe, where he works alongside his kind boss Gideon and his childhood best friend Angela (more on her in a second). Elliot essentially screws over Gideon's company with his work in fsociety since he uses his job as a way to hack into E Corp. Considering Angela moves away from Allsafe as well, don't expect to see much of Elliot's dreaded corporate work place come Season 2, which is a shame since Gideon appears to be one of the few actually trustworthy people on the show.
Angela (Portia Doubleday) and Elliot grew up together, which means Angela and Darlene grew up together, and they lost their parents (Angela's mother and Elliot and Darlene's father) due to health complications from a toxic waste leak that was caused and covered up by Evil Corp. In the beginning of the series, she has the awful boyfriend Ollie, but dumps him after he is hacked by Cisco and ends up infecting Allsafe's software herself at the demands of Cisco. She meets with a lawyer to reopen the toxic waste case against E Corp and it ends up in a job offer from Terry Colby. She accepts the role working for the evil corporation, showing a huge shift in her character as she now appears to be pursuing power — but hopefully she'll be using that power for good as she climbs the ranks of Evil Corp.
While there is plenty more details where that came from, those are the main players from Season 1 that should have an impact on Season 2. Of course, that's not to forget Elliot's drug-dealing girlfriend Shayla (RIP!), who ends up dying because of Elliot, or Elliot's therapist Krista Gordon, who Elliot simultaneously emotionally destroys but saves from an unhealthy relationship. Both Shayla and Krista give interesting insight into who Elliot is, but that doesn't mean anything will be more clear about Elliot and his real thoughts and intentions when Season 2 premieres on July 13. And really, would Mr. Robot fans want it any other way?
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