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S02E04 - eps2.2_init_1.asec

- Posted in Mr. Robot by

  • The episode begins in flashback to Halloween night 2014. Darlene arrives at Elliot's apartment, interrupting another post-personal-hack CD burning session. He wants to turn her away and be alone, claiming he has plans, but she invokes "Init 1" (the episode's title) to indicate the seriousness of her need to be together.
    • init 1 is the Linux/Unix command to abandon the services of a graphical user interface and bring the system to its barer minimum function, leaving it at the level of a command line interface. It is usually invoked for the purpose of repairing devices and services, then invoking init 5 in order to restore its full graphical function with mouse and windows. (An episode called init 5 is found later this season.)
    • Elliot & Darlene sit on the couch together as a movie download is completed on ĀµTorrentPlus. The download is of "Careful Massacre of the Bourgeoisie (1984) VHSrip." The laptop resembles the E Corp brand unit that Darlene tends to use in other episodes, and runs a Gnome desktop. There are several pop culture movies found in its Movie folder listed alphabetically begins:
      • Capone [2005] DvDrip
      • Carrie (1976)
      • Child's Play - Chucky Collection
      • Chinatown (1974)
      • Chungking Express (1994)
      • Citizenfour (2014)
      • Citizen Kane (1941)
      • Clockwork Orange (1971)
      • Closer (2004)
      • Comet (2014) (Written & Directed by Sam Esmail)
      • ....and more
  • Darlene asks Elliot "What's you're deal? That lame infosec gig scare you straight?" Elliot explains how the incident at his old job got him fired and committed to psychological "anger management" therapy. "I guess it's official: I'm crazy."
    • By Elliot's recall, this incident had taken place during the weekend of Memorial Day 2014. (May 23-26?) One moment he's locked in the server room, falling asleep. The next, he wakes up to find all the servers are destroyed. He doesn't remember any of it.
    • It stands to reason that this was an act of a subconscious identity, rescuing him from imprisonment. It could be that Mr. Robot was already at work here, although it's equally possible that the identity was nowhere that well-formed at the time.
  • When Darlene wishes she could remember dad better, Elliot shows her the old Mr. Robot jacket from his closet. She asks him to put it on, then to wear the Halloween mask. In that moment, he schemes how he could take down Evil Corp from within the job he takes at Allsafe: installing malware, trashing their backups, corrupting all their data, even kicking them harder when they're down.
    • It's hard to say if this is still consciously "Elliot" who schemed this or his formative "Robot" identity. Darlene is a bit scared at first, but it stands to reason that she doesn't leave that night until FSociety is officially underway in its planning and recruitment.
  • Back in present day, Elliot continues his daily loop. An easter egg is seen in the form of a crossword puzzle being done by "his mom."
    • The puzzle was originally published in a computer newsletter. When you solve 5 Down and 9 Across, you come up with IMAP & PRISM.
    • I honestly haven't found where the rest of this leads at this time. There are ARG links to the site whoismrrobot.com and reddit, but I'm not an active follower of those.
  • Dom leads her fellow FBI agents into the Arcade. The most notable piece of evidence they've found is the bullet casing from Xander Jones' handgun, discovered behind the Mallard Murder arcade machine.
  • Joanna and "Mr Sullivan" meet with the parking attendant Kareem. He gets into the back seat of their white SUV to receive his weekly payoff. It seems his task is to protect Elliot from attention. But cash is running low, and Kareem's payoff is becoming unaffordable.
  • Angela is waiting outside the E Corp building when Chutney and Weinberg (from last week's episode) are hauled away by NYPD. Her affirmation tapes are playing messages, including "My beliefs create my own reality."
  • Ray & Elliot play a game that reenacts one of history's most legendary matches, from 1851, known as The Immortal game.
  • Mr Robot & Elliot begin to negotiate "a game to end all games between us." Winner takes all... control of "us."
  • Whiterose and Price are in a phone conversation. Some items of note come of it:
    • Whiterose's involvement at Washington Township precedes Price being on the scene.
    • Her task to Price is the securing of a UN vote.
  • Joanna seems willing to help whichever side wins: She offers to testify against Tyrell if Scott Knowles will release her severance package from E Corps. Her offer is declined, as Scott enjoys seeing her baby and her share the misery.
  • Darlene meets again with Cisco. His steps show heightened security measures taken, as he discards her phone and instructs her to meet at "The Looking Glass."
    • They get intimate in the cafe restroom, while he updates her about when the FBI have been finding at the Arcade and at Romero's murder scene.
    • "Operation Berenstain" is the first of many series references to The Mandela Effect. Many audience members see the references to time travel and expect the show to derail from dedicated realism over to science fiction. But it is more likely that this is a device for getting the audience to ask more questions about our own perception of reality, as that lies closer to the original premise of the show about a hacktivist who struggles with his own impaired sense of reality.
  • Leon chats with Elliot about the chess board and the struggle over existence. He advises Elliot to dream, and learn the future for which he fights.
    • The dream presents a montage of cherished relationships that Elliot would fight for. It climaxes around a long dining table at which his friends all sit, set in an alleyway that opens to a view of the E Corp headquarters tower.
      • There are six settings on either side, plus one for Elliot at the head, and plus one more for you, the imaginary friend, so 14 settings in all. But since you are imaginary and not occupying that setting, we are again looking at the hallmark of bad luck: Thirteen (13) at a table.
      • Wishful thinking aside, some of these friendships will be dead by the execution of stage 2: Joanna, Trenton, and Mobley are certainly deceased. Lloyd could have perished after Allsafe, removing his yet-unmet blond girlfriend too, and Bill Harper (from S01E04) may have perished since the fall of Steel Mountain. Only five faces remain: Tyrell, Darlene, Leon, Angela, and of course Elliot. (Although perhaps I shouldn't leave out Qwerty, who occupies a cube beside Angela.)
      • Naturally, the dream ends in applause as the E Corp headquarter building, looming high in the distance, falls in a controlled implosion.
  • Robot and Elliot meet at a park picnic table for their ultimate chess face-off. The outcome is that all three matches result in stalemates, statistically a virtual impossibility. (But easter eggs for chess lovers.) They conclude that they will never be able to overcome the en passe that they are incapable of defeating one another. The conflict has been an exercise in avoidance.
  • Angela confronts Price in the parking lot over her discoveries about the settlement terms in the Washington Township case. Price dodges her conclusions and instructs her to go home.
  • Elliot & Darlene are on the phone, fretting about the FBI's investigation, "we might be owned."
  • Elliot meets with Ray to agree to fix the web site. His immediate en passe with Robot is done, so he's ready to get back to moving the Revolution forward. By helping Ray, he will have access for his next plan to help himself & Darlene learn the extent of the FBI's knowledge: He's going to hack the FBI.