Michael Gill

All posts tagged Michael Gill

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.

Elliot Alderson Is Tyler Durden-Fight Club Font

Images Courtesy of USA Network and 20th Century FOX

Let’s clear up a couple of things before I even get started. This theory has not been confirmed by anyone associated with Mr. Robot or USA Network. This is just a theory that has been floated by viewers after the conclusion of episode 2. For the uninitiated, Tyler Durden is the brilliant character portrayed by Brad Pitt in the movie, “Fight Club”. If you have not seen Fight Club and have it on your to-do list, I strongly suggest you heed the SPOILER ALERT warning here.

Warning: Spoiler Alert

On the surface, an argument can be made between Mr. Robot and Fight Club being similar as they both deal with the notion of taking down the national financial system. As a way of liberating the American people from the shackles of debt. The idea that we are slaves to our own need for material things and the control those institutions have over us. Mr. Robot takes that notion a step further by introducing the dependency we have on social media and technology in general. The large bottom line being that we really don’t NEED either one. But both serve as a means to control us.

Tyler Durden has a very real anger toward this dependency society has forced. As if he’s the only sane person walking amongst a world of lemmings. Droves of people living a miserable existence that comes with the pursuit of possessions. Such an anger towards it that it propels him to take things way beyond the typical level of his own anger. Instead, he mounts a movement to do something about it. Disregarding the consequences or even those who may be hurt in the process. This is a war worth winning at almost any cost.

Tyler Durden: I see all this potential, and I see squandering. An entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.

The ballad of Elliot Alderson is not all that different. From the very beginning, Elliot loathes ‘society’. The small difference is that Elliot does not discern the difference between possessions and society. Elliot sees all of it as the devil on your shoulder. From the jobs we work, to make the money, that affords us the ability to buy the things we don’t need. If that was where it ended, it would be a much clearer parallel. Elliot takes it a few steps further. Including social media, the celebrities we view as heroes despite evidence to the contrary, the time and energy we spend on our technical devices cluttering each other with benign information that doesn’t improve our lives, and so on.

Elliot Alderson: Is it that we collectively thought Steve Jobs was a great man, even when we knew he made billions off the backs of children? Or maybe it’s that it feels like all our heroes are counterfeit. the world itself is just a big hoax. Spamming with our running commentary of bullshit masquerading as insight, our social media faking as intimacy. Or is it that we voted for this? Not with our rigged elections, but with our things, our property, our money. I’m not saying anything new. We all know why we do this, not because Hunger Games books make us happy but because we wanna be sedated. Because it’s painful not to pretend, because we’re cowards. F society.

Now one small difference is how Elliot perceives himself as a relative Robin Hood. In some small measure taking down people electronically who deserve to be taken down for the betterment of those they influence. Whereas Durden, almost from the beginning has his focus set on a massive overthrowing of the system. In some way, Elliot sees himself as just a guy trying to do what he can to make things better. That is until the end of the pilot episode when we hear him think:

Elliot: Sometimes I dream about saving the world. Saving everyone from the invisible hand.

Another striking difference between the two characters is the sympathetic nature (or not) of those two characters. From the very first moment, Elliot Alderson is very much a sympathetic character. You the viewer, may not suffer from social disorders. Don’t have an addiction to a substance used to take the edge off of depression. Maybe you don’t work for a company that embodies that thing you hate most in the world. But everyone can relate on some level to his pain, his frustration, and his desire to make things better, especially for those who you care about.

Conversely, Tyler Durden is not a sympathetic character. He is a cool character, but not a sympathetic one. Almost everything he does is abrasive. While the reason makes sense to most, the means do not. Most of us wouldn’t insert pornographic frames into a kids movie for the fun of it. We would bomb buildings or infiltrate a fundraiser to make a point. There is almost nothing about Durden’s actions that embody anything the average viewer would ever consider doing. And that, is the point. That’s what makes his character what it is. He is willing to step over lines that we are not. Again, Tyler Durden is a cool character. Enjoyable to watch. But he is not a sympathetic character.

Now in order to tie those two together we have to make some assumptions about Elliot and his character development that we may not see for a few episodes. The elephant in the room is obvious. From what you know of Elliot to this point, vs. what Mr. Robot wants to do, how far is Elliot willing to go? He’s already stated that he won’t kill anyone. If push comes to shove, would he stand firm on that conviction or would he eventually transition into believing in the sense of the greater good? We’ll get back to that shortly.

So far, this entire theory is built on conceptual parallels. For anyone who saw this parallel before reading this article, its clear we need to observe the visual evidence. Fight Club is able to show Tyler Durden interacting with the protagonist in the real world. Or so we thought. The beauty of Fight Club comes at the end. The conclusion to the movie illustrates very clearly that despite what you thought for the previous two hours, Tyler Durden is not real. Tyler Durden was never in any of the scenes we thought he was. Tyler Durden is a figment of the protagonist’s imagination. The alter ego that lies dormant in the Narrator’s mind. The person he wishes he could be.

Here’s where Mr. Robot comes into the equation. In Fight Club we have the Narrator and Tyler Durden. In USA Network’s “Mr. Robot” we have three participants. Mr. Robot (Christian Slater), Elliot Alderson, and what I have dubbed “Inner” Elliot Alderson. Mr. Robot the character seems just as real as Tyler Durden did. We see Mr. Robot talking to Elliot on the train. At the abandoned store in Coney Island. On the Ferris Wheel. Sitting on the pier. We even see him in the promo for episode three at the All Safe offices. But ask yourself this very simple question. Has anyone other than Elliot acknowledged Mr. Robot’s existence? Every time they speak, no one else is in the shot. And if they are in the shot, they don’t acknowledge Mr. Robot. Believe me, I went back and re-watched specifically for this. At no point does anyone ask Mr. Robot a direct question, move out of his way, call him by any name at all. In this sense Mr. Robot is the Tyler Durden of this analogy.

Now to further complicate the analogy. Before we even really get to know Mr. Robot, we are firmly introduced to “Inner” Elliot. Elliot talks to him repeatedly. This isn’t an inner monologue. This is Elliot talking to himself as if Inner Elliot is going to respond. Things like, “Are you seeing this?” and “You’re in this too, time to start doing your part.” There is a sense by the end of the second episode that Inner Elliot is the take action part of Elliot’s personality that the real him wishes he were. Inner Elliot is what decided that Ron of Ron’s Coffee, Michael Hanson, and Fernando Vega had to be taken down. So in this case, Inner Elliot is the Tyler Durden of the analogy.

With these lines drawn between characters and show vs. movie, that leaves us with the final and most telling question. And if you are following this logic, you have already answered the question. Is Elliot Alderson actually Mr. Robot? Elliot and Inner Elliot can be halves of the same whole. But then where does that leave Mr. Robot? If he doesn’t actually exist in reality he has to exist somewhere. Insert the late nights and drug cocktail that real Elliot uses to keep his balance of sanity. In the opening scene Elliot admits that he is a tech for a cyber security firm by day and a hacker vigilante by night. It is plausible that Elliot is the tech and Inner Elliot is the hacker vigilante. Two halves of the same whole. Leading us to conclude that Inner Elliot has not only conjured Mr. Robot out of Elliot’s subconscious, but also did all of the leg work to make it real.

Inner Elliot would have the where with all to find the old abandoned store front. Find the hackers. Test the hackers. Create a plan for taking down Evil Corp. And keep all of it secretive enough that the real Elliot would not find any mention of it anywhere. It is possible that with the drug use and the social disorders, that Inner Elliot could have been doing all of this under Elliot’s nose. So to speak. Then there is the relative possibility that unbeknownst to Elliot, he actually suffers from split personality disorder as well. As portrayed in the film, Primal Fear (also an Edward Norton performance), when the secondary personality takes over, the primary personality is completely unaware.

The conclusion here being, if Tyler Durden is a manifestation of what Edward Norton’s character wishes he were, then Inner Elliot is a manifestation of the hacker Elliot wants to be and to facilitate the process, Inner Elliot created the manifestation of Mr. Robot. Mr. Robot essentially becomes Charon (or Kharon). In Greek mythology, Charon is the ferryman for Hades. Thus, Mr. Robot was created to ferry the real Elliot away from his feeble and unimportant existence over to the one embodied by the Inner Elliot.

Elliot Alderson, Inner Elliot, Mr. Robot are all the same person. Thus, Elliot Alderson is Tyler Durden.

 

Courtesy of USA Network

Courtesy of USA Network

Warning: Spoiler Alert

“I’d like to offer you a position, here at Evil Corp”.

The one line that I’m sure Elliot was not expecting to hear when he was all but dragged into this high-rise. The otherwise alluring prospect of being a multi-millionaire inside of the next five years may not have the power that these executives think it will. Elliot doesn’t shut him down immediately, but his request to think it over prompts the head of the table to empty the room. He continues to give Elliot the hard sell. Including invading Elliot’s very valuable personal space. Despite the hard sell, Elliot decides to stay where he is. Even if Evil Corp plans to consolidate its security vendors, ultimately forcing All Safe to close its doors.

On his way home, Elliot runs into Shayla who is having her own work related issues. Elliot tries to score more morphine but she has run out of the right batch. And almost stands firm in not giving him the wrong stuff. Elliot is insistent in his own way despite the promise she made.

After a few lines of morphine, Elliot and his inner self need to get to work hacking Tyrell Wellick. Which as it turns out was simple. Perhaps too simple. Just the notion that Wellick wanted Elliot to hack him prompts Elliot to wipe everything. For the computer advanced this scene in particular should be very satisfying. Elliot is doing everything the right way. Microwaving memory cards drilling holes in hardware, the whole shebang.

At All Safe, everyone eyeballs Elliot as if they know of his secret meeting. Elliot sits down with Gideon who wants to give him a raise for saving the company. Nothing huge, just a gesture. One that Elliot is still reluctant to take. Gideon pries about the DAT file which is curious enough. Then Gideon references the hackers by name.

Gideon: Regardless, I need you to stay on it. Now more than ever. I mean, who knows what these f_society hackers are going to do next.
Elliot: What did you just say?
Gideon: The ones that were working with Colby.

Gideon enjoys the rare moment of being ahead of Elliot. f_society is threatening to dump terabytes of information if Colby isn’t released. There’s even a video. Even refers Colby as their ‘leader’. Their threat comes with demands.

1) Release “our leader” Terry Colby
2)Release all of the people of the world from your prisons of debt
3) Dissolve your corporation and donate all of your assets to charities around the world

Amidst the haze of this new information that in no way lines up with what Elliot was told, he runs into Angela and Ollie. Not paying much attention, he lets Ollie ramble. Right about the time Ollie suggests they take advantage of a groupon at Morton’s Steakhouse, Elliot notices men in black suits. Then Elliot does something he would ordinarily never do. Agree to hang out. In public. With Ollie…and I guess Angela too. And just like that Elliot is gone.

Elliot arrives at home. While Elliot tries to convince Elliot that he needs to sever ties with f_society, he notices the Flipper is whimpering and the shower is running. The lady in the shower is not Shayla which was the only thing that made sense. It is instead, Darlene. The woman outside the old f_society work tank that wanted the access to the root kit. They walk through a subway station and she abruptly forces him into a subway car. As it departs the station, two men in black are left outside the car.

Inner Elliot: Did she see them too?

Inner Elliot is essentially freaking out over the myriad of what ifs. What if Tyrell finds out. Would Gideon understand if he came lean? Is he about to walk into a trap and end up dead? Inside, f_society is back up and running and Elliot is welcomed this time to a relative standing ovation.

Next on the list is to blow up a natural gas plant near Albany, NY. Which just so happens to be strategically located next to Steel Mountain. Steel Mountain is the offsite and data storage location for every corporation on the S&P. Mr. Robot is nowhere near as concerned about Tyrell Wellick as Elliot is. The “Colby is our Leader” thing was a red herring. Something to keep the attention off of the actual f_society.

Elliot’s task is to use his All Safe security clearance to hack into the plant to cause an explosion. This explosion would take out Steel Mountain. When the concern of civilian casualties comes up, Mr. Robot shrugs it off. “Sound some alarms. Give ’em a head start”. The other slightly surprising news is the Elliot is the first of the team to hear this plan. I imagine tugging on that part of the brain that doesn’t allow for good. There feels like there is more afoot. Is Elliot being set up to be the fall guy?

Along with Elliot, this team and Mr. Robot we discover that the members involved reach much further. Even a rogue group called the Dark Army. A hacker group of mercenaries who apparently have no code of ethics. Like selling arms to both sides of the war, so to speak.

Elliot: I’m not killing anyone. (starts to walk away)
Mr. Robot: Tell me one thing Elliot, are a one or a zero? That’s the question you have to ask yourself? Are you a yes or a no? You gonna act, or not?
Elliot: You’ve been staring at a computer screen for way too long homie. Life’s not that binary.
Mr. Robot: ISN’T IT? Sure there are greys. But at its core, for every choice, there is a one or a zero. You either do something or you don’t.

Mr. Robot moves right passed the imprisonment of Terry Colby. Even passed the revolution. This is about Elliot having a chance to do something after he couldn’t. This is about Elliot’s father. Pulling the dead father card, not exactly the most tactful move. Ultimately Elliot storms out confirming, at the moment, that he’s a zero. Darlene, who is smoking outside, gives him the business. Even insinuates that he’s involved even if he’s not involved.

Inside Shayla’s apartment, Elliot doesn’t notice the blonde guy smoking something out of a glass pipe in the corner. This would be awkward for normal people, but this is a social nightmare for Elliot. This ‘guy’ is Shayla’s supplier. And a grade A p.o.s. Elliot has long since hacked him. It would be easy to take him down. Much easier than Ron and his coffee shops. But, cut of Shayla’s supplier, and no more drugs for Elliot.

The one-sided conversation between Elliot and Fernando is painfully awkward. Maybe it’s because Fernando is high and Elliot doesn’t care. Maybe it’s because Fernando is one of the those peculiar people who has convinced himself that he is more important and more intelligent than he actually is. Or maybe it’s because on some level, Elliot cares about Shayla and isn’t positive she’s alive on the other side of that locked bathroom door.

Eventually, Fernando leaves allowing Elliot to pick the lock. Only to find Shayla’s been beaten and appears to be unconscious. She wakes slowly. She feels the bruised and bloody part of her head just behind the temple and asks, “why am I in the tub?”

Elliot desperately wants to get her out of this situation. She resists. He even offers to find the pills somewhere else, but it doesn’t matter. She needs the money. There it is again. The invisible hand at work. She makes him promise not to turn Fernando in, then asks if Elliot will sleep there tonight. He agrees. Maybe Mr. Robot was right. Life comes down to a series of yes’s and no’s. It seems pretty evident that Fernando has groped Shayla before. But now he’s graduated to rape.

Inner Elliot: Just like Shayla, he’s given me no choice. He can’t be allowed to exist anymore.

Elliot meets with his therapist. She starts differently this time. He actually opens up to how he’s feeling. Then begins to put his perspective of the world in a this or that context. Yes’s and no’s. Ones and zeros. While we listen to this diatribe, we see Elliot at work uploading his Fernando hack in .zip form to the NY Police’s report a crime website. Then, still discussing the lack of control, Elliot walks back home to find Fernando and his goons handcuffed on the sidewalk. This is the part where, unbeknownst to his therapist, he brings it back around the f_society and the apathetic approach of doing nothing that he should’ve taken. Like his father did.

She continues on with her blindly optimistic therapist approach. “I can’t help you if you keep me in the dark”. Going on and on about the parallels between what Elliot is going through and what his father went through and trying to find a connection. Then Elliot, again, does something unexpected.

Elliot: SHUT UP! SHUT UP!

Kristin keeps pushing forward. Recognizing symptoms of previous problem areas and demands to know what’s going on. Next we find Elliot at home copying the Fernando files in order to delete them from his computer. Angela calls but Elliot doesn’t answer. This is supposed to be their double date night. While Angela is sincerely concerned about Elliot, Ollie checks his email and finds a solicitation from Stella B. He replies that he’ll try. Angela wants to drop in on Elliot to check on him. Thus, giving Ollie an opening for Stella B.

Earlier in this episode, my apologies for leaving this out, a guy is peddling his new CD outside All Safe. Eventually, Ollie accepts it. He tries putting it in the drive of his computer, but it just freezes the computer. After Ollie leaves, we find that same guy has just gained access to Ollie’s computer. Up to and including the webcam, directed at Angela in the bathroom. He types a series of lines in what looks like Chinese. Then the close captioning translation shows, “we’re in”.

Elliot finds Mr. Robot in Coney Island, but not at HQ. Mr. Robot is steadfast in his reluctance to let Elliot back in after walking away. Even if he has a real plan that won’t involve blowing anything up. There is a price to pay to come back. That price, is opening up about his father.

He tells the story you expect he would. They were extremely close. Best friends. Then he told Elliot he had Leukemia shortly after being fired from Evil Corp. Elliot promised to not tell anyone including his mom. Eventually it got so bad, that Elliot cracked and told him mom. This infuriated his father. Elliot went in for a hug, to say he was sorry. His father pushed back hard enough that Elliot flew out of the window breaking his arm. They never spoke again. Even on the night he died, he would not even look at Elliot.

The story was interesting enough. When it was over and Elliot asked if they were ‘good’, Mr. Robot extends his arm and gently strokes Elliot’s shoulder. Something that would normally prompt Elliot to cower away, didn’t this time. He relates to Elliot on loss. Then Mr. Robot asks if he thought maybe his father was right. Elliot replies that he was only trying to help. Then Mr. Robot comes back with, “by betraying his trust?” Elliot begins to explain how he was only eight years old, then Mr. Robot pushes him off the hand rail they were sitting on some 20-30 feet to sandy beach of trash below.