S4 episode 6

406 Not Acceptable

Aired on November 10, 2019

Warning: Recap Contains Spoilers

People are crossing the line all over the place in "Not Acceptable" with three hostage or hostage-like situations happening at the same time and ending with a fourth. Vera tells an “Xmas” tale to a (literally) captive Krista, Dom is wedged between a rock and hard place with Darlene, and Elliot takes extreme measures to get what he needs from Olivia.

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Vera is holding court in Krista’s house while he and his cronies have Krista bound and gagged. He tells her a story about a kid who was endlessly harassed by a bully and how the kid was able to turn around that situation when he was given an aluminum baseball bat for Christmas. (You can guess what happened to the bully.) He uses this anecdote as a very graphic way of explaining how he sees “Miss Krista’s” purpose in his mission. “I'm gonna break Elliot…and you gonna be my aluminum bat.”

"Be Strange, But Don’t Be a Stranger"

Dressed head-to-toe in his signature camo, Leon walks into the coffee shop where Elliot has just hung up from a call checking in with Darlene, and warmly greets his former prison pal. Elliot asks if he has “it” and Leon hands him something under the table. Elliot can’t stay to catch up, but Leon lets him know he's "fulltime freelance now" and that his “only loyalty is to the almighty paper,” so he’s available if Elliot ever needs him. After Leon leaves, Mr. Robot asks Elliot if he’s sure about what he’s planning to do—there must be another way. But Elliot is resolute. He goes to the counter and orders two large peppermint mochas to go.   

Nothing Really "Good" News

After hanging up with Elliot, Darlene finds Dom standing in Angela’s apartment, a gun pointed right at her. Dom demands to know where Elliot is. Darlene doesn’t answer. Lowering the gun, Dom mutters that they should’ve kept driving when they had the chance. She calls Janice to let her know she has Darlene but not Elliot. Janice conveys the “good news and bad news” from the higher-ups: they want Elliot, not his sister. Whew! But no. Even though they only need Darlene’s phone to track down Elliot and not Darlene herself, “it’s cleaner” to kill her. If Dom isn’t up to the task, this will be Dom’s family’s last Christmas. Dom shakily says she’ll handle it. Super! Janice will be there at “3:30 on the dot” to collect the phone.  

Whiterose Decides That It's Time

Wang Shu tells whiterose as Zhang that they have a photo of Elliot and Darlene a mile away from where the van burned and that they now have his sister but not him. Wang Shu (of course) thinks Elliot should be punished (like, fatally) for his transgression, but Zhang disagrees. He has waited too long for his chance to ship his project. Instead, Zhang tells Wang Shu to bring in Mr. Alderson so he can finally learn that they’re on the same side.

“Christmas in a Cup”

Elliot pays a visit to Olivia, but his gift to her turns out to be three big lumps of coal: a peppermint mocha secretly laced with Oxy, the news that she’s working for very bad people behind very bad things (including the massacre in which her mother was killed), and an ultimatum. If she doesn’t call her boss in Cyprus and get him to log into the bank system so he and Darlene can obtain his credentials, she will lose custody of her son for not remaining clean. While Mr. Robot tries to bring Elliot back from the brink, Olivia goes into the bathroom and slits her wrists. Elliot manages to stop the bleeding and save her. She hates him for ruining her life but seeming to believe what he told her about her employers is true, she makes the call. He apologizes, sort of. Before he leaves, she calls B.S.: “I may work for monsters but you are one. And you are the worst kind because you don’t even know it.”

In Another Bathroom Across Town…

With Janice’s arrival imminent, Dom roughly drags Darlene into the bathroom and throws her into the tub. Dom is suddenly vengeful: this is all Darlene’s fault. Darlene pleads with Dom while trying to convince her that they have a plan to take down the Dark Army and get them all out of this. Dom isn’t listening and points the gun at Darlene’s head but can’t pull the trigger. Darlene tries to make her remember the connection they have and remind Dom that she’s a good person. With only minutes left before Janice comes, Dom pushes Darlene out of the bathroom, shoves the gun into Darlene’s hand and points the barrel at her own gut. She begs Darlene to kill her—she has wanted to die everyday for the last two months—but Darlene refuses. Just then, Janice, flanked by a couple of operatives, walks in. This wasn’t exactly what Janice was expecting. Since Dom is still useful, they’re not going to kill her but the consequences are still going to be painful. Janice takes Darlene’s phone and puts the gun to Darlene’s head. Darlene blurts out that the phone is useless because she just wiped it. Janice says “huh,” and seems sort of impressed.

No Knock-Offs

Krista tries satisfying Vera with some small potatoes details about Elliot’s various conditions, but he wants the “brand name,” not “knock-offs.” It also doesn’t work when she tries taking a therapeutic tactic based on his unhappy childhood. That just pisses him off even more. He finishes the most important part of his “Xmas” tale and gives her one last chance to give him what he needs to be able to break Elliot and build him back up, just like in his story. If Krista does, he will release her. She tells him to go to the filing cabinet in her office and look in a specific folder. He asks what he’ll find there. She says, “Mr. Robot.” “What’s that?” he asks. “That is how you’ll break him.”

More Trunk Time for Elliot

When Elliot and Robot come out of the subway, Elliot gets an S.O.S. call from Krista telling him that Vera kidnapped her so he could get information from her about Elliot. She’s scared, so he agrees to meet her at Washington Square Park even though Mr. Robot has concerns about the whole thing. As Elliot rushes to the park, two of Vera’s guys come out of nowhere and stuff Elliot into the trunk of Vera’s car and drive off.