Mr. Robot ‘Handshake’ Review: Breaking the Illusion

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Elliot being sidelined from the main storyline for so long finally makes sense in ‘Handshake’, an episode that highlights the fact that the characters are feeling out of place.

Spoilers!


It’s usually during the mid-season when Mr. Robot delivers its mindfucks. Last season it was the revelation that Mr. Robot was Elliot’s double personality who was actually his late father, and that Darlene was his sister. This season, it’s the “revelation” that Elliot had actually been in prison all this time. And I put revelation in quotes because it was not so much Elliot who was being tricked by himself, but us. Even though Elliot was living in an illusion, he was partly aware of it and he claims to having kept it a secret from us. Sure, there were some hints here and there that many fans were quick to pick up: bars, the tight schedule… but it was still a very well-delivered twist with some great visual transitions. By the way, after last week’s 90’s family sitcom being Elliot’s comforting place, I also found it both cute and twisted that he chose his mother’s house as a replacement for prison.

Not everything about Elliot’s situation is explained, though. There are still many questions about Elliot’s stay in prison that will hopefully be expanded on next episode. Ray’s character is one to be re-considered, as he could probably be just a prison guard. He also claimed that Elliot was the one to save him, instead of the other way around. On the other hand, Leon‘s character gained a lot of point as one of Elliot’s biggest allies. Not only is he an excellent friend who saved him from a beating and potentially something much worse, but he also gave some hints that he could be with the Dark Army. There was also some alone time with Mr. Robot, who supposedly finally tells him what happened to Tyrell: Elliot shot him with the gun that was hidden in the popcorn machine. Is he really dead? Hard to believe.

Handshake - Mr. Robot - The Daily Fandom
“Whatever this is, it’s not you”
is what Dom says to Angela after she catches her mid-hack. Dom has only one thing in mind, and that’s catching the people behind the hack, so she’s not going to let a detail like Angela being in the wrong floor go by. As it turns out, Dom manages to prove that Angela has been messing around, even if she’s made sure to erase all tracks of the hack. Angela is a character that has developed a lot this season. Her mentality has changed, and has now the confidence to speak up, but she’s still far from having the social skills or tough mentality needed for this type of hacks. She also finds herself in an even more complicated situation when she gets assigned a new boss, who has been told to do “whatever she wants” with he by Price. Some sort of revenge after she turned him down? This new boss also sees right through her for what happened to her mother. Is the end of Angela’s adventure in Evil Corp near? Will she get back on track now that it seems like Elliot could be released soon? All in all, many characters have been feeling out of their place this season. Even Joanna, who seemed to always have everything in control, is slowly crumbling down with the absence of her husband and with her poor relationship with her current boyfriend. Will she have any other plot-relevant role aside for waiting for Tyrell’s comeback?

“Illusion” and “control” have been recurring themes all season, and Elliot had already warned us that he wasn’t letting us in in all the truth. Now that we have regained his trust, we will hopefully get to see things with a much clearer perspective for the next episodes. Or not, you never know with Sam Esmail. Speaking of which, Mr. Robot has just been renewed for a third season. Congratulations!

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24-year-old TV journalist. I especialize in fangirling over TV shows and anime. Currently fighting for fan studies to be recognized as a valid academic field.

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