After last week’s inspirational aside where Elliot’s suicidal ideations were assuaged by a day with Trenton’s kid brother, the season’s penultimate episode has a lot of information to pack into it’s 50 or so minutes. “Torrenting” is most commonly known in reference to peer-to-peer file sharing, usually illegally downloading movies or music. Fundamentally, it has to do with distributing information and making information and data available to many people across a network.
This episode, like so many this season, begins with a flashback, this time to Allsafe’s initial pitch to ECorp. Allsafe, viewers will remember, is the cybersecurity company where Elliot and Angela worked back in Season One. Terry, the CIO of ECorp before Tyrell’s gambit, brushes off Angela with a sexist request for more coffee — something Price actually spots and takes interest in. It’s a premonition of Price’s later intense fascination with Angela, perhaps so powerful in fact that Price pushes Terry to execute the contract “as soon as possible.” Tyrell tells Price he is hesitant to depend on Allsafe, but Price doesn’t even remember his name and dismisses him and his ideas about taking ECorp’s cybersecurity internal. “I just hope it doesn’t come back to haunt us,” Tyrell warns, an omen of the calamities to come.
Back in the present day, the FBI reminds Tyrell that he can’t leave the country, or even the city without letting them know. Tyrell returns to his dark and empty home. The Wellick manor was never a warm or inviting place, but now without his wife and child there it’s downright haunting. He approaches a ghastly bassinet and dissolves into tears — it’s empty, just like his life.
Water pours down the sink at Elliot’s apartment. He’s staring into the mirror where someone has written in soap on the mirror “They own the FBI.” It’s a message from Mr. Robot. Flipper barks obnoxiously in the background while Elliot figures out “they” is the Dark Army. Elliot has left his computer unlocked, and worries Mr. Robot saw Trenton’s email about undoing 5/9. Mr. Robot also looked up Tyrell — and a flashback cues as Elliot wonders why he would have been seeking out such information.
“71 buildings. Was it worth it?” Mr. Robot asks Tyrell, back at the dark apartment. Tyrell and Mr. Robot are having the confrontation that has been approaching a boiling point this whole season.
Tyrell quotes Donald Trump, “No puppet, no puppet, you’re the puppet!” It’s significant that Tyrell, a man who was used by forces far more powerful than he, is quoting an elected official who some suspect has found himself in a similar predicament. “There are no gods. And closest deities… are men who f*** over the rest of us for profit” Mr. Robot shoots back, before insulting Tyrell’s dead family. Tyrell puts on his medical gloves — another callback to earlier seasons where Tyrell would relieve his stresses by beating homeless men under cover of night. A doorbell interrupts Tyrell from pulverising Mr. Robot. It’s Price.
Price addresses Mr. Robot as Mr. Alderson — he isn’t aware of Elliot’s dual personas. Elliot and Mr. Robot to an outsider observer are the same person.
“We’re coming full circle”, Elliot says. Darlene and her brother started this whole thing, and now they’re going to end it. They’re back at the arcade, where Darlene is going over what Trenton sent in her email. “There’s a chance we could uncover all of ECorp’s data,” Darlene admits, but only with certain encryption keys — all of which are in the FBI’s data storage system. If they can recover the keys, they can restore the world to how it was before the attacks.
To get the encryption keys, Darlene will have to get into the Sentinel, a highly secure closed system and a proverbial Fort Knox located in an FBI building. The simplest solution is to go to one of her contacts at the FBI with the information. But Elliot reminds Darlene that the Dark Army owns the FBI. They can’t be trusted. Darlene pushes her brother to let her try, and ominously Elliot admonishes his sister, “you gotta promise me. At any sign of trouble you bail.”
Irving is out for a joyride with a client, and she freaks with Elliot jumps in the backseat unexpectedly. “You know what to do,” Elliot says, and tells Irving that it’s time for Stage Three. Irving doesn’t know anything about Stage Three, but Elliot threatens him enough to scare Irving into setting up a meeting with Whiterose. Elliot is urgent and authoritative, the most “in charge” we’ve seen him in a long time.
Meanwhile, Dom is drinking at a noisy bar when Darlene finds her and starts eyeing her badge — clearly trying to figure out how she can nab it.
Angela hands Elliot a paper with the headline “A-Hole to CTO” and a photo of Tyrell. “It’s proof we’re going back to the way things should be,” Angela says. Elliot asks her to explain what she thinks is happening, but Angela says she can’t. Only Whiterose can. “I thought that you wanted our parents back,” Angela tells him, and Elliot urges her to understand “that’s never going to happen.” Angela responds, “that’s because you don’t understand.”
Back at the bar, Darlene has gussied herself up in the bathroom. She’s lost her flannel and is going bare armed and more than a little flirty. It’s working — Dom offers her another drink. Darlene sees the advance and starts asking “you still single?” and “what’s your type?” Dom’s weak link is her loneliness — this is the same Dom that had extended conversations with her Alexa last season. Darlene has picked up on this, and is manipulating Dom’s personal weaknesses the same way a hacker exploits a network’s vulnerabilities.
Elliot and Angela head up to his apartment, but Leon is already there. “You’ve been trying to listen to me, haven’t you?” a paranoid Angela demands. “You’re trying to trap me, aren’t you?” Elliot says she has to leave now, and Angela turns on him. “I thought you were on my side.” Leon isn’t having it, and says Angela has to leave. “You’re not going to get anymore information out of me,” Angela swears before leaving. Leon tells Elliot they have a schedule to maintain — clearly Elliot knows nothing about it.
Back at Tyrell’s place, Price tells Tyrell he has been appointed CTO of ECorp. This is Tyrell’s highest dream — or was previously. “You’re a mere figurehead I inherited from a deal gone wrong,” Price ensures, “obedience will be your only task at my company.” Tyrell refuses to believe that Price doesn’t need him. Tyrell’s ego won’t let him accept that his dream job won’t actually make him happy. Price tells Mr. Robot that 5/9 happened because men like Price allowed it to happen. The corporation has co-opted, even facilitated, this very revolution.
Darlene has talked Dom into a nightcap back at her place, and keeps spitting game with lines like “I said I wasn’t a lesbian, not that I wasn’t into girls.” Dom shows off her Alexa, which somehow manages not to feel like product placement. Darlene kisses Dom, who shuts it down, “this isn’t professional.” Ultimately though, Dom’s competence persists — even when she eventually gives in to Darlene’s advances, Dom locks up her gun and badge before hooking up. “Don’t overthink this,” Darlene tells her, before kissing her. Fortunately, Dom does keep her eyes peeled because she catches Darlene post-coitally trying to steal the badge anyway. “So this is why you came here,” Dom realizes.
Angela has fully lost it, adding locks to her door which now features a classic “hang in there” poster of a cat dangling from a tree branch. Photos cover her walls and plastic covers her furniture. She’s talking her herself, and not answering phone calls from her Dad. She tosses her phone in the sink, and asks what seems to be no one, “are you ready?”
Leon takes Elliot to meet Zhang. Elliot hands over his backpack, and follows him up a hill to a grassy overlook. “I hear you have some information on Stage Three,” he says and makes Elliot hand over his computer. Elliot demands to speak with Whiterose directly, because the Dark Army has failed in its most fundamental mission — to destroy ECorp. With ECoin, which only came to prominence after the 5/9 attacks, ECorp is more powerful than ever.
A disheveled Angela rattles down the street with a push cart. As she refuses a CD from a guy who seems a lot like her ex from season one, men in black suits approach her. “We’re ready,” she tells them.
Mr. Robot instruct Tyrell to wait, play the game, smile and nod while waiting for another chance to destroy ECorp. Tyrell reveals that the FBI has a man on the inside. This is how Mr. Robot knows that the Dark Army owns the FBI — the message he eventually writes on Elliot’s mirror.
Back at FBI HQ, Dom is interrogating Darlene on camera, but unfortunately Santiago is there sabotaging Dom on behalf of the Dark Army. Darlene admits the encryption keys are in the very building to undo 5/9. “You can fix everything,” Darlene tells them. Santiago shuts Dom down and reassigns the case. He calls the Dark Army and tells them everything he knows, panicked at the idea that someone could undo the hack.
Mr. Robot is back at Elliot’s apartment, going over specs for the Sentinel. He starts to breakdown, panicking and going to the bathroom. The timelines have finally matched up — all of the Mr. Robot scenes took place prior to all of the Elliot scenes in this episode. The overlapping timeline motif persists — nearly every episode this season has overlapping scenes from the past and present. Could it be a clue to the mysterious nature of Whiterose’s ultimate goal, or somehow affiliated with her obsession with time?
Whiterose is throwing a fit over mistakes in the Congo, which Zhang claims is her fault. He tells her the bombings weren’t necessary, to an eerie backdrop of someone playing crystal glasses. Whiterose says “force is the only currency with these men,” as rationale for the 71 bombings. There is no Stage Three, according to Whiterose, whose associate Zhang has deduced that Elliot is lying to them about the supposed third phase. They’re onto the reality, which is that Elliot has written malware that will attack the Dark Army’s devices, and hidden it on the device they confiscated from him. Elliot now owns the Dark Army, with access to everything they have.
“Elliot will one day follow in the footsteps of his father, I think it’s time he died for us too,” Zhang suggests and Whiterose responds in Mandarin, “do what you think is right” before kissing him.
There’s only one episode left in the season, and a lot of dominos left to fall. Angela has gone into a mysterious white van, Darlene is being held captive at the FBI’s headquarters, Dom has been betrayed, Tyrell has been career-castrated, and Elliot has a hit out on him by the Dark Army. The advice given to Mr. Robot about the difference between a leader and a lone wolf may come into play in the season finale. But who can Mr. Robot/Elliot rally, when all their cohorts are dead, delusional, or otherwise occupied?
Mr. Robot, written and directed by Sam Esmail, continues its 10 episode season Wednesday nights on USA at 10 p.m. ET.
Missed the previous Mr. Robot recap? Read it here.
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