Episode Reviews

Mr. Robot – eps2.2_init_1.asec Review

“Init 1” Fills in some wonderful back story into the origins of our characters and the internal struggle that plagues Elliot.

If there was one thing I never thought we’d see, it would be the “birth” of Elliot’s Mr. Robot personality. With an opening scene flash back to before Elliot was working at AllSafe, we get to see first hand the transformation of the stoner IT security hacker Elliot into the terrifyingly dangerous Mr. Robot thanks to a combination of his dad’s old jacket and the mask from his and Darlene’s favorite film as children The Careful Massacre of the Bourgeois.

I think the remarkable thing is how subtle Rami Malek’s transformation was. While sitting with Darlene, he’s mostly a bit edgy like a person who is a bit high on weed would be, but from the moment he slips on the mask, there is this transformation. Rami’s movement, his tone of voice, his thought process, was clearly of another personality, and is what we can only assume is the general birth of Mr. Robot (if we exclude his black out period where he destroyed the server room).

Beyond this, much the episode revolves around the struggle of control between Elliot and Mr. Robot. Accepting his existence, Elliot’s efforts to marginalize Mr. Robot’s power and control though threats and a game of chess are increasingly reminiscent of the struggle between Tyler Durgen and “The Narrator.”

MR. ROBOT -- "eps2.2_init_1.asec" Episode 204 -- Pictured: (l-r) Christian Slater as Mr. Robot, Rami Malek as Eliot Anderson -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/USA Network)
MR. ROBOT — “eps2.2_init_1.asec” Episode 204 — Pictured: (l-r) Christian Slater as Mr. Robot, Rami Malek as Eliot Anderson — (Photo by: Peter Kramer/USA Network)

Where “The Narrator” spent only a small amount of time coming to grips with his alter ego, Elliot spends this entire season with it. The threats of suicide and the chess match are incredible displays of the struggle between the inner demon and the self. The fact that the chess match ended up in a stalemate every time is curious though. Does Mr. Robot purposely force a stalemate to keep Elliot in line for a mutually beneficial goal, or does he truly not have the ability to defeat Elliot?

The other notable scene in the episode has to be Elliot’s dream of a happy world, which includes scenes of all his friends, a rekindled relationship between him and Angela, and the destruction of the E-Corp tower in a scene that is completely an homage to ending of Fight Club with the complete destruction of the banking institution and the debt shackles that accompany it.

If there was any question that Esmail loved Fight Club, there can really be no doubt now. This though may be a weakness in the show as the influence can be too much leading to too predictable of a plot. But maybe this is also a double play intended to fake out the viewers, and the real twist is to come towards the end of the series.

Meanwhile, the relationships built-in this show continue to be the strongest point, and Elliot’s struggle keeps us engaged and wanting for more.

Other Notes

  • “The minute you remove emotion from’ll do just fine.”
  • Init 1 means single user mode, or emergency mode in a linux system. It’s often required for emergency repair and restart of a system.
  • “Do you see mom?” – Darlene may just be asking if Elliot sees her like he sees their dad.
  • “Maybe I should take the job at AllSafe. I could be a trojan horse.”
  • Darlene has something planned for the bailout vote in DC.
  • Angela’s evidence from Price eliminates the two executives, but to what end?
  • The Dark Army is concerned that Price is putting all his faith into Angela.
  • Does Ray see Elliot argue with Mr. Robot?
  • Bill gets a hug!
  • Agent Dom continues to hate everyone’s incompetence.

Hacking and ARG

  • You can go to the IRC channel via
  • Typing in the chat as shown in the episode will return the same dialogue, plus an extra line not shown on air. Elliot will use the FBI’s transition to Android as an entry into their network.
  • feds found the arcade.
  • they got an illegal surveillance program…
  • something called “berenstain”
  • romero’s body was found in his back porch. coup de grace
  • Going to the website noted in Ray’s instructions shows
  • You can actually watch the first part of The Careful Massacre of the Bourgeois.
  • During the opening scenes, we see Darlene in the subway with two curious people. One person is wearing a suit and a gas mask. The other is a lady fully engrossed in a VR headset. This is a nod to the complete dependency on technology in society, and a subtle reference to the newly released side story VR experience that goes into Elliot and Shayla’s first date that debuted at San Diego Comic-Con 2016. You can experience this at the Mr Robot Virtual Reality Experience site.


  • “Neptune” from Gustav Holst’s The Planets | Amazon
  • “A Rainy Night in Georgia” by Brook Benton – | Amazon
  • “Into the Black” by Chromatics – | Amazon
  • “Basket Case” by Green Day Piano cover – YouTube

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By Kien Tran

Based in Dallas, Texas, Kien Tran is an avid television enthusiast. After spending hundreds of hours wasting away on a couch, he decided to actually do something creative with his hobby and created this very blog.

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