With the devastation of Stage 2 done, the only way to try and turn things around is to make a new plan of attack. Elliot and Mr. Robot take two different roads to the same (or maybe similar) destination.
The episode starts with Elliot regaining consciousness in his bathroom. Mr. Robot used a bar of soap to write a message to him on the mirror before he lost control. “They own the FBI.” Elliot doesn’t know what the means exactly. Who is “they” and how did Mr. Robot get the information he did? He has no idea what Mr. Robot did last night. The only clues are what’s left open on his PC: an article about Tyrell being released. So back we go.
For his part, Elliot talks to Darlene about the message Trenton left him. If it’s true, they have a shot of undoing Five Nine, expose the architects and benefactors of the hacks. But getting to that info that Romero secretly stored is a monumental challenge. Darlene has an in with the FBI, Dom, and she thinks that’s the only exploit the have to get access to the offline system that’s storing Romero’s hardware. She goes off on her mission and Elliot works on his own.
First, he tracks down Irving to set up a face to face with Whiterose. He drops a term to stoke Irving into motion: “Stage 3.” In a smart move by Elliot, he wants to spook the Dark Army into talking to him, insinuating that he’s had something planned that they don’t know about and it’s something they want to be involved with. Then he goes to see Angela.
She’s a mess. Elliot’s been our unreliable narrator since the start and now we can add Angela to the list of paranoid and delusional characters. She’s a pale image of her former self. Unkept, wide-eyed, and twitchy. She has probably 6 locks on her door. Elliot goes to see her to talk about what she knows about Whiterose and he manages to convince her to leave her place for his. She sees Whiterose as her center of the universe so it’ll take some sensitive and careful talking to keep her trust and get her to talk. Elliot doesn’t get the chance to as Leon is waiting for him at his apartment. This freaks Angela out, swears never to trust Elliot again and takes off for home. At her place, she packs her things up like a crazy cat lady and as she’s walking down the street (I think she intended to go to where ever she thought Whiterose was) a white van with well-dressed men stops to pick her up. I have no idea where she’s headed now but Angela didn’t seem concerned about this usually-how-kidnapping-happens scenario.
Leon has come to deliver Elliot to his requested meeting…he comes face to face with Whiterose’s right-hand man, Grant, instead. Elliot drops a little more nuggets about his Stage 3 plans as the Dark Army copies data off of his laptop. He’s told Whiterose has no intentions of meeting him ever again and Elliot counters that Stage 3 is something they want to be a part of. “Are you in or are you out?” E Corp’s E Coin payment system is his new target. With that, the meeting is done and sometime after this, Elliot becomes Mr. Robot.
Angela goes to work on Dom. They meet at a bar and when a tech attempt to steal the access codes off of Dom’s security clearance ID fails, Angela decides to go the old-fashioned way: seduction. Dom is self proclaimed to be terrible on the social side of things so this seems like a decent enough plan B. Dom isn’t dumb though and catches Darlene stealing her ID card. So now Darlene is brought in and up to her eyeballs in trouble. She has no choice but to tip her hand about the info Trenton left, why she was trying to steal access to get into the countries highest level security. Santiago is there in the interrogation room so this puts him on red alert. Dom is once again gung-ho on the lead as they have nothing to lose. If Darlene is lying, they lock her up, if she’s telling the truth the case is cracked wide open. Again, Santiago scuttles what Dom wants to do and Dom becomes more suspicious. I want Dom to get Santiago so bad I can barely contain myself. His reactions have become more and more off and Dom is noticing, she just needs something to push her over the edge on him being on the wrong side of this.
And now for Mr. Robot. It turns out he went to Tyrell’s home to talk some sense into him. Mr. Robot is furious about what happened to his revolution and probably just as mad that Tyrell doesn’t see that he’s been manipulated this whole time. Tyrell blames Mr. Robot for his families destruction and Mr. Robot is having none of that nonsense. As they fight, Price comes knocking. They all sit down and Price isn’t surprised to see Elliot (Mr. Robot). So as Price tells Tyrell that he’s has been named E Corp’s new CTO, Mr. Robot comes to realize that his revolution was never a secret. The people in power knew about it from that start and let it happen. After the drubbing Price got from Whiterose in the previous episode, he’s rather comatose about the entire thing. It’s acceptance of his new world order. His power has been demoted, he lost to Whiterose. He makes it clear to Tyrell that his new title is in name only, he has no power.
So this brings Tyrell back to reality. He’s gained nothing and lost everything. He’s a puppet and locked into his own apartment by himself only to be used by others in whatever way they see fit. Mr. Robot now has a talented man back on his side though.
With all the little birds in the world listening for Whiterose, he quickly finds out about what’s happening from Grant. The plans for Congo are delayed because the entire world is on edge. The US is under martial law and all the people the Dark Army has paid off can’t help them move things through the restrictions that the cyber attacks caused. Santiago has sent word about Darlene and that sends Whiterose into a rage about an exploit in her plan she never thought of. Grant’s talk with Elliot disturbed him and it’s forcing his hand. He confronts Whiterose about her actions. He’s questioned her choices before and this time he’s not backing down. The problems that have come up are because of Whiterose’s decisions. Her revenge on Price changed the plan for the worse. Sticking with Elliot has been a problem that should have and could have been stopped a long time ago. And now that Grant knows about Darlene, he thinks Elliot lied to him at their meeting. He isn’t going for E Coin, it’s going to be them. Grant proposes that it’s time to send off Elliot like they did his father. Whiterose agrees.
This brings us back to the beginning with Elliot. He’s alone in his apartment and cleans off Mr. Robot’s message from the mirror. It’s time to get to work on Stage 3. He knew that the Dark Army would copy his data so he made his own spyware to get into their system when they copied the USB stick to their computer network. So the good news is that he seemingly has access to the guts of the Dark Army. The bad news is that he doesn’t know about Darlene. His plan is compromised and when talking to Grant, it sounded like Whiterose anticipated Elliot trying to do something like this eventually. So is the Dark Army actually prepared for this infiltration? I’m not sure Elliot is going to be able to do what he wants behind the scenes. He might end up being led to believe he is as a trap.
There is a ton of set up for next week’s season finale. It should be nuts.