Ben Rappaport

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Photo Courtesy of USA Network

Photo Courtesy of USA Network

Warning: Spoiler Alert

It has felt like quite a long time since you and I spent time with Elliot, The Aldersons, FSociety and Evil Corp. Let ‘water cooler’ mode recommence. Part One begins right now.

The opening scene in tonight’s season 2 premiere begins with a familiar face, the public face (or mask) of FSociety. The unfamiliar part is the identity of the person wearing said mask. Tyrell Wellick. Wellick questions the nature of the mask and why it was chosen. Elliot is in code mode so he probably didn’t even hear the question. The camera moves slowly around Elliot to reveal his command prompt. A number of lines of code revealing commands that include “fuxsocy” and a number of encryption lines. Wellick asks “what it is”? Elliot responds with the ever ominous, “It’s happening…” Wellick sits down at Elliot’s computer as Elliot moves away as if he expects to see or hear something in reaction to what is ‘happening’. Instead he reaches into the popcorn maker digging into the popcorn to grab something.

Wellick: It’s almost as if something’s come alive.

The next scene is a flashback to the scene relived in season one a few times. The story told of young Elliot fearing for his father’s life, he betrays his father’s trust and tells his mother of his father’s fate. His father returns the favor by shoving young Elliot out of the window. The next scene involves his parents’ reaction to what Elliot must have been unconscious for. Fast forward to the hospital following the fall. Elliot will be fine, but as protocol goes, the doctor must speak to Elliot alone. To gauge any abuse the may have precipitated this ‘accident’. Elliot drifts off staring at his brain x-rays.

Elliot wakes from this relative day-dream as present day Elliot. Pleased to wake in his own perfect loop. Starting the day as he has started every day for the last month. He stops short as he walks past a tv airing President Obama’s reaction to the attacks perpetrated by FSociety and Tyrell Wellick.
Following breakfast (with Leon, a kid who spends way too much time talking about Seinfeld-something he’s just recently discovered), he comes home, usually around 10am. When he ‘helps out around the house’. More of President Obama speaking on the FSociety attacks. At noon, its time for lunch with Leon. And yes, Leon is still talking about Seinfeld. After lunch, Elliot and Leon catch a basketball game. No, not at the Garden or even Barclay’s as that wouldn’t logically fit. . A random pickup basketball game in the park. The local pyro is there (usually) and her routine-ness seems to be a source of calming familiarity for Elliot who is otherwise out of his element. Social gatherings, TV discussions, and sports. Then you guessed it…dinner with Leon.

Two days a week Elliot meets with a church group. This may be the most peculiar, not for any real underlying reason. Just that Elliot is attending for the routine of it. Like watching basketball for the organized chaos that the rules create. For Elliot, routine and repetition is the allure of all of this. Even mentions that his mother doesn’t have internet access to distract him. Is he really living with his mother? The absolute last place I would have guessed. He does this, keeps to his routine, because that’s what he believes normal people do. Keep life on ‘repeat’.

This play-by-play of Elliot’s new routine brings us back to Krista’s office. She seems to be lost in her own thoughts. Then she asks the question we’re all asking ourselves. Why his mother’s house? His mother is the source of a large portion of his childhood trauma. Yet, while Elliot’s answer is one we’ve heard before, it makes a lot of sense here. The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.

For the first time since his admission that he hacked Krista, Elliot opens up a little. Why not go back to his old life. Answer? Because he can’t trust himself back there. Krista gets a little indignant when he hesitates to answer the question of why.

Elliot: It’s not that I don’t trust myself. It’s that I don’t trust him.

Inner Elliot speaking to the ‘him’ referenced earlier. An identity that I am completely willing to admit is anyone. The natural conclusion is that Elliot suffers from split personality disorder. Maybe ‘he’ is one personality in Elliot’s head that confirms dissociative identity disorder. Clearly whatever the practical application is, Elliot doesn’t trust the other voice in his head. He refers to him as his ‘friend’ and at this point in the relationship, actual Elliot feels betrayed.

When Elliot arrives home, we find another of what must be a mental disorder on some level. Elliot’s father lying on the bed reading Penthouse (for the articles I’m sure) and flat-out asking about ‘Elliot’s friend’. Elliot seems to be giving Mr. Alderson the silent treatment as he adds to his journal, including the phrase, “He’s here”. Push comes to shove quite literally as Dad shoves Elliot to the bed with a handgun pointed at his face as Dad tries to squash the notion that Elliot is in control. Elliot speaks up and asks him where is Tyrell Wellick? When Dad refuses, Elliot begins to tell his father a more colorful way of ‘getting bent’. Then Mr. Alderson shoots Elliot in the head splattering blood and brain matter all over the wall. Remember, in modern television, no one is ever really dead. Elliot slowly sits up, looks his father in the eyes and asks, “are you done?” Then he moves back to his journal like nothing happened. Still sporting the bullet hole to the forehead he writes, “he shot me in the head again”.

Someone who resembles Darlene in an FSociety mask and a couple masked associates arrive to castrate the Wall Street Bull. Side note. Why are so many shows and movies hell-bent on damaging the Wall Street Bull? The next day a new character, a middle-aged woman whose identity is still in question arrives home after a run. Once home, she has a hard time keeping her very integrated home from malfunctioning. Alarm goes haywire. The news (some sort of news) comes on and won’t turn off until the segment is finished. And even while she attempts to swim, the pool stereo won’t quit and the lights turn out. In the shower, the water keeps getting hotter while the temperature in the house keeps getting colder. If you’re thinking Ghost in the Machine, it might be a little too soon for that.

A strange hand that belongs to a body with a prosthetic leg simply walks in to the aforementioned integrated home and instantly all of the audible chaos stops at once. The one-legged figure is not alone. Her entrance into the residence is familiar. Shades of Jason Lee in Dogma, setting up a base of operations.

In an unexpected stroke, Gideon waits patiently in Elliot’s mother’s dining room. Despite Dad’s presence in the corner, Elliot is darn near social. Gideon is the subject of the FBI’s attention. He’s been cooperative but for some reason they keep coming at him. Gideon also believes he’s being continually hacked. There is essentially a three-way conversation. Gideon -> Elliot, Dad -> Elliot, Elliot -> no one. Right as Dad suggests the emotional weight of framing Gideon, Elliot begins to bleed again from his previously imagined gunshot wound.

Dad keeps rambling. Driving the proverbial knife deeper and deeper. Going so far as to suggest that eventually his bullet will penetrate Elliot’s thick skull. Suggesting that Elliot is on a downward spiral to madness. Gideon is there humbly to ask for assistance. Elliot hangs his head a mutters that he can’t help. Dad suggests that it takes a specifically troubled person to sit there and let a man like Gideon take the fall. Gideon has no earthly idea the evils Elliot is fighting and because of that detail he, as Dad puts it acting like a small animal, does what all small animals do when they are threatened. Try to act like bigger animals. Gideon threatens to turn over what he thinks he knows about Elliot to the feds.

Mr. Alderson: He has a point. He does know a lot. Maybe too much.
(Alderson slowly walks behind Gideon)
Mr. Alderson: I wonder…If I sliced his throat right here, would it be me doing it? Or you doing it?
Gideon (voice growing more clear): I will go to them. And tell them everything.
Mr. Alderson: Truth is it doesn’t really matter with the choices you’ve made lately. It all adds up to one thing. You add up to one thing. Me. (Elliot watches as Dad slices Gideon ear to ear-but not really as it didn’t actually happen)

Elliot says nothing but heads upstairs where he writes in his journal. I am control. I am control repeatedly. And follows it up with “Control is an Illusion”. The thing Dad said just before shooting him in the head. Elliot’s plan is to stay as regimented as possible to maintain his sanity until Dad goes away, allowing Elliot to return to his natural self. As if Mr. Alderson will just disappear out of frame like the photo from Back to the Future.

Even Elliot’s meals with Leon are not free from Father interruptions. Elliot remains steadfast in the adherence of his plan. Then Dad explains that he may just go from annoyed to hurt and hurting his feelings would be unwise. Elliot collects himself and begins to ask about the mask.

Elliot: How do you take off the mask when its stops being a mask? It’s as much a part of me as I am. Like the world we unmask. We will find our true selves again.

The camera moves from Elliot to a party showing FSociety supporters celebrating with the Bull of Wall Street’s removed bits to Darlene seated on the floor looking emotional. Darlene puts herself together and from the second floor can be seen by the rowdy group taking selfies with the Bull’s unmentionables. Darla does not appreciate the selfies based on the mere risk of making those pics public. She demands to have the phone then proceeds to smash it.

Darlene refocuses their attention. Reiterating that they are in a war. A war they are losing. They are in the home of the unidentified character from 20 minutes ago. She is now identified by her name from inside Evil Corp. Madam Executioner. Shortly thereafter, Darlene gives instructions on how to move outside of this location as to not burn this location. No one takes the same route twice to or from their new safe house.

At an Evil Corp bank, or Evil Bank we’ll call it, a woman in offended at the predicament that Evil Bank is putting her in. Their inability to verify payments has this customer in a state of limbo. Even cancelling her acct is no easy task. As the camera pulls back you can make out what looks like a countdown clock and court jester image. It reads, “Your files are encrypted. To get the key to decrypt the files, you have to pay 5.9 million USD. If payment is not made by tomorrow night, we’ll brick your entire system. More instructions forthcoming. -fsociety. Time Left: 23h 59m 12s.” And naturally, the Evil Bank IT guy is the Horatio Sands looking gentlemen from Mr. Robot’s original team.

Phillip Price, Scott Knowles and Madam Executioner sit in a meeting about the clock. Pay the ransom, don’t pay the ransom. Then Price notices a secondary request. One of Evil Corp’s Chief Officers will need to make the drop. Seems like a non-starter until Scott Knowles offers to do it. This concludes Part One of tonight’s double episode season 2 premiere.

Knowles shows up at the specified location with two large duffel bags. It’s very un-ransom drop like. The area is flooded with people. He stands there cautiously sizing up everyone who walks by. Including a very creepy guy walking his dog. The beautiful irony is the faint sound of Phil Collins singing “Take Me Home” subtly in the background. A bike messenger makes a b-line for Knowles. He is not the contact. He is just a bike messenger making a delivery to a man standing in the middle of a walkway who answers to being called ‘someone from E Corp’.

The delivery was for nondescript backpack. Despite being warned not to look in the bag by the voice in Knowles’ ear, he does so anyway. There is a note in the bag. Knowles’ phone rings. It’s a disguised voice that demands he do what the note says within 10 seconds or else. Also in the bag is an FSociety mask. Knowles puts it on and proceeds to open the bags. Ignoring the voice in his ear, Knowles unloads the bags onto the walkway and proceeds to burn the 5.9 million in front of a viewing crowd. Think Ledger’s Joker burning half of the Mob’s money but visually much smaller. Darlene being one of the onlookers.

Price meets with some White House officials in Washington DC. He apparently was under the impression this would be a meeting of good news. They will not contribute anymore funds beyond the 900 million they’ve already given to help Evil Corp. The only way to keep moving is for Price to resign. The President can’t ask Congress for a bailout. Instead of agreeing, he fires into a speech about FDR and the Great Depression. That comes together to create the theme that the country made it out of the Great Depression because the people were sold an illusion. Price resigning would destroy that illusion and any chance they have to save this thing. “A Con cannot succeed without the CONfidence”.

Side note. Wellick’s wife still scares me. Tied to all four posts and wearing about 3 square inches of material, someone who isn’t Tyrell moves a large kitchen knife across her flesh eventually breaking the skin. He then proceeds to do as he is ordered and slaps her really hard.

At a local corner store we are finally introduced to Dominique DiPierro played by Grace Gummer. That name might not be familiar to you but the face should be. Gummer played Hallie Shea in seasons 2 and 3 of the incredible HBO Series and latest television product of Aaron Sorkin, The Newsroom. If that’s not enough, Grace Gummer is the daughter of Don Gummer and the highly decorated Meryl Streep. Let that fester, because if this is news to you, you won’t be able to un-see Meryl is Grace’s face. It’s actually quite uncanny.

Now that we’ve had our Wikipedia moment, who is Dominique? First layer is that she’s a Fed. The Fed that Gideon apparently plans to spill Elliot to. Meanwhile, Elliot sees patterns in his daily pickup game watching. Trying to marry the chaos of a game with rules to the effort of wearing the mask. Do these men mask who they are? Or do they become who they are when they put on the mask? Then the ball falls out-of-bounds and lands near Elliot. Not familiar with the etiquette of a neighborhood basketball court he does nothing to return the ball to the combatants. When one of the player’s voice reaches a hostile level Leon jumps in. Leon tosses the ball and begins to square off with the player giving Elliot grief. The ball is returned by a third person off camera, but it looked like Leon was fully prepared to stand up for Elliot. Which may not be a big deal, but if you haven’t seen this episode yet, imagine Lil Wayne mixed with O Dog from Menace II Society, if that reference is not lost on you.

Then the third-party is revealed. Its Craig Robinson. Seriously, that’s not a typo. Craig Robinson of such productions like The Office, Hot Tub Time Machine, Knocked Up, The host of Last Comic Standing, and even the short-lived self titled “Mr. Robinson” show. Not criticizing, just pointing out that Craig Robinson doesn’t feel like a fit. But then again, I said that about Patton Oswalt as Constable Bob on Justified…and he was great.

Ray begins to make conversation with Elliot. Which actually works for a while. Ray speaks almost monologuing about the greater meaning of what they see. A bunch of people playing a weak version of a popular game. Which parallels nicely into what Elliot sees. His words may speak to Elliot on some level, which is why Elliot is compelled to leave the situation. Before he can, Ray identifies that Elliot is not much of a talker and makes it clear that he is alright with that. Elliot stops short. Ray mentions that talking is good in his line of work. Then when he refers to Elliot and computers, Elliot’s wall goes up again.

Elliot abruptly squashes any notion of him and computers going forward. That’s when Mr. Alderson shows up again egging Elliot on to help Ray with whatever it is. Just to get that feeling back. Ray backs off with a light-hearted reference to his wife, then asks if it’s alright if they continue talking. To be honest I thought that gesture would’ve spoken to Elliot, but he replied with a simple, “no thanks”.

Ray: Damn man. That’s some cold brutal _____ right there. I’m gonna have to go listen to some Adele on repeat when I get back home. Okay. I can take a hint.

Elliot still believes that by severing himself from computers, getting off the grid so to speak will remove his ‘weapon of choice’ from Mr. Robot. Hoping that eventually Mr. Robot will die. And we have a Nancy Grace sighting. That’s not a political comment, that’s a “she annoys me as a broadcaster” comment. Nancy Grace is Nancy Gracing the issue of the missing culprit, Tyrell Wellick.

Mrs. Wellick returns home to find a neatly wrapped gift. A jewelry box. Inside the jewelry box is a smaller also wrapped box. The smaller box is fixed to the jewelry box. Under the jewelry box is a Nexus phone taped to it.

We get our first glimpse of Angela in season 2 working her Evil Corp job as a PR Manager. She’s hardened and cold. However, she gets the desired result. This prompts her to bring an end to her and Nayar’s (the lawyer working her mother’s case against Evil Corp) meetings. Something Nayar does not take well. Nayar is still under the impression that this job of Angela’s is a temp job used to compile any intel on Evil Corp for their lawsuit against them. This effectively ends their relationship.

Another day, another pickup game. Ray begins to break the ice this time by claiming that Maxine, Ray’s aging basset hound, likes Elliot more than Ray. Elliot tries to ignore Ray and stands fast on his stance of not talking or befriending Ray. Ray is trying to be social this time because apparently, Ray and Elliot met last night and clearly spoke about something of consequence. A concept that Elliot is completely unaware of. Elliot says nothing. Looks up then books it, full sprint to get back to his journal.

The regiment, the perfect loop was designed and executed to avoid this very slip up. The journal shows nothing. 10:34 pm to sleep, awake at 6:33 am. He can’t account for it. Then Dad appears to turn the tables on what Elliot thinks he knows.

Mr. Alderson: What do they see when they see you coming?
Inner Elliot: And this is why I’m different, sometimes my mask takes over.
Actual Elliot: Why did you talk to him?
Mr. Alderson: Because…I’m going to make you realize…
Actual Elliot: What…? What will you make me realize.
(Alderson steps forward)
Mr. Alderson: That they see…me.

Elliot walks away back turned and stands silent for a minute. He turns around and I’m not ashamed to say, he does something both new and alarming at the same time. He smiles and laughs almost uncontrollably. Almost like one might imagine the Joker laughed the first time his mind broke. The laughing even confuses Dad. Alderson resorts to the gun to the head bit again. Elliot is not caving on that anymore. He demands, “Tell me where Tyrell Wellick is or shoot me again”. Both personalities square off but neither man gives any ground. That is until Elliot leaves for his church group.

Gideon tries to enjoy a drink at a bar alone, but no such luck. The stranger talks about the attacks, the leaks, the government cover up,etc when Gideon tries to defuse the situation but this stranger is not easily shaken. The man reveals that he knows he’s talking to Gideon Goddard. He also reveals that he can see why Gideon makes the perfect patsy. He just needed Gideon to believe it too on some level. This man acknowledges that he will be a hero by tomorrow. Then with no notice he pulls out a gun and shoots Gideon in the jugular.

Back at the Wellick’s home Mrs. Wellick plays the jewelry box/music box while waiting for that cell phone to ring. She gets up to check on the crying baby. While she’s gone the phone rings. Missed call from ‘unknown’.

Elliot sits staring blankly during his church group. He seems mildly engaged as he listens to a woman read from the book of Revelations. “I am the Alpha and the Omega. The beginning and the end.” Elliot becomes increasingly calm. He dozes off then wakes up with a payphone receiver in his hand. The line is not dead but no one is speaking. Elliot speaks first. There is a pause, then a familiar voice and familiar greeting.

“Bon Swah Elliot”

Photo Courtesy Of USA Network

Photo Courtesy Of USA Network

WARNING: SPOILER ALERTS

We’ve all got people in our lives that takes great pride and pleasure in informing the rest of us that they don’t watch television. For those of you who keep the set off, please allow me to inform you that you’re doing yourself a great disservice. We’re living in a Platinum-Age of the medium with series emanating from a variety of sources, that’s helping to redefine television. One of those series at the top of the freshman class was the USA Network Original Drama “Mr. Robot,” that concluded its first season on Wednesday night, leaving viewers chomping at the bit for the show to return next summer.

Series Creator and Show-Runner Sam Esmail created a universe eerily like our own, complete with a stock-market reeling from vast fluctuations and the Ashley Madison scandal. (When the site that existed only to aid people in committing adultery got mentioned, I wondered if the scene between Gloria Reuben and Armand Shultz had recently been re-shot.) We left Esmail’s universe in complete chaos, mainly due to the efforts of a brilliant but deeply damaged computer programmer named Elliot Alderson. Elliot and his rag-tag band of fellow hackers, along with the assistance of a Chinese group known as the Dark Army, destroyed the global-economic-system. The moves of “f_society,” erased all debt and grounded commerce to a halt. The world became a cash-only system, as credit-cards were rendered useless.

That’s the big-picture view, but this is a story that examined the seemingly innocuous, unimportant, people that sent the planet on a downward spiral. Although Elliot Alderson’s our central character and anti-hero, he was just one of the incredible characters we met along this journey. We met lots of bad folks over the course of ten-weeks, some who hailed from the streets to those at the top of the economic and power structures of our world. However, we never met one person that could qualify as being truly good, even with the most sympathetic characters, we saw the darkness inside them and the demons they battle daily.

We’ve got to remember that we’ve viewed this universe mainly through the eyes of Elliot, so any conclusions we come to at the end of season one, could be refuted early next season. Even with that being stated, I think we can safely assume that the scenes revolving around Angela, the Wellicks and E-Corp were indeed real, including that mind-blowing segment after the credits rolled in the season finale. That reveal’s pretty mind-blowing, as we watch White Rose dressed in male-attire talking with E-Corp Chairman Phillip Price, we realize that everything’s indeed connected. That the person who pats you on the back with one hand, could easily be sticking a shiv into your belly with the other seconds later.

Photo Courtesy Of USA Network

Photo Courtesy Of USA Network

BD Wong the actor that portrayed the transgender character White Rose, only appeared on the screen for a precious few minutes during the ten episode run, but perhaps no other character in the series could make our collective draws drop during that conversation with Price in the final scene of the season. White Rose talks of Nero playing a lyre while Rome burned, then compares that anecdote to the harpist playing “Nearer My God To Thee,” for the One Percent in the room they’re in, the same song that played as the Titanic went down. We saw White Rose speaking for the Dark Army for three-minutes in episode seven wearing women’s clothes as she spoke with Elliot about his planned hack of E-Corp’s servers, telling Alderson that while he hacked people, White Rose hacks time. The connection became complete, when White Rose’s watch alarm sounded in the middle of her conversation with Price, letting us know that White Rose works both sides of the street in her business dealings.

Photo Courtesy Of USA Network

Photo Courtesy Of USA Network

Many of us figured out early on that Mr. Robot was actually an extension of Elliot, personified in the form of his late father Edward who died in 1995. He took on the role that Elliot couldn’t handle, being the Alpha-Male Leader and devising a plan to destroy the company that killed his father, while saving the world. What we didn’t realize until the series progressed, was just how mentally unbalance Elliot actually is, forgetting that Darlene’s his sister and realizing he’s blacked out the memories of the previous three days in the season finale. He’s got no memory of putting the hack into motion and perhaps more unnervingly, he’s clueless about the whereabouts and welfare of Tyrell Wellick. The former E-Corp executive paid Alderson a surprise visit and forced him to reveal his plans in the previous episode. Did Elliot shoot Wellick with the pistol stored in the popcorn machine?

Photo Courtesy Of USA Network

Photo Courtesy Of USA Network

Alderson did speak with Wellick’s wife Joanna about Tyrell and she said she hadn’t seen him in the last three days. She asked Elliot his identity and relationship with her husband. He responded that he worked with her husband as a consultant and told her his name’s Ollie, stealing the moniker of his friend Angela’s former boyfriend. During their conversation she suddenly spoke in what sounded like her native Dutch, but neither we or Elliot understood what she was saying. Does she secretly hope that Tyrell’s dead as he’s unable to fix the mistakes he made?

Elliot decides that the only way he can fill in the gaps in his memory, is to summon back Mr. Robot. After screaming for him to appear, Elliot forces the issue by dialing 911 and saying he wanted to make a confession. Suddenly we see Mr. Robot hanging up the land line, although he fails to offer any answers to his son. We finally get to view what it looks like to an outsider watching Elliot interacting with Mr. Robot. Although I imagined the scenario many times in my head over the past ten weeks, it looked even more chilling on the screen.

Photo Courtesy Of USA Network

Photo Courtesy Of USA Network

The one character that seemed to stick to her principles in order to gain justice Angela Moss, finally succumbed to the dark side in the season finale. Angela sacrificed her reputation and career in the tech industry to make a deal with Terry Colby so that he’d testify that E-Corp held responsibility for her mother and Elliot’s father’s death among others. However Colby convinced her to take a job in the public relations department of E-Corp, leading her to being present at a horrific event as E-Corp executive James Plouffe took a pistol from his suitcase and shot himself in the mouth during a nationally televised interview. Most times in those situations, we’ll see the character put a pistol in their mouth and the camera pans to a wall, that wasn’t the case with Plouffe as we saw the results of his actions.

Photo Courtesy Of USA Network

Photo Courtesy Of USA Network

A while later, we see Angela approached by Phillip Price who tells her she can feel free to go home after witnessing Plouffe’s suicide, but then he realizes who she is. She says they’re holding a press conference later that day and suggests she attend. Flustered by his seemingly callous suggestion, she says she thinks not, he proceeds to pull a bankroll out of his pocket and slams some bills down on the table in front of them. He says that she needs new shoes, as the ones she’s wearing are stained by Plouffe’s blood.

Courtesy Of USA Network

Courtesy Of USA Network

Instead of heading home Angela heads to a shoe store, where the shoe salesman figures out she just came from the room Plouffe shot himself in and asks her what she’s doing there and then asks how can she work for E-Corp. She starts to explain herself, but stops and then tells the salesman she’ll try on the Prada’s next. She’s become Terry Colby, getting drunk and eating shrimp-cocktail, while talking about sentencing Angela’s mother and others to death.

She returns to E-Corp for the press conference and Price’s glad to see her and lets her see the man behind the curtain. She tells Moss that in reality, he’s glad Plouffe killed himself and he thinks the world’s a better place now that he’s left it. He then excuses himself to take the podium and asks those in attendance to bow their heads in a moment of silence for their lost friend and colleague.

While the rest of  “f_society,” hosts a party in their headquarters so they can obscure their fingerprints in an investigation, Elliot heads down to Times Square and witnesses a sea of humanity standing together all wearing Mr. Robot masks. He suddenly realizes he’s got some uninvited company as well, not only his father but his mother and the eight-year-old version of his self. Little Elliot tells his adult counterpart that the three of them will stay with Elliot from here on out.

Photo Courtesy Of USA Network

Photo Courtesy Of USA Network

Elliot tries to block out all the sights and sounds so he can think, he holds his hands to his ears and suddenly he’s the only person in Times Square and it’s totally silent. That’s until he sees his family up on the Jumbotron that dominates Times Square. His father tells him to get on the subway, go home and sit behind his laptops and revel in the chaos he caused. Which he does until a knock at the door interrupts him, we’ll find out next summer whose knocking.

Courtesy of USA Network

Courtesy of USA Network

Warning: Spoiler Alert

“Michael Hanson” arranges for a meeting with Krista at a place they used to frequent under romantic assumptions. Krista has her guard up, ready to defend against Michael’s charms. She is here because she believes he is dying. Michael puts that notion to bed almost immediately. He used a lie to get her there. Michael wants her help in bringing down Elliot Alderson. Michael feels violated. As if 1) His feeble life is worth more than everyone else’s and 2) As if this was the worst thing to happen at the hands of Elliot Alderson. Krista, with some resistance, endures this meeting for as long as she can. She too has been violated by Elliot’s hacks. However, she cannot see clear to aid Michael in his pursuits to take down Elliot. Michael returns home. He turns on his television just in time to witness the unraveling of the world. His marriage, girlfriends, and dog probably don’t seem so important now.

Elliot wakes up in Tyrell’s suv. With the world falling apart, there is no use of credit cards or electronic finances. So the lot attendant informs Elliot that they will need to proceed with this arrangement with cash. All the while, Elliot is completely disoriented. He has no idea where he is or how he got there.

Angela, dressed for work, nervously rides the subway to her new job at Evil Corp. Meanwhile on the other side of town, Elliot arrives at f_society. The team has been wiping drives and covering their tracks. Elliot still does not know what has happened. Elliot has been gone for three days. Darlene tells him that the last ‘execute’ went off without a hitch. News and the hacker community are a buzz over what this might mean. Darlene asks if he’s still seeing ‘him’. On the outside he says no, but on the inside he says he needs to. Elliot tries to leave when Darlene says they need his help with the cleanup. Elliot shows the first signs of remorse. “I told you, we shouldn’t have done this.”

Elliot makes his way back to the city to find Tyrell Wellick. There is a controlled sense of panic everywhere, specifically in the Evil Corp building. Elliot swims his way through the people to find Wellick’s former assistant. Shortly after learning that Tyrell doesn’t work there anymore, all attention turns to the monitors. Another f_society PSA. The man in the mask on tv makes the announcement that all of Evil Corp’s financial data has been effectively destroyed.

Man In The Mask: Remember to repeat these words. We are f_society. We are finally free. We are finally awake.

The VP of Technology at Evil Corp, James Plouffe, prepares to do a television interview and he is clearly on edge. Angela attempted to organize his talking points on index cards, but that doesn’t stop him from snapping at her expense. He does apologize for his behavior.

f_society minus Elliot show up and what looks like a dog kennel with all of their digital evidence. CPU’s, disk drives, etc. They do not approve of this man’s job, putting down dogs, but the evidence must be removed from the equation. The employee unlocks a back door that leads to the incinerator where the deceased dogs are cremated. The team burn the computer equipment, and before they leave, they release all of the dogs. A rebellion inside a larger rebellion.

Elliot knocks on Tyrell Wellick’s front door rather hard when Mrs. Wellick arrives. She is polite and cryptic. A combination that keeps Elliot’s mind moving. It doesn’t take long before he gets the sense that she’s hiding something or knows something. He gives her the name Ollie as his own before finding any opportunity to remove himself from this interaction.

On camera, James Plouffe tows the company line. They are working on the technical aspect of the problem. The people have nothing to worry about. Then the interviewer presses on. She will not let him skate by this like it were nothing of consequence. Then like a light switch, he smoothly changes his tone. While he explains how his life is now effectively over, he pulls out his bag. The same bag he ripped into Angela for moving. As he explains the demise of this life he built, he pulls a handgun from inside the bag, looks off camera and tells everyone to calm down just before he puts the barrel in his mouth and pulls the trigger.

For anyone who might be wondering, this has to be the scene that prompted the USA Network promptly and respectfully decided to postpone this finale in the wake of the Virginia shooting last week. While the subject of the graphic images from this finale did not necessarily mimic the events in Virginia, the graphic nature not completely dissimilar. That said, USA Network made the right decision to postpone.

Angela sits not quite catatonic in a lobby when Phillip Price (Evil Corp head honcho) walks into the room. He is mildly disarming. He goes out of his way to convey to Angela that it’s perfectly fine if she needs to go home after what happened. That sense turns slightly when he suggests she be at the press conference later where she may learn some valuable things by watching. She matter of factly says no. His tone dips a little bit more than he puts some cash on the table in front of.

Phillip Price: You’ll need new shoes. Those won’t do anymore. (because they’re covered in blood)

Elliot returns to Wellick’s suv. He rummaged through it looking for any clues that could shed some light on what happened. He pulls back on the sunroof shade and a pair of sunglasses fall to the passenger seat. At first a disappointing clue. Then Elliot pulls off one of the sunglasses arms, revealing a very clever place to his a USB flash drive.

Darlene returns to f_society with the final piece of the cleanup puzzle. They will be hosting an end of the world party on the premises. This way, even if anyone one pegs them as responsible, there are no drives, no computers and an insane amount of fingerprints everywhere.

Elliot takes this ‘flash drive’ to a cyber cafe. He is quickly able to hack the password on the drive. It’s a video of Elliot sitting on the railing at the Coney Island park where Mr. Robot shoved him off of said railing. Only problem is, there is no Mr. Robot. Elliot’s sits, presumably talking to himself, then just like that, flings himself off of the railing. Neither Wellick nor Mr. Robot will show themselves so Elliot decides to draw one of them out. He attempts to turn himself in by confessing to 911. Before he can get the sentence out, Mr. Robot appears.

Their interaction is not friendly. During which, we get to see how the rest of the rest of the world must see Elliot when he ‘sees things’. We the viewers see him strangling Mr. Robot. The random strangers see Elliot strangling himself. (TYLER DURDEN THEORY INTACT!) Call it self-preservation or the delusion taking control, but Mr. Robot (or Elliot, I’m beginning to lose track at this point) makes a comment to a large stranger about coitus with the stranger’s mother. The stranger slugs him in the eye. Then we see Mr. Robot standing over Elliot and eventually helping him up.

Mr. Robot: You’re losing it kiddo. I’m only supposed to be your prophet. You’re supposed to be my God.

Angela did reconsider Price’s offer for the press conference. He notices her and her look of curiosity. He indulges her questions. He is confident that they will survive this momentary period of chaos because whatever this is, was perpetrated by people. No monsters, no aliens, people. She also can’t believe they are permitting her, knowing who she is, access into their world. Price was impressed by her determination and fight. Something they’ll need going forward. Then Price reveals something more telling. While he is generally a disarming man, he was all but pleased to see James take his own life. He was weak and Price hates that about people.

Mr. Robot helps Elliot limp through the city until they find themselves in what looks like Times Square amidst an f_society rally. Mr. Robot throws him against a wall when he’s finally had enough of Elliot’s whining. Elliot begins to converse with Inner Elliot. Mid thought, Mr. Robot interrupts and demands Elliot “stop talking to them”. Mr. Robot can hear Elliot’s thoughts. For a very specific reason. Then the dialogue shifts slightly. This is the first time we’ve heard or seen any concept towards the idea that Elliot, Inner Elliot and Mr. Robot aren’t necessarily all on the same team. This could be nothing or it could reveal a larger series arch. Inner Elliot and Mr. Robot are opposing perspectives.

If that wasn’t enough for you to pick up your brain off the floor, Elliot’s mother confirms this notion. Now Elliot is staring at Dad, Mom, and his younger self all telling him he is hurting the whole family. Elliot begins to think to Inner Elliot that these people aren’t real. Mr. Robot interjects again, “Neither is whoever you’re talking to”. This sends Mr. Robot into an almost hippie-esque rant about how nothing is real. Elliot wants to be alone, despite earlier episodes that would suggest he hated being alone. Eventually he yells it out hard enough that when he opens his eyes, he is alone, or so he thinks. He walks around until he turns upon a large jumbo-tron.

Mom, Dad, and young Elliot stand together on a sandy beach, looking more like the loving family one hopes for and less like the nightmare he remembered in previous episodes. Mr. Robot claims they came because Elliot asked them to. Young Elliot tells actual Elliot that they can’t leave. They are inside of him and he is inside of them. Elliot begins to break down, “I don’t know what to do”. Mr. Robot leans in close to the figurative camera.

Mr. Robot: I’ll tell you exactly what you’re going to do. You’re going to start listening to us. The world is a better place because of what we did, Elliot. You’re going to realize that one way or another. Here’s what I need you to do now.

Elliot, shaken and confused gets on the subway. He gets off on his stop. Makes his way to his apartment. Sits in front of his dual monitor display and revel in the chaos he has created. This is followed by a video montage of what this carnage is doing to world governments, not limited to the United States. Then there is a loud knock on his door. Elliot turns slowly looking over his shoulder and directly into the viewers eyes with a curious grin. He walks towards his door. Before he can open the door…fade to black. Credits.

If it ended there I would be content, even satisfied with this entire first season. Including the finale we graciously waited two weeks for. There is another scene. This one is cryptic so I won’t try to simulate the delivery. The thing to take away is that we were left with enough of a cliff hanger to be satisfied when Elliot approached his apartment door. This next scene opens up even more doors. Introducing questions we did not even know were part of the story even 30 seconds earlier. One thing is for sure, if you were hoping for closure, I’ve got bad news for you. I personally see it as good news. This show was never going to give closure by the end of season 1. This is a much larger story that hopefully will take three or four seasons to tell.

Let’s approach this like a Marvel Studios post credit scene. A new Asian man (new to this show, but he is familiar on some level so I expect him to be a major player in season 2). The man sits down in a nice chair, in front of a fire-place just adjacent to Phillip Price. There is a real familiarity. These are not acquaintances, they are business partners of some sort. The Asian man wants to discuss a business deal that could not be further from Mr. Price’s priorities. Mr. Price wants to listen to the music. A young woman is playing a harp not that far in front of the two men. Whatever this ‘deal’ is, revolves around the Congo. The Asian man then asserts that ‘they’ (Price included) know the identity of the person responsible for this new chaos. And they will deal with him in the typical way. The Asian man tells a quick anecdote about how Emperor Nero played a similar instrument…(the man’s watch alarms, he tends to it, then continues)…a similar instrument as he watched the Roman Empire burn.

 

“Mr. Robot returns with an all new season next year”. USA Network has made every episode of Mr. Robot season one available on-line or on-demand. This is exactly the kind of show that merits re-watching it. I recommend binging it, but either way, we will be here for season two, recapping, and yelling at our televisions right along with you.

 

Photo Courtesy Of USA

Photo Courtesy Of USA

Warning: Spoiler Alert

We begin with a flashback to 1994. Elliot’s Dad is working in a small store front repairing computers and selling hardware. A customer comes in to accuse young Elliot (who is not present) of stealing money from him. The customer is insulting to put it bluntly. When he demands to get his money back, Mr. Robot declines. The customer has some ugly things to say but eventually leaves with nothing. Dad calls young Elliot out from the back. After a quick denial, Elliot produces the missing $20 bill. Instead of punishing him, Dad offers to use the money to take him to see either Time Cop or Stargate in the theater. The bad deed in Dad’s mind was outweighed by bad nature of the customer.

Back in present day, Father and Son attempt to have a conversation about what is happening and what happened 20 years ago. Dad’s concerned. Once Darlene’s name’s brought up Elliot snaps, tossing the table and then his father against the wall. Elliot is irate, but Dad tries to calm him. It doesn’t work. Too much bad has happened in the last 20 years to just brush this off. The truth that Dad is clinging to is that there are people who don’t want him alive, if they even knew he was alive.

Dad: Come on…
Elliot: Where?
Dad: If you want answers, you’ve got to stop asking questions and follow me.

At Angela’s lawyer’s office, there is a bit of commotion. After the news of the confession, the office is a buzz trying to get everything ready for the next step. All is not peachy though, it seems Angela thought she could just leave All Safe and jump right in to help out with the Washington Township case part 2. Her lawyer doesn’t see it that way.

Darlene reaches out to Angela hoping to find Elliot. Angela in her current state of stress is not completely inclined to help. Clearly, there is more familiarity between Angela and Darlene as there is between Elliot and Darlene. Angela knows there is something going on. She knows Elliot has not been honest. She’s also getting the impression that whatever Elliot is hiding, Darlene is in on it.

Father and son reflect on a small piece of nostalgia. Elliot used to play a game with himself when they’d wait for the train to come. He’d calculate which car had the best probability of safety and take that one into the city. Then on the way back, choose the most dangerous. Because he hated going home. Elliot is beginning to remember more and more as time passes.

Mrs. Wellick reflects on the birth of their son by telling Tyrell she had a little girl when she was fifteen, but she gave it up for adoption to a couple. Despite her cold demeanor, this may be that singular moment that haunts her and motivates her. She opens up just enough to Tyrell, just to shut him out again. She tells him that he is no longer the man she wishes to be married to. This comes back around to whatever their agenda is. If he wants to be around, he needs to fix whatever ‘this’ is.

Gideon stops by the computer supply store where Elliot met with White Rose. The store got blown up or burned down. Either way everything is gone or damaged. The more interesting question is why would Gideon go there to pick up drives, when he could have sent anyone?

One of the high-ranking board members of Evil Corp is waiting in Wellick’s office when he walks in. Initially to congratulate Tyrell on his new baby. The conversation take a turn for the worse when this superior of Wellick’s informs him that the police consider him a person of interest in the death of Sharon Knowles. Then the walls come crashing down. Scott Knowles will remain while Tyrell Wellick will not. This incites a loud outburst. Phillip’s (the board member), disappointed by this reaction. Wellick eventually even begs to keep his job, but Phillip just walks out.

Father and son take a walk through their old house, a place of bad memories for Elliot. He stares out of the famous window. Dad tries to convince him they should leave. Elliot then grabs him and almost throws him out of the window. Mr. Robot tries to convey that what happened was a reflection of Elliot’s own guilt. He says that Elliot needs to let go of the guilt. Elliot’s eyes gloss over and admits that he was angry at himself and that he was ready to let go. Then he literally let’s go. Letting his father fall from a second story window.

While Gideon tries to undo Elliot’s reversal of the ‘honey pot’, Angela hears from her father that he saw Darlene recently. Angela finds Darlene in the Alderson’s old house. They escape the eye of the new homeowner, then Darlene admits she should be more transparent with Angela as they are in some manner of speaking, family. That’s when they notice they are walking over broken glass.

Elliot helps his Dad limp across a large cemetery. You can hear Darlene and Angela in the distance. Darlene and Angela somehow provide a threat to whatever this is. Dad tells Elliot that ‘they’ are going to try to separate them again. He needs Elliot to not let that happen. Then he repeats, “I will never leave you alone again”. Mr. Robot sits down on the grass, his back supported by a tombstone. As the girls approach, he quietly says he wants to know. He wants to know about whatever this is. Eventually, he yells it out.

Elliot: I WANNA KNOW!!!
Darlene: Elliot? Who are you talking to?
(Edward Alderson isn’t there)

Elliot is in full breakdown mode. He creates space between himself and the girls. They notice that he’s bleeding. He begins to notice that he’s experiencing what looks like bone or joint pain. The kind of pain associated with a fall. Then Elliot and Inner Elliot start to spin the ‘we’re crazy’ thing again. Inner Elliot suspecting that Elliot knew all along. Then Angela asks who Elliot thought he was talking to.

Inner Elliot: You’re gonna make me say it aren’t you? I am Mr. Robot.

Angela tries to reassure Elliot that he’ll be alright. He doubts her claim. She explains that she’s slightly jealous, even if his Dad wasn’t really there. They share an embrace and Angela is off. On the train, Darlene asks if Elliot remembers any of it. Referencing the beginning of f_society. Elliot plays dumb even though the damaged wheels in his brain are spinning.

Gideon drops in to Wellick’s office presumably to get the honey pot back in place, only to discover that Wellick has been let go. This makes Gideon almost frantic. He asks Wellick’s former assistant if she can get him a meeting with Knowles. Apparently, Gideon was out of the loop on the whole Sharon Knowles news.

Angela returns to her father’s home to find Terry Colby and associates in his dining room. Her father looks up at her and with a disapproving look leaves the room to let them talk. Colby has done some digging after being impressed with their last encounter. Colby has something he thinks Angela might want. A lucrative position in Evil Corp. The very company she is currently suing. Angela is resentful towards this offer, but Colby persists, suggesting that there are no grudges in business.

In Elliot’s apartment, Darlene tries to get him thinking straight while all he can do is question what is real and what is not. Furthermore, operating under the assumption that Mr. Robot never was really there, Darlene confirms that all of this f_society stuff was Elliot’s idea.

At the peak of this quandary between what’s real and what’s not, Elliot’s front door begins to slowly open. Elliot almost jumps out of his skin when he discovers the person at the door is none other than Tyrell Wellick. He very calmly tells Elliot that he knows he’s behind everything. The one constant in a sea of variables. Wellick doesn’t have all the answers but wants Elliot to give them to him. Wellick even walks him through the first person experience of what it’s like to strangle a woman to death.

Then, maybe the second most surprising part of this episode, Elliot takes Wellick to the f_society HQ. Elliot proceeds to tell Wellick as much as he ‘knows’. The details do nothing but increase Wellick’s desire to be involved. Elliot takes all of the credit and blame. Wellick says that now there are two. With no job at Evil Corp, it’s not that crazy to think Wellick would want to help.

Wellick: I have to ask, what were you hoping to accomplish with all of this?
Elliot: I don’t know…I wanted to save the world.

Courtesy of USA Network

Courtesy of USA Network

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Darlene apparently spent the night with someone far better dressed than anyone we’ve seen her interact with to this point. On the surface, it feels very casual in nature. This new ‘suit’ leaves Darlene in his shwanky Manhattan apartment. Once he’s gone, Darlene searches for his safe. It seems she was only after his gun. Darlene walks into a dance studio and begins to stretch along side Angela. They are familiar. There’s something very unsettling about Darlene in a ballet class.

Mr. Robot has the team back together. Elliot shows them what he’s been doing since Steel Mountain. Their reaction to him now is dramatically different from the Steel Mountain job. Everyone in the room shares a sense of wow.

On a subway car, Darlene sees two Asian men staring in her direction. She slowly puts her hand in the front pocket of her book bag, presumably to have the stolen gun at the ready. The men get invading space close to her. She doesn’t look up. The larger of the two says in her general direction, “Tell him to follow the proper commands. Then the sequence will initiate”. Then they both walk away.

Darlene finally shows up. She intercepts Elliot at the door and safely presses a gun into his torso. Darlene suspects that the meeting with White Rose may not go the way they want it to. Elliot turns down the gun. Darlene is visibly concerned and they even share a hug. The hug is eerie on two levels.

Darlene is not the only one shaken. Tyrell Wellick walks through his office building with that crazed look of a man trying to get away with murder. He instructs his assistant to hold all calls and cancel anything on his schedule. She jumps in to say that Gideon Goddard is waiting on him. His mood seems to change after hearing this news.

Gideon shares the news that one of his employees confessed to doctoring the file that removes Colby from Evil Corp. Keeping that under wraps is important, but Gideon focuses on the efforts All Safe has put forth to try to catch the real hackers. Tyrell stops him short and asks to look over All Safe’s findings when they get them. Meanwhile, Gideon is getting rapid text messages that the entire system is down. He keeps that information to himself for the moment.

As soon as Gideon leaves, Tyrell jumps on his computer, plugs in headphones and starts searching for something on his own. His assistant comes in and he barks at her about not being disturbed with his headphones still in. She informs him that the police are here. Tyrell ducks the issue and politely asks his assistant to make an appointment with the police and he’d be glad to speak with them then.

Gideon instructs his team on what to do regarding this latest attack. He almost turns to head into his office when Elliot walks in. Both Gideon and Ollie display an expression and body language towards Elliot that is both cold and new.

Elliot gets to his desk and begins working on this current hack. Inner Elliot identifies that this attack different. Whoever it is, isn’t trying to get anything. A distraction to the bigger heist perhaps. Then Ollie suspiciously approaches Elliot’s desk. Ollie’s holding a couple drives and asks Elliot to stop what he’s doing and deliver the drives. Something I imagine is considerably beneath Elliot’s job description. Then Ollie pulls rank. Clearly, this hack has something to do with Ollie, Cisco and probably the Dark Army as well. Ollie is trying anything and everything to get Elliot away from his terminal. One quick search of Ollie’s email and now Elliot knows Angela is involved.

Elliot heads straight for Angela who is waiting outside. She is unremorseful and very matter of fact about the entire conversation. Elliot has been incrementally but increasingly more distant. That’s when he realizes that the chaos at All Safe isn’t about the hack. This is about him. Angela barks at him to say something. He manages only to mutter, “You’re right, we don’t talk anymore.” She replies to that with a typical guilt trip. Elliot doesn’t cave. This is his wall. She can never know exactly what is going on nor can she be let in to who Elliot is or has become. He can’t let her in and they both know it.

Elliot walks into a run down looking data recovery store front. Walks up to the front counter asking himself, “Is this why the infamous White Rose is such a legend? Because he’s more paranoid than the rest of us?” Elliot introduces himself by his full name and is escorted downstairs where he finds a clean room, designed to prevent any electronic signal from entering. A woman enters the room and asks for the drives. She is very articulate but also very meticulous and is only permitting Elliot three minutes of her time.

The woman eventually takes control of the conversation. This entire time, Elliot was under the impression that the Dark Army simply pulled out at Steel Mountain for some trivial reason. She quickly puts together that they pulled out because Elliot displayed a vulnerability when he went after Terry Colby. A vulnerability to put Gideon Goddard on the trail. And since this latest All Safe hack, they have monitored Gideon’s movements and discovered that Gideon turned Elliot’s infected server (S30) into a honey pot. Whether it was planned all along or Elliot’s demeanor inspired something, she agrees to give them some time to get their house in order. 50 hours and 23 minutes to be exact. If by then everything is the way it should be, they will continue with the hack.

Inner Elliot’s thoughts are racing as the ticking time is the issue. His urgency is calmed when Inner Elliot asks, “I wish I could just observe like you”, then the Elliot we see, downshift his whole world. The frantic expression is gone and there is a calm that washes over him. Elliot needs Gideon’s phone. He places a call soliciting some help, but Inner Elliot is still going and right about the time they both come to the ‘conclusion’, we find Elliot seated at his desk.

Whatever was done has drained Gideon’s phone’s battery. He plugs it in, then Elliot texts someone one word. “Go”. Moments later, a new f_society PSA takes over the All Safe televisions. Everyone files in, including Gideon. This creates just enough of a distraction for Elliot. This message is directed at All Safe and Gideon specifically. Any attempt to shut off the television fails. They’ve hacked All Safe’s smart TV and uploaded the video clip to All Safe’s website and YouTube just to be safe. Elliot slips out just before Gideon notices he’s not in the conference room. He’s got 60 seconds to secure the password from Gideon’s phone before it recycles. He’s not at his desk for 10 seconds before Gideon gets there demanding to know what is going on. His absences and reappearances are becoming conspicuous. Before Elliot is forced to answer, Ollie interjects that Evil Corp is on the phone.

Even though he wasn’t able to secure the password due to Gideon’s interruption, he is able to email IT from Gideon’s phone instructing them to remove the honey pot and restore CS30. Elliot reflects on his hack of Gideon which predates the pilot episode. Gideon is an honest working man, nothing nefarious. Maybe the best thing is for Elliot to leave. He’s not good for Gideon or All Safe.

Speaking of nefarious intentions, Tyrell Wellick sits in the back of an SUV. He suggests to the other person in the vehicle that Wellick knows he’s been busy. They are supposed to be allies. Wellick wants to be in the loop just in case these two are after the same thing. The other person in the vehicle is Mr. Robot! Mr. Robot tries to leave when Tyrell grabs him by the now famous Mr. Robot jacket.

Tyrell: Aren’t you forgetting that I know you’re dirty little secret?

It doesn’t shake Mr. Robot. He centers himself and suggests that if Tyrell looks at everything and really thinks about it, the only thing left to do in regards to Mr. Robot, is nothing.

Wellick returns home. He quickly chugs a decent amount of vodka before addressing his wife. He tells her that they’ve been focusing on the wrong players this entire time. He goes on about a tech he met a few months ago. And how he misinterpreted simple revenge for something much more significant. I think Tyrell is mistaking Elliot’s handy work for something more divine. There is a knock at the door.

Naturally, it’s the police Tyrell blew off earlier. Mrs. Wellick does a good job acting shocked at the news of Sharon Knowles murder. Inside, Mrs. Wellick offers to get the detectives a drink and excuses herself into the kitchen. She lets out a scream and (with I’m sure tap water) insinuates that her water broke. Then just to Tyrell eyeballs a metal tool of some sort that is already bloody. The insinuation being that Tyrell needs to ‘take care’ of the cops.

Elliot sits with Darlene with the Ferris wheel as the backdrop. Darlene has finished a task but is her typically bitter self towards Elliot. Then Elliot suggests they celebrate, considering in 43 hours, the honey pot will be an infected server again and Darlene’s root kit is going to take down Evil Corp. He utters the words, “We did it”. Now not to be an alarmist, but the last time Elliot celebrated a hack, the men in black suits took him to see Tyrell Wellick and a whole new ball of wax starting rolling down the hill. Darlene lets out a very loud scream of excitement.

Right around the instant I became uneasy at the way these two were gazing at each other, Darlene said something I really wish she hadn’t. “Elliot, you are the best person I know, you know that? I love you so much?” Then Elliot went in for the kiss and Darlene immediately pushed back. Not in an angry or repulsed way, but in a ‘we don’t do that kind of way’. Then Darlene starts to get emotional, and asks if Elliot forgot who she was. It doesn’t take much to figure out the next move. Elliot won’t say it. Just repeats, “You’re Darlene” over and over. Then just before she says it, he lets it out.

Elliot: You’re my sister.

Inner Elliot and Elliot trace back. The girl humming on her scooter outside his house, the one that said “we aren’t friends”, childhood memories, her name, the fact that she tried to run away all come crashing back. Then Elliot looks directly into the camera and asks Inner Elliot if he was in on this from the beginning. Elliot believes for the moment that he’s going crazy. He tries to make sense of things but it only exacerbates the issue. Elliot hides from himself. There is an interesting shot with him facing his own bathroom mirror seeing everyone from Darlene to Shayla to Mr. Robot in his reflection. Then he punches the mirror.

It’s time to hack. Elliot needs to hack Elliot. Bloody knuckles and all, he is unable to find himself at all. Not through search engines or social media. Elliot Alderson does not exist. The next step is to find out if he erased himself. In his cd collection the very first one is blank. What he finds when he inserts the disc and decrypts the files, is incredible. It is a series of photographs that validates a theory myself but more directly NJATVS partner Jeff Sack considered as far back as the second episode. Mr. Robot is Elliot’s father. Elliot stands up and retrieves a loose photograph from on top of his bookshelf. It’s a picture of all four of them. Elliot, Elliot’s Dad (Mr. Robot), Darlene and their mother.

(A loud knock at the door. Elliot slowly walks over and opens the door)
Mr. Robot: I think we need to talk.

Courtesy of USA Network

Courtesy of USA Network

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Elliot returns home, but before entering, hears commotion coming from Shayla’s apartment.  Her door is ajar and a familiar voice is heard.  Elliot charges into his apartment to begin his morphine ritual presumably in the hopes of making these visions dissipate.  There’s a knock at his door.  The voice claims to be bleeding all over the hallway in a life or death situation.  He opens his door and stares directly at what looks like a long-haired, unkempt Shayla.

She enters and begins to fill a glass with water.  She dumps a dark beta fish into the glass.  A beta fish looking eerily like Qwerty.  Outside, they speak as if it were the first time they’d met.  Elliot tries to alter the direction of the conversation by suggesting this would be less awkward if they were already acquainted.  It doesn’t work.  This feels like a flashback current Elliot cannot shake.  The Cure playing in the background probably didn’t help.

Elliot and Inner Elliot meet with Krista.  Inner Elliot is trying to rationalize his mental state about Shayla.  Being ashamed that he’s almost accepted that Shayla is gone.  Thinking that eventually Shayla will be reduced to, “once I knew a girl who died.”  At this moment, Elliot pays enough attention to notice that Krista is getting rid of him.  At least as far as the paperwork is considered.  She tries again to appeal to that part of him worth saving, but his wall goes up.

Angela and the lawyer who has been covering the Washington Township case from the beginning sit across the table from a trio of Terry Colby’s lawyers.   They want a meeting with Colby and Colby only to reveal new evidence that they will find mutually beneficial.  The team of lawyers shrug it off but claim they will pass the offer along.

Elliot meets with Gideon in his office.  Gideon wants to offer him some time off to deal with whatever he’s dealing with.  Before Elliot can leave, Gideon tries to address the Shayla issue, or more aptly, Elliot’s reaction to the Shayla issue.  Elliot’s a closed off personality as it is.  Gideon wants to prevent this from closing him off further. Gideon suggests Elliot find someone he can be his honest self with.  Which allows Elliot to recall the concept of ‘view source’.  A way to see a given site’s code.

Mr. Robot feels compelled to get the Dark Army back.  Darlene is vastly more pessimistic about the chances of that happening.

At home, Elliot collects and deletes his files on Shayla after copying them to disc.  Just as he has done with everyone else he’s ever hacked.  The identifying label he writes on the disc is “The Cure – Disintegration”.  He chooses now to wipe everything again.  He misses a piece and Flipper eats it, or at least takes it.

After an inappropriate conversation about executives sleeping their way to the top, Tyler Wellick loudly fired the three men going over numbers in his office.

Terry Colby has agreed to the meeting with a couple of conditions. 1) Immunity and 2) The lawyer, Angela’s lawyer cannot be in the room either.  Angela will have to sit with Colby by herself.  A prospect not expected to be improved when the meet considering their last meeting.

Mr. Robot meets unannounced to Romero’s place to try to convince him to return to f_society.  Romero is infusing THC into other plants for topical use or something to that effect.  Mr. Robot is already annoyed and Romero insinuates that he’s not the only one.  Mr. Robot pushes him back at the tip of a revolver.  Mr. Robot is crazy and suggests that his kind of crazy won’t accept no.

In the face to face, Colby puts down a blank piece of paper and a pen.  He asks Angela to write down the dollar figure she is expecting.  Almost as if anything she writes down might be acceptable.  Regardless of what she thinks she’s looking for, he believes money will be better.  She asks if he was present during the executive meetings in 1993.  The answer to that could allow her information to help him.  He plays dumb.  The deal on the table is for Colby to testify against the executives and Angela will testify that she altered the .dat file that has him in his present situation.  He eventually agrees to answer her question, but only if she does a series of things that I will not even paraphrase in this forum.  She pauses for a long while and tries to play out his future loss of respect from those he knows and those who he does not.  This elicits nothing from Colby.  Before she can get too far, her lawyer informs her that Colby wants to talk.  Angela heads back.

Elliot takes Flipper to the vet where he discovers she ate something she shouldn’t have.  Flipper will have to pass it naturally.  Still no indication if Elliot knows exactly what vital piece of tech she ate or not.

Darlene meets Cisco in a park.  He quietly demands to know how long Darlene has been trying to use his handle to get in with the Dark Army.  It’s a short conversation that ends with him informing her that he is never to see her again, at all.  Before he leaves, he tells her that despite her crummy approach, their meeting with “White Rose” is actually going to happen.

Angela is escorted into Colby’s home again, this time he is much more civil.  He agrees to participate, then asks her what she’s getting out of this.  She wants to know what the meeting was like when they decided to ignore the harmful leak the eventually killed her mother, but she left out the part about killer her mother.  So he begins giving her the ‘what it was like’ the day they made the decision.

Angela:  So…you were drunk, eating shrimp cocktail and it was raining the day you decided my mother should die?  That’s why.  So people like you won’t sit in rooms together.

In a downtown room, the President of Evil Corp announces Scott Knowles as their new Chief Technology Officer.  The Wellick’s observe from a distance.  Tyrell swiftly approaches Mrs. Knowles.  She looks down on just how quickly he’s conceded.  Tyrell pursues further ordering her to meet him in his office.  When she refuses, he changes the location to the roof.

Angela breaks the news to Gideon.  Gideon in turn flips the ramifications back in her face.  Assuming she did what she claims she did and goes through with it, All Safe will go under and take each and every employee with it.

Tyrell and Mrs. Knowles meet on the roof.  Tyrell’s advances seem desperate and she knows it.  She tells him that Scott plans on firing him.  There is no time to delay.  Tyrell forcefully goes in and kisses her.  What comes next would seem like a moment of passion.  That is until Tyrell Wellick proceeds to choke the life out of Mrs. Knowles.  Not as a turn on, but to end her life.  As it turns out Tyrell is not as cold as he thinks.  His reaction is emotional.  He leaves her body there and flees.

Darlene meets with Trenton on campus.  Trenton has a different motivation that moves her.  Darlene’s fuse is short.  Romero is out for momentary fame.  Her motivation is larger.  Darlene listens and suggests there is a cosmic order to why this group found each other.  An angle that might just work for bringing Trenton back into the fold.

Cisco intercepts Ollie.  At this moment it isn’t clear that Ollie really knows who Cisco is.  Ollie tries to walk away, but Cisco needs him to do something…or else.

Elliot sits waiting for Krista and his appointment.  She agrees to see him before her first patient arrives.  Elliot asks if he were to tell her the truth, would that truth be protected under doctor-client privilege and she agrees that it would.  He begins with the truth.  All of it.  He starts with tracing back for her some of her movements from earlier today. He continues telling her all of the intimate details he finds by hacking her.  Just before he shatters her sense of security, he transitions the conversation over to himself.  It’s not just her, he hacks everyone he knows.

Elliot:  I sometimes watch you on your webcam. You cry sometimes, just like me.  Because you’re lonely.  I don’t just hack you Krista, I hack everyone.  My friends, co-workers.  But I’ve helped a lot of people.  (with emotion building in his face) I want—a way out of loneliness, just like you.  Is that what you wanted to hear?

Courtesy of USA Network

Courtesy of USA Network

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.

Courtesy of USA Network

Courtesy of USA Network

Warning: Spoiler Alert

A lawyer informs Fernando that with all the information the DA has, he’s looking at years in prison. A notion not well received by Fernando or his brother. They also learn that an anonymous tip is what landed him in the predicament he’s currently in. Before the end of the scene, Fernando believes he knows who the anonymous tip is.

F_society sit in a coffee shop. They don’t say anything to each other, then Mr. Robot stands up. As he walks up to the counter he bumps into a few people and they seem to respond to him with their body language. One of which was done on purpose to life a security key card.

Elliot sits inside Steel Mountain hoping to get a tour from Bill Harper, who has level 1 security clearance. The exchange is awkward. When Bill gives Elliot the pass by, Elliot suggests Bill look him up. Mr. Robot gives Elliot what to say and Elliot reiterates that Bill look him up. Elliot begins to leave. Bill looks him up and reads the fake Wikipedia page and almost immediately calls for “Mr. Sepiol” to hold on.

Angela packs up her things while Ollie tries to win her back in the moment. Eventually, he suggests that what she’s done (uploading the disc to All Safe) will ruin her life. She agrees that it might, but it will also ruin his. Then she drops his security card on the bed in front of him. When he finally pieces it together, he is part flabbergasted, part in disbelief.

During the tour of Steel Mountain, Elliot is almost unresponsive to anything Bill says. He does take note of what floor data storage is on. Mr. Robot, tells Elliot they need to dump Bill to get to his supervisor. Elliot needs to break Bill down. Before he says anything, we see a vision of Elliot’s mother knocking young Elliot to the floor demanding he answer her. When she says he’s worthless, something clicks in Elliot’s mind. Elliot starts in on Bill suggesting that he doesn’t matter and if he died, no one would care. He demands that Bill call someone who matters, because he doesn’t. This was actually a difficult scene to watch.

The more senior supervisor they were hoping to get did not come in to work today. It seems there’s a new baby in the family. Mrs. Davis, the replacement supervisor is a virtual ghost. Nothing online, nothing to utilize. They send her text that makes her go, figuratively white. She leaves, allowing Elliot to roam free.

Elliot needs to double back and go the way he came to access the proper stair case to get to level 2. He enters a door only to find Wellick standing in front of him.

Shayla has started a new job as a server in what appears to be a country themed bar and grill.

Elliot watches a Steel Mountain commercial advertising their security services. He starts walking with Wellick. Inner Elliot is concerned that Wellick somehow knew he was going to be there. Elliot gives a line about doing a routine data check for All Safe. Wellick extends a lunch invitation that Elliot is forced to agree with. Elliot needs to attack Wellick’s vulnerability. He questions that Wellick would actually eat at a company cafeteria. This gets them on the other side of the building. Wellick begins to break down the waiter to Elliot in the same fashion that Elliot would break down someone he’s hacked.

Security guards approach making Elliot very uneasy. They’re there to see Wellick. They drop off a folder of something for Elliot to sign. Elliot excuses himself to the restroom where he urgently throws up. Through a cracked door in the restroom, Elliot finds an access panel. He quickly splices wires but jets back into the restroom just before Wellick walks in. Facing the urinal, Wellick says that he knows that Elliot framed Terry Colby. The good news is that Wellick has no interest in turning Elliot in, he just wanted to know Elliot’s weakness. He condescends to Elliot before leaving in his helicopter. Elliot takes a deep breath and resumes his work on the access panel.

Angela pays her Dad a visit. He had just gotten off the phone with Ollie who was sobbing and relaying cryptic messages. Dad is on her side, even offers to give her some money in the meantime. She can’t bring herself to give any information about what has really happened.

Darlene and f_society specifically has been booted from the Dark Army iRC channel. She finds Cisco at a library he apparently works at guns blazing. He tries to quietly convince her that the plan is dead. Whatever pull the Dark Army had on this ‘plan’, was removed before they ever hit Steel Mountain.

The Wellick’s have dinner with the man who Wellick has pegged as the new CTO of Evil Corp and his wife. The women are friendly as one might expect. Tyrell is a little more blunt and brings up the CTO position almost abruptly. Mr. Knowles sees right through this.

Mr. Knowles: If you were me, would you trust you to be my second in command?
Wellick: If I were you, I wouldn’t have even let me in the house.

Shayla calls Elliot on his way back from Steel Mountain. She’s content with her progress at her new job. Elliot, seemingly happy, tells her he’s had a good day. He did what he had to do.

Mrs. Wellick shows interest in Mr. Knowles’ affection for wine. Again, one cordial conversation is contrasted by a crass one. Tyrell asks Mrs. Knowles how she doesn’t blow her brains out being married to Mr. Knowles. She doesn’t enjoy his honesty and excuses herself. Tyrell later excuses himself and walks right into the bathroom that Mrs. Knowles is using. He stands in front of her (while she’s still on the toilet) but says nothing. She rocks back in her seat. He thanks her for a wonderful evening then walks out.

Back at f_society HQ, Darlene tells Mr. Robot (directly) that the Dark Army has pulled out. Darlene running hot, decides they should proceed without the Dark Army. This incites a rage we haven’t seen from Mr. Robot to this point. “We don’t want to hurt them, we want to kill them” as he throws a cpu on the floor smashing it. She jumps on another terminal and starts typing again. Mr. Robot pleads with her to not do what she is trying to do.

Elliot walks over and doesn’t say anything, but she gets the message to not proceed. She blames herself for the setback. Elliot offers for her to stay at his place. This might complicate things as Shayla is expecting some quality time and he ignored a phone call from her since the last time they spoke.

Inner Elliot tells a story of a time he and his father played hookey. A trip to the beach in cold weather. Later, Elliot poured out the sand from his shoes onto his bedroom floor inciting a motherly rage. Meanwhile, Angela packs up some books (presumably at her father’s house) and finds final notice statements from Evil Corp. She walks downstairs to mention it to her father. She sees him sitting somber at his desk and can’t do it. She instead ops to go for a run.

Elliot gets to his apartment and the door is once again broken open. On the floor is a cell phone that has begun ringing. The voice on the phone is Fernando. He is just slightly arrogant with is ‘sometimes the universe aligns perfectly’ bit. No information on Shayla, but clearly Elliot fears the worst.

Courtesy of USA Network

Courtesy of USA Network

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Cold open begins with Elliot staring at a closeup of a line of morphine. This is a metaphor for the decisions that have brought him to where he is. “I chose this”. Whether morphine or f_society, Elliot chose this. At f_society, Elliot attempts to explain his plan to the team. It deals with the relative temperature inside Steel Mountain and how the right temperature will adversely affect the hardware. Essentially melting them so that they are literally unreadable. The plan hinges on installation of a circuit board on site. Now this plan has left the realm of conceptual hack and into the realm of a Mission Impossible plot. Then Elliot leaves, before the team was ready for him to leave.

This is when the withdrawal symptoms began. And back to the metaphor. This is now the second time Elliot has broken his own rule about usage. Inner Elliot takes us through the journey his morphine took, from the manufacturer to the guard who stole it, to Shayla, to him. All decisions leading to this line. This last line. From all early indications, Elliot actually believes he’s committed to quitting his drug of choice.

Elliot doesn’t get very far outside his apartment before he notices he’s bookend-ed by two men in black suits. Back in his apartment, there is loud banging on the door. It’s Darlene, not men in black suits. At least she didn’t break in this time. Darlene notices his paraphernalia on the table and shows some slight concern. Elliot shrugs it off and departs the apartment in full compliance of her initial request for clarity on his plan.

Romero, one of the team at f_society, informs the team that Evil Corp is ramping up their security protocols. Moving copies from the New York Steel Mountain location to 5 additional sites around the country. Elliot’s wheels are already spinning over information no one else on the team has. Because no one else on the team has had direct conversations with Tyrell Wellick. The security protocols won’t change until April 1st. A couple of days from now. The plan now requires they move as close to immediately as possible. Romero doesn’t believe they are ready. The rest of the team is more than willing to do their fair share of lifting to move early.

Romero is still against the plan. Months of planning to be rushed at the last second is just risky. Elliot volunteers to be the physical presence on site. Then Romero points out the minor elephant in the room. Elliot is clearly de-toxing. Whether he’s a junkie in need of a fix or a guy trying to quit a bad dependency. Romero can see it.

Elliot meets with Mr. Robot (wink, wink) and questions why Mr. Robot has not questioned any of this plan thus far. Elliot claims that this is not his operation, but some of us know better. Mr. Robot reiterates that Elliot is the key to the entire thing. “The only force of nature at play here”.

Inner Elliot: There’s a saying, the devil’s the strongest when we’re looking the other way. Like a program working in the background while we’re doing other ****. Daemons they’re called. They perform action without user interaction.

Inner Elliot continues this inner dialogue about ‘daemons’ and transitioning the concept into a more practical look at ‘demons’. To which he admits, he has more than a few. Mr. Robot looks on concerned from the back seat. Elliot’s gaze intensifies. Then he vomits. They make a stop at what I must assume is a motel room for Elliot to sweat out the rough patch of his detox. Romero gives him the business about how bad it’s going to get. Elliot thinks he knows what he’s up against.

Angela clumsily tries to steal the mix CD from Ollie while he sleeps. He wakes up to an accidental but welcomed view, distracting him from what’s happening. Angela makes her way to Elliot’s apartment and gets no response. She does however cross paths with Shayla who is about to take Flipper for a walk. Before they even leave the building there is a polite clash of personality. Angela’s premeditated attempt at controlling what she can and Shayla’s random approach of letting life dictate to her. Shayla offers for Angela to join them on their walk. Angela reluctantly agrees.

During Elliot’s attempt to shake the ‘shakes’, two of the team watch and criticize a scene from the movie Hackers. Elliot squirms as we see a caravan of Evil Corp trucks pass by the window. The girls at f_society get tired of waiting.

Shayla and Angela walk into a park when Shayla hands Angela two pills. Angela mistakes it for ecstasy. Shayla describes it as ‘clarity’. Something to help her relax during whatever it is that’s bringing her down.

Romero starts looking into options. Dumping Elliot at a hospital and splitting seems to be the least likely option. Each plan involves leaving. Then Mr. Robot (who up until now didn’t appear to be in the room) yells out.

Mr. Robot: Fine! You wanna leave? Then leave.

The strangest part is that Romero seems to react to the outburst and does in fact leave. Elliot says he just needs a hit. To get through this. Then Mr. Robot retorts that he can’t let him do that. Mr. Robot hesitates to respond further. Do you really need any further evidence that Mr. Robot is in fact a part of Elliot’s subconscious? Or at the very least a figment of his imagination? Interesting since USA keeps asking the question “who is Mr. Robot” considering they’ve telegraphed the issue for the last two episodes specifically.

Mr. Robot half carries Elliot to a shady flop house in the hopes of assisting Elliot in a drug deal. The curious part is that the shady character seems to be talking to Mr. Robot exclusively. A role reversal of what we’ve seen to this point. Only users are allowed in. Mr. Robot pays the man and they both hobble towards the side entrance giving instructions all along the way. Following the rules, Elliot enters alone. Upon entering, Elliot sees a few f_society prints on the wall. There is no morphine. The man inside hands him a syringe instead.

A young woman attempts to assist Elliot. Inner Elliot is having an attack of conscience. Has he really fallen this far? Why can’t he control his own thoughts? I need this. Once the drugs are injected, the girl mounts him and begins to get ‘fresh’. Just then a commotion in the background. A man with a gun has entered the premises. There is a struggle to get the gun from him. Random shots ring out. One of them hit the girl now sitting next to Elliot. Elliot tries to stand to get out of harm’s way. Before he is completely vertical a second shot hits Elliot in what looks like his arm as he falls to the floor.

Elliot appears to be alive as he’s transfixed by the weather report on the television in front of him. Then the transition is interrupted by another f_society message. This message is much more cryptic. F_society is here for those that do not wish to wait. They are here to help with lost memories. The camera pulls back to show the camera fixed on the man in the mask. The masked man who from the beginning were led to believe is Mr. Robot. Elliot, or the dream facsimile of Elliot walks into the shot standing next to the man in the mask. The man in the mask takes off a necklace attached to a key and hands it to Elliot. Then removes his mask, revealing a second mask beneath it and hands the first mask to Elliot.

Elliot: What does it open?
Man in the Mask: It belongs to you now. Made in the Orient. Made just for your head. Now, find your monster and turn the key. But first, a word from our corporate overlords.

We must be in full dream sequence as the lighting of what we see has completely changed. Out of the commercial break we are in a commercial when the now familiar static change cuts it short. Elliot walks a brightly lit suburban street. He stops at a mailbox that reads, “Aldersons”. On an electrical pole a stapled paper reads, “Error 404 Not Found”. A young girl approaches on a scooter humming Frere Jacques. Elliot looks very clean as he addresses her. Before she will tell him what happened to the house behind him, she asks “what is your monster”? She bends down and gives him a key he droped. Elliot now hums Frere Jacques.

Inside, Elliot finds Wellick sitting at a dual monitor display holding up a key. This now appears to be Elliot’s apartment.  He doesn’t acknowledge Wellick. Instead he sits next to a Beta fish (assuming its QWERTY) and begins to have a two-way conversation with the fish. The fish talks about the endless loop that is his life. When Elliot asks what he can do to help, the fish screams at him to move his tank to the window (paraphrasing minus the profanity).

The next scene in this dream sequence shows Elliot sitting across from Angela in what at first appears to be a restaurant but upon further review looks creepily like All Safe’s office made to look like a restaurant. Here Angela is cutting and eating a very large fish made to look like QWERTY, even on a bed of colored aquarium gravel, as to make that image clear.

Elliot: Angela, he’s my friend.
Angela: Yes. And he’s delicious.

Angela offers him a bite of his own aquarium pet. He quietly refuses. Across the room we see what looks like Elliot’s mother trying to force feed young Elliot something he doesn’t want. A waiter brings over a plate of raspberry pie. Elliot does take a bite of this and it is crunchy. He pulls out a small key and Angela immediately repeats, “I do” as if he just proposed to her. The surrounding patrons all begin clapping. Confused, Elliot still enjoys this moment.

Elliot enters f_society HQ wearing a James Bond-esque tux complete with matching hoodie. Music plays while he walks towards Angela in a wedding dress. She begins to speak. Claiming that she was lying to those people just then, she moves into something more telling.

Angela: You’re not going to do it are you? Change the world? Figures. You were only born a month ago. You’re afraid. Afraid of your monster. Do you even know what it is? It doesn’t fit. (She hands him back the key)
Elliot: Why not?
Angela (in a distorted voice): Isn’t it obvious? You’re not Elliot. You’re the—

FYI, this is the part of the episode when I yell at my television for a tactic the showrunners have clearly done intentionally. Elliot wakes up in a chair in a dark room. He calls out, “Hello?” and all he hears is children’s laughter. The mask hangs from the camcorder. Inner Elliot questions the mask. Even asking if it’s his monster. He puts the mask on sitting in front of the camera. A voice says, “I am here, you are alone” then all the machines in the HQ suddenly turn on. Elliot wakes up back at the motel.

Elliot: They all left. They all left. They all left. I’m alone. I’m alone. (he begins sniffling).
Mr. Robot: No you’re not. I’m not going anywhere kiddo. I’m in this til the end.

Darlene in her drunken state scales bike racks as if she were a skilled ballerina. Trenton advises against this to no avail. The guy Darlene was looking for never came. Across the street is a parked limo that Darlene is sure is ‘him’. They both get in. Inside are two men dressed in what look like Chinese Shamanic masks. One yells out something in Chinese. Darlene hands over her phone which he throws out the window. He insists Trenton do the same.

Elsewhere, Angela is enjoying loud music in a bathroom, clearly effects from whatever she took. She looks down to see all of the missed calls and texts from Ollie and realizes she needs to be at work in four hours. Apparently, Angela has been accompanying Shayla on her last drug deals. They exchange views on worrying. Then Shayla moves in and they begin making out. They stop after a few moments and Shayla suggest Angela look in the mirror. At the only person she should ever worry about.

Darlene now walks the streets alone until she finds the man she was looking for. The ‘turtle’ look a like who was peddling his new CD, apparently working for the Dark Army and is responsible for the predicament that Ollie and Angela find themselves in. His name is Cisco. The way she’s talking to him its clear that he’s aware of what f_society is trying to do but is not directly involved. He gives some vague comment about the people he works for and how serious they are. He warns her to back off. She tries to convince him to talk to ‘them’.

Romero puts together some sort of home remedy. Seven of them to be precise. Elliot is beginning to look like himself again. His inner self reintroduce himself like two friends that haven’t seen each other in a while. “Did you leave or did I”? Darlene wakes up at f_society to the sound of Trenton praying. Angela walks out of an elevator while Inner Elliot drivels on.

Inner Elliot: At some point, action without user interaction will come along and sweep my legs. This spinning wheel of false highs and true lows will continue. That much I know.

Angela scans her id badge at All Safe but no one is in the building. She inserts the disc into a company computer. What looks like a dos prompt appears then disappears and she can’t remove the disc. A new face enters the office. Angela rips the disc out. This new face starts distributing bound packets onto all of the desks, but Angela has slipped out undetected.

Inner Elliot: Daemons. They don’t stop working. They’re always active. They seduce. They manipulate. They own us. And even though you’re with me, even though I created you, it makes no difference. We all must deal with them alone. The best we can hope for–the only silver lining to any of this is that when we break through, we find some familiar faces waiting on the other side.

::mind blown::

Courtesy of USA Network

Courtesy of USA Network

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Tyrell Wellick begins tonight’s episode preparing for his pitch to step in as the new CTO of Evil Corp in a scene that is not unlike the painfully awkward cilice scenes from The DaVinci Code. Yet in this case it seems to be pure self motivation as opposed to suffering for religious sacrifice. Tyrell sits focused while he awaits his meeting with the board. A meeting, as it turns out, he’s not going to get. Today at least. There is apparently another CTO candidate the board is very excited about, who is not Tyrell. His expression is ‘stuck in pain’ for lack of a better term.

Tyrell’s driver stops in a very shading part of town so that he can inflict pain onto another. A homeless man who is content to take a beating from Tyrell in exchange for money.

Inner Elliot monologues about the nuances of debugging. Suggesting that it’s not about fixing the bug. It’s about finding the bug, then trying to understand it. “Kill me or embrace me”. All over the backdrop of the hospital room he finds himself in after his ‘fall’.

He wakes up to find Shayla and Krista staring back at him. Shayla reminds him that she is his emergency contact and that nothing can move forward until he meets with a psychiatrist. Apparently, he requested Krista over a doctor on staff. Krista starts probing, beginning with why he refused the drug panel. She suggests he agree a voluntary drug testing almost as a good faith gesture. Something like that should be considerably easy to bypass with Elliot’s abilities. Especially when you consider how small the ‘IT Department’ is. One man with a very small budget.

Shayla confronts Elliot about Fernando and his entire crew getting busted. He lets her ask the questions before he denies them. Standing in front of his apartment door, Shayla notices its been broken open. Darlene, surprise surprise. She’s not completely rude this time, but Elliot is. Elliot wants her gone and with nothing to discuss before she is.

Ollie is on the phone with Stella B discussing the strange situation regarding the CD from last week when Angela gets home. He swiftly hangs up and makes lame small talk with Angela about her run before she gets in the shower. Then his phone vibrates again.

Ollie: I told you I can’t talk.

Voiced Disguised Hacker: You have one hour precisely, everything we own will be released.

Gideon gives new directions to his tech team. Not marching orders, but him best suggestions as to how they can monitor more. Social media, IRC, etc. He then invites his team to dinner at his house, which naturally Elliot avoids. “I’ve got plans”. This prompts Gideon to ask for a moment alone with Elliot. Gideon starts to build towards asking about Elliot’s private life in lieu of his physical appearance and missing work. Elliot squashes that line of questioning quickly and leaves. Inner Elliot explains internally in a computer savvy way how he protects himself.   Never let anyone in. Then he sees Mr. Robot.

Mr. Robot criticizes the office and then oogles a female employee before Elliot picks him up by his lapels and demands he leave immediately. The choices are escort Mr. Robot to a bar next door or witness him make a scene in the office until he does. If you’re on board with my theory that I have suggested in a non-recap article, you should really enjoy the irony.

Mr. Robot apologizes for his actions while enjoying an ‘appletini’ if you can believe it. Then after making an anecdote about fathers and pushing kids away, he attempts to leave. Then he tells Elliot that he is the key to the whole plan. Without Elliot, there is no plan.   At the moment, it appears as if the f_society movement is dead.

Quite possibly the most disturbing thing I’ve witnessed on this show or any other in the calendar year is the image and inner thoughts of Elliot seeing the world as if he were just a normal person. Embracing the things he hates. Social media, bad movies and vanilla lattes. Truly disturbing. Then like nothing happened, he walks into Gideon’s office and asks if the dinner is still on. And could he bring the girlfriend he doesn’t have yet (Shayla). Elliot leaves and Gideon pokes his head out to ask his assistant a strange but funny question.

Gideon: Was he drinking Starbucks?

Tyrell stands in his very impressive walk in closet (at night) as he picks out what to wear to a club called “Kiss and Fly”. His wife (I assume), pregnant and seemingly annoyed, asks in a language that is clearly not English if its necessary. He forcefully explains that everything he does is for us. Even if he has a strange definition of ‘us’.

Elliot sits in Shayla’s apartment and actually does ask her to accompany him to the dinner party, as his girlfriend. He doesn’t get the answer he was hoping for. She claims that there is something seriously wrong with Elliot and begins into how he doesn’t really know her. He fades out into Inner Elliot and snaps out of it just in time to hear, “and I don’t mean the stuff you find online”. In a very unlike Elliot way, he doesn’t hesitate to ask her to tell him then.

She hands him what looks like clothing designs representative of different forms of art that she has posted online. Inner Elliot believes she has a maze too. Her bug is wanting normalcy while stuck on the outer fringe. Elliot looks them over and is genuinely impressed. Whether from the craftsmanship or the realization that they both share something very real in common. He slowly looks up at her with a glow, a sense of comfort. He asks, “can I kiss you” and before he gets the ‘you’ out from that phrase, she plants one on him.

Inner Elliot: Bugs usually get a bad rap, but sometimes…

Shayla: Don’t let me down, OK?

Inner Elliot: When the bug finally makes itself known, it can be exhilarating. Like you just unlocked something. A grand opportunity, waiting to be taken advantage of.

Outside of Kiss and Fly, Tyrell is recognized by a subordinate employee. Tyrell deflects that he comes to places like this. He even goes so far as to suggest he’s there because the subordinate that noticed him is. Tyrell tells the man that he is beautiful and wants to take the man home. Despite his married status, Tyrell grabs the man’s face by the ears and kisses it.

Elliot, Shayla, Angela and Ollie stand awkwardly outside Gideon’s residence, which might as well look like another club entrance. Harry, Gideon’s boyfriend opens the large sliding metal door.   The ‘dinner party’ is painful. Awkward doesn’t begin to describe it. Gideon asks for Elliot’s help outside with the grill. In part to tell Elliot that he followed up on Elliot’s work. Essentially hacking Elliot on the off-chance he was up to something. While Inner Elliot warns that Gideon wants no part of this hornet’s nest, Gideon apologizes for even considering anything other than Elliot, the hard worker for All Safe. Elliot gives an explanation for not informing Gideon about the .DAT file. He didn’t want to get Gideon’s hopes up. Or at least that’s what he tells Gideon.

Inner Elliot: S***, I’m going to have to let him hug me, aren’t I?

The dinner party from that moment opens up a little and becomes much less awkward. Elliot and Angela share old stories. Inner Elliot embraces the notion of the normal life. Things like dinner parties. Maybe even like it. Then Elliot’s phone vibrates. He quickly stands up and turns on the closest television. More hacks. CTO Terry Colby has been implicated in a previous leak that dates back over twenty years. A leak the correlates to a cover up over a number of leukemia cases. If you’re doing the math this is where the normal life will fade away and the motivation for Elliot to do what he’s compelled to will recommence.

Inner Elliot: My perfect maze, crumbling around me…Mr. Robot finally found my bug.

Flashback sequence. We have to assume that this is an actual flashback between young Elliot and his mother shortly after the death of his father. She is cold to say the least. Elliot asks too many questions. And why should she be sad? It’s a nice evening and she’s enjoying her cigarette.

What follows is a graphic scene between Tyrell and his newest conquest. While the subordinate takes a shower, Tyrell runs a hack app of some sort on his phone.

Angela returns home after not finding Elliot. She apologizes to Ollie for running out like she did, but she also makes it clear that she doesn’t want to talk about it. Ollie kind of barks back that maybe he does. Except what he wants to talk about has little to nothing to do with Elliot. Ollie tells her about Stella B (with text above the pictures claiming what the hacker has already told him). Ollie tries to make this right and her solution is to break up. This transitions into a more practical approach to the problem at hand. Angela quickly discovers that her colossal problem (the hacker having her personal information such as bank accounts as well as her Dad’s) is secondary to Ollie keeping his job. She is secondary to his job. The hacker apparently wants Ollie to infect All Safe with this same disk. After a moment’s pause, Angela reconsiders her break up idea.

Gideon looks over an examination report on f_society. With one specific line of code highlighted. Elliot’s name is at the far end of the form. He makes a call asking to speak to a man named Scott about this particular ‘case’ again.

Tyrell returns home to find his pregnant wife blindfolded and sprawled out on the bed. The is clearly something he is familiar with. They make small talk while he binds her wrists and ankles with red satin straps. She suggests that they need to have dinner with this vetted future CTO before it’s too late. Tyrell, in this moment, doesn’t appear to be the one that wears the pants in that relationship. He reluctantly puts a gag over her mouth. She gladly embraces all of this.

Elliot returns to f_society HQ where no one is working on anything. Everyone slowly stops what they’re doing to gather around him. Mr. Robot standing in the background.

Elliot to the group: Here’s the plan.