Courtesy of ABC

Courtesy of ABC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Preamble: I’d like to take a moment and share my enthusiasm for this series. Here at NJATVS there are no shortages of instances where I have touted the West Wing as the greatest achievement in television history. While I don’t think Designated Survivor will be that show, I do feel there are bound to be unintentional similarities that will present themselves yet allow Designated Survivor to etch its own place in the spectrum of White House shows. I may from time to time draw parallels between Designated Survivor and The West Wing but look forward to Designated Survivor to be its own show and will stand alone on its own merits.

Tom Kirkman enters what must be a government office board room with two flat screen televisions running the same feed of the State of Union address. Tom looks out-of-place in his jeans and Cornell hooded sweatshirt. He stretched out with a beer and take out pizza. Tom begins to anticipate the President’s talking points. Alex Kirkman enters the room giving someone the business. Like a lobbyist barking at a senator. Only in this case the one being barked at is their daughter refusing to go to sleep. Tom diffuses that in a diplomatic way that his wife sees as writing on the wall of a future bigger problem. However, they will have bigger problems tonight.

Mr. and Mrs. Kirkman both focus on the speech. Without warning, the video feed cuts out. Tom quickly changes the channel. Other channels work fine, clearly this is no outage. Their phones ring with others experiencing a similar occurrence. Before they can make heads or tails of it, Mike (Secret Service Agent) burst through the door demanding they get off their mobile devices. They’ve lost contact with the capitol. Just then, a news feed interrupts the tiling and snow on the tv. “Reports are coming in about an explosion near the capital. In a powerful moment utilizing slow motion, Tom advances towards a window closed with wooden shutters. He tears open the shudders. What is revealed is a wonderful view of the Capitol building and the Washington monument, with a massive explosive cloud spitting fire and smoke from the Capitol building.

What follows next is flashback to earlier that day. This reveals Tom Kirkman to be a typical family man struggling with the day-to-day challenges of raising two children at their respective points in their childhood/adolescence. To them, he is just Dad. Before arriving at work, Tom’s assistant meets him before he gets to the office. Side note, any show/movie that deals with elected officials and government, having the assistant meet the public servant outside is always bad news. She informs him that the President will not include any of HUD’s initiatives in the State of the Union. If you missed it or have yet to see the show, Tom Kirkman begins this series as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. A relatively low ranking station among the Presidential Cabinet. While Tom attempts to diffuse this situation as well he utters something that might as have otherwise been dipped in irony.

Tom: Don’t get me wrong, I’m as mad as hell. But at the end of the day, I’m not the President of the United States. We should remember that.

Tom and his assistant make their way over to the President’s Chief of Staff to discuss the lack of HUD material in the State of the Union. Its made clear pretty quickly that Kirkman’s contributions to the agenda hadn’t been taken seriously and there’s a pretty obvious reason. The Chief of Staff asks for a moment alone with Tom. Once they are alone, he informs Tom that the President is looking to make a change. After the State of the Union, Tom will be asked to step down and take essentially a low ranking ambassadorship or be let go. Tom has the day to get back to them. That will prove to be a very important distinction later.

Back at present, Tom and Alex are rushed into their first Presidential motorcade (even if they don’t know that’s what it is yet). Tom pleads with Mike for any information they have. Mike returns focus back to the phone call he’s on. Mike’s stoic demeanor shifts a little with the news he’s being given. He eventually turns around to face Tom and Alex to give them the biggest news they’ll ever hear, good, bad or otherwise.

Tom: Mike, please, just tell us what you know.
Mike: The Capitol’s been attacked. There’s still no word on the President or his detail. (Returning to the call) This is Ritter. Oh God. Don’t tell me that.
Tom: What is it?
Mike: It’s confirmed. Eagle is gone. Congress. The Cabinet. (Returning to his call) Yes sir. I’ll let him know. (Back to Tom) Mr. Secretary, we’re enacting continuity of government. The DC Appellate judge will meet us at the White House. Sir, you are now the President…of the United States.

Hannah Wells (played by Maggie Q) sees the coverage from a downtown bar. She makes a call and gets voicemail. She leaves on foot and doesn’t get very far when she gets a visual of the smoke billowing from above the Capitol. Hannah finds the FBI tent on location and jumps in to help. It takes a little convincing but she makes it clear, she’s the only one who knows what to look for if they are going to catch whoever did this. Helen makes her way out of the tent to find the wreckage. It is substantial. Well over 60% of the Capitol building is missing and the rest is burning to ash.

Tom and Alex arrive at the White House. Secret Service has already moved to secure their children. The White House at the moment is a somber collection of despair. Chaos and sadness at once. The chaos settles long enough for the Appellate judge to swear in President Tom Kirkman, street clothes and all.

Tom gets whisked away to a command center one must assume is the Situation Room where we find more chaos. The Secretary of Defense is leading the loudness, clearly I’m not going to like this guy. The SoD is asserting himself without any real clarification as to who has what level of authority. Tom drifts back out of the foreground and eventually finds his way to a restroom to throw up. Problem is, Seth Wright has been doing the same thing. Seth is a speech writer for the former President who has strong feelings against Kirkman’s fitness to lead. He just didn’t know he was talking to Kirkman between the stalls until it was too late.

Seth and two staffers sit in a room. One of them, “Nicky” (can’t imagine she’ll be around for long) begins to rip Kirkman. Calling him a glorified real estate agent and also questioning Kirkman’s fitness to lead. Then she does something rather stupid and I’m just glad Seth was there to point out her stupidity in a very Sorkin-esque manner.

Nicky: I’m sorry but no one could have foreseen this.
Seth: Why the hell do you think there is a Designated Survivor, Nicky? Because this was foreseen.

Right about the time Tom gets a moment to breathe and really measure the gravity of what is going on, its the first time he questions himself. Even considers quitting as he ‘isn’t the right guy for this’. Then Mike appears with more bad news. Leo (eldest child) is not at the home he claimed he’d be.

On to the next item of business, Tom is introduced to the Nuclear Football. Despite the power that symbolizes, Tom finds a way to be slightly humorous in the moment unintentionally. After seeing a movie or two that references the Nuclear Football he asks if they need a retinal scan or something. The Army Major accompanying it shrugs it off and claims it’s nothing like the movies.

Leo is not at the designated friend’s house because he’s out selling some kind of drug at a rave. They aren’t there long before cops make their way in. Leo tries to evade them but can’t get past Mike. In the car, Leo asks how they found him. Mike gives a long story about setting up an Ops Center at NSA and identifiying his digital footprint. Just a joke. They pinged his cell phone. Leo looks around at the route they’re taking. They are traveling to the White House and Leo is out of the loop.

Leo: I thought you were taking me home.
Mike (pauses): I am.

In what I believe is supposed to pass as the Mural Room, Seth works with Alex and Tom (yes in that order) to find Tom’s Presidential voice. Seth quotes a line that sounds like something a President would say. In fact, its something Tom said in regards to a HUD initiative. Now is not the time for that sentiment.

Seth: Sir, tonight, you’re speaking to the world. We don’t need another friend right now. You can’t be relaxed or disarming. That’s not going to work anymore. Mr. President, you need to be stronger than you’ve ever been before. We all need that right now.

Then what follows probably gets brushed under the rug for what it is. A staple of Presidential TV shows or movies. The West Wing, American President, and now Designated Survivor. Once someone is thrust into the role here, they at first, find it hard to accept the instant respect given to their title. In the case of the West Wing, Mrs. Santos wanted Donna to call her “Helen” which Donna can’t do in the current arrangement. Same here with Seth and Alex.

Alex: It’s ok. We’re all feeling it.
Seth: Thank you Ma’am.
Alex: Alex, please.
Seth: Uh…no Ma’am. You’re the First Lady.

In the Situation Room, there is movement. Apparently Iran is moving ships in position to affect the transport of oil to the United States. A curious move considering the timing. This proves to be the 2nd of as many brushes between Kirkman and his Secretary of Defense. Kirkman isn’t willing to just throw men and artillery at everything like his SoD wants him to.

Tom: General, you can scramble your bombers. But they do not engage. We are going to do this my way. If it doesn’t work, we’ll try yours.

Outside Emily (previous Kirkman assistant) knocks heads with the acting Chief of Staff (the deputy Chief of Staff to the Chief of Staff who was in the Capitol. She wants in because of her familiarity with Kirkman. He wants her out because Kirkman is no longer the Secretary of HUD but the President. Before he walks away, she says something cryptic. “You know more than anyone why its important for me to be there for him right now”. I’m not crazy about how that sounds.

Helen is still searching for someone named Scott. This in a small way feels like stories we heard from 9/11 of people calling loved ones. Calls going straight to voicemail, just trying to confirm that those people were alright. Only to find out later that they had sadly become casualties of the event. I hope we find Scott well, but I have a bad feeling about it. On site they find an un-detonated bomb or explosive device. With the area secured, the bomb squad goes in to dissect it. It was just a dud, but may prove to be advantageous in moving forward.

Tom waits to speak with the Iranian Ambassador. The Ambassador starts with the predictable greetings and message of support in this dark time. Tom does not hesitate, he does not bat an eye before charging in with having Iran remove their destroyers from the Strait of Hormuz. The Ambassador pushes back as if that has not happened.

Tom: Mr. Ambassador, you may not know much about me, but what you should know is I’m about as straight a shooter as you’re gonna find in Washington. So you should believe me when I tell you that I do not want my first act as Commander-in-Chief to attack Iran. But as both of us know, it’s not always up to us how history plays itself out. Now I have chosen to believe that your country is not playing on our emotions tonight. But nevertheless, you’ll feel the full impact of them if you do not comply with my demands. Mr. Ambassador…dock your destroyers. Or the lead story on the morning news will not be the attack on our Capitol, but the devastating attack on yours.

Helen’s agents toss around a theory that she’s not buying, but offers up one of her own. The big attacks, 9/11, Paris, Belgium all reported massive chatter leading up. As if they were telegraphing intentions. We knew something bad was going to happen, just not what. Right now, in regards to this attack, Helen is hearing absolutely nothing. Silent. She submits a simplistic notion. No one has taken credit for the attack because you don’t take credit until you’re finished. Is it possible that the attack on the Capitol was just the beginning?

Alex preps Tom to address the nation and has a hard time placing his suit. That’s because he had to borrow it from someone else. She reassured him that he looks the part. Outside on the Portico, SoD converses with Aaron (acting Chief of Staff) about doing something to remove Kirkman. Aaron is not comfortable with the conversation as it technically is grounds for conspiracy to commit treason.

Kirkman sits at the Resolute Desk looking ironically resolute. Before the cameras roll, Seth jumps in to remove Tom’s trademark horned rimmed glasses as they don’t look ‘Presidential’. Tom takes one last look around the room.

Tom Kirkman: My fellow Americans…

Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

After months of speculation concerning the revelations that would surface during the premiere episode of the fourth season for the NBC hit series “The Blacklist,” most viewers likely ended the hour feeling no more informed than they were last May. Although the episode contained plenty of action and fraught with tension, including two volatile personal relationships, the hour ended after a lot of travel to windup in the same point it started at. Constantin Rostov left Cuba via a seaplane with his daughter Liz, his reluctant travel companion and Rostov’s hitman ended the evening with Agnes in his possession.

Why the show-runners and writers decided to reset a table instead of advancing the story perplexed this viewer, and left me wondering whether this episode’s purpose was to acclimate star Megan Boone back into the action, after missing the latter part of Season Three on maternity leave? While we got to see that Lizzie seems well-toned after her pregnancy, we didn’t acquire any major information that had yet to be revealed or speculated about. After spending much of the episode in a car trunk, Tom regained his freedom near the conclusion of the episode.

The episode did concentrate heavily on exposition in this episode, as Raymond attempted to come to grips with his mercurial feelings concerning Mr. Kaplan. Kate, not content to sit idly by and allow his sense of betrayal from dooming their relationship and perhaps her life, keeps trying to show Reddington she just tried to save Raymond from himself. However with even Dembe, telling Mr. Kaplan he can’t defend her, can she hope to make amends?

Emotions also ran high when the TASK-Force realized that Lizzie faked her death, as Keen’s colleagues realized they’d been lied to and manipulated and they all handled the news differently. Donald Ressler, seemingly had no problem with his former partner’s actions, realizing she was attempting to convince Reddington she died. TASK-Force Director Harold Cooper, exclaimed he didn’t think it was possible to feel so angry and happy simultaneously. Tech-Genius Aram, seemed to have problems processing the information, while Samar Navabi expressed her disdain and anger for Keen’s stunt.

We rejoin Dembe, Raymond and Kate, moments after they arrived at the Keen family escape-haven, not in time from stopping Alexander Kirk/Constantin Rostov’s henchmen kidnapping mom, dad and daughter. Mr. Kaplan looks at the blood on the floor and says it came from one of Rostov’s men and that he’s likely in the area. Seconds later Dembe says he’s got a location.

They arrive where the badly bleeding man’s being treated, to find out he just expired on the table. Raymond spits out that since his “Cleaner” over stepped her bounds, he would do her job and proceeds to hack the man’s head from his neck.

Liz demands that Rostov produce Agnes and Tom, Constantin replies that her daughter will soon join them. She then demands, that Rostov reveal his true identity and he responds that he’s indeed her father. He says Reddington and her mother had an affair, he says at one time he questioned if Raymond was her father, but Rostov confirmed Masha was his daughter. He says Reddington kidnapped her when she turned three and he never knew what happened to her until she and Reddington made headlines while they were on the lam.

Rostov’s got a hitman that might give Matthias Solomon a run for his money, he’s called Bobo, by his female companion, whose got Agnes in her arms and Tom’s tied up in the trunk. Neither father or daughter seem pleased with the situation, however Keen’s able to reach his hand through the tail light socket and the car behind them calls the police.

Reddington finds the house where Rostov’s holding Liz prisoner. He tells Constantin he’ll give him what ever he desires to release Lizzie and Rostov replies he wants the 26-years he missed with his daughter. Raymond responds that Liz was never meant to be raised by Constantin

Raymond contacts Cooper and tells him to send a team to Cuba, however Samar refuses to join Ressler for the mission due to her anger at Keen. Cooper let’s it be known he’s displeased with Navabi’s decision, but he’s basically helpless. He contacts old friend Cynthia Panabaker, to arrange for Ressler to meet with Manuel Esteban, a double-agent who works for Castro and the CIA. Raymond believes the despot can ascertain Lizzie’s location before Rostov can get her off the island.

Raymond tells Esteban, that with political relations improving between Havana and Washington improving, his days running his own prison and playing the two nations off each other are rapidly coming to an end. Any time the Double-Agent could be assassinated, however if he can get Liz’s location before Rostov gets her off the island, Raymond will keep the despot safe.

Tom’s taken out to the desert to dig his own grave, but of course he overpowers his captor and escapes. Mr. Kaplan recovers Agnes, from the hitman’s female accomplice, however they’re not able to stop Rostov from leaving the island via the seaplane. Reddington consoles himself with the fact they were able to get back Agnes, but that dynamic soon changes as the hitman T-Bones Raymond’s vehicle and grabs the infant out of the vehicle and puts his finger on Kate’s lips.

Ressler, who hadn’t made a deal with Esteban, turns the despot over to the Cubans and that causes the Cuban soldiers to release all of Esteban’s prisoners. However the two prisoners that Raymond’s most concerned with, Liz and Agnes, have been spirited away by Rostov and the search begins anew.

The Story Continues Next Thursday Night, on NBC at 10:00pm EDT.

Courtesy of USA Network

Courtesy of USA Network

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Welcome back. Another mind bending season where we face that most bittersweet revelation. Tonight is the Mr. Robot season finale and that inherently means two things. They are going drop something huge and connect dots, and next week we will be without new Mr. Robot episodes.

The previous episode recap ends the same with this episode begins. Tyrell in a black Suburban saying that ‘they’ are supposed to be allies and Tyrell needs to be involved. In the episode recap, Tyrell is talking to Dad/Mr. Robot, in tonight’s episode, Tyrell is talking to Elliot. It should be noted that Rami Malek’s acting in that little scene is just brilliant. Its the first time we see Elliot as Mr. Robot and he channels his inner Slater to do so.  The interesting detail with this is that this parallel is another in a long line of subtle hints that blur the line of where Mr. Robot ends and Elliot Alderson begins. Tyrell is confused and in so plays the “I know your dirty little secret” card. What follows is brilliant.

Tyrell: Aren’t you forgetting? I know your dirty little secret. There are people close to you who would not be happy if they knew what I know.
Elliot: We’re both too smart to let petty differences dictate our actions. Weigh the pros and cons. Do what you’ve gotta do. Soon as the tabulations are over with, you’ll know that telling anyone about this does neither one of us any good. In fact, you’ll realize, the only thing to do in your position, is nothing.

Tyrell Wellick is completely lost with Elliot’s responses. Tyrell recites a poem. A poem his father used to recite to him as a child. Tyrell keeps that as a reminder of what not to become.

Wellick escorts Elliot down into this building. The inside of this building is barren, gloomy and a waste of time. Tyrell keeps speaking to Elliot as if he should recall the details. While Inner Elliot maintains that he has no recollection of setting up any of this. There is a nice redirect though. Elliot brings up Joanna, she’s been looking for Tyrell. Tyrell’s reaction is to accept that we do what is required. Tyrell sits at a terminal as he confirms that their partners, The Dark Army, set all this up. Including but not limited to the collection of UPS’s (uninterrupted power supply). Tyrell enters a password and Elliot stares blankly at what exactly it is they created.

Inner Elliot: They’re planning something. Mr. Robot, Tyrell, Dark Army and White Rose are all in cahoots to plan something big. And the worst part? They all think it’s me. They all think I’m the ring leader. The one in charge. And I have no idea what it is.

Darlene sits in the corner of an interrogation room. Dom and her boss sit across from her. Dom’s boss goes bad cop on her citing the Patriot Act and equating Darlene to an ‘enemy combatant’. Dom asks for a moment alone.

Joanna visits Mr. Knowles after Elliot discovers the coordinates of ‘Tyrell’s’ phone. All the gifts, the subtle reminders and even the sonogram was intended to create the sense that Knowles had the night they celebrated his promotion. On a day when it should’ve had it all, all was taken from him. His wife was killed who just so happened to be carrying their unborn child. Knowles loses it and breaks down emotionally. Joanna approaches him softly. There is a moment it feels like forgiveness is around the corner. We just forgot that Joanna is still Joanna. Like a flipped light switch she turns on him. I will not repeat the dialogue but suffice it to say Joanna thinks Knowles is a coward. She eventually crossed a line. Describing the remains of his unborn child and Knowles goes off. Pummeling her face repeatedly. Now we know Joanna has a pension for taking pain she wants to take. But this feels like a bigger agenda.

Dom and Darlene go round and round. Dom is very convincing that she ultimately is on Darlene’s side. Darlene let’s her speak but with no real intention of revealing anything. Sadly, last week was the literal demise of Cisco. And whether that was her intention, Darlene uses that to her advantage. Eventually, Darlene in so many words tells Dom to shove it. Dom leaves the room only to return with the camcorder that recorded the FSociety videos, the FSociety mask, and the missing bullet casing.

The big thing Tyrell wanted to show was the schematics of a building. The Dark Army gave them access to a building that is literally within striking distance of the Evil Corp building that has all of the paper documents they plan to use to rebuild the financial database. Tyrell begins to explain the details, but when he says “when our Malware executes” that’s all Elliot needs. He connects the dots on his own. The malware was designed to corrupt the UPS devices. Done just right the UPS gives off carbon dioxide. Then the malicious firmware re-engages the UPS’ auto transformer to create a spark and ignite the now building filled with carbon dioxide gas. A building sized bomb. They will wait until all of the paper documents are delivered to this Evil Corp location, then they will blow up the block. Hopefully, taking all of the paper document down in quite literally a blaze of glory.

Meanwhile, Joanna returns to her boy toy freshly beaten and he decides to do the manly yet very immature thing of beating the guy up. Now Joanna wants Knowles punished, but the kid is thinking too small. I also love that in 2016 there is a grown man who still has a Tom Cruise Cocktail poster hanging up in his residence. His first mistake is agreeing that he indeed wants to hurt Knowles for this. That’s all Joanna needs to execute her amended plan. Originally it was assumed the bar tending boy toy was strung along to eventually hang Mrs. Knowles murder on and clear Tyrell’s name. Now it seems there is a detour in that plan that results in Knowles going down for the murder of his wife, thus also clearing Tyrell’s name. In theory.

Alone with Darlene, Dom tries to level with her. And not in that good cop/bad cop way. After revealing to Darlene on some level that Dom is not as put together as it seems and is actually quite a train wreck away from work, she offers to show Darlene something. No cuffs, no extra security, just Dom and Darlene walking through a sea of Feds all of which know exactly who Darlene is. They walk in to a large room alone. 95% of this part of the scene has us looking at Dom and Darlene but not what they are looking at. Presumptively its a large board with suspects and drawing lines connecting them. Dom explains how getting the person in the middle was key and they would not be able to do that if they came out ‘guns blazing’. Instead they adopted the ‘python approach’. Essentially, let the suspects think they are safer than they are. Darlene starts following this relative flow chart. Cisco. Ollie Parker. Gideon. Angela. Susan Jacobs-The Evil Corp Lawyer. Romero. Mobley. Darlene. Do the remaining math. Who’s left? What should the order of power be? Elliot or Tyrell? Tyrell or Elliot? According to the FBI, the man in the middle is Tyrell Wellick.

Elliot: Why is it so important for you to torment me?

In the strategically located building, Inner Elliot tries to put this all together. Then there is an explosion from actual Elliot. Elliot sees Mr. Robot and Tyrell Wellick in the same place at the same time. Something that should not be physically possible. Then there is the connection that someone had to make a deal with the Dark Army and since Elliot can’t remember any such deal, it must have been Mr. Robot. Mr. Robot tries to bring it back around with the, “You’re me and I’m you” thing but Elliot doesn’t slow for a second. The wheels begin to turn down a direction that will prove to be reckless. Yet without the foresight to see it, Mr. Robot tries to deflect that he has only been doing what Elliot wanted in the first place. Mr. Robot also reveals the thing we’ve all be operating under. And that is that Elliot is only supposed to know as much as he can handle. Remember the “I just wanted to take the punches for you”?

The conversation is far more relaxed than it should be considering the context. Elliot’s paranoia is beginning to grow. He believes Mr. Robot is distracting him from Tyrell’s efforts. Its true but still, the wrong wheels are turning in Elliot’s head. Elliot jumps into Tyrell’s chair once he leaves it. Elliot plans to not only delete the malware, but close the back door. Something that would absolutely derail everything they’ve done to this point. Tyrell reaches back for a gun. The same gun that Elliot pulled out of the popcorn machine that Darlene gave him earlier. Elliot, presumably when he was Mr. Robot explained that if anyone tries to impede their plan, to kill them. Well Elliot is impeding their plan.

Elliot stands to face Tyrell gun drawn. There is a standoff as Tyrell justifiably has no earthly idea why Elliot has made the proverbial u-turn. While given many opportunities to see just how quickly this could turn volatile, Elliot stands firm. Remember those wrong wheels turning, here is your “there is no spoon” moment.

Elliot: You’re the same.
Tyrell (yelling): WHAT THE _____ ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!
Mr. Robot: We are definitely not the same.
Tyrell: Back away from the computer.
Inner Elliot: This is just another of Mr. Robot’s mind tricks.
Elliot: No.
Tyrell: Elliot, I don’t want to shoot you but I will.
Mr. Robot: Elliot, listen to him.
Elliot: He’s not holding a gun. He’s not even there.
Mr. Robot: Elliot! Step away from the computer.
Tyrell: You touch that keyboard and I will shoot you.
Elliot: No. (Steps forward) He won’t. He can’t. He doesn’t exist. I’m the only one that exists. It’s finally time to take back control. Real control.

Elliot starts retreating slowly towards the computer. He doesn’t get halfway there before discovering there very much is a spoon. As promised, Tyrell shoots Elliot. His delusions seem to melt away. Also perhaps a foreshadowing note visually. One of the overall themes of this show is how does Elliot rid himself of Mr. Robot? Elliot suffering from a gun shot wound allowed the show to go all Back to the Future II. We see Mr. Robot flickering in and out. It’s not how I would want it to end, but if Elliot’s light goes out, so does Mr. Robot’s.

(Angela’s LAN Line Phone rings)
Angela: Tyrell are you there? It’s okay, they told me you’d be calling, this is a secure line. Are you with Elliot right now?
Tyrell: Yes.
Angela: Okay, don’t let anyone near him. I should be the first person he sees when he wakes up.
Tyrell: Okay.
Angela: Tyrell, you did what needed to be done.
Tyrell: I love him.
Angela: I do too.

 

Courtesy of the Markiplier Youtube Channel

Courtesy of the Markiplier Youtube Channel

 

::Credits::

A car drives through a Fry’s parking lot that appears to be Arizona, New Mexico or a less populated portion of California. Outside are two Fry’s employees on a break. Those employees are Mobley and Trenton. Trenton wants Mobley to consider her idea. We never hear the idea, but understand that Trenton believes it can undo the Five/Nine hack. With impeccable timing, a familiar face emerges just before Mobley gives any real consideration for Trenton’s plan. That face belongs to none other than Leon. Now my colleague and partner here at NJATVS, Jeff Sack, offers up the perfect analogy to who Leon really is. Leon is “The Wolf” (Harvey Keitel) but in reverse. Instead of The Wolf coming in promptly to clean up the mess, Leon arrives timely to prevent the mess in the first place.

Trenton: Please, just look at what I found.
Leon: Excuse me…?
Mobley: Sorry, we’re on a break.
Leon: Yeah, I just had a quick question. Do you have the time?

 

 

Courtesy of USA NetworkCourtesy of USA Network

 

Courtesy of ABC

Courtesy of ABC

Rami Malek (to the Emmy Audience): Please tell me you’re seeing this too?

Here at NJATVS we pride ourselves in maintaining a sense of quality over quantity. We cover the great shows, past or present. As individual viewers however, we put next to no stock in award shows. Specifically the Emmy’s. The Emmy’s are famous for snubbing some of the best performances or shows going all the way back to the days of I Love Lucy. Names and titles like The Wire, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Michael C Hall-Dexter, Roseanne, Jackie Gleason, X-Files, Sports Night, John Noble-Fringe, and even some as recent as the 2016 snubs of Orange is the New Black and Christian Slater in a supporting role for Mr. Robot. And don’t even get me started on James Spader getting the snub of all snubs for his portrayal of Raymond “Red” Reddington on The Blacklist. Not only should he have been nominated, he should have won in a walk.

Look, we get it, you can’t please everyone all of the time. But when you have shows or performances that are undeniable, ignoring them in favor of something else under a different criteria is just irresponsible. Here’s the thing though, when it comes to the Emmy’s, they miss MOST of the time. This isn’t like the 1995 Oscars where they had the impossible decision of Forrest Gump vs The Shawshank Redemption. They seem more interested in creating television dynasties than rewarding those who deserve it. Now if I may be completely transparent, I absolutely did not have a problem with this when they got it right with The West Wing. However, Mad Men won too much, Breaking Bad did not win enough, Game of Thrones has already won too much and definitely should not have beat out Mr. Robot.

Make no mistake about it, Mr. Robot is the best show on television, network, cable, or subscription service. Netflix puts out the most highly concentrated high-end shows when you factor in the Netflix/Marvel arrangement. Cable puts out more good to great shows. And the Networks are going to do what they do. Big budget shows that may or may not lack staying power. But when you consider all factors, nothing is as complete, riveting, and as well written or delivered as Mr. Robot. An argument can be made for Blacklist, but it would be a tough sell over Mr. Robot.

The jaw dropping moments have been incredible. The “reveal” episode of a few weeks ago was downright mind-blowing. Yes in hindsight there was a great deal of hints sitting in plain sight, but it’s written so well, you nor I were ever going to see those things until Rami Malek, Christian Slater, Sam Esmail and the gang wanted you to see them. After season 1, there weren’t too many in this TV community that didn’t forecast a sophomore slump. Mr. Robot has answered the call in season 2 with no fear or hesitation. Short of Shayla in season 1, I’m more than prepared to say they exceeded expectations in season 2.

Rami Malek is an absolute treasure for the job he’s doing in bringing us inside the mind of Elliot Alderson. On the surface, a hacker with mental health issues navigating through the world is not that difficult. However, trying to equate the character of Elliot to the previous description makes about as much sense as saying Reddington is just another spy, Walter White is just a high school science teacher and Tyrion Lannister is just comic relief.

I’m sure, like a number of others, my first exposure to Rami as an actor was in Night at the Museum. Maybe some of our more astute readers will remember him in big television hits like 24 or The Pacific. But even with Night at the Museum, if it hadn’t been for a great performance from the late, great Robin Williams, Rami would have stolen that show too.

Rami’s portrayal of Elliot Alderson is probably as perfectly done as any character I’ve ever seen. The balance of the inner turmoil, mixed with the appearance and sense that this man has lived with said turmoil for most if not all of his life. This man is hardened from his own pain. It’s almost as if he moves through the world with a self-created protective layer over him.

He dramatically dislikes the things that most of us cling to (social media, entertainment news, latest apple products, etc). Is he just damaged beyond repair? Is he brilliant beyond belief? Are his hacking skills really anything more than busy work to take his mind off of the parts of life he loathes? Is it an unbalanced combination of all of the above? From the opening scene at Ron’s Coffee, Mr. Malek grabs you and never let’s go. He has the rare quality of being inviting but guarded.

Now, to the matter at hand. The Emmy’s are a joke. All the respect in the world for those who win them, but it’s just naive to think the award went to the deserving party all or even most of the time. While I don’t generally watch award shows, it was particularly strange for me to watch an award show whose nominees (for the most part) I had no interest in. I kept watching wondering why. We get toward the end and I hear “And now best actor in a drama” (or something to that effect). Then I actually said out loud, “Let’s see how they screw this one up.”

Kyle Chandler-Bloodline
Rami Malek-Mr. Robot
Bob Odenkirk-Better Call Saul
Matthew Rhys-The Americans
Liev Schreiber-Ray Donovan
Kevin Spacey-House of Cards

I’m surprised for a moment but I did remember that Rami Malek was nominated. Then my first thought is to handicap it. Kyle Chandler, nope. Rami Malek, can’t see how he can lose. Bob Odenkirk, he’s really good but not on Malek’s level. Matthew Rhys, nope. Liev Schreiber, ok that one’s tough. Kevin Spacey, damn. Kevin Spacey is already an accomplished, award-winning actor and he’s basically the defacto spokesperson for Netflix. He’s the face most people think of when they hear ‘Netflix’. House of Cards took Netflix from being a great little service to a juggernaut that now has almost as many homes with computers as homes with Netflix. He was the first Emmy nominee for a show that wasn’t on traditional television. Then the moment arrives.

“And now…the Emmy goes to…Rami Malek, Mr. Robot”

I literally jumped out of my couch with my arms extended (shades of Michael Phelps after Lezsak came back to win the 4×100 relay over the French in Beijing). I felt like I won something. This was not just a win for Rami Malek, his family and the show. This was a win for all of us. Those recognize the difference between unreal television that bends the limits of what was previously thought possible. And the procedural repetitive system shows the flood your television programming. Those of us who recognize the distinct lines that separate good from great from exceptional. And Rami’s first words made for maybe the greatest award show moment, maybe ever.

Courtesy of NBC

Courtesy of NBC

Rami Malek (almost in character): Please tell me you’re seeing this too?

Rami went on to thank the one’s you’d expect him to thank. Then he made a move that was classy, thoughtful and not at all preachy. We all know the Bono’s of the world just ruin whatever moment was intended. Rami’s moment was not at all that. He took a moment to recognize the “Elliot’s of the world”. It may have been small in the scope of things, but Rami Malek’s Emmy win and acceptance speech were both exactly what they should have been. The win did what it was supposed to do. Recognize an incredible acting performance and bring more attention to what in my mind is easily the best show on television. It also proved that every now and again, an award show doesn’t have to be a popularity contest. If it were, Spacey would have won again.

Courtesy of USA Network

Courtesy of USA Network

Warning: Spoiler Alert

For the first time in a long while, Elliot opens up to the idea that perhaps Mr. Robot is the key to everything. Elliot recalls a story from middle school. When taking a Visual Basic class, he found there was a technique that would allow his to keep studying. Just recite the mantra, mind awake. Mrs. Wellick seems intrigued by the opportunity that has presented itself care of Elliot. The location coordinates of the cell phone believed to belong to Tyrell Wellick shows up (at what I postulated might be Mr. Knowles’ home)

Dom gets run through the police policy following a shooting. She finds this unnecessary waste of FBI resources.

She also discovers the news that the Chinese extended Evil Corp a gift. A financial bailout to the tune of 2 trillion dollars. Dom’s boss even concedes that it’s over. The bailout is the gift everyone has been waiting. China just saved the economy. They will get away with it.

Angela is taken to an undisclosed location. All the while trying to persuade her captors to let her go. Inside is one of the strangest scenes i’ve ever seen. A young girl walks in, sits at a computer, inserts a 5.25″ floppy into an old C: drive. Then the girl starts asking very strange almost unrelated questions. Shortly after the assessment, a new figure emerges. Its White Rose.

There is a rather strange scene with Dom and Alexa. The depression is becoming more than Dom can handle. She seeks comfort from an interactive piece of electronics that has limited question and answer combinations.

White Rose remains cryptic. But in the end, this was all just a test given to Angela. White Rose wants to see the drive and why Angela wants what she wants so badly. That and to discover why Phillip likes her so much. Then that leads into the drawn connection of Angela and Elliot, insinuating that the catalyst for all of this was the Washington Township plant. And furthermore, her mother and Elliot’s father died for a ‘greater good’ reason. White Rose plans to show Angela exactly why she needs to drop her mission.

White Rose: You are at the center of all of it…

Elliot wakes from his trance to find Mr. Robot in his apartment. It’s as if the roles have been reversed. Now Elliot appears to be the silent passenger. Mr. Robot is doing things while Elliot stands over Mr. Alderson and not the other way around. Mr. Robot looks over a BBQ food pamphlet with writing on it. It’s a cypher. Elliot and Mr. Robot work independently to crack the cypher.

There is a knock at the door of the Washington Township lawyer’s home. She was concerned after not hearing from Angela. Angela stands before her as deadpan as a robot (pun intended). Angela is there to tell the lawyer to stand down and not to contact Angela again.

The cypher takes Elliot/Mr. Robot to a swap meet. Elliot and Mr. Robot arrive separately but they are on the same hunt. Eventually the side door of a taxi van opens and the driver only knows two English words. “Elliot?” and “Address?” Elliot is very confused. He eventually gets in but then does not have an answer for “Address?” Then the moment we’ve all been waiting for.

Tyrell Wellick enters the taxi van using the other sliding door.

Elliot has no idea what on earth is going on right now. Elliot is unsure of what is real and what is not. Since he finds no answers he gets louder and more indignant. Demanding to know if the non-English speaking taxi driver if he sees the man sitting next to Elliot. Eventually both Elliot and Tyrell are kicked out of the van.

Tyrell: Now what was the meaning of that? Now you’ve been under a lot of stress, but I’ve been under a lot of stress too. Can you imagine what it’s been like for me? We can’t talk out here, we’re exposed. Come on.
Elliot: Where?
Tyrell: Enough with theses games, We’re close. Have you forgotten everything? The Dark Army told me phase 2 is ready, when you see it, you’ll be pleased. It worked Elliot, it’s up to us now.

Courtesy of USA Network

Courtesy of USA Network

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Welcome back to our game, Terry Colby. Terry meets with Phillip Price. Terry shows off his book and Phillip needs Terry to do him a favor. That’s about where the logic and my attention span drops off. Something about gifting Africa to the Chinese. Terry almost takes the request at face value but stops short. He must know what the motivation is. What makes a man move countries like pieces on a chess board. Phillip’s answer is simple. Phillip Price must be the most powerful man in any room and if you can’t leave a legacy that rivals that of God, it’s not worth mentioning.

At the conclusion of last week’s episode Elliot walks up on Tyrell’s SUV. Mrs. Wellick is in the vehicle. She addresses Elliot at Ollie, escorts them inside where she all but demands that Elliot find Tyrell. Assuming that he’s even still alive. Mrs. Wellick wants Elliot to help with tracking the calls coming into the burner phone. Elliot declines. She, in her scary way, approaches Elliot slowly, seductively to suggest that no one says no to her.

Cisco brings back ‘Vincent’ the guy in the beginning of the season that almost posted a pic of him holding the bull of wall street’s unmentionables. Darlene put him in the lead of a task he probably wasn’t supposed to return from. He can’t speak and Cisco is freaking out. Darlene pulls up his shirt to search for a tracker only to discover, his entire torso looks like it bleeding from the inside out. Darlene has gone completely around the bend. She won’t drop him off at an ER because eventually he will come two and she can’t risk him talking. Cisco sees the nothingness in her eyes when she said that and fires back. Suggesting that Darlene is not a leader and needs to stop acting every mistake was just part of the plan.

Dom arrives on scene at the smart house. One of the feds hands her a photograph of the person they believe was in the house tonight and is a person of interest in Dom’s ‘code-name’ case. Dom is confused and a little upset with the handling of this asset.

Elliot and Dad sit in the back seat of Wellick’s SUV driven by her driver/bodyguard. Dad wants no part of it. Elliot just seems intrigued by who is pretending to be Tyrell. No other conclusion is logical as Elliot believes he killed Tyrell Wellick.

Dom returns to her superior to make her argument. The feds are acting like this is any other criminal element. Dom is the only one who knows they cannot proceed that way. The photograph, and its the second from a second and different witness, is that of Cisco. Her boss decides to put out a bolo on Cisco. Dom tries to argue this needs to stay quiet. If his identity is made known, the Dark Army will surely kill him.

Elliot convinces the driver that whatever he plans to do for Mrs. Wellick (tonight) he requires hardware and that will require a stop. At Micro Center. He begins pulling items including what I believe is a $1900 Alienware laptop. Then the burner phone rings. He answers it and looks around. There was breathing but no image. All of a sudden, Elliot is literally alone in Micro Center. Not even Dad is present.

Elliot returns to his apartment with Mrs. Wellick’s driver and begins cracking into his new stuff. This is all set to a storytelling moment from Darlene about how she was never special, but Elliot was. A story about when they went to Coney Island as a family. Elliot went with Dad and Darlene somehow got lost. Lost and then kidnapped. A notion child Darlene did not fight against. She actually got in the car voluntarily, knowing something was wrong. Young Darlene didn’t view this as a kidnapping. She viewed it as a new start with a better family. It was a dream for her for a day. The next day the cops raided the home to rescue Darlene. And now, Darlene’s inner conflict is what life would have been like living with that woman or not having Elliot.

Elliot decided that instead of hacking the cell carrier, he would just follow policy and procedure and ask the carrier to trace the blocked call. With the fax sent Elliot and the driver are in a holding pattern. The driver decides to shoot the breeze. Elliot uses this opportunity to tune him out and talk to Inner Elliot. Why was Dad so spooked with that phone call? Why is he suddenly scarce? Elliot thinks the answers to those questions might manifest themselves in his apartment. That’s all Dad could talk about at Mrs. Wellick’s home. He even asks Inner Elliot to take a look, see if he can find out what that is.

Elliot makes the call. Impersonating a NY Police detective. Elliot follows the procedure and gets the information he’s looking for. Most importantly, the coordinates of the originating phone that made the call to Mrs.

Wellick’s burner. In short order, Elliot has the location and residence of that phone. The driver stands up and his reaction is not great. He knows this location and is all too displeased to know that this is the location of the phone. (My gut instinct is that the location in question is that of Mr. Knowles-Just to mess with Mrs. Wellick).

The feds break in the door of an apartment and scour its contents. Dom discovers a security badge with Cisco’s picture and one must assume, his real name. The feds issue a bolo on Cisco and the Nurse tending to Vincent’s injuries, who has absolutely seen Cisco up close sees the news bulletin. While Cisco and Darlene grab something to eat at Lupe’s, they have no idea the feds have already questioned Vincent’s Nurse.

Elliot spent most of the night ignoring Angela’s many text messages with the urgency that they meet immediately. Elliot now finds Angela on a subway train. He apologizes for taking so long to get back to her. She appears dazed as she often does when she’s struggling with something heavy on her mind. She gets to the point abruptly.

Elliot: What’s wrong?
Angela: Why did you start FSociety?
(Elliot looks around)
Elliot: I didn’t want to involve you.
Angela: An FBI Agent came to my home.

Dom speaks to the Nurse again after her boss went full FBI Leadership and assumed the lead was dead. The news wasn’t on in the ER until after Cisco and Darlene left. They have no reason to think something is afoot. They’re coming back, but Dom is going to search the area to see if she can get the jump on them.

Angela will confess. She is on her way to meet with her lawyer. She won’t burn Elliot or Darlene, but sooner or later she believes this will all make its way back to Elliot. All because she believes something that Elliot does not. That FSociety cannot possibly beat Evil Corp. Elliot is now beginning to see that while he was locked up physically and bound in a construct mentally, everyone else was busy taking risks.

Elliot is genuinely having an emotional conflict. He doesn’t want to leave her. They share a friendly hug and then Elliot goes in…for the kiss that is probably like 15 years overdue.

Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

Angela is able to have the long look. When she comes back to center there are two bodies watching. A black male and white female. Their stature suggests two people of an ‘official’ capacity. Did Angela just set Elliot up the way Ollie tried to set Angela up? If she did, she’s dead to me.

Dom finally makes her way to Washington and 6th ave. The corner where Lupe’s Diner is. She makes a b-line for the couple sitting by the front window. You don’t have to be a big movie/tv viewer to know what happens next. Two riders riding tandem on a crotch rocket motorcycle approach. The one in the rear jumps off holding what looks like an automatic gun of some sort. As predicted, the Dark Army will not permit one of their own from becoming known to law enforcement. Luckily Dom is positioned to the gunman approach. Also doesn’t hurt that she called in all units to her location before going in.

The gunman shoots up the diner but it appears not all that efficiently. The rider still on the bike takes off. Two NYPD cruisers pull up on the gunman. It doesn’t take the gunman long to turn his weapon on himself. As the assailants did in the FBI hotel in China.

Welp! I was wrong. Dom walks out of the diner signaling to the NY’s Finest that she is FBI. By the time she gets across the street and in focus of our lone camera it is obvious that she’s been splattered with someone else’s blood.

Courtesy of USA Network

Courtesy of USA Network

Warning: Spoiler Alert

During processing, Elliot is still almost catatonic mixed with a pride in his own work. And if you didn’t see it coming, Ray’s goon is one of the guards checking him in. Should’ve seen that coming two weeks ago. CRAIG ROBINSON IS THE WARDEN. I knew he would be there, had no idea he was the warden. Kind of makes that website story line even worse, assuming the website isn’t a metaphor for something yet to be divulged. This is like watching Shawshank Redemption on peyoti. On their way out to the yard, Leon stands in front of Elliot rambling. Incident, trial, conviction all in 24 hours. Which we all know is not accidental or the product of unfair practices. Leon was planted there to watch over and protect if necessary, Elliot. Go back to the almost white supremacists rape scene. “Tell White Rose I had you”.

The artistic effect here is wonderful. We still see Leon leaning back on the bleachers watching the basketball game. But as if the Wizard has gladly pulled back the curtain. As it turns out Leon was binge watching Mad About You before diving head first into Seinfeld. Leon gives him the rundown and it doesn’t take long for anyone with a brain stem to see Leon as Ellis Boyd Redding. In here, Leon is the guy who can get it for you. He’s a regular Sears and Roebuck. All Elliot asks for is a notebook, and we know what that was for.

As the flashback ends, we find Darlene there to pick up Elliot from jail, complete with a brown back with french fries. She then whispers something in his ear that we don’t hear. Meanwhile, Angela is pulling the whole, “I have to hand deliver this sensitive information” angle. This creates a distraction long enough for Angela to plant her usb drive. She copies login credentials and then downloads that sensitive information hinted to earlier. Lovely that the imagery of a poster behind Angela that reads, “Risk Ahead”.

Darlene accompanies Elliot on the train. They attempt to lose what they think is a tail. Elliot has to make a stop. The stop is to visit his mother. She doesn’t live in a dark home that we assumed despite that home being the mental construct for the jail he was in. He makes small talk and she is reluctant to speak. He thanks her for her not involvement but still assistance in helping him survive the last few months. He leaves and she never says a word.

White Rose and assistant visit a grave site. White Rose’s reverence in this moment is an illusion. The grave belongs to the previous E-Corp CEO who attempted to sink White Rose’s “Project”. And he is where he belongs. Then she turns around, squats, and urinates on his grave.

Elliot revels in the benefit of using the bathroom in private. While that seems to be enjoyable, you can’t help but notice Cisco and Darlene yelling it out. It all seems so ‘normal’ until…Dad enters the argument. The wonderful part about this show is that moment when you are perfectly at ease with what you think you know. Then, something happens that makes you question all of it, for as long as you keep the episode paused.

Then you ‘un-pause’ it and proceed to cuss at your television. Dad slowly turns his head to face Elliot and his head/face start glitching in and out between being the head of Dad that we think we know and that of Elliot. Insinuating that the line that divides Elliot from Dad (or his inner conflict with himself) becomes blurry. Now the Elliot standing in the door is no more. Elliot snaps back into it and asks for Cisco’s Dark Army contact. Before Cisco washes his hands of the is whole thing, he gives it to Elliot on paper.

Cisco (hesitates then hands the paper to Elliot): I hope you’re more reliable than your sister.

Afterwards, Elliot sits across from Dad and asks what happened. Elliot was acting relatively normal, then he stopped responding. Like packet loss and Dad stepped in to speak for Elliot some sort of backup connection.

White Rose meets with Price. Small talk to begin. Then as White Rose begins to take this conversation in a positive direction, Price drops the bombshell that eminently, the US Government will control the Washington Township plant. News that does not find White Rose well at all. Price lays out an idea where White Rose goes to the Chinese government to secure Price the money they need and didn’t get from the US Bailout that didn’t happen. White Rose responds favorably, but the last part of that response tips us to the recurring idea that the bigger picture issue at play here may be much larger than we have considered to this point.

White Rose: I will go to the Chinese government, and I’m sure they will be most agreeable. But the next time you threaten my plant…
Price: What…? What? The only move left in that scenario is a third world war. You see, I’m a mercenary. I don’t play fair. I play what I want. So you can have your cute little threats and your watch beeps, order will not save you. I will rain down chaos…even if it hurts me. I would rather see you lose than win myself.

Elliot uses the Dark Army contact from Cisco to hack that contact. His name is Xun. Dad begins to feel off. Like an equilibrium thing if he were still human. He thinks they (Elliot and Dad) are overheating like an overworked computer. He lays out that they will now have to meet this contact. Accessing the contact’s phone mic is not enough. Darlene thinks this is a we situation. We are going to meet this contact. Elliot makes it very clear that Darlene won’t be going. This contact is going to meet Mr. Robot…er…me (Elliot). As improbably as it may seem, nothing is off the table. Elliot and Dad are absolutely acting like a malfunctioning computer. And at this point, I’m not rejecting anything.

Angela meets with an agent from the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Its starting to come together. I’m just going to throw this out there without any certainty that his idea is fleshed out or even plausible. Angela’s mother died working in a plant that dealt with Nuclear elements and Evil Corp financed and produced nuclear weapons for China. Again not fleshed out, just shooting from the hip. The toxicity levels of nuclear radiation in Washington Township. Angela is going full whistle-blower.

On an almost empty subway car Elliot stands up and walks to the back of the car disregarding the old man annoyingly assaulting a mini electronic keyboard. He sees himself on the other car away from Cisco and unable to get his attention. All just a day-dream though. Elliot and Cisco arrive at Xun’s library (meeting place). Xun is accompanied by his kabuki mask wearing lackeys. Due to their lack of an appointment, Xun and his men decide to just leave. Elliot yells out interrupting the typical decorum. He demands that Shun relay back to White Rose that Elliot wants to know what is “Stage 2”?

For the second time in two different locations, the power has surged. Never goes out, but surges oddly. Brownouts. This time in the office of the Nuclear Regulatory guy. The deputy director of that department makes her entrance. She asks Angela to accompany her and speaks of the value of everyday citizens. As they walk Angela cannot help but notice the cameras. The director stops short and turns. Her demeanor is peculiar. Alarming almost. Then she asks about Angela’s employment at Evil Corp. Something she never mentioned to the previous agent.

Angela has a change of heart and rightfully so. The corridor they keep walking down gets darker and sketchier with each step. The director’s demeanor is definitely off. Angela wants out of there. Angela turns and walks away.

There was a vhs tape of Darlene speaking to the people wearing the FSociety mask. However, there is a portion of it where she removes the mask. She just realized she does not have that tape. She left it at the smart house and has convinced Cisco it must be retrieved. Something he’s really not excited about. Darlene sits back down on the couch and starts talking to Elliot. Only, Elliot is Dad, visually. Just like that, Dad still talking, Elliot appears in the chair across from him. Then Dad changes back to Elliot. Something that has now happened a couple of times in this episode.

The last thing Angela needs right now is Dom knocking on her door. Dom walks in with a bag of food she brought. Fresh off her meeting with the Nuclear Regulatory people Angela is suspicious of everyone including Dom. She asks to Dom to leave. Dom tells the story of a dream/nightmare she had as an ice breaker to tell Angela that she’s had Angela tailed and knows she’s freaking out. This is Dom’s way of leveling with Angela in a way that the next fed won’t.

Cisco foolishly enters back into the smart house and finds the tape in short order but not before hearing a sound he shouldn’t hear. Meanwhile, Darlene continues to listen to Xun’s audio feed they hacked from his cell phone. He communicates with someone, I’m inclined to think it’s White Rose based on a reference to being on time. He explains that Elliot wants to know what “Stage 2” is. The second party finds that odd as stage 2 was Elliot’s plan. While Darlene listens, White Rose asks for Xun’s phone. As if White Rose is the only one who thinks Elliot is good enough to hack the Dark Army. Then there’s a pounding on the door.

Elliot wanted to return to his place, maybe get some good sleep for once. His inner monologue on his trip home deals primarily with how he is currently accepting of the fact that he is not normal. Then he stops short before his apartment.

Elliot: How can I be normal when the SUV of the man I killed is parked in front of my apartment. Normal? I have no normal.

Elliot walks up to the SUV. The passenger window rolls down to reveal Mrs. Wellick.