Posted on Thursday, July 21st, 2016 by Corey Atad
I saw some people down on Mr. Robot’s season premiere last week. While most were right back on board, it seemed like a good number were itching for something a bit more… substantial. The forward momentum, and constantly shifting ground present in the first season seemed to have been halted. Which is a somewhat ridiculous notion considering the state of things in the premiere was all almost entirely new, a recalibration of the story’s status quo in the wake of the events of the finale. New characters, new locations, and even new relationships with technology.
Yet the sentiment, that the show had stalled returning to bat, made some degree of sense to me. The episode was not just a recalibration of the story, but a recalibration for the characters themselves. This week, “Kernel Panic” brought much of that recalibrating to fruition. No longer just picking up scraps of detail to figure out where the characters have been and what they’re doing, the episode gave us the space to understand how they might move forward into the uncharted territory of a post-hack world.
As usual, it opens up a bevy of questions to look at within the episode. Follow along, and be mindful of spoilers, of course. Go watch the episode first!
Is the Fun Society arcade cursed?
Romero certainly seemed to think so. I say seemed for a few reasons, but we’ll get to the past tense construction in a moment. First we have to go back. Way back to the very founding of fsociety. The episode opens with a flashback to Mobley and Romero walking down the Coney Island boardwalk. Romero is telling the story of the series of events that led to him squatting at the arcade. It’s a tale of one murder after another over a period of many decades. A husband killing his family. A son killing his father and then falling out of a window, while his twin brother is arrested for the crime. It’s a grisly set of circumstances, and it all adds up to one thing: Fun Society is haunted. Mobley can’t be bothered by these stories, because he’s on a mission to recruit Romero to the group of hackers Elliot is putting together. As it turns out, he might’ve done well to heed Romero’s warnings.
But seriously, where is Tyrell?
The biggest hanging thread from the end of Season 1 is “what happened to Tyrell Wellick.” We got only a step closer to finding out, which is to say, we still have no idea. The episode begins after the cold open with Elliot on the phone, hearing Tyrell’s voice. “I think about you a lot, Elliot. I think about that night when we became gods,” Tyrell says. But that’s it. No details on where he might be. It’s not safe yet. Meanwhile, Mr. Robot shows up to pester Elliot again, and Elliot begins to doubt whether Tyrell’s voice on the other end of the line is even real, or if he’s another imagined character, like the spectre of his father still controlling his life. On the television, Elliot sees Gideon was killed. The consequences of his actions laid bare before his eyes. The innocent suffering he has caused in his possibly deluded quest to “save the world,” as he once told Tyrell. Whenever Tyrell comes back, there will surely be some sort of reckoning or revelation. The “god” talk is already obviously overbearing just two episodes into the new seasons, and there’s still more to go in this episode alone!
Are fsociety members being picked off, one by one?
It’s a definitely possibility. A likelihood, even, and not at all surprising. This episode really centered Mobley as a major character for the first time, an interesting expansion of scope for a show that was quite focused on its core set in Season 1. We find Mobley visiting Romero’s house, where he lives with his mom. Or, lived. When Mobley goes out back to see him, he finds Romero dead on the ground, a pool of blood around him, and a gunshot wound to the back of his head. An execution-style killing. It could be that it was Romero’s drug dealing got him killed, but Mobley doesn’t buy that. No, it’s got to be that people are coming after fsociety members. Their past is catching up. Or maybe it’s the curse of the arcade coming to get them.