‘Init1’ is all about seeking help, but also about going to extreme ends to help others.
In the pre-series moment scene we got, we finally get the answer to one of the questions we had had for a while: how did Elliot end up going to therapy. As it turns out, Elliot had some bullying problems in a pen test he was working for, which prompted Mr. Robot to “come out” and destroy all the servers in the server room he had been locked in. Initially, Elliot was sent to therapy for his anger issues and Krista probably didn’t learn about his dissociative disorder until much later after Elliot had realized it himself. More importantly, this is the moment when Elliot puts on his father’s jacket and the fsociety mask for the first time and actually comes up with the idea for the hack. This is also the first time that we see Mr. Robot being played by Rami Malek. Everything about the scene was both creepy and exciting.
Darlene had been kept in the shadows during the first episodes of the season and she finally got to shine in this episode. She was not only key in helping her brother, but we also got to see a bit more on how the hack aftermath has affected her, including having panic attacks and going back to her boyfriend. It doesn’t matter that MrRobot!Elliot had warned her that “the hard part would be after” because they could not have ever imagined the actual consequences that their actions would have. “Init1” is code for “help” between the Alderson siblings. Just like Elliot, Darlene likes to keep things to herself because they see talking things out as “exposing vulnerabilities”, hence leaving them open for new attacks.
There is a twist when it comes to Ray, and it’s really a shame that Elliot cannot count on him as he thought he could. Regardless of that, Ray’s advice still helped Elliot in some way or another. Playing chess with himself takes on a whole new meaning for Elliot as it quickly turns into a battle for his identity and one of the most tense chess games in a TV show
since Code Geass ever. Elliot also had another lesson to learn from his other friend Leon who talks to him about having an ideal future and hence a reason to fight for, which inspires another of those classic Mr. Robot montages. This is a game that Elliot realizes he cannot win, just like he cannot lose it either: it’s not about who you are, but about who you choose to be (really got some Harry Potter vibes from this episode). No, Elliot did not exactly figure himself out, but he did fight his avoidance and actually chose to use his Mr. Robot side to do something. By the end of the episode, Darlene (unknowingly) helps Elliot by telling him that she prefers his usual self over his Mr. Robot version, while Elliot helps her by…. well, hacking the FBI.
Everything happens for a reason, and Romero’s death has sparked an investigation by the FBI. Having found the Arcade, the FBI has now installed a surveillance program called “Berenstain”. This fact along with the return of BD Wong as White Rose and his connections with Price raise the stakes for the rest of the season. There’s also a current loose thread that might be tied into the mess soon: Joanna. Tyrell’s disappearance has allowed for Joanna to grow as a character and be her own person. We learn that she actually likes her new boyfriend, and that she’s not so interested in Tyrell’s money. It’s hard to see what her endgame really is here or whether she’s telling the truth at all, so it would be wise to keep an eye on her.
Being longer than usual, “Init1” is both the best episode of the season and also one of the key episodes of the series as a whole. Mr. Robot has always had very thematic episodes and ‘Init1’ is no exception: Darlene brings out the most humane side of Elliot in an episode that is all about relying on each other.