Synopsis: Elliot, Angela, and Darlene must each decide how far they’re willing to go to keep their plans in motion, and stay ahead of the FBI. The FBI goes to China to investigate five/nine, and Dom gets some unexpected attention from Whiterose.
Everyone is officially in over their heads. They were getting pretty close before, but now it’s official. Elliot spends an extended opening sequence narrating his intention of hacking the FBI. In an extremely detailed and realistic bit of voiceover, he explains exactly how he’s going to write and deploy malware, to grant himself access to the standard Android phones all FBI agents apparently use, in order wipe out any and all information about the hack, and protect himself and his friends. He comments that it’s not unlike his first big hack, getting into the system at the public library when he was eleven years old.
Everything’s in order then, except that someone needs to put the malware on the floor of Evil Corp where the FBI is currently stationed, to get the hack started. Darlene, Elliot, and the rest of fsociety are wanted, they can’t show their faces there. Knowing this leaves only one option, and Darlene asks Angela to do it.
She refuses. Darlene laments this to Elliot, who insists that Angela should not be involved at all. Angela agrees with this assessment, until, prompted by Darlene, she reaches out to her ex-boyfriend Ollie – the only one that knows about the CD from Allsafe.
Ollie seems uncharacteristically flustered, and overly pleased to see Angela. He even asks her for a job, and reminiscences about old times. Angela, being not an idiot, realizes that’s he’s been recording the conversation on his phone for the FBI. He claims he hasn’t mentioned her name to them yet, but he’s terrified of getting busted for starting the hack. She drops his phone in his beer and takes off.
The sequence between her and Elliot is heartwarming, in a dark sort of way. She asks why he’s essentially dropped out of her life, and he admits that he didn’t want her to have to see him until he was “better” – and Mr. Robot was gone for good. He described to her, straight-up, that his dead father is standing in the room – more direct than he’s been about it, even with the audience. She promises to be friend, no matter what. He genuinely seems to appreciate this.
Speaking of the FBI, Dom and her team head to China, to tour the hacked backup servers from Steel Mountain. They meet the Minister of State Security, who turns out to be none other than Whiterose herself, dressed as the perfect dapper gentleman, and going by the name Zhi Zhang.
Zhi and Dom share a moment in a room full of clocks, where they agree about the selfish brutality of humans and the desire to do more with their lives while they still can. Zhi quotes Shakespeare, waxes poetic about the fleeting nature of time, and shows Dom all of Whiterose’s vintage dresses, claiming they belong to his sister, before ushering her out of the room suddenly, when all the clocks strike midnight at once, minus one that doesn’t appear to work. Dom says her family had one just like it when she was a child.
She also says a lot of other things that don’t quite ring true? I believe the intent and emotions behind her words, but the whole party sequence left me with the distinct impression that she was deliberately characterizing herself a certain way in front of Zhi.
The next morning, Dom mentions to Chloe that Zhi doesn’t actually have a sister, moments before the room explodes in gunfire. Miraculously, Dom is the only one to escape a bullet, and she manages to take out one of the gunmen, but the other is still somewhere in the building.
All of this comes on the heels of an awkward meeting where Zhi insists that the Steel Mountain servers weren’t hacked by raspberry pi like in the states, but degaussed with an enormous magnet. Dom doesn’t seem to buy this, and asks for any intelligence Zhi/Whiterose has pertaining to the Dark Army. Zhi is clearly annoyed, but agrees to comply.
Back at the ranch, Elliot is still trying to migrate Ray’s mysterious website for him, as a cover for using the terminal to hack the FBI. He claims he needs to talk to RT, the previous IT guy, for access to one of the databases. Ray agrees, and a severely beaten RT shows up to help.
Elliot realizes immediately that the guy is definitely skilled enough to do what needs doing, and asks him by way of a surreptitious Notepad window, what the hell is going on, and why he claimed he couldn’t do it. RT tries to shut him down, but ultimate gives him a private link to Ray’s website.
It turns out to be a massive e-commerce black market, trading in drugs, weapons, murder for hire, and underage girls. Horrified, Elliot wants to shut the whole thing down, but Mr. Robot screams that it’s none of their business what Ray is doing.
Elliot won’t let it go though, and when he casually mentions it to Ray, Ray acts like he didn’t know for sure what was happening on the website – that he’d intentionally turned a blind eye and stopped asking questions to make a living. Everything seems to be simmering down, until Elliot is yanked out of bed by Ray and his henchmen who drop RT’s separated scalp on the ground, before proceeding to beat the ever-loving shit out of Elliot. The only thing Ray has to say about it is, “I told you not to look.”