Synopsis: Elliot hallucinates, Angela confronts the patriarchy while hacking the FBI, Darlene wears a wig. Also, it’s the ’90s?
Mr. Robot pulls zero punches this week, as it deals with Elliot’s severe beating at the hands of Ray’s henchmen, and fsociety is forced to majorly move up their timetable on hacking the FBI, since they’re about to vacate the E Corp building, given the attack in China.
Santiago wants to put Dom on a month of psych leave after what happened, but she insists that the case will fall apart if she takes that much time off. Santiago believes the popular theory that some radical separatists were behind the attack, and claims that the Dark Army are hackers, not killers or terrorists.
Dom disagrees. She angrily points out that the attack just happened to occur in a hotel full of FBI agents, right after the meeting in which she demanded information on the Dark Army, and that the shooters killed only the FBI agents in the lobby, and then themselves, even though Dom was still alive.
She posits that political separatists would not have shot themselves so abruptly, and would have been out to cause much more damage. At is stands, the attack has successfully brought the investigation to a screeching halt, which benefits only the Dark Army.
Elsewhere, Darlene, Mobley, and Trenton are attempting to teach Angela enough coding skills to execute their malware on the femtocell in the FBI office. She’s struggling to pick it up fast enough, knowing little about hacking, and everyone is worried, but they have no choice.
There’s an incredible, extraordinarily long shot in which Angela walks out of the elevator, through the entire FBI office, into the bathroom and into the last stall. We watch her through the door as she executes the script, and follow her back outside where she has a conversation with a creepy rookie agent looking for a date. She artfully deflects and makes her way to the right terminal – all in a single take.
I watched it three times.
All’s not well that ends well though – as Angela is leaving, the WiFi connection fails. Darlene talks Angela through fixing it over the phone at her cubicle, but before they finish, Dom appears with some questions for Angela, forcing her to abandon the task, or reveal what she’s doing. It was straight-up suspenseful.
Elliot, for his part, has been trapped in a dark and bizarre ’90s sitcom, complete with laugh track, Alf, and fake backdrops. The plot of this sitcom episode appears to be the Alderson family on their annual roadtrip. Which involves cheerfully robbing convenience stores, hitting each other, and driving around with Tyrell Wellick bound and gagged in the trunk.
Elliot knows the sitcom isn’t real, and repeatedly asks Mr. Robot what the hell is going on. Mr Robot finally acknowledges that sometimes lies are better than the truth. Elliot takes this to mean that Mr. Robot has finally taken over for good, and his mind is no longer his own. Mr. Robot tells him that he hasn’t taken over completely, he only did it temporarily to protect Elliot from the pain of his reality: being beaten within an inch of his life by Ray’s guys.
When we snap back to reality after the extended opening sequence, Elliot is in the hospital, surrounded by Ray and his two buddies. He’s in bad shape, and Ray tells him that it’s only going to get worse, because now that he’s seen Ray’s business, they can’t let him go.
This is the first we’ve seen of truly Evil Ray. When we first meet him, he seems like a nice enough dude, and even when we realize he’s into some shady stuff, he still seems like an okay guy. He’s not. He has his goons toss Elliot into his basement, still bleeding and half-suffocated.
Mr. Robot appears, sympathetically telling Elliot that the whole point of the idyllic sitcom world was to protect him. In a shocking twist, Elliot struggles to his feet, and hugs Mr. Robot, tears streaming down his face. Despite everything, Elliot is scared. And just wants his dad.
It’s an ironic turn of events, but given Elliot’s current situation, his captivity by Ray is worse than his captivity by Mr. Robot. In fact, if he wants to get out of this, letting Mr. Robot run the show may be his only option.