In the latest ‘Mr. Robot’ recap, Elliot hacks the FBI but runs into a whole new set of problems and Angela gets much closer with FSociety….
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
Last time we spoke, Elliot was finally back behind a computer on a terminal hacking into the FBI in an attempt to swing their investigation far away from FSociety and more importantly protecting himself and his sister Darlene from being arrested and tossed under a prison for their part in the Five/Nine hack.
The entire season thus far on ‘Mr. Robot’ has been comprised of Elliot attempting to avoid people while sticking to a routine as he tried to rid his mind of the vision of his dead father who has been talking to him — or talking for him — for many, many months. Elliot’s isolation started to break down when he became friendly with fellow basketball enthusiast Ray and it continued when Darlene paid him a visit a week ago to explain how close the authorities were getting to FSociety.
Now Elliot is right back in the thick of things except there’s one small problem — he’s maintaining control and not listening much to the other voice inside his head. The voice of Mr. Robot, who to this point, has largely kept Elliot out of trouble when it comes to law enforcement or just general ass kickings.
Unfortunately, Elliot’s decision making has ended with tragedy more than once in the past and judging by the outcome of his business partnership with Ray this week, it might end that way again.
Meanwhile, Angela is drawn back into the middle of the Five/Nine hack, even if she’s doing so unwillingly, and Dom travels to China where she meets the Minister of State Security, who has a very familiar face.
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of ‘Mr. Robot’ titled “eps2.3_logic-b0mb.hc”…
Back at the Terminal
Picking up where we left off last week, Elliot is typing away at a terminal as he hacks into the android smart phones used by the FBI as he attempts to wipe out any evidence that could link the Five/Nine hack back to FSociety or more importantly back to him and his sister. Elliot’s “routines” through the first four episodes have largely backfired as he attempted to ban himself from getting anywhere near a computer, but the first time his fingers touch the keys, it’s like he’s alive again.
Elliot waxes about this latest hack into the FBI and how in many ways it’s akin to the first hack he ever completed when he was still just a kid as he found a backdoor into the local public library’s mainframe. With each keystroke, Elliot’s eyes are filled with the flickering joy that comes from a system resisting and then relenting to his commands and with each firewall that comes tumbling down, he feels more and more alive.
“I live for this shit. This, the thrill of pwning a system, this is the greatest rush. God access. The feeling never gets old.”
As much as Elliot is enjoying this sudden rush of power again, his hack can’t be completed without tapping into the main database and that can only be accomplished by someone dropping a device near an actual FBI computer. Elliot isn’t sure which options might exist to make that happen, but Darlene knows the only person who could actually get the job done.
As she returns home one day, she finds Darlene sitting on a chair in her plush new apartment typing away on her computer. Darlene was copying some files from the computer into a mini hard drive that she ejected just as Angela arrived home (clearly there’s more to that story that we’ll find out about later).
Angela isn’t very happy to see her old childhood friend, especially after disappearing on her for the past five weeks since the hack was executed and Evil Corp was thrown into upheaval. Darlene explains that Angela needs to help them drop this bug into the FBI system at the station they have set up inside the Evil Corp headquarters or else Elliot will be in serious trouble. Angela isn’t exactly on board with the idea until Darlene drops one more vital piece of information on her.
The FBI digging into the FSociety hack will not only lead back to Elliot and Darlene, but it will also eventually spider-web back to the CD that was loaded into the All-Safe systems that helped launch the attack in the first place. Remember — the CD that Angela loaded into her ex-boyfriend’s computer and that could easily be traced back to her if the FBI does enough investigating.
Angela’s still not on board and when Elliot hears about this, he’s livid that Darlene would even suggest such a tactic. Unfortunately as much as Elliot doesn’t want her involved, Darlene (and Mr. Robot) note that Angela might be the only person capable of dropping this bug into the FBI headquarters and otherwise his plans to complete the hack and disappear all evidence would be dead on arrival.
Just Because You’re Paranoid Doesn’t Mean They Aren’t After You
The most subtle yet most effective performance this season should probably go to Stephanie Corneliussen in her portrayal of Joanna Wellick, who is left reeling after the loss of her husband Tyrell while still executing her plans with cold, calculating precision. This week was probably her best yet as Joanna met with Kareem — the parking lot attendant who hovered over Tyrell’s SUV while Elliot slept three days of his life away after the Five/Nine hack was executed.
For the past five weeks after the hack was executed, Joanna has been paying Kareem to keep quiet but as the questions start coming at him more and more, his lips are starting to get looser and looser. Add to that, Kareem’s own paranoia has him hearing clicks and buzzing sounds whenever he’s on the phone, which leads him to believe he’s being followed and monitored with every conversation he has these days.
So rather than keep Kareem on the payroll, Joanna decides it’s probably easier just to take his salary off the books — permanently.
She sends her personal man servant Mr. Sutherland to kill Kareem, but rather than just busting through the front door with a gun firing off rounds at his head, Joanna instead has him inject the parking lot attendant with a paralyzing agent while he makes it appear as if a robbery has occurred in his apartment.
With Kareem unable to more or speak, Joanna’s hitman finally puts a bullet in his chest and another in his head before vacating the apartment. When he asks his boss why she bothered with the theatrics to paralyze him first before killing him, her icy response was a brilliant yet sociopathic examination of this woman’s psyche.
“Killing a man instantly robs him of explanation. He has no time to process his final moments. Now even though he was paralyzed, his mind was still able to understand why his life was ending. We let him die with answers. Otherwise, we’re nothing but ruthless murderers.”
Her explanation aside, Joanna is ruthless, especially in the face of an employee potentially outing any part of grand scheme, even if we don’t know what that is right now.
The brilliance of the performance this week was the totality of her storyline as Joanna then showed real vulnerability after receiving a package with no return address that simply contained a baby rattle for the child she’s been taking care of by herself ever since Tyrell disappeared.
Joanna clearly believes this present is from her wayward husband and when the mysterious phone she received a couple of weeks back starts ringing, she’s convinced that she’ll finally hear his voice on the other end. Instead, Joanna just hears silence until an ambulance siren wails in the background — the same sound she hears from just outside her front door.
Joanna rushes outside to see if she can find the mysterious caller — or even better if it’s actually her husband somewhere nearby — but when she opens the door, she only sees the ambulance tearing off in the night and not a single person anywhere around.
Vulnerability is like a cancer to Joanna Wellick and Tyrell’s disappearance along with her own desperation to find him has left her malignant from head to toe.
The Minister of State Security
Dom DiPierro’s investigation into the Five/Nine hack has really started to bear fruit lately after she discovered the arcade where FSociety was founded after tracking information from Romero’s home following his assassination. Now Dom is digging into the climate control hack at Steel Mountain where another piece of the puzzle starts to come together in the intricate plot that was FSociety crashing and burning Evil Corp from the inside out.
The trip to Steel Mountain — now called Steel Valley because the hack virtually destroyed the entire business — yields some interesting information but the road from there is going to lead to China, where the FBI will be forced to travel next to follow the chain of this infamous hack as they get closer and closer to the source of the infection.
When Dom and the cavalcade of FBI agents land in China they are greeted by the Minister of State Security Mr. Jung — who is actually White Rose from the Dark Army! Mind blown? Ours, too.
It seems White Rose is not only the leader of the malevolent group of hackers known throughout the world as the Dark Army as well as the secret confidant of Philip Price, CEO of Evil Corp, but he’s also a wealthy and powerful government agent in China.
Upon sitting down with the FBI, White Rose willingly gives them access to all the databases in China they need to conduct their investigation and even an over anxious request from Dom to read their files about the Dark Army yields a yes from the high ranking security official. Of course, Dom’s request doesn’t go unnoticed because the next day at a party at White Rose’s plush estate, he takes a very special interest in the FBI agent.
A tour around his house helps Dom drop her guard around White Rose, although she’s still somewhat suspicious about his motives. Still her curiosity is nothing more than passing fancy — like for instance when he shows off a lovely dress collection that he claims belongs to his sister, except Dom knows he doesn’t have a sister. Still, it’s just curiosity and not the kind of red flag that has her believing the Minister of State Security is hiding anything malicious that the FBI would use to hunt down and stop FSociety. At the same time it seems White Rose let down his guard if only for a moment and gave Dom a brief look into the duality of character he’s been battling with ever since he first appeared on our TV screens a season ago.
Of course, Dom’s opinion about White Rose might change after she arrives at work in Beijing the next morning and a pair of machine gun wielding hitmen storm the building and kill all the FBI agents along for the trip. The entire scene is shown through Dom’s eyes as she’s able to get the drop on one of the gunmen, who actually ends up killing himself rather than be captured. The rest of the agents are gunned down and only Dom is left alive — and now she knows for a fact that the investigation she’s conducting is dangerously close to the truth.
You Shouldn’t Look In There
As much as Angela wants nothing to do with Darlene’s crusade to hack into the FBI mainframe, her hand is forced after meeting up with her ex-boyfriend/douche dejour, Ollie, who is seriously the most stereotypical bro on television this side of an over bronzed “Jersey Shore” outcast. After ordering up a pair of delicious Bud Light’s for the pair, Ollie starts reminiscing about his relationship with Angela before ham-fisting his way into mentioning the CD that was loaded into an All-Safe computer ahead of the Five/Nine hack.
One look at Ollie’s overturned phone tells Angela everything she needs to know as she confronts her ex and gets him to confess that he’s already been talking to the FBI. While he denies naming her in regards to any involvement in the All-Safe portion of the hack, Angela knows it’s just a matter of time before he sells her out to save his own ass.
So Angela goes to see Elliot where she’s forced to convince him that her involvement in this plot is the only way both of them will eventually be safe. Elliot attempts to repair some of the bridge that was burned with Angela after she helped him discover that the person he knew as Mr. Robot was really just a vision of his own dead father dancing in his head. Elliot even admits that throughout this entire conversation, Mr. Robot has been standing right behind her listening to every word.
With Angela on board, she takes a trio of cab rides, a subway and a long walk to get to the hacked smart house where FSociety currently calls home and she meets with Darlene to go over the plan. Angela has always been on the outside not exactly trying to look in — except now she’s inside FSociety with a plan to help hack the FBI to clear her own name.
Before Angela can plant the device inside FBI headquarters at Evil Corp, Elliot needs to finish his plan and that also involves helping his friend Ray with the site migration that he’s been asked to complete.
The task is simple enough but Ray’s insistence about not digging too deep into his website has Elliot curious about what might be inside. So Elliot insists on help from the former IT person in charge — remember the guy who Ray savagely beat a couple of episodes back — and that’s when he finds out what’s really going on.
Ray’s website is a backdoor into an illegal Craigslist of sorts where everything from guns, drugs and even sex trafficking are doled out on the internet. AR-15’s are ordered one page away from a girl who was kidnapped from Thailand and being sold on the open market. Elliot’s horror is realized in that moment because part of the work he’s always done as a hacker is to keep people like this off the web. From the very first time we meet Elliot, he’s a cyber-superhero tasked with bringing down the bad guys — and now he’s working for someone peddling pure evil.
Elliot: “Ray is protective, kind. Ray is dangerous, a criminal. Are those his two halves? Which side of him is stronger? Is he sinister enough to host…”
Mr. Robot: “Stop figuring this out.”
Elliot’s own curiosity is getting the best of him and Mr. Robot tries to warn him that this situation will only get him into trouble and he’s got enough of that floating around for three lifetimes. Remember, Elliot is using this same terminal to hack into the FBI and while his best intentions might be to bring Ray down for his crimes, the bigger problem is protecting himself, his sister, Angela and all of FSociety from being tracked down for committing the biggest hack in United States history.
Unfortunately, Mr. Robot’s warnings come too late when Elliot finds himself pulled out of bed and taken outside later that night by a pair of thugs, who then reveal their boss Ray put them up to it.
“I told you not to look”
Ray told Elliot on the day he started the job not to look too deep but he just didn’t listen. Now Elliot is on the wrong end of a savage beating of his own — and this is exactly what Mr. Robot warned him about.
Elliot wants to save the world but at some point he might just have to figure out a way to save himself first.
Mr. Robot returns next Wednesday night for a brand new episode on USA Network at 10pm ET.