USA’s Mr. Robot
Season 2, Episode 5: “eps2.3_logic-b0mb.hc”
Directed by Sam Esmail
Written by Kyle Bradstreet
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “eps2.2_init_1.asec” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “eps2.4_m4ster-s1ave.aes” – click here
Last we left Elliot (Rami Malek) he was hacking into the FBI, as he’s working on the computer and website issues for Ray (Craig Robinson). “I live for this shit,” he tells us as he hacks away at the armour the federal government has setup. We hear more of his past; when he was eleven, he hacked into the municipal government in his town, controlling everything.
Suddenly he remembers he’s in the room with Lone Star (Michael Maize). He says he has to talk to the old system administrator. Probably just a ploy to get him more time by himself to hack the FBI.
In the meantime, the FBI is hacking away with its own investigation. Dominique (Grace Gummer) is digging further into the evidence, finding more by the day. She’s only a few degrees of separation away.
Angela (Portia Doubleday) goes home to find Darlene (Carly Chaikin) in her apartment. They’re at odds over the “crime of the millennium” and the parts they’ve played, their involvement, what might happen in the near future depending on their next choices. Darlene wants her old friend to help disappear evidence, more penetration on the FBI hack on the Evil Corp side, to make sure nobody knows Angela and Elliot were involved in the AllSafe end of the massive debt hack.
Then there’s Joanna (Stephanie Corneliussen), her contact continually getting paranoid, believing the feds are tapping his phone, watching his place, all the usual. She seems to be getting tired of him. Although she plays it off with a straight face and assurances. But, I wonder… a little later, we discover she’s absolutely tired of him. She takes care of that, quick. Once and for all.
Over at E.Corp, Dom checks in on the hard drive processing. It’s there she flicks past a picture of Mobley (Azhar Khan). The noose is slowly tightening, each episode slightly tighter. It’s also fun to see the flip-flop, we go between watching Dom and the FBI moving along through the massive amount of evidence, to being there with Elliot and Darlene, arguing over their next step in trying to thwart the FBI. So much tension in awaiting whatever will happen. Digging the anticipation.
Dom is now in China, where Whiterose (B.D. Wong) is not herself. She’s now Mr. Zhang, Minister of State Security for the Chinese government. A wildly compelling addition to the character, to the whole overarching plot, as well as explains why the Dark Army has massive reach. Which is even more interesting after Dom brings it up in the meeting, requesting all information available. Quite the scene.
Elliot speaks with Ray about the previous admin for his website, appears they didn’t part on “the best of terms.” For this guy, that could mean ANYTHING, who knows what he’s into at this point.
At a bar, Angela meets with Ollie (Ben Rappaport) after all this time. He acts semi normal, until she figures out he’s recording her. Trying to get her to admit to what happened during the AllSafe hack. He says he isn’t working with the FBI, but he did talk to them. He told them a little bit of info, enough to make her truly paranoid.
Mr. Zhang and Dom get talking at a reception, as she’s poking around. They briefly chat with a bunch of ticking clocks surrounding them. “Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more,” (Macbeth Act V Scene V) he quotes. Clocks, time, they signal mortality. Another tick is another sec towards death, ultimately. Pleasantly morbid, beautifully depressing. Dom winds up telling Zhang about her personal reasons for joining the FBI. Well, she tells him a story, maybe not the real one. He comes close to revealing himself, as well. Stopping short at showing her a closet filled with the finest dresses, claiming they belong to his sister.
While Elliot doesn’t want Angela involved, she’d rather act instead of waiting for the FBI to catch her eventually. She trusts in her childhood friend, that he’d never lead her astray. So, they’re in this together. That’s at least one sliver of hope. This is when he tells Angela his father (Christian Slater) is still there in the room with them.
Later, Elliot gets help from RT, previous system admin for Ray’s site. He’s the beat up guy we saw recently. Turns out, he gives Elliot a glimpse at the website he’s helping with, what Ray is really doing under the nose of the law, the community. He runs a “Tor hidden site” like the deep web, a black market where you can traffick humans, buy drugs of any illegal kind, you can hire hitmen; literally, anything you need.
So what does Elliot do? Can he leave morality at the door? His father wants him to drop it. He just can’t do the same, not after seeing what’s on that website. He won’t let himself become that person who’ll ignore the truth, no matter how difficult and ugly.
Angela goes to Darlene, via a pre-planned route in case they’re being watched, where she meets the remaining members of fsociety. They’re ready to get working on the next leg of the hack. Meanwhile, Dom is under attack when a gunmen starts firing on people as they’re leaving the hotel in China. Rather than be caught, before Dom can pump a kill shot into him, the gunmen shoots himself, as another keeps firing.
Other nasty things are happening. Elliot is dragged out of bed at night, Lone Star and Ray are there. They’ve dealt with RT already. Ray isn’t pleased that the hacker disobeyed his warning “not to look.” They put a beating on our man, to hopefully teach him a lesson. He’s not dealing with punks, these guys mean fucking business.
Sometimes Mr. Robot can verge on scary, not just existential fear but straight up, real life terror. This is one of those episodes, feeling steeped in horrific things. The ending, especially. Cannot wait for more.
“eps2.4_m4ster-s1ave.aes” is next up.