LAST EPISODE, WE SAW STAGE 2 FINALLY GO OFF, and it wasn’t at all what we expected. I can’t say much more without major spoilers, so read on.
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Full Episode Recap and Analysis
Leon, Trenton and Mobley Hang Out on a Sofa
THIS EPISODE BEGINS by showing us a dead body on the floor of a house. The camera slowly turns as the TV news plays a report on the Stage 2 attacks, revealing where (and when) we are: The house shared by Mobley and Trenton (now living under the aliases of Fredrick and Tanya), two original members of fsociety who were instrumental in the 5/9 Hack, and the Stage 2 attack has very recently happened.
Mobley and Trenton, terrified, sit on their sofa with Leon between them. Leon casually holds a small knife, and regales his hostages with his personal opinion on how over-rated and implausible the TV show Fraiser is.
Just to recap: Trenton and Mobley disappeared in Season 1, and I personally thought they were dead.
In Season 2, it was revealed the two hackers were not dead. Instead, they had successfully bugged out to Arizona, were working at Fry’s Electronics (an IRL electronics store chain, if weren’t aware), and sharing a house together.
Leon, last we saw, was recently out of prison, and went to Trenton and Mobley’s workplace, at the direction of the Dark Army, to make contact for some unknown reason (he just asked them what time it was, as far as we know). I guess Leon’s Dark Army directive was to keep tabs on Trenton and Mobley while awaiting further orders.
Well, Stage 2 just happened, and Leon has now received his further orders for the Dark Army. Orders that have resulted in him invading Trenton and Mobley’s home, taking them hostage, and killing the man on the floor, (Trenton and Mobley’s other room-mate).
Leon comforts the panicking Mobley, assuring him that he is just there to “babysit”, not to kill them, and that he doesn’t know what their future (at the hand of the Dark Army) holds.
Leon, now opining on Knight Rider, (a show he believes is extremely under-rated and far superior to Fraiser), puts Trenton and Mobley in an old Cadillac (no doubt purchased from Irving’s car lot) and drives out into the desert.
As they drive, Leon speaks of his special affection for the Knight Rider theme song, which is “stuck in his head right now in fact”. Upon stating this, the song immediately begins to play for all of us to enjoy. From his head to our ears: Typical Mr. Robot.
Elliot Rushes to Therapy
We cut to Elliot as we saw him at the end of the last episode, watching a news broadcast on the Stage 2 attacks in a store window. Elliot is crying, and he’s clearly freaking out.
Elliot now meets with his therapist, Krista, and he can’t seem to tell her what’s wrong. We know it’s the Stage 2 attacks. Elliot stammers and spirals in his panic, his voice becoming more compressed and distant as the camera pulls away from him. Elliot fades into darkness, his voice is silenced, and the camera pans to Mr. Robot, who greets Krista:
“Nice to see you again, beautiful.”
Mr. Robot immediately expresses his disdain for Elliot’s reaction to Stage 2, and in no time reveals to Krista that he was the “architect” of the 5/9 Hack. He goes on to complain that he was used, against his knowledge, to blow up all the E Corp buildings.
His ranting, paranoid manner of speech is similar to that of a stereotypical conspiracy theorist :
“It’s the others, the real string pullers.
You wanna know what’s really going on? Look around, sweetheart. I’m not the only one under their thumb.
They’re manipulating everything, always, just to line their own pockets, to have total control.
But that’s the conspiracy, man.”
Krista interprets this as “delusions of grandeur” and paranoia, which greatly offends Mr. Robot, and pushes him to prove his involvement in the 5/9 Hack and Stage 2:
“You still don’t believe me.
You’re indulging me right now, like I’m one of your nutso patients.
Do the math. Elliot worked at Allsafe, ground zero for Five/Nine. He was also arrested for hacking. He even hacked you, didn’t he? And he’s completely out of his mind.
You add all that up You still want to doubt me?”
Krista is petrified, and says nothing, indicating that she may now believe Mr. Robot’s frightening claims. Mr. Robot is out of control here, apparently willing to risk confessing his terrorist activity just so he can get recognition for his nefarious accomplishments.
Dom, Santiago and Tyrell’s Lawyer Watch a New fsociety Video
A new fsociety video surfaces online, promising that the Stage 2 attacks were just a “parlor trick” and that their next (apparently worse) attack will come within 24 hours.
Dom, Santiago and Tyrell’s lawyer are together in the FBI building, and finish watching the video together. Tyrell’s lawyer is smug, and doesn’t care about the implicating evidence that the FBI has against Tyrell. The lawyer is no doubt Dark-Army affiliated, and is supremely confident in his strategy to make Tyrell look innocent.
The story the Dark Army set Tyrell up with is that he was held as a prisoner for months in the Red Wheelbarrow’s basement, forced to perform the 5/9 and Stage 2 hacks under threat against his family.
There is very little evidence to support any of these claims, but the lawyer thinks it’s plenty, and Dark Army Stooge Santiago is pushing Dom to give Tyrell a deal. If the FBI give Tyrell a deal, the lawyer says, Tyrell can help stop the next attack that’s right around the corner.
After speaking with the lawyer, Dom and Santiago argue about what to do next. Dom wants to immediately round up everyone associated with the 5/9 Hack and question them rigorously. Santiago wants to give Tyrell a deal and get whatever information he’s holding onto that will supposedly prevent the next attack.
Dom voices her suspicion of Santiago, saying that “…something’s not adding up.”. Santiago gets mad and throws his weight around, telling her that she ‘reports to him’ and that her questioning of his behavior “stops now”. Good one, Santiago, that really makes you seem less suspicious.
Angela Has Completely Lost Her Mind
Angela and Darlene, still in Angela’s sweet apartment after they received news of the Stage 2 attacks, watch the news.
Angela remarks upon the number of people killed in the Stage 2 attacks, and says to Darlene:
“All those people who died. Do you think that they’re gonna be okay?”
Darlene, used to dealing with people who have lost their minds, says she’s going to get her stuff and come back. I guess her plan is to babysit Angela while she tries to figure out what is wrong with her.
We already know that because of whatever White Rose showed her, Angela thinks the world isn’t real, so people can’t really be killed, at least not in the traditional sense. As if that’s not insane enough, Angela now seems to have completely forgotten that Darlene has no clue about any of that crazy stuff. Darlene, of course, believes that everyone killed in the bombings is just dead, like most people would, but Angela talks to Darlene as if Darlene is in on the “secret” White Rose imparted to her.
In other words, Angela has really gone off the deep end.
Tyrell Gives the FBI Some Information,
and Santiago Talks to His Mom
The FBI has now agreed to a deal with Tyrell, and has given him a book of photographs to look through. The book contains photos of people known to be associated with fsociety, including, we see, a photo of Mobley.
Tyrell asks the FBI agent who is with him (Special Agent Stanchek, played by Ben Horner) if he can see his family. No one has yet told Tyrell that his wife, Joanna, is dead, and that his child is in foster care. Stanchek tells Tyrell that he will relay the information to his superior.
Santiago, in his office, calls his mom. Santiago is upset with the fact that his mother has told someone she was warned by her son of the impending Stage 2 attack, which we saw Santiago do in the last episode.
We now find out a possible origin of Santiago’s involvement with the Dark Army: Santiago mentions his mother’s “treatments” for some kind of medical condition, and stresses that she not miss her next one due to her fear of going outside with all the attacks that have been happening.
Think about this: If Santiago’s mom was sick with something either incurable by normal medical standards or too expensive to pay for, the Dark Army could easily have promised Santiago a solution to his mother’s illness in exchange for his cooperation with their requests. Santiago clearly loves his mom more than anything else, so it’s likely that that is his motivation for betraying the FBI and murdering people.
After Santiago hangs up the phone, he throws it at the wall. Santiago has gotten in way deeper than he can handle, but he can’t get out of it.
Stanchek enters Santiago’s office and informs him that Tyrell has identified the two people who held him prisoner from the photo book. Stanchek also mentions that the two were also identified as the perpetrators of the 5/9 Hack by their “fsociety video perp” Sasan Nouri. Remember, Sasan is a Dark Army stooge who was arrested by the FBI in Season 3 Ep. 4, willingly planted by the Dark Army to guide the FBI in the wrong direction.
Santiago visits Tyrell in the interrogation room and turns off the camera. He then proceeds to callously (finally) inform Tyrell of Joanna’s death.
This disproves my theory that the Dark Army would somehow follow through on their purported magical powers by resurrecting Joanna in order to keep Tyrell happy. It could still happen, but it wouldn’t be for the same reason anymore.
Santiago goes on to tell Tyrell that his baby son is in foster care at a facility that has a “one in five abuse rate”. Wow. Santiago really doesn’t like Tyrell.
Tyrell says that he doesn’t believe any of this, but Santiago calmly hammers him with more details about Joanna’s death and his baby’s living situation.
Santiago pushes on, telling Tyrell if he decides to tell anyone about his Dark Army ties, Tyrell will be immediately killed. Santiago goes further, promising that if Tyrell exposes him, he will make it his own personal mission to ruin Tyrell’s baby’s life forever. Super dark, Santiago.
Tyrell begins to weep, and Santiago calmly turns the camera back on before leaving the room.
Okay, I’m no fan of Tyrell, but threatening a baby with abuse? Come on, Santiago. You’re the worst.
Leon, Trenton and Mobley Reach Thier Desert Destination
Leon stops the car somewhere deep in the Arizona desert, gets out, and begins digging a grave. He has left Trenton and Mobley in the car.
Trenton struggles to free herself from the cable lock (weird choice, Leon) that binds her hands as Mobley freaks out in the seat next to her. Mobley accuses Trenton of sending the FBI an email. An email that, Mobley thinks, would have somehow led the Dark Army to them. Trenton tells Mobley that she didn’t send this mysterious email, but does have a dead-man-switch set up to automatically send the email to someone she trusts in the event she doesn’t return to her computer within the next day.
Trenton manages to free her hands, and Mobley urges her to get behind the wheel of the car and escape. Trenton informs Mobley that she grew up in the city and doesn’t know how to drive. Mobley doesn’t care, and tells Trenton that she can figure it out.
Trenton jumps behind the wheel, starts the car, and floors it.
Leon pauses his grave-digging to watch, disappointed, as the car spins out of control and smashes into a rock, halting the attempted escape.
Krista is Freaking Out
Krista and her lawyer talk in her home office. The lawyer tells Krista that, per doctor-patient confidentiality rules, she can’t report Elliot/Mr. Robot’s confession unless he states intent to commit a future crime.
Krista tells her lawyer that she actually believes Elliot may have been involved in the 5/9 Hack and Stage 2 attacks, but he blows her off, telling her there’s nothing they can do unless she wants to lose her license and practice.
Angela Rewinds a Building Explosion Over and Over
Darlene returns to Angela’s apartment with all her stuff in tow, and finds Angela repeatedly rewinding and replaying news footage of a building exploding from the Stage 2 attacks. Darlene asks Angela if there are any updates on the situation, and Angela says:
“They think the total will be over 4,000.
But the number doesn’t really matter now, even if there’s more.
No matter what happens now, everything will be fine.”
Darlene urges Angela to tell her if she has information about any future attacks. Angela assures Darlene that she doesn’t know about any more attacks, and continues to rewind and replay the building explosion. Darlene finally asks Angela “What are you doing?”. Angela then grabs Darlene’s hand to “show” her.
Darlene watches, horrified, as Angela replays the building explosion, then rewinds to just before the explosion and pauses on the intact building, saying:
“See? They all came back. They’re all fine. Here, I’ll show you again.
Told you. Everyone’s okay again. Everyone’s gonna be okay. Everyone’s gonna be okay. “
Darlene says nothing, but looks very worried.
Angela, in the wake of the much-more-horrible-than-expected Stage 2 attacks, seems to have regressed to a childlike state. I just want Angela to spill the beans about what White Rose showed her, and that could happen any time now.
It’s interesting that Darlene, originally in Angela’s apartment to confront her for her betrayal, has forgotten all that to become Angela’s babysitter. We have seen this kind of behavior in the past with Darlene, who, when push comes to shove, values her relationships with Elliot and Angela enough to forgive or forget almost any transgression in order to take care of them. This makes the usually-prickly Darlene a very likable character.
Mr. Robot Visits Irving’s Auto Square
Mr. Robot goes to Irving’s Auto Square to confront Irving. Mr. Robot is mad that he was duped into enabling the explosion of 71 buildings instead of just one.
Mr. Robot enters the service garage and, upon seeing Irving there working on an old Cadillac, begins to yell at him:
“Hey! Stage 2 was my operation. You ####s went rogue!”
He barely gets this out before a dragon-masked Dark Army goon comes up behind him, knocking him unconscious with the butt of a handgun. Irving stares at the fallen Mr. Robot.
Zhang and Price Hash Things Out at the Mar-a-Lago Club
Still at the Mar-a-Lago party, Price approaches Zhang angrily and tells him that he’s “marooned” at the club.
Zhang gives Price some “good news”, telling him that China has signed Price’s accord, as requested, which will boost the E Corp digital currency (“E Coin”) significantly.
Price doesn’t even seem to care anymore, saying that after Stage 2, E Corp is doomed.
Zhang disagrees, telling Price that he never intended to harm E Corp, and that with E Coin on the come-up, plus public sympathy from the attacks, it will be fine.
Price then figures, correctly, that Zhang plans for him to resign as CEO of E Corp and is very upset.
Price now gives us a little more insight into the E Corp/Dark Army relationship. It’s very one-sided, as Price explains:
“When you surprised me with Five-Nine, I understood your move. A false flag operation, a temporary global crisis to help me pressure the administration into giving you your damn Congo.
All went according to plan, which leaves me struggling to find the upside to this.
Why come after me?”
Zhang obliges, explaining his beef with Price by bringing our minds all the way back to Season 1:
“Think back on that fateful night.
We sat, listening to a young woman playing a lyre.
A lawsuit was brewing against my plant.
You told me you would “Handle that person as we usually do”.
And yet, your pet project, Angela Moss, was allowed to continue with her lawsuit Which put my plans in jeopardy.
Your job was simple: manipulate her, control her.
You couldn’t, so I had to.
Do not forget, I installed you as CEO only to protect my plant.
You were meant to do what your predecessor couldn’t, and look at what happened to him.
And now, you will follow every order that I give you, including hiring your own replacement.”
Okay, hold on. Angela’s lawsuit is that big of a deal? What does Zhang produce in his plant? The fact that the lawsuit threatens Zhang’s plant must mean that it was actually his plant all along that made Angela’s mom sick.
Also, Angela’s litigious efforts are against E Corp, not Zhang. So I can only suppose that Zhang’s plant is technically E Corp’s plant at least on the paperwork.
I don’t think Angela would be super happy to find out that the person she’s working for is the actual primary villain behind her mother’s death, as it now seems.
Angela is happy to work for E Corp, who was partially responsible for her mother’s death, in order to destroy it from within. What she doesn’t know, however, is that the person she’s actually working for in earnest (White Rose) is probably also responsible, even more so than E Corp itself.
Anyway, after hearing Zhang’s explanation, Price is even more enraged, and doesn’t totally buy Zhang’s explanation that all this was about his incompetence regarding the Angela lawsuit, so he asks again, what did Zhang hope to gain from all this? Zhang responds with his usual swagger that he is doing all this to teach a lesson, When Price presses him further, Zhang replies with the core reason that all this has happened before walking away:
“Because, Phillip I had to ask you twice”
Meanwhile, Back in the Desert, Grave-digging Continues
After their failed escape, Leon now has Trenton and Mobley digging the grave while he sits, watching and smoking, on the hood of the smashed Cadillac.
Trenton and Mobley talk amongst themselves, trying to figure out what their fate will be. The grave appears to only be big enough for the third (already-dead) room-mate, so that’s a plus. Maybe the Dark Army is recruiting them, they theorize.
Leon interrupts, informing the pair that he can hear everything they’re saying. Mobley then takes the opportunity to yell at Leon, saying that they need to know what’s going on or they’ll stop digging. Leon calmly responds with a Seinfeld-laced threat:
“I kinda like you two. You guys are funny, in a George-Elaine kinda way.
Still wouldn’t try me, though. I got a job to do, and you don’t wanna know where this knife been.
You feel me? “
Feeling him, Mobley shuts up and digs.
Irving Takes Mr. Robot on a Field-Trip
Mr. Robot awakens from his Dark-Army-induced unconsciousness in Irving’s car. Irving knocks on the window and tells Mr. Robot to hurry up and get out of the car.
They’re in a nice neighborhood in the city, and Irving points to the roof of a nearby building, where a woman is playing a violin, Nero-esque, at an upper-crust party.
Irving uses the party as an example of how attempting to dismantle the hierarchy of the rich over the poor is futile:
“You know why those people are enjoying themselves so much, even though thousands died today in the biggest attack in U.S. history?“
Mr. Robot, interrupts, trying to engage Iriving on the issue of Stage 2, but Irving isn’t interested in talking about that, saying:
“See, kid, that’s been your mistake the entire time, thinking this whole thing’s about your silly little plan.
No, your revolution was only allowed to happen ’cause it was bought and paid for by people like them.”
Irving then heads toward the party, explaining that he’s there to cover up the accidental overdose death of a Dark-Army-afilliated Senator’s mistress that just occurred there. Irving then walks away, leaving Mr. Robot speechless and flabbergasted.
It’s interesting that Mr. Robot, dazed and confused, is not wearing his glasses in this scene. It’s as if he lost them when he was knocked out, but we know that Mr. Robot isn’t even physically wearing glasses at all, so that’s a funny detail for the show’s creators to add here.
Trenton and Mobley Meet Their Fate
Grave-digging and burial complete, Leon takes Trenton and Mobley back to their little house, which is now swarming with dragon-masked Dark Army goons as well as Zhang’s assistant, Grant (played by Grant Chang). Leon says he hopes the Dark Army treats them well, and, job done, leaves them.
Grant then approaches Trenton and Mobley and requests that they follow him into their garage. They do so, and find two computers set up in the middle of the garage.
Grant then asks them to sit down and tell him what they see on the screen.
Trenton and Mobley, terrified, describe what they’re seeing on their monitors:
(TRENTON) “A threat analysis for the FAA’s next-gen IP based system.”
(MOBLEY) “This is malware that targets air-traffic control systems at major airports.
They’re planning another attack, probably like today, except this time, they’re crashing planes.”
(TRENTON) “But the exploit’s already written. What do you need us for?”
A good question, but as it turns out, not one they want answered.
Grant explains to Trenton and Mobley how much the Dark Army values “giving everything” to their cause. In other words, suicide.
There’s really no good way of interpreting the trajectory of this conversation, so Trenton and Mobley get even more desperate, begging for mercy, but Grant says that the Dark Army, unfortunately, has no use for them except to frame them for the Stage 2 attacks.
The Dark Army goons then force a gun to Mobley’s head, and he lets out one of the most disturbing, guttural screams I’ve heard.
RIP, Trenton and Mobley. 🙁
The FBI Find Trenton and Mobley
A co-worker of Trenton and Mobley sees their photos on the news as the identified perpetrators of the Stage 2 attacks, and calls to report them to the FBI.
The FBI moves in on Trenton and Mobley’s home, but finds them dead from an apparent double-suicide. With all the evidence of the Stage 3 attacks right there on their computers plus fsociety and Iranian flags on the wall, everything is all neatly tied up from the FBI’s (and the public’s) point-of-view.
Dom is obviously not satisfied with this narrative at all, so we’ll see what she does about that. She finally puts “Whiterose?” in the center of her FBI conspiracy board, which shows the connections of all the suspects associated with the 5/9 Hack and the Stage 2 attacks.
She’s either going to expose the truth or get herself killed in search of it. Or both.
Angela Needs Help
I’m really curious to see what happens next with Angela. She’s completely lost it, and could be ready to tell anyone about what White Rose showed her. Either way, she needs some serious psychological intervention and care. I don’t know if she can pull herself out of this level of insanity.
It’s possible that White Rose will approach Angela again soon, either with another job, or, possibly, the reward of having her mother be brought back to life. After hearing Zhang talk about her to Price, it’s apparent that White Rose doesn’t seem to care about Angela, but you never know.
Price is Mad
Price is really mad. Maybe mad enough to do something stupid, like retaliate against Zhang. That could be interesting, even though it would likely fail miserably.
Also, I’ll ask again: What the heck has been going on between Price and Angela? I could just assume it is what it looks like, but that seems too easy, and I don’t feel that would fully explain their weird relationship.
Elliot is Hiding
Elliot is hardly seen in this episode, giving away dominance to Mr. Robot because he can’t deal with the reality of the Stage 2 attacks and his involvement in them.
He’s going to need to emerge eventually, so I wonder what his strategy will be to deal with it all. I suspect it will be in the form of a plan to go after Zhang.
What does Zhang’s plant produce, and why does he care about it so much? If I’m not mistaken, his plant is the only thing I’ve ever seen him care about, aside from, time to time, time itself.
Mr. Robot’s Next Move
Mr. Robot is a mad dog, and there’s no way he was cowed by his interaction with Irving in this episode, so I expect him to come up with a plan to retaliate, this time against Zhang. Perhaps he and Elliot can be aligned on this and work together for once. That would be really interesting.
Things could really go anywhere from here. I’m hoping Zhang’s many enemies to get together and strike against him. I’m also hoping for Zhang to bring someone back to life.