Episode Overview   Summary    
(Ones and Zeros)
Season 1
Episode 2
Airdate July 1, 2015
Written by Sam Esmail
Directed by Niels Arden Oplev
U.S. viewers 1.73 million
Episode guide
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The world is a dangerous place, Elliot, not because of those who do evil but because of those who look on and do nothing.

— Mr. Robot

eps1.1_ones-and-zer0es.mpeg is the second episode of Season 1 of the American TV series Mr. Robot. It was broadcast on July 1, 2015.



<@mrrobot> elliot torn between job offer from evil corp and joining fsociety. @ same time elliot needs to make decision that could harm ppl around him.

Origin of the Title

  • In computing, ones and zeros (binary values) refers to the basic digital code used by computers.
  • In the context of the characters, it represents the increasing pressure on Elliot to choose a side: to remain passive and align his loyalties with Allsafe, and thereby, E Corp, or to take action and join fsociety. The title also suggests other elements of the story which have two sides, including Elliot himself.
  • The extension: .mpeg is a standard for audio and video compression.

Episode Notes

  • In this and several subsequent episodes, Mr. Robot is seen carrying the novel Resurrection by Leo Tolstoy, and published in 1899. The edition Mr. Robot carries is the American first edition, translated into English by Louise Maude, and published by Dodd Mead in 1900. The novel tells the story of a Russian nobleman seeking redemption for sins he created years earlier. In the novel, he attempts to help a woman he harmed, while struggling with his own moral dilemmas. As he tries to help the woman, he sees the difference between his own privileged world, and the the misery and oppression of the masses. The novel was published prior to the Russian revolution, when the Russian aristocracy lived lives of splendid excess oblivious to the poverty of most ordinary Russian peasants.
  • Another symbol in this episode are the two paintings Elliot sees outside the office of his therapist Krista Gordon. The painting on the left is a depiction of a group of four figures in a field in front of a barn. Three of them are entering it while the other lea
    ns one on the fence contemplatively. The painting on the right depicts a similar setting but behind the barn. There are only three figures in it. Together, these paintings may illustrate the "illusion of choice" Elliot refers to in his interview. Even the idea of being a one or a zero, the title of the episode, seems to be inferred. They may also foreshadow the choices Elliot will soon have to make concerning his cooperation with fsociety and E Corp.
  • Steel Mountain, the storage facility which contains Evil Corps tape backups, is a reference to Iron Mountain, a worldwide operating company which works in records management, information destruction and data backup and recovery services.
  • Mr. Sutherland, the man in the black suit, tells Elliot to call him Mr. X, referring to the 1991 Oliver Stone film JFK. JFK chronicles the investigation of John F. Kennedy's assassination by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, who believed Kennedy was assassinated by the mafia, possibly on the orders of Lyndon B. Johnson. The film, which took considerable liberties with actual events, which in themselves were far-fetched, gave Stone the reputation as a conspiracy-theorist.
  • Elliot say that Tyrell's password includes the date of Sweden's Independence Day. Sweden does not have an independence day as they have always been independent, they have "National Day" on June 6.


  • Malware refers to malicious software. Cisco's CD introduces trojan horse software to Ollie's computer, which enables Cisco to (at least) access webcam and to take screenshots.


  • "Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92: II. Allegretto". Composed by Ludwig Von Beethoven (1811), performed by Barry Wordsworth and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Plays as Elliot leaves Tyrell and the E Corp offices.
  • "Fist of God". Recorded by MSTRKRFT (2009). Plays as Elliot stops at Shayla's and meets Fernando.
  • "Quiet Dog" Recorded by Mos Def (2009). Plays as Elliot arrives at the arcade to meet with Mr. Robot.
  • "Hard Imagination". Recorded by Morris DJ (2013). Plays as Shayla is dropped off by Fernando as Elliot arrives.
  • "Chill Out". Recorded by The Midi Mafia [feat. K.I.D.] (2013). Plays on Darlene's iPod when Shayla picks up Flipper.


  • Darlene's heart-shaped sunglasses were inspired by the Stanley Kubrick film, Lolita. Although the title character never wore them in the film, she was featured wearing them in the posters for the film.
  • The network allowed this episode to run several minutes over time. To bring it in on time, the scene between Elliot and Krista would have to have been cut; the network was impressed with Rami Malek's performance and let the episode run long.


  • Mr Robot explains to Elliott the need to concede principles in order to act or not
Season 1 Episodes

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