Mr. Robot S3 E7: eps3.6_fredrick+tanya.chk Spoiler Alert
Paranoia abounds in the wake of the latest national tragedy in this week’s episode of Mr. Robot.
Terror: Where it Left Off
Episode seven opens in the wake of the largest terrorist attack in the history of the United States — the news broadcasting picking up where last week’s episode left off. Although the story is the same, the television it’s being viewed on is different. In a suburban home where Leon is back, offering more passionate indictments on the believability of narrative television than remorse for people he kills. Trenton and Mobley — Elliot’s hacker cohorts from the old arcade days who split town after the 5/9 attacks — are back and terrified of their imminent death, though Leon claims not to be there to kill them, rather, to babysit them.
Leon drives the two ex-hackers into the desert to the Nightrider theme, a tune he claims he can’t get out of his head. It lends an ironic levity to the opening of an episode that will eventually need to confront the dire truth that thousands of people are dead at the hands of the Dark Army. But soon the nostalgic theme culminates in an overpowering silence that gives way to static, then the overlapping voices of dozens of reporters quoting death tolls like baseball stats as they report on the attacks.
Back in Manhattan, Elliot’s pain is visceral as he watches the looping videos of buildings exploding. He sheds a few tears before pulling up his hood and lurching back into the crowd.
Therapy to the Rescue
Barely holding it together through his grief and panic, he finds his way to his therapist’s office where he tries to confess to Krista, but Mr. Robot intervenes. Elliot is back into the shelves of row upon row of red books as his voice glitches to unintelligibility before Mr. Robot takes over completely.He sounds old school, tin-foil-hat paranoid, literally telling Krista, “that’s the conspiracy, man” before collapsing back into her couch and confessing to being the architect of the 5/9 attack. Krista doesn’t believe him, calling his confession “delusions of grandeur,” but Mr. Robot is strangely obsessed with getting Krista to acknowledge that he/Elliot were behind all this.
Another F-Society tape drops threatening another attack in the next 24-hours, while Tyrell’s lawyer tries to cut a deal with the FBI — Tyrell will lead them to the real enemy in exchange for immunity. It’s clear now that Irving helped stage the secret room at Red Wheelbarrow to look like Tyrell was being held hostage. And in a way, considering Tyrell’s time “lying low” in the country and splitting wood, he kind of was.
Dom is getting sick of Santiago’s obstruction, still unaware that Santiago is a Dark Army operative but getting suspicious. She knows all the important players and begs to drag them all in and interrogate them, but Santiago shuts it down.
Angela is mindlessly flipping through channels, her belief that “no one would get hurt” shattered by the thousands of deaths. Darlene is with her, trying to help her work through the grief and possible disillusionment with Whiterose’s omnipotence. She asks if all the people who died “were going to be okay”.
Everybody is a Suspect
A brief interrogation scene with Tyrell reveals that he still does not know the true fate of his wife and child. Both Irving and the FBI are now dually implicated in withholding the truth about his loved ones from him. Meanwhile, Santiago pleads with his mother to leave the house for doctor’s visits, but she is now too terrified to leave the house. His involvement with the Dark Army, and his aid in facilitating this most recent attack is having a direct and personal impact on his life.
Perhaps because of this emotional breaking point, Santiago breaks the truth to Tyrell. Tyrell’s wife is dead, and his child is in foster care. Tyrell breaks down, while Santiago watches, stoic.
Back in the desert, Leon is digging a random hole while Trenton and Mobley fight in the backseat. In an otherwise extremely dark and emotional episode, their antics play out as the clowns, their dialogue quick and punchy, their inability to hijack Leon’s car ending in under 10 seconds with a pitiful crash, and Leon commenting, “Damn. That’s no way to treat a Caddy!”
Krista has called her lawyer, filled with the urge to turn over Elliot to the FBI. Her counsel, however, advises her to say nothing. She could lose her license for violating doctor-patient confidentiality. She can only come forward if Elliot makes a clear threat to do harm in the future, which technically he hasn’t, although all Krista’s instincts tell her that he may.
Angela is still at home, watching the collapse of each building over and over from a seat on the floor, childlike, mimicking the shot of her as a child in the opening of episode 6. Impossibly, Angela still believes “no matter what happens, everything will be fine,” assuaging her guilt and horror by simply rewinding the video to before each building collapse. She shows Darlene the demolished buildings moments before their destruction, repeating emphatically “everything’s going to be okay.”
Mr. Robot turns up at Irving’s shop, where remarkably for the first time we see Irving actually working on a car, in a mechanic’s jumpsuit. Mr. Robot tries to confront Irving and take credit for Stage Two but is quickly knocked out by two Dark Army operatives in Halloween masks.
Back at Mar-a-Lago, Whiterose tells a colleague “nothing creates profit quite like global conflict.” Price disagrees. Time seems not to have moved since last we saw the two in the pink-lit ballroom. Whiterose reveals that he installed Price in the CEO position to protect Whiterose’s plant, which will now be relocated to the Congo. “What on Earth do you hope to gain?” Price demands. “The opportunity to teach a lesson,” Whiterose responds.
Perhaps as punishment for crashing his car, Leon now has his hacker prisoners digging the hole for him. It’s clearly for their murdered roommate, who Leon off-ed prior to the opening of his episode. They demand to know what’s going on, and although Leon “kinda likes” them, he still doesn’t tell them what the plan is.
“Your revolution was only allowed to happen because it was bought and paid for by people like them,” Irving tells Mr. Robot, before heading into the swanky party to which he refers.
Mr. Robot is off his game, bamboozled by the clarity Irving has provided. F-Society and the 5/9 attacks were nothing compared to the power and scale of the Dark Army, funded by the very deep-pocketed capitalist murderers F-Society fought to oust. The party goes on, for the super rich, despite the deaths of thousands.
Leon returns Trenton and Mobley to their apartment, where he hands them off to a Dark Army associate. Tyrell has pointed to them as the leaders of the Dark Army, and now the Dark Army is playing right into that expectation by framing Trenton and Mobley in their own garage, in front of computers with all of the details of that day’s attacks in various windows opened on each screen. As the two ex-hackers read the information on the screens, they realize the next attack will be a plane crash, perhaps many.
As all this plays out, Dom and the FBI watch as a SWAT team silently enters and sweeps the house.
Dom Growing Suspicious
The Dark Army associate spouts the typical Dark Army manifesto — that members of their organization are willing to pay the ultimate price for service of their cause. Trenton and Mobley plead for their lives, but they do not survive. The Dark Army stages their deaths to look like suicides, and the SWAT team arrives, as they did at Tyrell’s hide-out in the previous episode, too late.
Dom is suspicious of the too-good-too-be-true take-down. She goes back to her board of suspects, crossing out Trenton and Mobley as dead, and adding Whiterose to the board. “You’re actually going to get away with this,” she whispers.
Season three so far seems to be pointing to the puppet masters behind the puppets. The world Sam Esmail originally created, where a group of ragtag hackers could take down the global economy, is being dismantled by the reality of sheer undefeatable prowess of a combination of money and power. Whiterose has both and is positioned at this moment in the series without a challenger. With loyal followers and no equally-matched enemies, Whiterose seems poised for total domination, although his true motives are yet unclear. They must involve the chemical plant — Whiterose fought hard to annex an entire country just to move his plant there and is ruining Philip Price’s career for not controlling Angela’s lawsuit against the plant. The chemicals from the plant itself are responsible for the deaths of both Angela and Elliot’s mother and father respectively. But why is it so important, and what does it actually manufacture?
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 week recap? Read it here.
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