S4 episode 2

402 Payment Required

Aired on October 13, 2019

Warning: Recap Contains Spoilers

In “Payment Required,” the bill comes due for Mrs. Alderson, Darlene fesses up to her brother about her biggest secret, and an unlikely but advantageous alliance forms between Elliot, Mr. Robot and Phillip Price as potential payback for what whiterose has done.

Introducing the Deus Group

After being shot up with what threatened to be a fatal dose of heroin, Elliot has been saved from the jaws of death by Mr. Evil Corp himself, Phillip Price. Phillip pays Elliot a visit at Allsafe and has now seen his cards—meaning the matrix of Post-It Notes. Price fills in the gaps. Zhi Zhang is the mastermind controlling the most powerful and wealthiest people in the world under the ruse of Deus, which was originally pitched as an investment group to leverage the world’s growing reliance on connectivity. By the time the members figured out they were working for him, not with him, it was too late for them to bail. With Zhang’s earnings, he clandestinely built his billion-dollar mystery machine under the Washington Township nuclear power plant—Zhang’s singular purpose all along. 

Still an Uphill Battle

Price claims that the Deus Group, which funds both whiterose and the Dark Army, is impenetrable and that Elliot’s little “heist” is impossible. Not to mention, the E Corp liaison for Cyprus National Bank has been missing for several months. Can anyone guess who? How about Susan Jacobs, the E Corp General Counsel who Darlene zapped with a stun gun while Elliot was in prison (something that neither Elliot nor Mr. Robot knows)? So even if he wanted to, Price couldn’t help Elliot get access to the bank, especially with his ousting looming. Not taking “no” for an answer, Elliot forces Price’s hand: this is Price’s only chance to avenge his daughter’s death (of course Elliot dug up Price’s true connection to Angela). But the bar for success is high: Elliot has to track down Susan Jacobs (um…) and Phillip has to somehow gather together all of the Deus members in the same room in the next eight days—and it’s almost Christmas. When Price leaves, his commitment to the cause is unclear, but as Elliot points out to Mr. Robot, Price wouldn’t have saved Elliot if he didn’t want in.

Death in the Family

Darlene calls Elliot to tell him that their mother has died. Even though Darlene hasn’t visited Magda in a few years, she’s more torn up about it than Elliot, who is annoyed about the interruption. But Darlene needs her brother, so he reluctantly spends the day handling the post-death details with her. He softens a bit when they come across an old cassette recording of him, Darlene and Angela wishing Angela’s mom a happy Mother’s Day, though it’s curious why Magda had that tape at all.

“We’re good.” Or Are We?

Over at the FBI, Agent Horton is interviewing Dom about Santiago’s disappearance. Horton asks her if Santiago did anything suspicious before his disappearance, such as…I don’t know…”erase garage security cam footage before dropping off the face of the earth”? Oh, that. On the brink of tears, she confesses that she thinks Santiago was a double agent working with some “dangerous people.” Who, pray tell? The Trujillo Drug Cartel. Horton seems to buy the cover story, or at least, that’s what she tells Janice after the interview. But you know who isn’t convinced that Horton was 100% convinced? Janice. And we all know how whiterose feels about absolute certainty so…Agent Horton meets an untimely end later that day. “Next time it needs to be 100 [emoji],” Janice texts to Dom. Roger that. 

Dead Man Walking Away

Price goes to see Zhang to resign. Zhang says that’s unacceptable because the project has not yet shipped and besides, the Deus Group must all agree on his successor in person. (Hmm…)  With nothing left to lose, Price is like, great, do it, even though it pisses off Zhang. After, Price calls Elliot to tell him he played his hand and now all they can do is wait.

Honesty Turns Out to Be a Pretty Good Policy

The Aldersons’ Day of Sibling Togetherness yields an unexpected yet vital benefit in addition t thawing their tension. After seeing that Elliot has been trying to hack Susan Jacobs’ Ecoin wallet, Darlene lets the truth about what happened spill out. At first Elliot is irate—Jacobs is dead?! And Darlene is responsible?!—but then he realizes that Darlene has control over Jacobs’ digital life, which is what he needs more than Jacobs alive. Despite Elliot’s protests, Darlene convinces him to let her help him.

The Opposite of a Throwaway Comment

On her way out of the funeral home, Darlene mentions she thought maybe Elliot’s secret project had something to do with Vera. It freaked her out, she says, when Vera showed up at Elliot’s building a couple of months ago but when she told him, Elliot apparently blew it off like it was NBD. Elliot and Mr. Robot exchange a look like “holy crap.” After she leaves, Elliot goes off on Mr. Robot about not telling him about Vera. But Mr. Robot promises that Darlene never told him. So if it wasn’t Elliot, and it wasn’t Robot, then who the heck did Darlene tell?!

A Holy Trinity, Not a Dynamic Duo

The episode ends with a flashback in the same E Corp boardroom from the last scene of the very first episode in season one. This time, Elliot is a young boy, spinning in a chair. His mother comes in and says she’s been looking all over for him and he shouldn’t be sitting there because it’s not his seat. When he asks why, she cryptically answers, “They’re not ready yet. We need to wait…for him.” When young Elliot asks, “You mean, Mr. Robot?” she says no. “Elliot?” “No. The other one.” They leave and the door shuts on us wondering who the heck “the other one” is.