Season two of Mr. Robot has been slower moving than some fans might prefer. Compared to season one, in which the story was constantly moving forward as Elliot’s involvement with fsociety went deeper, this second run has been much more deliberate as it builds toward whatever decisive, climactic moment creator Sam Esmail has in mind.
However, the first thing we learned about Elliot as the series began was that he was something of a superhero hacker. Yes, he constantly lurked where he shouldn’t have, digging underneath people’s online (and public) personas and into private information. But for the most part, Elliot looked to disrupt the lives of bad people doing unethical or outright terrible things, whether it was being married and having an affair or running a child pornography photo site.
In the aftermath of the 5/9 Attacks, in which fsociety ignited a revolution by hacking into Evil Corp, loading in malicious code and erasing all consumer debt, Elliot has basically lost his identity. Obviously, that’s been a key point of season two, with Elliot moving off the grid, going into hiding and doing all he can to erase the delusions and personality of Mr. Robot from his consciousness. But in discussing the show with fellow viewers and fans, there also seems to be a longing for what Elliot used to be — when he would use his hacking for good, regardless of the shady methods used to accomplish those objectives.
Episode five, “logic-b0mb.hc,” seems as if it might be moving Elliot back in that direction. Though very little appears to happen in terms of moving the story forward, the episode provides several revelations. Perhaps the biggest one, especially as it pertains to Elliot, is learning why Ray (Craig Robinson) wants Elliot to help him migrate his website. More importantly, Elliot digs where he shouldn’t and discovers what kind of website Ray is running.
“Do you really not know what happens on this site?” Ray’s previous tech guy asks Elliot in a notepad conversation, meant to avoid being heard by the brutish henchman standing nearby. Not being able to execute what Ray wanted resulted in a severe penalty for the programmer, who bears some nasty bruises on the left side of his face. Elliot asks what happened, but the guy just wants to decrypt the necessary files, give Elliot the access he needs, and get the hell out of there.
But as Elliot keeps pushing, the programmer (who “knows his shit,” raising the question of why Elliot is even needed here) pulls up Ray’s site and gives Elliot the option to log in and see what it’s all about. Elliot doesn’t have to log in. He can just go back into the site code and finish the job he was asked to do.
This, as Elliot puts it, is his “if/then moment.” If Elliot finds out what Ray is truly up to and doesn’t like what he sees, then what will he do about it. Of course, Elliot logs in and discovers that “Midland City” is an online black market that sells drugs, weapons and worst of all, child slaves. This is some bad shit, exactly the sort of thing Elliot would have tried to take down before he became fully aware of Mr. Robot and fsociety and they took over his life.
Elliot’s instinct is to stop Ray and help the people being hurt by this black market. He can wipe out Midland City with a few keystrokes. But he doesn’t trust himself either. He likes Ray, considering him “protective” and “kind.” Yet in the next sentence, he acknowledges that his new friend is “dangerous” and “criminal.” Of course, the likelihood of Elliot getting away clean is small. He needs to come up with a plan that takes down the site and somehow avoid getting beat up — or worse.
Mr. Robot warns Elliot not to go down this rabbit hole. Naturally, he’s more concerned with getting Elliot back to the main objective, which is helping fsociety crush Evil Corp before the government bails the conglomerate out. But Elliot can’t just walk away now. He can’t forget what he saw on the site, the people that were being exploited and hurt, the evil being perpetrated as business. His “logic bomb” has gone off, and the only rational decision is to destroy Ray and his black market.
Unfortunately for Elliot, he doesn’t cover his tracks as well as he thought. Either that, or he made a huge mistake by believing he could trust Ray’s previous tech guy.
Elliot is pulled out of bed by two of Ray’s thugs and brought outside. The main henchman who had been watching Elliot tosses the tech guy’s rat tail to the sidewalk, its bloody end indicating that it was cut from his head. Things probably didn’t end well for that poor guy, and Elliot is now in line for a similar fate. Ray knows that Elliot snooped around and discovered the site, and has his bruisers beat Elliot up in front of his house. The beating is presumably severe, but we can assume that it’s not fatal. Ray still needs Elliot. And we wouldn’t have a series if the main character was killed off, right?
What else did we learn in this episode? Angela’s tried to make a power play with Evil Corp’s CEO, Philip Price, last week, but failed. But the effort wasn’t just an attempt to give herself a better job and make herself indispensible. She was trying to protect herself. Angela was the one who fed the CD loaded with malicious code into Allsafe’s servers, initiating the 5/9 Hack, and if (or when) that’s discovered, the best-case scenario is a plea deal for reduced jail time. If Darlene knows about it, then it’s a fair guess that the FBI will eventually reach the same conclusion.
The best way to protect herself is to help Darlene and Elliot with their next attack on Evil Corp. Elliot doesn’t want to involve Angela, but Darlene reminds him that it’s the best (and probably only) way to execute their plan. And once Angela realizes that her ex-fiancé Oliver will eventually confess to getting that CD (and Angela taking it) in order to save himself, she knows the only way out is to go along with Darlene and Elliot. With the assurance that Elliot will try to protect her as best he can, Angela gets on board. And with that, Darlene introduces her to Mobley and Trenton. Welcome to fsociety, Angela.
But the far more explosive reveal comes from Agent Dom DiPierro’s visit to China. After discovering the break-in at the Steel Mountain facility which allowed fsociety access to Evil Corp’s mainframe, DiPierro’s team is dispatched overseas to investigate the country’s role in the 5/9 Attacks, since their backup servers were a part of the Evil Corp hack. And that’s where we learn that China’s Minister of State Security is none other than Whiterose, the leader of the Chinese hacker group The Dark Army.
We already knew the 5/9 Hack was something of an inside job, due to Whiterose’s association with Price. But Whiterose had far more access — in a much more public, official position — than anyone could have guessed. Agent DiPierro doesn’t know about Whiterose yet, but she suspects something is up with the minister, who shows DiPierro a wardrobe full of elaborate dresses that he claims belong to his sister. But we know that’s Whiterose’s preferred attire, and with a little digging, DiPierro knows that the minister doesn’t really have a sister.
DiPierro and her fellow agents are attacked by two assault rifle-wielding gunmen in the hotel lobby. (DiPierro’s colleague, who was excited about her trip to China and was often haunted by ominous dreams, is shot and killed.) DiPierro is able to find shelter during the shootout and subdues one of the gunmen (who ultimately kills himself), but the other shooter is still alive and firing multiple rounds at the agent. The scene cuts away as DiPierro is shielding herself from the gunfire, but the situation doesn’t look good for her.
We don’t yet know the outcome, but it’s apparent that Whiterose thinks DiPierro is getting too close. Just like Elliot with Midland City.
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