So, It’s All a Story: Mr. Robot, ‘eps3.8_stage3.torrent’

Previously On; Whiterose shed any semblance of ‘villain you love to hate’ by escalating her scheming from damaging but non fatal hacks to actual murderous terrorism, and then somehow rose to the challenge of doubling down on that villainy by laying the blame for everything that had happened at the feet of relatively innocent Trenton and Mobley. Worse still, she did so by making it about race and Middle Eastern terrorism. The resulting fallout was profound, with Elliot not merely contemplating suicide, but actually starting the process. Thankfully, Trenton’s brother Mohammed, or some ElliotMind conjured version of him, appeared at the right time to lead Elliot through a soul-searching vision quest which culminated not only in his survival, but his learning Trenton passed on to him, and only him, the secrets to saving the world. Oh, and a few weeks back I pointed out how Whiterose’ lover/personal assistant has never been named onscreen. I have since learned he is “Grant”, and will be using that going forwards. Calling him ‘the assistant’ all the time just feels weird and depersonalising, particularly when he’s becoming a much more active player.

As is so often the tendency we open in the Past, back when Gideon was pitching Allsafe’s security services to Terry Colby, Price and the more Bateman-like Tyrell. Colby is typically gauche and low class, evidenced by his assumptions that vintage, office casual Angela is the coffee girl. While Gideon quietly tries to defend her, Price is … staring. Just staring at her and he is, for a split second, distracted when she leaves. Well. Later in the limo, Colby is gross again, some more, but Price throws his CEO-ship around and demands they hire Allsafe, today. Back at the Evil Corp office, Wellick tries to talk down Price’s decision but Price very definitively puts him in his place. Wellick’s closing hope? ‘That this doesn’t come back to haunt us’.

Back to the Futu … well, the now. Well, the then ‘now’ since this show is still technically in the past. Tyrell is finally being taken to his sad, cold, empty home, which is just the same as when he was last there. Except for the new baby crib, which is what sends him to his knees, weeping.

We cut to Elliot and … listen, is Sam Esmail really reading this? Because Elliot is drawing on his mirror in soap like in The Truman Show, and I’ve already talked at length about that song from Elliot’s Season 2 suicide attempt in prison, and the created reality on show in that film and … once again, Mr. Esmail, great to have you with us. We realise Elliot was in some phasing state between he and Robot, and Robot has written on the mirror ‘They Own The FBI’. Elliot returns to his computer to see he left it unlocked and Robot may have seen Trenton’s email; he definitely looked up Tyrell’s release. Elliot asks us, what did Robot do last night?

We flash back a few hours to find out. Robot reads the story and heads out.

Robot turns up at Tyrell’s place, confirming quickly Tyrell did execute the larger terrorist attack. Both of them just … blithely assume Tyrell’s house isn’t wired for sound, I guess? They argue over what Tyrell has lost, which even Robot admits is terrible. Tyrell is amazingly detached from what he’s done, viewing it as a job he completed and nothing more. A huge change from his ‘We are Gods’ acolyte ranting from just a few months ago, which even Robot points out. Then he mentions Joanna.

Ooooooooooh maybe don’t … invoke her name? Tyrell turns away and with the calm detachment of … well, the murderer we know him to be, and slides on latex gloves while gravely warning Robot not to talk about Joanna. So, Robot does it again (DUDE) and Tyrell turns and smacks him. He removes his suit jacket with a PURPOSE and straddles Robot to pummel that face into burger meat but … somebody rings the doorbell. They freeze up, and Tyrell rushes to the door to open it and he finds … Price.

OH SHIT. OH SHIT.

Price Prices his rich, powerful, white dude way right into the apartment to see Robot still laying prone on the floor. And, he doesn’t even blink, says hello to Mr. Alderson and invites him to stay for the celebratory drinks, since he’s a part of this too.

OH SHIT OH SHIT OH SHIT.

We jump back to the ‘now’ where Elliot has taken Darlene to the old arcade, and showed her Trenton’s work. The long and short is Romero secretly wrote a decryption code into their hack, which means its possible to unlock the encrypted data. Obviously this won’t undo 71 bombed buildings but it will basically at once restore normal currency, and cut Evil Corp off at the legs with their now valueless Ecoin. Darlene realises it’s possible, though they need the right USB memory flash drives on which he’s stored the codes. Those are in FBI custody. While Elliot worries, Darlene wonders why Romero would even include the codes in an ‘All In’ hack, but Elliot dismisses it as good foresight. He wants to take the lead on the FBI hack; Darlene has her own ideas.

Elliot kills a car sale Irving is trying to make by turning up during the test drive to be intense, and demand a meeting with Whiterose. He needs to discuss ‘Stage 3’. Irving swallows the lost sale and complies.

Dom and her beautiful tattoos wait at a bar for Darlene. In case anyone thought Dom accepted the false narrative, she is hungry for whatever Darlene might have to tell her. We quickly see that Darlene’s angle is Dom’s ID, hanging on her coat, though Darlene claims, not without truth to her words, that the Trenton and Mobley thing has gotten to her. She gives up some, says Dark Army coordinated, and the Scooby Gang just did the groundwork stateside. Dom asks about Whiterose, but Darlene doesn’t know enough. She takes a bathroom break, and a gizmo in her bag is failing to clone Dom’s card. Darlene loses a layer of clothes, fixes her hair, and heads back out to flirt.

Back at the bar, Darlene mea culpas at Dom about being hard to work with, twists that into how she’s not brave enough to testify in court when Dom is naturally supportive, neatly slides into a low key flirt. And off the back of that, Darlene tries to leave, but poor, lonely Dom is on the hook and offers another drink. They decide to get Dom a date, and Darlene plays Pick a Hottie. Dom has a reason to turn down all of them (doesn’t like redheads, the goth girl has identity issues), so Darlene orders more drinks.

Just sayin’, these two need a vlog where they drink and give life advice. Just throwing it out there.

Elliot arrives home and finds a very distressed looking Angela handing him a newspaper about Tyrell getting a new position at Evil Corp.

That’s the job Tyrell lost, which is why he committed a murder, and let the fsociety code sit where he found it. It’s a plot point that had he intervened then … none of this would have happened.

Huh. Elliot isn’t there yet, and just thinks Angela is mentally unwinding. He asks her to tell or show him what it is she thinks she means, and she manages to be both vacant and intense, telling him ‘Only Whiterose can show you.’ Elliot reminds her that Whiterose manipulated her about her mother, and a frustrated Angela wonders what happened to wanting their parents back. Elliot holds her, tells her firmly ‘That is never going to happen’, and she gravely agrees, for you see, people are trying to stop this. Elliot is the embodiment of ‘Whaaat? But whoooo? Nooooo!’ Wide-eyed Angela isn’t hearing it. Paranoid, they move inside.

As Elliot leads Angela inside he’s greeted by (beloved murderchild) Leon. Angela is paranoid as hell, thinking he’s a spy or here to trap her. She misses Elliot’s very acute terror, but she never saw Leon kill four Nazis with a switchblade. Something … funny happens with Angela. She misreads his fear of Leon — who she doesn’t appear to know –,and makes the leap that it is Elliot trying to stop it all.

… which, she already knew, but it appears she is unravelling so profoundly that she’s losing track of things. Leon interrupts to send her away ‘One way or another’ which, is spoken from offscreen and sounds so casual, but is the most quietly sinister moment of the show.

Meanwhile back at the Wellicks, the night before — Price told Tyrell about his promotion but we learn it’s just a title, and Tyrell will be expected to be quiet and obedient. Price shoots down any ‘lofty ideas’ Tyrell may have, to our boy’s consternation, though he hides it well with Robot around to watch.

Tyrell argues back that this is a PR thing, Price is out of moves, and needs Tyrell’s hero status to save face. Price claims otherwise, says Tyrell isn’t worth any other moves. I can’t decide either way. Price goes to leave, and Robot pipes up to reveal, realise, Price always knew, he was in on … all of it. Price nods, not all the minutia and fiddly bits, but otherwise … obviously. Lone wolves like you, he tells Robot, don’t create such catastrophes unless men like Price let them.

Robot and his ego think he was The Guy, and Price curiously demands he stop acting like a Lone Wolf and try being a Leader. He leaves on the advice that Mr. Alderson stop trying to force an agenda, and inspire one.

Dom and Darlene are back at Dom’s house and Darlene is dropping hints about her sexuality, so her next move isn’t so unexpected. After some adorably awkward flirting from Dom, Darlene moves in for a kiss, then a couple more, and doesn’t have to work too hard to overcome Dom’s uncertainty about going further. But juuuuuuuust as it seems like Darlene might get the ID, Dom remembers to safely lock her badges and guns away in a safe. Darlene may or may not get a look at the combo, but knowing she can’t back out now without losing any other chances, she and Dom fall into bed. Hmm. Who was leading who around then?

Over at Angela’s, she has approximately 4526 locks on her door, has painted every surface black and covered that with old photos, and she’s talking to someone, packing up a trolley with books and water bottles, taking about leaving, for ‘her’ to find her and keep her safe. She ignores a fifth call from her father, and drops her phone in water. Done packing, she approaches her friend and asks if they’re ready.

It’s Qwerty the fish.

Guys … in season one, when Qwerty lived with Elliot, before Robot appeared … that fish talked back to Elliot. It was an alter of some form. Whaaat?

Elliot, escorted by Leon, is taken to see … Grant, Whiterose’s assistant, who wants to know about this ‘Stage 3’.

Elliot is allowed to log in to his laptop so Dark Army can clone his data, and Grant reveals they have met before (!!), when RobElliot told Grant about the two-stage plan. Elliot asks for actual Whiterose, thanks, but Grant is having none.

Elliot raises the Ecoin issue, points out how it wasn’t expected and keeps Evil Corp afloat — despite an express part of their plan being to destroy the company. This makes Grant curious enough to ask what Elliot thinks they should do, thought he’s not convinced it’s an issue. Elliot stalls a heartbeat more, eyeing his laptop in the arms of a Dark Army goon; eventually, he’s left alone. Clearly, like Darlene, he was running some other hack just then.

Angela is on her merry way to full on Bag Lady Status and with Qwerty awkwardly shoved in her trolley, she approaches a street vendor selling CDs. Of course the guy looks, sounds and dresses like Cisco from Season 1, so we can see why Angela might focus on him. Then she’s picked up in a van by spooks and suits, and presumably thinking they’re with Whiterose, she goes voluntarily.

Darlene wakes beside a sleeping Dom. Using a pillow to mask the sound, she breaks into the safe and takes Dom’s ID, but of course Dom is right behind her, because Dom is not stupid.

The Night Before — Tyrell was chugging vodka from the bottle as he realised Robot was right, Tyrell was played and he remains a prisoner. He’s furious and drunk, but Robot is sure they can use the new job, he can play along ’til they ignore him, then they strike. They just need a way to dig in and fight back, find a vulnerability. Tyrell mentions the FBI — the Dark Army has a man inside.

Darlene is in cuffs back at the FBI offices. Dom and Santiago demand answers, but Darlene won’t repeat what she told Dom about the Dark Army. Darlene realises that when she gives the Feds intel, her friends die. Darlene makes the leap Dom … may not have, yet (??) — that the FBI is clearly in bed with the Dark Army. Santiago tries not to swallow his tongue, and there’s a killer shot of Dom thinking really hard about what Darlene just said. And, Darlene knows this just from what she’s seen, she has no idea how bad Santiago has been. Dom has to admit she and Darlene slept together, and Darlene was trying to get into Sentinel. Santiago demands answers; Dom asks for them. Darlene … angry, pressured, spills every bean she has about Romero’s key codes. She promises them they can be the Big Damned Heroes. I am choosing to think she’s trying to out Santiago here. Why tell anyone other than Dom, if not knowing the follow-up outs the spy?

Cut to Dom and Santiago arguing in his office, and he cannot make a single good argument as to why they can’t at least check if what Darlene said is true. He claims it’ll be thrown out because Dom slept with Darlene, but Dom, one hundred percent right, points out Darlene was in no way, shape or form a CHS when it happened. Not super-appropriate, sure, but from the bureaucratic perspective Santiago is trying to bring to the fore, Dom’s golden. Dom, like last week, asks what is really wrong. Santiago sends her away.

I still can’t decide how much she knows.

Santiago panic calls Irving about Darlene, telling him the hack can be undone. Irving’s considerate pause is curious.

Cut to Whiterose, furiously flipping a table because there are more delays getting her project shipped out to the Congo. Her apartment is decorated the way Angela’s is painted. Grant is trying to explain that US Border Security has tightened, and it’s harder to get their contacts onboard.He asks for permission to speak freely and Whiterose turns, waits. Grant tells her ‘With all due respect … this is all your fault’. The look Whiterose gives him would set any lesser man directly the fuck on FIRE, but Grant is apparently made of asbestos. He lays out her overindulgence of Elliot as the root cause of so much of their problems, and had she just let Grant take control much earlier, this could have gone more smoothly — the not blowing up 71 buildings kind of smoothly. I expect Whiterose to cross the room and cut a bitch, but she doesn’t. She clearly hears the logic of Grant’s words, and sinks onto the couch. She emotionally states that people like Price don’t respect mercy, only force, lots of it; it’s the only currency ‘these men’ respect. Is … she saying she regrets the bombings? And, not just because of the delays they caused? Grant sees her pain and sits beside her, promising to go back to their partners with a more persuasive argument. She softens enough for him to broach his next point. Which brings us to…

…Mr. Robot’s last seconds, before he wrote on the mirror about the Feds, a desperate act that felt like that of a dying man.It turns out the opened documents Elliot found on his PC  had some key role in filling Robot in. Elliot cleans the mirror, talks about waiting for Darlene to check in, and closes whatever Robot had been reading, suggesting it may not matter. Oh, dude.

Grant is telling Whiterose of Stage 3 to target Evil Corp. Whiterose asks Grant what he thinks of Elliot’s new plan, and Grant already knows what Santiago has told Irving about Darlene. Whiterose, using the same language Grant did with Elliot, asks what Grant thinks they should do.  Grant thinks Elliot is lying about targeting Ecoin; Elliot is coming after them. We see that when Elliot’s machine was scanned/cloned by Dark Army, he left them a gift. A code is hidden in the data, and when the flash drive is plugged into Dark Army’s network, Elliot gets access.

Whiterose, either genuinely impressed by Grant’s strategic quick thinking, or working something else, asks what he thinks they should do, again.

Meanwhile, Elliot hacks the Dark Army.

Grant lovingly embraces Whiterose , leans in for a kiss, pausing just long enough to tell her it’s time Elliot lived up to his father’s legacy … and died for them, too. Whiterose murmurs back in Mandarin ‘Do what you think is best’ and we end on their kiss.

First of all; GrantRose is life. Whiterose is pure evil, but their relationship is fascinating. I am torn as to whether Whiterose is truly nurturing him as a potential leader, maybe even some form of successor for her when she, presumably, turns her attentions to ‘The Project’. Think on all the Dread Pirate Roberts mentions — a character who is not one person, but many, inheriting a name and legacy when their successor retires. Is Grant being groomed for leadership? Or, since this is Whiterose, was his tiny challenge his undoing? Whiterose could be letting him take the lead … so that if/when Elliot gets them, it’s Grant in the firing line. It’s her MO.

Speaking of Elliot, it’s nice to see he and Robot on the same side for once, and it seems to me they’re on roughly the same path now, both agreeing that whatever else, Evil Corp must be stopped. And Tyrell is back onside, now. So, for all Whiterose thought she had pulled this off, she’s actually thrown the three … or …two and a half (??) most important personalities back together, with the same mission. Alongside that, Dom is either this close to springing a long running trap on Santiago, or in my mind, more likely, this close to figuring out he’s the mole. I know it’s been speculated Dom’s known it’s him for a while, but I think she’s just now getting it. I HOPE I am wrong. I do. Because he’s … the worst, most obvious mole, ever. He routinely uses his own regular ass ‘Call Your Mother’ phone, to make incriminating calls. He does this in his office at the FBI, and those calls are usually loud and shouty.

She had damned well better have been onto him for a while.

Finally, we have Angela. Poor, broken Angela. It’s hard to say what’s going on with her, on the surface she’s having a total mental breakdown, one I think she’s been tumbling slowly towards since she witnessed the suicide in Season 1 (which I kept mistakenly thinking was Colby). She has seemed okay, and to have her shit together since then, but I think she’s been quietly drowning for a long time, and she just now began to sink under the waves. She appears to have been abandoned by Whiterose, her primary purpose served, but we know Whiterose won’t let a lose end like that wander around for too long. That said … Price. We still don’t know why Price is fixated on Angela (is her her real father?), but it sure as hell seemed like he chose Allsafe because of her. And the fact he did appears to be what brought Elliot into the picture, and we all know where that led.

So … what to make of it all? Mr. Robot returns Wednesdays on USA Network and Hulu.

 

 

Nadine Morgan

Nadine Morgan

Nadine Morgan is really terrible at the ‘About You’ part of life.
Nadine developed her reviewer skills writing epic facebook rants about the details script supervisors forget and trying to explain why Carol on The Walking Dead broke Lizzie by accident.

Nadine loves TV, film and books but she wishes someone would pay her to be the continuity editor.

She can be found on Facebook and in her forest garden and if she’s not yelling at her TV she’s trying to convince a cat to be an Instagram model and refusing to let 90’s fashion die.

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