Warning: Spoiler Alert
Inner Elliot begins this episode determining if he leans toward the fight or flight tendency. The short answer is flight. Elliot and Shayla sit in a diner and it is painfully awkward. The issue on the table is Elliot’s involvement that lead to Fernando’s incarceration. He tries to apologize but instead vows to get her out of this. Then Fernando’s goons separate the two. A phone call from Fernando leaves Elliot with the ‘how’. Elliot must use his hacking skills to get Fernando out of prison, tonight. That’s not the weird part. The weird part is that Fernando doesn’t even seem upset. If anything, he’s impressed with Elliot’s ability.
Fernando’s boys escort Elliot to his apartment. Something about Isaac, Fernando’s brother rubs Elliot the wrong way. That would normally lead Elliot to hack Isaac.
At All Safe a few hours before the start of business, Angela cold calls anyone and everyone connected to the Washington Township cover up that took her mother and Elliot’s father but doesn’t seem to render any results. She eventually meets with the lawyer that represented the families the first time around. The lawyer sees nothing new that makes the case any more winnable.
Outside a police station parking lot, Darlene drops a number of flash drives in the way Andy Dufresne emptied sand in the Shawshank Redemption. Moments later a cop picks one up and views its contents on a police department computer, infecting it with malware in the process. This was part of a plan to assist Elliot with his new task.
Wellick pays Knowles a visit between interviews. Knowles dismisses Wellick. Before Wellick leaves, Knowles addresses the bathroom violation and is in no way alright with it. After getting in his face and suggesting an uncomfortable continuation, Knowles tries to make it very clear that Tyrell Wellick will not be CTO. Wellick returns home and proceeds to destroy his kitchen. His wife is calm as should be expected. They are in a tough spot, but Mrs. Knowles may have tipped her hand. She wants to be wanted.
Everything Elliot is trying is not working. At an inconvenient time, Angela appears. Elliot is instructed to get rid of her. She tells him that she has a plan to change the world. Elliot tells her what she wants to hear. To trust herself. On his way back inside, Mr. Robot sits at the base of the staircase. He tries to talk Elliot off the ledge. Mr. Robot insists that Elliot is playing a game he’s already lost.
Mr. Robot: There is no scenario here where you and Shayla get out alive.
Inside the apartment, Elliot packs a bag and dictates that they must go to the jail to execute the plan. Elliot tells Fernando that he needs more time, but Fernando sticks to his guns about the ‘tonight’ timeline. Before Fernando can get up, Elliot quietly explains that his cell phone which is in jail custody for the moment is running a program that will get him any wireless networks within reach. Once that’s done, he will own the jail’s network. Fernando disapproves for the moment, but the plan is to open all of the cells not just Fernando’s. He is more approving of the plan now. The rollercoaster continues as Elliot informs Fernando that he has hacked Isaac’s phone and currently controls their entire business. This is leverage to ensure that Fernando leaves Elliot and Shayla alone after the job is complete. Fernando doesn’t exactly give his word, just replies, “remember, I’m gonna hug you”.
Angela sits outside Terry Colby’s residence. He addresses her as if she’s a reporter, but she just stares blankly at him. She says nothing and he barks at her to leave his home.
Elliot departs the jail feeling his options dwindling. Then his phone picks up on a signal from a police cruiser. He doesn’t need to hack the jail’s network if the cruisers have their own signal. Elliot tells the goons he can pull this off. Then Isaac tells Elliot and only Elliot to get in the car. Isaac walks him out to a pier and places the muzzle of his gun against the back of Elliot’s head. “It just wasn’t your day”.
Again, fight or flight becomes the only question. Quickly, Elliot pieces it together. Isaac doesn’t want Elliot’s plan to succeed. Isaac needs Fernando dead, otherwise Fernando will kill Isaac as soon as he gets out. Zero sum game. This causes Isaac to pause. Elliot convinces Isaac that his only move for survival is to let Elliot free Fernando, then Isaac has to do his own dirty work. As for a guarantee for Elliot and Shayla’s safety, Elliot doesn’t have one. He’s only making his best move.
Darlene runs interference with a cop in a cruiser buying Elliot enough time to complete the hack. Elliot wants them to drive away and remove Darlene from the equation. Isaac pulls the gun again. This time, Elliot does not debate fight or flight. He sternly explains that one keystroke executes the plan and one ruins it. Isaac relaxes and they drive away.
Later, they wait outside the jail for the doors to open. At 9:49 exactly the doors open. There is a power surge, but Elliot reassured them everything is going to plan thus far. Inmates billow out, including Fernando Vera. He is quite literally ecstatic. This is the moment when Isaac is supposed to do his part and kill Fernando but he doesn’t. Fernando’s elation slowly evolves to a silent calm. Isaac’s hesitation will spell the end of his life.
Fernando: DJ, shoot the **** ******
DJ, the other goon turns and shoots Isaac without any hesitation. Elliot’s body reacts to the gunshot. Fernando slowly advances towards Elliot and dives right into one of his speeches. This one revolves around being his brother’s keeper and the bravery displayed by Elliot. He then grabs Elliot’s face forcing him to look at Isaac. The death of Isaac signifies the end or their ‘operation’. Elliot’s threat it seems, is useless and unnecessary. Fernando plans to leave anyway.
Elliot: Shayla? Where is she?
Fernando (to DJ): Keys yo. (DJ tosses Fernando the keys who tosses them to Elliot) I told you, you’d get her back. You just didn’t know she was with you the whole time.
Fernando and DJ drive away in a different car. The keys are to the car that Elliot, Isaac and DJ drove in. Elliot slowly approaches the trunk of the car. Shayla’s still body lay in the trunk. Elliot’s face is almost emotionless, then it begins to sink in. The emotion builds. The camera finally reveals that her throat has been slit and has probably been dead for some time.
Like it or not, Mr. Robot was right. There is no scenario where Elliot and Shayla make it out of this alive. A zero sum game.