Warning: Spoiler Alert
“What I’m about to tell you is top-secret. A conspiracy that involves a group of people secretly ruling the world. I’m talking about the guys no one talks about. The guys that are invisible. The top one percent of the top one percent. The guys who play God without permission. And now I think they’re following me.”
Elliot stands in a coffee shop and eventually sits down, uninvited, across from Ron. As in Ron’s Coffee Shop. He removes his hood and begins to speak. “You’re Ron. But you’re real name is…” Elliot speaks to Ron with a comfort and ease that will not be typical. He outlines a number of details about Ron and his establishment that feed into a bigger issue. Elliot is tech savvy to be sure. That was just the beginning.
Elliot: You’re wifi is good. So good in fact that it scratched that part of my brain that doesn’t allow good to exist.
Elliot began intercepting all of the traffic on his network. Thus, tipping him off. Elliot decided to hack Ron’s Coffee. Ron runs a website called Plato’s Boys. Elliot then starts in with a number of computer technical terms that I am not even going to try to understand much less transcribe here. All of was mentioned so that Ron now knows that Elliot is in control. Control of everything. Emails, files, pics, all of it. Ron intensely asks Elliot to leave or he call the police. Last thing a guy running an underground child pornography site should want.
Elliot: Personally man, I was hoping it was just going to be some BDSM stuff. You realize how much simpler that would have been?
This prompts Ron to fall back from an offensive approach to more of a pleading approach. Claiming he never hurt anyone. Elliot can relate to being different, at least on a conceptual level. Elliot clearly has issues within himself if not a full-blown disorder. He is awkward and distant, but somehow this conversation is coming rather easy. To distract the subject at hand, Elliot tells a story about his late father. Then when Elliot tries to reassure him that Ron has nothing to worry about anymore, Ron gets defensive assuming this is all a blackmailing scheme. Ron resists the blackmail idea. Elliot is not shaken. This was personal on some level. Even said, “I wanted to do this one AFK (away from keyboard)”.
Elliot begins to collect his things as he prepares to leave. Suggesting that he knew there was a chance Ron could flee upon hearing the news and have his techs wipe the servers. So Elliot made sure to include a time stamp and location on his anonymous tip. This is the part where Ron becomes more than eager to pay whatever amount Elliot wants. He slowly begins to head for the door pulling his black hood over his head. Then says something that redefines our initial perception of him as he passes by the cops coming to detain Ron.
Elliot: That’s the part you were wrong about. I don’t give a —- about money.
Elliot continues his inner monologue on the subway when a disheveled man on the subway begins to annoy him. The man says, “exciting time in the world”, pulls his hat over his head at that’s the end of that. Next Elliot walks into his rather un-hacker like job looking very uncomfortable. Before he can even put his stuff down, he’s called into his boss’ office. There was a new hack. Gideon (boss) and his childhood friend Angela are in full panic mode, but Elliot is impressed by the pages he’s seeing.
Even around Angela, he is awkward and distant. Angela suggests that deep down, Elliot hates working for a cyber security firm that protects large-scale businesses. She’s absolutely right. Enter Angela’s boyfriend. Elliot immediately shuts down and leaves the conversation.
Elliot goes to see his therapist, Krista. Forced to in the beginning, but now, he likes her. On an interesting level and not a romantic one. Hacking her was easy. Even down to her latest loser relationship care of e-Harmony. Michael Hanson. Hanson, on the other hand eludes him presently. No digital trail to speak of.
Krista: What about society disappoints you so much?
Elliot: I don’t know. Was it because we collectively thought Steve Jobs was a great man? Even when we knew he made billions off the backs of children. Or maybe it’s because we know all of our heroes are counterfeit. (quick montage of Lance Armstrong, Bill Cosby, Tom Brady) The world itself is just a big hoax. (all of which was in his head. He never actually said any of that).
After an attempt to drive Krista off the right path, Krista redirects and asks him about the men in black that were following him on what I must assume was from a previous session. He dismisses the idea and claims the meds she prescribed are working.
Back at the office Angela’s boyfriend makes yet another attempt to hang out with Elliot. An idea that Elliot clearly wants no part of. Ollie, strike one out of the gate, is exactly the opposite of what it seems would pass for friend material in Elliot’s world. His likes on Facebook include George Bush’s talking points, Transformers 2 and the musical stylings of Maroon 5 and Josh Groban. My wife’s going to hate the shot at Josh Groban, but win fight the fights we can win. Once Elliot snaps out of his own monologue, he gives Ollie just enough optimism to get Ollie to leave. Ollie for the time being is the least of the evils as it pertains to Angela.
“E-Corp”, the largest conglomerate in the world and their largest client walks in the room. Elliot refers to them as “Evil Corp” and now he has to help to protect them. Tyrrell Wellick introduces him. Tyrrell who is a current VP tries to strike up a techy conversation with Elliot. Unlike the President of the department, Tyrrell actually is tech savvy. An executive running Linux seems to intrigue Elliot on some small level.
At home in his stuffy apartment, Elliot reflects on the big bad machine that runs our lives. The thing that convinces us to work to make money, to spend the money. The thing that keeps us trapped. Not long after Elliot breaks down in a corner of his apartment. The kind of painful cry that leaves him trapped in his own loneliness. He has no friends or family to lean on, so he turns to recreational morphine. Shayla, his dealer comes by and tries to make this meeting more than it is. The temptation of ‘Mollies’ persuades Elliot to make a bad decision. With a naked Shayla in his bed, his phone alerts him to a new Instagram post concerning Krista. Time to find out who Michael Hanson really is.
While Elliot spies on Krista and Michael, he again sees the men in black suits who he believes are following him. Krista and Michael depart the restaurant. Michael gets in a cab. Elliot calls the cab company claiming to be a patron that left his keys in the cab. Hoping to get that cab’s next location. Just then, the disheveled man from the subway approaches the men in black suits panhandling. Elliot finds Michael outside the next location abusively trying to get a dog to do its business. He asks to use Michael’s phone to call his mom. All just a ploy to access Michael’s phone. Elliot dials a number and lets it ring a few times before hanging up. Then quickly deletes the number from the recent call list.
At 3am, Elliot gets a call from a frantic Angela. Evil Corp got hit again. This time its bad. So bad that Angela is concerned that Lloyd, the tech on call, can’t handle it alone. Elliot arrives within the hour. The chaos within the code is intriguing. Elliot and Lloyd tag team on separate terminals by the time Gideon arrives. That’s the point when Elliot suggests that this is no ordinary attack. He thinks they have a root kit in the system. Even I know how chaotic that can be. It can take, delete and change from the inside. By trying to defend themselves they just spread the virus everywhere. They have to shut it down. In person. Gideon takes Elliot to the company jet.
On location, Elliot takes over. There is one infected server still running. Elliot takes a laptop and connects directly to a server. He is able to redirect the traffic and switch the servers while the rest boot up. He takes the rest of the time to search for the hacker’s marker. That thing they want you to see. A hacker always leaves a mark. Their signature, if you will. “fsociety00.dat” and it wasn’t even hidden well. Elliot believes this is message left for him. Instead of deleting it, he reconfigured the access to the root directory so only he can access it.
On the plane ride back, Gideon opens up to Elliot. Evil Corp which is 80% of their business is considering leaving All Safe. Deep down, Gideon believes All Safe closing its doors would not be thought of as a bad thing in Elliot’s eyes. Ironically, Gideon feels comfortable talking to Elliot. This prompts Elliot to make a promise to find these hackers.
On the subway, Elliot maps out the next steps in his head. Then Mr. Disheveled appears again, only this time, the two men are alone on the subway. He’s wearing an old employee jacket whose chest reveals a patch that reads “Mr. Robot”. Then he says something that will escalate this episode.
Mr. Robot: I’m getting off here. I think you should join me. But only if you didn’t delete it. If you deleted it, we’ve got nothing to talk about.
Elliot gets off the train at the last second. He tries to engage this Mr. Robot but doesn’t get any answers. Not until they arrive. Deep in Brooklyn. While they wait the man tells a story about his father, who essentially stole for a living. “Everyone steals”. He wasn’t free. He was in prison, whether he actually was or not. This man aims to break Elliot out of the societal prison he’s in.
Once they arrive, he takes Elliot into a building. Inside this single story building near Coney Island, we find what looks like an old stand up video game and slot machine warehouse. It’s a nice front for what they are really doing. Working on “the project”. On the subway ride home, Elliot has a hard time navigating between what he believes is real and a potential delusion. Angela is waiting at his building and confirms that he indeed saved All Safe last night.
Elliot cannot find Mr. Robot anywhere. While he attempted to dig up anything on Mr. Robot, he also ran through the dat file and believes there is enough to turn them in to All Safe. Later he returns to Coney Island and isn’t received well. Mr. Robot invites Elliot take a ride on a nearby Ferris Wheel. A great place to inform Elliot that he won’t turn them in and to let him in on the “project”. The single biggest redistribution of wealth in human history. Erase the debt. They want to take down Evil Corp. Elliot’s task is to put Terry Colby’s (President of Evil Corp) terminal IP into the dat file for the FBI to find. Thus, setting in motion the biggest revolution the world has ever seen.
Following a Neil Diamond accompanied montage, we see Elliot add a blue envelope to the white one he had already prepared. He places the white one on the board room table in the meeting Mr. Robot anticipated. Colby even congratulates Elliot on saving them from what should have been a much more serious result. Angela struggles to convey her part of the meeting and Colby has her removed both from the room and her position. Huge mistake. Reluctantly, Colby tells Elliot that she is out and will be replaced. Elliot casually replaces the white envelope with the blue one. Not so casually that Tyrrell didn’t notice though.
Colby: Now, let’s get to the heart of this thing. I can’t sit here and look through a packet for the next twenty minutes. Who did this? Who did this?
Elliot: I found the configuration file of the root kit with a pattern of IP addresses. (slides the blue envelope toward Colby) Once you decrypt it, you’ll know where the hack came from.
Nineteen days later, no signs of a revolution of any kind. No arrests. No FBI. No Colby. And no one or no thing active at F Society. No sign of Mr. Robot. To take his mind off of the lack of a revolution, Elliot decides to continue hacking Michael Hanson. Elliot calls disguised as an employee from fraud prevention. He asks specific questions that should lead to a successful hack. But they don’t. He’s missing something. Michael Hanson is not his real name.
Elliot confronts Michael Hanson (or whatever his name is) AFK just as he did Ron of Ron’s Coffee. He demands that this man break up with Krista tonight. He has digital proof that he cheated on his wife with seven different women. All are empty threats as long as he breaks up with Krista tonight. And tells her the truth. As Elliot puts it, her radar needs fixing. And lastly, Elliot will need something from Michael. He looks down at Flipper, Michael’s black Yorkshire Terrier. Justice for an abused pet.
The next day Krista appears to be the one that needs therapy. He mentions needing to speak with Angela and Krista suggests real human interaction is what he needs. Advice that she has a hard time verbalizing. He does just that. Angela is not mad at him, she’s embarrassed. She also doesn’t want Elliot defender her. If she’s destined to lose, he needs to let her lose. Then he says ok and hugs her. Even Sheldon Cooper would’ve been surprised at that turn of events.
Not to be outdone in the moment, the televisions in the office can be heard. A news report implicating Terry Colby in the massive hack. Claiming is was a pressuring technique as part of a contract negotiation. The revolution has begun. Elliot stands in Times Square revoling in what he was able to start. His victory is short lived as the very next moment he is asked to step inside the car by a man in a black suit. When he turns, there are three more men in black suits.
He is taken to an office in a large Manhattan building. Inside a high story office, there are a number of men in suits. All blurry and making quite a fuss amongst themselves. There is chaos in the room. That is until Tyrell welcomes Elliot.
Elliot (to the camera): Tell me you’re seeing this too?