As has been the case all season, the well-chosen music in the season two finale of USA Network’s Mr. Robot enhances the action, mood, and conveys information. Kraftwerk’s “Hall of Mirrors” played as Elliot (the deserving Emmy-winner, Rami Malek) stepped off an elevator into a room with Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) and Tyrell Wellick (Martin Wallstrom). The lyrics describe Elliot’s mind: “the young man stepped into the hall of mirrors,” and “sometimes he saw his real face and sometimes a stranger at his place.” “He made up the person he wanted to be, and changed into a new personality,” is exactly what Elliot does. In his voice-over Elliot even tells us that “what we perceive isn’t the real world at all; just mind’s best guess.” All of this is setting the stage for the later confrontation between the three personas of Elliot Alderson.
Meanwhile Joanna Wellick (Stephanie Corneliussen) confronts Scott Knowles (Brian Stokes Mitchell) at his home with the knowledge that he was the one, not her husband, sending gifts and making phone calls to her. Scott cries as he relates that his late wife was pregnant when she was killed. Joanna then provokes him, calling him weak and pathetic, and infuriated, he chokes her and repeatedly hits her in the face.
This was evidently part of her plan because Joanna, with an injured face, goes to her lover Derek’s (Chris Conroy) apartment. He is angered by what Scott has done to her. Joanna tells him how he could punish Scott by setting him up for his wife’s murder. Derek is to tell the police that he saw Scott coming down the stairwell from the roof where his wife’s body was found, disheveled, sweaty and out of breath. When the police question why he changed his story, Derek is to say that Scott Knowles intimidated him but his conscience got the better of him. There is a poster in the background of this scene with the word “RUN!” and this is exactly what poor Derek should do from the dangerous Joanna Wellick.
Meanwhile FBI Agent Dom DiPierro (Grace Gummer) is interviewing Darlene (Carly Chaikin) who survived the assault by the Dark Army that killed Cisco. When Darlene asserts her Fifth Amendment right, Agent Santiago (Omar Metwally) informs her that as a result of the Patriot Act she can be termed an “enemy combatant” with no rights. Dom asks to interview Darlene alone and she tries to establish empathy with “we’re not so different,” and “we’re both Jersey girls.” Darlene is having none of it and finally Dom asks Santiago if they can show her “we’re smarter” because Dark Army is cleaning house and something is about to go down.
Dom tells Darlene that they are both parts of the biggest event in world history and that Darlene’s a lot more special than she thinks. She leads Darlene through the FBI offices to a room covered with whiteboards. They focus on one as Dom explains the FBI’s strategy. They wanted to get the man in the middle so they sat back and waited, like a python’s approach, for the right moment to strike. She tells Darlene that the Dark Army didn’t kill Romero, a stray bullet did. Then we see the whiteboard that they have been looking at and it shows all the key characters, including Elliot and Darlene, and their connections to one another. Darlene’s response is “You’ve got to be (expletive) kidding me.”
Back in the room from the opening segment, Tyrell shows Elliot stage 2 plans that look to Elliot like a blueprint for a building and dissembled firmware for an uninterruptable power supply. Elliot thinks that the Dark Army, Mr. Robot, Whiterose, and Tyrell, are planning something and they think that he’s the ringleader. Tyrell shows Elliot the building next to him where E Corp’s paper documents are coming in from around the country and Elliot remembers that stage 2 involves blowing up the building to destroy all the paper copies of E Corp’s records.
Elliot wants no part of this plan saying that it would kill many people. He starts to delete the malware when both Mr. Robot and Tyrell try to get him to stop. Tyrell finally pulls a gun and shoots Elliot. This whole segment is actually an internal struggle between different parts of Elliot. Tyrell was indeed a real person who is probably dead, but Elliot has incorporated his persona just as he did with his dead father. All three aspects are different. The “Elliot” aspect is essentially ethical and well-meaning; his hacking was with good intentions. His hacking resulted in the arrest of a child pornographer; saved Krista from a relationship with an adulterer; and led to the arrest of Ray.
The “Tyrell” persona is a sociopath. He killed Sharon Knowles. One clue that Tyrell is one of Elliot’s personalities relates to the red wheelbarrow poem that Tyrell recites to Elliot early in the episode. Note that Elliot’s composition book was labeled “Red Wheelbarrow.” He has been in the background until the last two episodes. The “Mr. Robot” personality, while protective of Elliot, is also rash. They both want stage 2 to go forward and Elliot stood in their way. It looks as if Tyrell is the dominant personality for the time being.
When “Tyrell” calls Angela, she says “Tyrell” questioningly. She has probably been told by Whiterose that she might hear from Elliot as Tyrell. The viewers have no idea of the amount of time Whiterose or the Dark Army has spent with Elliot as himself, as Mr. Robot, or as Tyrell.
In the last scene, Mobley and Trenton, with new identities, are taking a break from their work at a Fry’s in a location far from New York. Trenton thinks that she possibly has found the key that will undo all the harm done by the 5/9 hack. As Kenny Rogers’s “We’ve Got Tonight,” plays in the background, Leon comes up to them. Since nothing is in this program is by chance, it is natural to question whether Leon’s appearance is ominous as “your plans don’t include me,” might suggest, or helpful as the lyrics “both of us lonely, longing for shelter” suggest, as this is certainly true for them.
There are few shows as innovative and complex as this one. It invites speculation and may not be for the casual viewer, but if one likes mysteries and puzzles, it is a rewarding experience.