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.