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'Mr. Robot' fan recap: Are you a 1 or a 0?

Season 1 | Episode 2 | “Ones and Zeroes” | Aired July 1, 2015

It doesn’t take long to figure out that Mr. Robot wants us to consider choices this week—a binary choice. The ones or the zeros, if you will. Even the name of the episode, “Ones and Zeros,” is a reference to the concept of an either/or choice.

Elliot’s major choices this week hinge on the tug-of-war happening between Evil Corp and fsociety, as both entities try to sway him to their cause. As the implications become more twisted and start to double back on themselves, Elliot becomes more conflicted, and the stakes escalate. Thus, this week’s episode of Mr. Robot is a little tricky to sort out, so let’s examine it in chunks. Here’s a breakdown of the major plot points this week.

The Offer:
The opening moments of the episode find Elliot face-to-face with Tyrell, surrounded by what he calls “eleven of our most annoying lawyers.” Tyrell promises to make Elliot a “multimillionaire within the next five years” and offers him a position as head of their cybersecurity division. Elliot doesn’t even flinch at this offer, turning them down outright.

Each interchangeable, annoying lawyer looks exactly the same as the next one (dark suit, dark hair, dead eyes) and they obviously want Elliot. His reticence to sell his soul is most likely the result of his dirty work for fsociety. We know he’s working for them, but does Evil Corp?

Wisdom byte: “If you give a man a gun, he can rob a bank. If you give a man a bank, he can rob the world.”

The Problem:
Perhaps fsociety isn’t the good guys. It seems cut-and-dried: Evil Corp is the villain, and fsociety is the champion of the good guys. Right? Well, it’s not that simple, and Elliot is tasked with deciding which side to take. It becomes even murkier when fsociety amps up its efforts.

They release an aggressive video with Mr. Robot dressed as the Monopoly man, making demands and threatening to dump all their ill-gotten data if their terms aren’t met—including the release of Kolby. This is all cryptic and confusing for Elliot (and us), because he thought fsociety was working against Evil Corp. But when they claim Kolby as their leader and that he be released, it’s hard to discern the truth from the ruse.

Wisdom byte: “We are malicious and hostile. We are relentless. We don’t compromise.”

The Plan:
To further complicate matters, fsociety plans to blow up a natural-gas refinery to destroy the adjacent Steel Mountain—a data-storage facility housing precious amounts of information about all the corporate giants. Taking Steel Mountain down would cripple Evil Corp and render them powerless.

Elliot grapples with his concious on

But blowing up the refinery would surely mean civilian deaths. This is an irrelevant detail to Mr. Robot, making Elliot second-guess his involvement with the hacker group. Duck Hunt may be enough to distract Mr. Robot, but Elliot is seriously grappling with his own moral code.

Wisdom byte: “People will die. C’est le monde.”

The Humanity:
Amidst all this cyberdrama, Elliot finds himself in between Shayla and her drug dealer. He first sees The Creeper manhandling Shayla on the street. Fernando Vera, aka The Creeper, is Shayla’s supplier, and even though he’s a real dirtbag, taking him down would mean Elliot’s supply of morphine and Suboxone dries up.

Fernando tries to scare Elliot on

It’s only when it becomes apparent that Fernando has date-raped Shayla that Elliot chooses to exact justice. It takes Fernando, fueled by meth and wielding a gun while waxing philosophical and laying claim to Shayla, to make Elliot understand what he must do. Fernando is arrested shortly thereafter.

Wisdom byte: “You’re the only reason why I met Shayla. Your star, orbiting with mine, gravitationally brought me the love of my life.”

Pushed to his breaking point, Elliot shows up to therapy in withdrawal, and offers a meaningful soliloquy about control and feeling powerless. Christa, his therapist, obviously makes the whole thing about his dad and his cancer, but Elliot won’t give in to those feelings.

Instead, he opens up to Mr. Robot, telling him the story of his dad’s death and the desperately sad events leading up to it. If there was ever a second that audiences couldn’t sympathize with Elliot, the story of his dad throwing him out a window and breaking his arm surely brought them around.

Mr Robot and Elliot decide how to go forward on USA

In a weird act of parallelism, after Elliot shares that story with Mr Robot, he, inexplicably, pushes Elliot off the railing on the boardwalk. This act of aggression follows a tender exchange in which Mr Robot affectionately rubs his back and offers condolences.

Elliot only opened up to him in exchange for the opportunity to present an alternative plan for blowing up the natural gas plan, so I assume it’s part of some initiation. We’ll have to wait until next week to see it play out.

Wisdom byte: “You didn’t commit to the sacred pact you’d formed.”

Darlene shows up at Elliot

Sundry items:

  • Elliot gets a raise at AllSafe for his part in “catching” Kolby.

  • Angela and Ollie buy a CD from a white rapper on the street, but it’s really a way for said rapper to spy on her via the computer’s camera.

  • Ollie has 48 Twitter followers, but that’s growing. He’s a giant cheater and all-around douchebag.

  • Elliot is possibly suffering from dissociative personality disorder, and may or may not be hallucinating men in black suits.

  • Darlene’s boyfriend proposed (what an asshole), and now she has no place to stay or shower. She may or may not be moving in with Elliot.

Mr. Robot airs Wednesdays at 10/9C on USA.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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