Mr. Robot: h1dden-pr0cess.axx Recap

Synopsis: Elliot starts to wonder if Mr. Robot has been lying to him. Darlene tries to do the right thing, while Dom and FBI get closer to discovering the truth.

Rating:

Everything is bullets, neon lights, and NYC at night this week. After discovering Vincent half-dead on the couch at the smart house, Cisco brings him back to Darlene, who is prepared to simply let him die, rather than risk exposing fsociety. Cisco convinces her that she’ll never forgive herself, not when it’s her friend, and she relents. They take him to the hospital, and decide to wait out his prognosis at a nearby diner.

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Meanwhile, Dom gets calls to the smart house to investigate Susan’s whereabouts, as she is now considered missing. Dom doesn’t understand what that has to do with her case, until one of the agents there tells her that a man seen fleeing the smart house matches the description of a suspect in Dom’s case – a man that looks an awful lot like Cisco. She takes this news to Santiago, who tells her they’re going to use the media to catch Cisco by putting out a BOLO.

She warns him against it, saying that he’ll be killed by the Dark Army before they can find him if his face is out there, but Santiago, as usual, condescendingly believes she’s overreacting. In the end it does help though, as the newscast with Cisco’s sketch reaches the hospital, where the doctor Cisco and Darlene spoke to recognizes him and calls the police.

There’s a dramatic sequence where Dom is at the hospital, and slowly discovers Cisco and Darlene don’t know about the BOLO, and must be nearby. She runs through the streets during a brownout looking for them, and finds them at the diner. We watch in silence (and in an impressive orchestra of a long take), from across the street as she runs into the diner and confronts them. They all seem agitated, but before anything happens, two people on a motorcycle pull up.

One gets off the bike and open fires into the diner with a semi automatic, but Dom tags them with a bullet, and they run back to their friend on the bike. But they can’t run fast enough and cop cars are already pulling up, and their friend on the bike leaves them behind. Rude.

In a disturbingly relevant and topical moment, the shooter, who is already badly wounded and has put the gun down, is shot instantaneously through the back of the head by a cop who hasn’t said a word, or even made it all the way out of his car yet. Dom runs into view, covered in blood. And that’s the last we see. Cisco and Darlene are both likely dead, and if they’re not, they’ve still been caught by the FBI. And with the third party shooter dead, there’s no telling who it was or what they wanted.

For the record, at least one of them – probably Darlene –  is likely alive, since the story needs to progress, but there’s absolutely no way anyone sitting where they were in relation to the shooter doesn’t have a bullet in them. It’s just science.

Elsewhere, we are slowly piecing together – really, really slowly – why Joanna believes Elliot to be the Ollie Parker from Dom’s case. After being picked up by Joanna’s goon on his way home, Elliot and Mr. Robot find themselves confronted, and deeply unsettled by her. She claims to believe that Tyrell is still alive, and she wants Elliot to track the number he’s been supposedly calling her on. He tries to refuse, knowing that Tyrell really is dead, but she insists and he relents… for some reason.

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He stops at the store on the way home to pick up more gear, and receives a call on the phone Joanna gave him. Shockingly, he also believes the breathing is Tyrell’s, and in the midst of his freakout, Mr. Robot disappears. And doesn’t reappear again for the rest of the episode.

It’s fitting, narratively, for Mr. Robot to vanish when Elliot could really use him, given that Elliot has otherwise spent the entire show going to extreme lengths to rid himself of Mr. Robot. Back in his apartment, while tracing the phone calls, it occurs to Elliot that Mr. Robot has been insisting on coming home, even knowing it probably wasn’t safe. Elliot wonders, to the audience, what’s there that Mr. Robot wanted so badly.

There’s even an amazing shot all around the apartment – as if from a children’s show – where Elliot asks us what Mr. Robot could have been looking for, and if we see anything. (I didn’t). He traces the phone number to an address, but when he tells Joanna’s henchman, the man insists it couldn’t possibly be that address, and storms off. Elliot is surprisingly unperturbed by this, which leads me to believe he deliberately fed the guy that address for a reason. It wouldn’t be the first time.

Later, after receiving several urgent texts from Angela, Elliot meets her on the subway, where she confesses that she knows he created fsociety, and tells him that she’s going to confess to planting the femtocell. She promises not to implicate him or Darlene, but she no longer believes the lies and the struggle are worth it.

Elliot tries to talk her out of it, and narrates that he can’t lose her, but she won’t be swayed. Before he gets off the train, he kisses her. Emotional, Angela turns around to find two people waiting for her. We don’t know who they are.

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On a more abstract note, I’m thrilled that the women of Mr. Robot are such storytellers. Not in the sense that they are chatty or friendly and open, because they are in fact quite the opposite – another thing women rarely get to unabashedly be onscreen – but in the sense that they get incredible and poetic monologues.

Darlene tells a hypnotically terrifying story about being abducted as a child, just like she describes to Susan what it was like to watch her laugh when the verdict came down for Washington Township. Dom tells White Rose about her failed relationship, but with a resigned and low-simmering cadence, rather than a forlorn or whiny one, and Joanna affectionately spins a yarn about asking Tyrell to sleep with, and steal a pair of earrings she coveted from another woman on their first date. It’s an amazing thing to see. Good job, everyone.