S3 episode 9
Warning: Recap Contains Spoilers
Like the Red Wheelbarrow BBQ takeout menu before it, in this episode, Elliot’s (Rami Malek) newly replaced bathroom vanity mirror serves as an important -- and no-tech -- mode of communication between Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) and Elliot. Let’s see how Mr. Robot comes to his soap-scrawled conclusion and what steps Elliot takes as a result of learning this critical piece of intel in the penultimate episode of the season.
“Teddy Bears and Hand Jobs”
In a brief flashback, we learn why Allsafe originally lands the E Corp cyber security account. Hint: it isn’t as a result of Gideon’s hopeful-yet-clearly-inadequate pitch to Phillip Price, Terry Colby, and Tyrell Wellick. While Colby and Tyrell are busy rolling their eyes, Price clocks Angela (Portia Doubleday) when she enters the conference room. He seems to know her, or at least recognize her. After the meeting, Price orders that the deal be done immediately despite Colby and Tyrell’s counsel otherwise.
The Man in the Mirror
Elliot resurfaces after another Mr. Robot takeover to find a message written in soap on his bathroom mirror: THEY OWN THE FBI. How does Mr. Robot know that? Did he see Trenton’s email and instructions, which were open on Elliot’s computer? If he did, then he knows that Trenton was close to figuring out how to undo Five/Nine and that Elliot intends to finish what she started. Mr. Robot also saw the news that the FBI has released Tyrell after being cleared all charges. “What did Mr. Robot do last night?” Elliot wonders. Flashback to…
…The Night Before
After seeing all that useful stuff on Elliot’s computer, Mr. Robot visits Tyrell at his family-less townhouse, where the FBI has just dropped him off. Mr. Robot gives him the what-for about how insane it was to go after 71 buildings. Tyrell says he had no choice but to follow the Dark Army’s wishes and even still, he lost everything thanks to Mr. Robot. At least he’s now free(ish). Mr. Robot tries to explain to Tyrell that there are still bigger forces to fight. Did someone say, “fight?” Tyrell dons his blue rubber gloves and takes a swipe at Mr. Robot.
But before Tyrell can go full-on Rambo, Phillip Price arrives to tell Tyrell the “good” news: Tyrell has been appointed CTO of E Corp, though it’s a meaningless, powerless position. Mr. Robot accuses Price of knowing about fsociety and Five/Nine all along. Price admits he knew the broad strokes but contends that Mr. Robot’s “lone wolf” act only happened because a powerful man like Price allowed it to. According to Price, Mr. Robot needs to start acting like a leader by inspiring an agenda, not forcing one. After Price leaves, Tyrell goes straight for the vodka bottle, while Mr. Robot tries to convince Tyrell that instead of thinking of himself as a prisoner, they can use his new position to take down Price, whiterose, and their buds -- they just need to find their vulnerability. That’s when Tyrell drops his bombshell: the Dark Army has a man inside the FBI.
“Coming Full Circle”
Armed with Trenton’s intel and Mr. Robot’s revelation, Elliot goes to the arcade to plot his next move with Darlene (Carly Chaikin). They need Romero’s keylogger files, as that’s where he probably exported the encryption keys the night of the hack in case the revolution failed. But guess who has Romero’s drives? The FBI. And those files are on Sentinel, a super-secure network. Darlene suggests going to her contact and explaining the sitch. But then Elliot lays Mr. Robot’s headline on her, which is why they can’t trust anyone at the FBI. Darlene convinces him she has an “angle” on her contact. She’ll handle the FBI if he takes care of the Dark Army.
Meet Me at the Meet
After Elliot goes to see Irving to request a meet with whiterose, Angela is waiting for him on his doorstep, seriously out of sorts, like she hasn’t seen a shower or sleep for days. She shows him the front page of the newspaper about Tyrell being named CTO of E Corp, explaining that this is proof that they are “going back to the way things should be,” but won’t explain what she means. They go up to his apartment but Leon (Joey Bada$$) is there to take Elliot to the meet. Paranoid that Elliot was trying to stop her plan, Angela leaves.
Leon brings Elliot to a deserted park and hands him off to a mean dude named Dr. Wang. Dr. Wang takes Elliot’s laptop and leads him to a grassy area where whiterose’s assistant is seated at a table flanked by two masked operatives. As the operatives copy the data on Elliot’s laptop onto a USB, the assistant says he was surprised to hear about the existence of Stage 3. Elliot explains that since Ecoin is what’s keeping E Corp afloat, the only way to fully take them down is by eliminating the currency. The assistant dismisses Elliot without indicating whether or not they’re on the Stage 3 bandwagon.
Still Hanging In There
Angela returns to her apartment, which she has redecorated with printouts of the faces of the 5,471 people killed in the bombings, alongside her favorite cat poster. She gathers some random belongings, including Qwerty and a photo of her mother, into a granny cart and goes outside in the hopes of summoning whiterose’s people so she can “warn her” and tell her “what they heard.” A white van pulls up and a Man in Black asks her to come with him.
The Art of Seduction
Darlene meets up with Dom (Grace Gummer) at their usual bar to try to snag her FBI badge number in order to access Sentinel, but the number is encrypted. So Darlene tries a different tack: flattery and seduction. They go back to Dom’s apartment but Dom places her badge, phone and gun in a safe before they get intimate. After Dom falls asleep, Darlene sneaks over to the safe and opens it but Dom is right behind her. Busted! Down at the FBI, Darlene tells Dom and Santiago that she knows that the FBI is in bed with the Dark Army but there’s a way to fix everything and be the heroes. In Santiago’s office, Dom argues that they have nothing to lose by trying Darlene’s plan but Santiago is suspiciously (not) reluctant and kicks her off Darlene’s case. Panicked that he’s been burnt, Santiago calls Irving (Bobby Cannavale) to ask what the plan is now.
Force Is the Only Currency
Meanwhile, whiterose is at her American apartment having a hissy fit that nothing has been packed for the move to the Congo. Her assistant boldly tells whiterose that the delay is ultimately her fault for believing Mr. Alderson and going through with the attacks unnecessarily. But whiterose stands by her decision because people like Price don’t “respect mercy.” The assistant says he will go back to their “partners” (hmmm…who dat?) with a more persuasive argument. He also mentions Elliot’s pitch for a Stage 3 but then says it’s not adding up since Darlene is being held at the FBI claiming she can decrypt E Corp’s data. That means that Elliot is lying: their target isn’t E Corp, it’s the Dark Army. The assistant says that it’s time for Elliot to follow in the footsteps of his father.
Not So Fast…
Well, friends, as it turns out, there is no Stage 3. But by pretending there was, Elliot has been able to get the Dark Army to copy his file to their command and control server. When they open it, his exploit gives him full access to their management interface, which means, Elliot now owns the Dark Army.