The Madness of Season 2 of “Mr. Robot” is the Point
“It’s one thing to question your mind, it’s another to question your eyes and ears.”
“The medium is the message.” Marshall McLuhan, one of the forefathers of media theory, said that in 1964. The meaning behind this is that the form of a message is equally as significant as the content of the message.
Many have come to the conclusion that Mr. Robot was yet another example of the “sophomore slump” being a real thing, and boy was there a slump. Season 2 saw us dive deep into Elliot’s mind; storylines became convoluted as an already-weird show got weirder, and our unreliable narrator became even more so. Everything could be legitimately questioned.
Midway through the season 2 finale as Elliot arrives in Tyrell’s safehouse, he says to us, his invisible friend:
“It’s one thing to question your mind, it’s another to question your eyes and ears. But then again, isn’t it all the same? Are senses just mediocre inputs for our brain? Sure, we rely on them, trust they accurately portray the world around us, but what if the haunting truth is they can’t? That what we perceive isn’t the real world at all, but just our mind’s best guess? That all we have is a garbled reality, a fuzzy picture we will never truly make out.”
This not only applies to Elliot and the world surrounding him, but us and the show.
Just as we start to get used to Elliot’s regimen of taking in basketball games at the park and eating at the diner with Leon, we are shown that all we saw was actually a rose-coloured glasses version of Elliot in prison. Just as we think Darlene and fsociety are in the clear, Dom reveals to Darlene that the FBI has been sitting on a near complete puzzle of their organization the entire time. Just as it seems like Elliot is regaining footing in his tug-of-war with Mr. Robot, he returns at the most inopportune time. Just as we start to think we have a grasp on what the fuck is going on, we are rudely awakened to the “haunting truth” that we really don’t.
Season 2 felt dragged out. It felt unnecessarily convoluted. It felt mentally exhausting. It felt tiring. It felt like it was all over the place. And it felt like all that we felt watching the show was exactly how Elliot was feeling on-screen as he fought Mr. Robot for control. Elliot was in a state of disarray and we were in a state of disarray watching. The medium came to embody the message.
5 Stray Thoughts and Observations on the Finale
- Tyrell mentions a poem his father recited that involved a red wheelbarrow. The composition notebook Elliot used early in the season was named “red wheelbarrow.”
- Joanna Wellick is scary AF.
- Darlene Alderson, aka “DOLORESH4ZE” is the second Lolita reference in the final two episodes.
- Is there a time jump between Elliot getting shot and Tyrell calling Angela? Or have they been in communication before?
- Is Leon asking Mobley and Trenton what the time is a foreshadowing of White Rose recruiting them to join the Dark Army?
What did you think about the finale and the season as a whole? Also, check out the other things I’ve written if you’re looking for a new show to watch!