Mr. Robot: Season 2, Episode 10 - "h1dden-pr0cess.axx"

Sean Fennell

The frayed parts of the Mr. Robot universe begin to come together as we enter the final stretch of season two.

Mr. Robot

Airtime: Wednesdays, 10pm
Cast: Rami Malek, Portia Doubleday, Christian Slater
Subtitle: Season 2, Episode 10 - "h1dden-pr0cess.axx"
Network: USA
Air Date: 2016-09-07

Mr. Robot has officially turned the corner, steering headlong into the final stretch of season two, but even as we speed toward the end of this installment, there remains an alarming amount of moving parts, parts that "h1dden-pr0cess.axx" begins to bring together in a crushing fashion.

Last week ended by bringing together two characters are very opposite sides of the Mr. Robot spectrum: Elliot (Rami Malek) and Joanna Wellick (Stephanie Corneliussen). For much of this season, Joanna's been okay with waiting on the sidelines for the return of her dastardly husband, not wanting to risk blowing his cover by trying too hard to find out his whereabouts. Elliot, trusting Mr. Robot (Christian Slater), believes that he himself killed Tyrell (Martin Wellstrom), making Joanna's assignment to find her husband less than ideal. As is often the case, however, Elliot is physically intimidated into using his hacking skilled to do just that, leading him down a rabbit hole that we don't yet emerge from by episode end.

Yes, this sequence does serve as an excuse for an Elliot-hacking montage, of which the show has been lacking this season, as compared to its first, but what these moments really bring us is a unique sense of disorientation. Going into the mission, Elliot's assured of his failure. He knows, because Mr. Robot knows, that Tyrell's dead, and that whomever is breathing on the other end of that phone call, it probably isn't a friendly ally.

The turn comes as he gets deeper and deeper into the hack, which takes place back at his apartment from season one. In a situation rife with tension, Mr. Robot is nowhere to be found. He isn't in Elliot's ear, he isn't threatening him, and he isn't telling him what to do; he's simply vanished, a development that isn't lost on Elliot. For Elliot, and in turn for us, the absence of the friend in his head puts into question the truth about Tyrell, whom we can't help but believe is still out there. Why Mr. Robot would lie is unclear, but the question of where he would lie is a no brainer.

Joanna and Elliot is an intriguing collision, but ultimately one that seems intent on making us wait at least a week for the final payoff. In contrast, the other driving plot of "h1dden-pr0cess.axx" holds nothing back, speeding with early unprecedented rapidity toward one of the most stunning sequences of the series' run. For most of the second season now, the three forces of FSociety (now headed by Darlene (Carly Chaikin), Agent Dom DiPierro (Grace Gummer), and the Dark Army have been hovering around one another without much interaction, playing off what one another is doing without ever getting close enough to come into direct conflict. That all changes this week, beginning when the FBI stumbles upon Susan Jacobs' (Sandrine Holt) abandoned apartment and giving them a lead on Cisco's (Michael Drayer) whereabouts.

When Dom, with little to no help from her frustrating bosses as the bureau, tracks down Darlene and Cisco, she’s either just in time or just a little too late, depending on the fate you'd like to imagine for the duo. It's when the two are sharing a meal at a diner that, unbeknownst to them, the FBI releases a BOLO (Be On The Lookout) with an eerily accurate sketch of Cisco, effectively giving him a death sentence. Even Dom knows that as soon as the Dark Army finds out their man is blown, he's as good as dead, so when it's her and not them that finds the two in the diner, she’s in a frantic panic to get them to safety.

This whole sequence -- the meal, the BOLO, the search -- all play out with a frenzied pace, with Esmail constantly heightening the tension. All of which makes the final scene, which has the camera remain almost maddeningly removed as Dom enter the restaurants, only to be rudely interrupted by the spraying bullets of the Dark Army, both frustrating and brilliant. The only one we see come out alive, and covered in a copious amount of blood, is Dom, leaving it unclear whether the Dark Army truly succeeded in their mission. I tend to think not, as Darlene's death here doesn’t really serve to propel the plot, but either way, her cover is blown and she's firmly in the hands of the FBI, pushing Elliot once again to the forefront of FSociety.

With all the questions hanging in the air at the conclusion of "h1dden-pr0cess.axx" it may be weird to stress the satisfactory nature of this week's installment, but seeing the frayed pieces of the series begin to come together felt like a reward for the sometimes trudging pace of the season up to this point. We may not have gotten any substantial answers, but at least the questions are coming into clearer focus.





90 Years on 'Olivia' Remains a Classic of Lesbian Literature

It's good that we have our happy LGBTQ stories today, but it's also important to appreciate and understand the daunting depths of feeling that a love repressed can produce. In Dorothy Strachey's case, it produced the masterful Olivia.


Indie Rocker Alpha Cat Presents 'Live at Vox Pop' (album stream)

A raw live set from Brooklyn in the summer of 2005 found Alpha Cat returning to the stage after personal tumult. Sales benefit organizations seeking to end discrimination toward those seeking help with mental health issues.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

A Lesson from the Avengers for Our Time of COVID-19

Whereas the heroes in Avengers: Endgame stew for five years, our grief has barely taken us to the after-credit sequence. Someone page Captain Marvel, please.


Between the Grooves of Nirvana's 'Nevermind'

Our writers undertake a track-by-track analysis of the most celebrated album of the 1990s: Nirvana's Nevermind. From the surprise hit that brought grunge to the masses, to the hidden cacophonous noise-fest that may not even be on your copy of the record, it's all here.


Deeper Graves Arrives via 'Open Roads' (album stream)

Chrome Waves, ex-Nachtmystium man Jeff Wilson offers up solo debut, Open Roads, featuring dark and remarkable sounds in tune with Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus.

Featured: Top of Home Page

The 50 Best Albums of 2020 So Far

Even in the coronavirus-shortened record release schedule of 2020, the year has offered a mountainous feast of sublime music. The 50 best albums of 2020 so far are an eclectic and increasingly "woke" bunch.


First Tragedy, Then Farce, Then What?

Riffing off Marx's riff on Hegel on history, art historian and critic Hal Foster contemplates political culture and cultural politics in the age of Donald Trump in What Comes After Farce?


HAIM Create Their Best Album with 'Women in Music Pt. III'

On Women in Music Pt. III, HAIM are done pretending and ready to be themselves. By learning to embrace the power in their weakest points, the group have created their best work to date.


Amnesia Scanner's 'Tearless' Aesthetically Maps the Failing Anthropocene

Amnesia Scanner's Tearless aesthetically maps the failing Anthropocene through its globally connected features and experimental mesh of deconstructed club, reggaeton, and metalcore.


How Lasting Is the Legacy of the Live 8 Charity Concert?

A voyage to the bottom of a T-shirt drawer prompts a look back at a major event in the history of celebrity charity concerts, 2005's Live 8, Philadelphia.


Jessie Ware Embraces Her Club Culture Roots on Rapturous 'What's Your Pleasure?'

British diva Jessie Ware cooks up a glittery collection of hedonistic disco tracks and delivers one of the year's best records with What's Your Pleasure.


Paul Weller Dazzles with the Psychedelic and Soulful 'On Sunset'

Paul Weller's On Sunset continues his recent streak of experimental yet tuneful masterworks. More than 40 years into his musical career, Weller sounds as fresh and inspired as ever.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.