TV Recap: Mr. Robot: Season 3, Episode 4
After taking a week to slow things down with a flashback episode that didn’t advance the plot whatsoever, I assumed that this week’s episode would get things back on track and pump some life into the season. That’s unfortunately not the case. With all the plot threads left dangling, all the character motivations and interactions unexplored, we’ve been given two episodes back-to-back with minimal plot development—so little, in fact, I genuinely don’t know how much I have to write about. There are a few interesting smaller character moments, but not nearly enough.
When we last saw Elliot, he had phished the FBI and discovered Darlene’s apartment below the FBI safe house. Shortly after he breaks in, Darlene shows up and attempts to throw him off his paranoid scent. She successfully diverts him and he takes her back to his place that’s been torn apart in a search for listening devices. Elliot goes to his computer to show her all of the evidence he’s been building on the Dark Army and Stage 2. When Darlene asks why he hasn’t just turned them in with what he has, he responds, “I wanna be the one that finds them. I need to see where this leads... There’s something inside me that can’t let go of what we started.” Together they come up with a plan to have Darlene tail Elliot when he goes out at night as Mr. Robot. He sets her up in the late Shayla’s empty apartment to stake out.
Meanwhile, the FBI are lead to an apartment and arrest a man who’s wearing a fsociety mask. He was caught easily and is suspected of creating the fsociety videos. When taken in for questioning, the man is completely stone-faced. He ignores all questions except Agent DiPierro’s (Grace Gummer) mentioning of Whiterose, to which he slightly responds to but ultimately ignores. The only thing that he has to say is that he represents fsociety. I took him to be an obvious Dark Army plant meant to throw off the FBI.
Earlier in the episode, Angela had a meeting with Irving at the Red Wheelbarrow restaurant. In his standard, philosophical way, Irving focuses on his particularly delicious ribs as the object of conversation, but he does have some important news—the plan goes off in ten days. Angela knows about the setbacks that Elliot has been causing, but she doesn’t have a choice and says they can get it done on time.
Mr. Robot then goes out for the night and it’s time for Darlene to do her part. She stays a good distance behind as he meets up with Angela around the corner. The two supposedly spot Darlene as they take a confusing route down the subway and back out to hop into a cab and get taken away, ending Darlene’s investigation. They show up at the secret underground planning area where they inform Tyrell of Elliot’s meddling and the new launch date, and he is not having it. He smashes whatever’s in sight in rage and curses the man who he once was infatuated with, “I once thought you’d be a god. I loved you.” It seems the stress of the situation got to Mr. Robot, as Elliot wakes up. He isn’t conscious for long, as Angela stabs him with a needle to knock him out. Mr. Robot later wakes up in Angela’s apartment where he is told he is to stay put to not risk Elliot coming back out, and Angela calls the head of Evil Corp, Philip Price (Michael Cristofer), to demand the firing of Elliot.
The best scene of the episode is between Tyrell and Irving in the bunker. Tyrell is still fuming, making excuses that they won’t be able to finish the plan in time. But Irving always knows just what to say. He feeds into Tyrell’s god complex. He waxes that maybe Elliot wasn’t meant to be the god that Tyrell thought, and that Tyrell is the only real god here. That if anybody can step up and put together this mess, it’s him. Tyrell takes to this and seems reinvigorated, but he requests two things. One, the full force of the Dark Army, and two, he is going to see Joanna and his child as soon as the plan begins. He needs plane tickets to the Ukraine where they will not be extradited. He clearly has not been told about Joanna’s death, and Irving’s sure not going to tell him now.
With a small, blurry scene of Darlene returning the photo of Elliot, her, and their parents to Elliot’s apartment, the episode ends. I was initially very disappointed, frustrated even, by this episode. These season’s episode order is preciously limited, and the show’s ratings have been on a decline since it began. Basically, I’m very worried that this story won’t end up being completely told. There is hope, though. The preview for next week’s commercial-free hour made the episode look like it’ll be fairly substantial and I’m predicting that the plan will finally be enacted. We’ve been waiting some time, so I hope it’ll all be worth it.