After a handful of episodes that focused mostly — possibly too much — on Elliot and his battle to control his anarchist alter-ego, Mr. Robot really dialed up the action last night. There were people hacking the FBI, and clock-obsessed Chinese officials with secret identities giving tours of their mansions, and Deep Web sites that sold everything from people to pills, and that’s before we even get to all the murder. There was a lot going on.
The main theme of it all, though, was that everyone is in trouble. Well, almost everyone. And so, to help make sense of it all, what I’ve done here is rank the main players in the episode based on how much danger they’re in, from most to least. As always, here to help.
1. Everyone Joanna knows, has known, or will ever know
Let’s think about poor Kareem for a second. Kareem made the mistake of telling Joanna he was nervous and freaking out about the FBI, so Joanna sent out the order to have him killed. But she didn’t just have him killed. She had her goon administer a shot to paralyze him, toss the place so it would look like a robbery, then put two bullets in him while he sat there watching it happen but unable to prevent it. And then she justified it by saying that doing it that way allowed him to know why he was dying, which prevented her from becoming just “a ruthless murderer.”
Which, uh, okay. But if I’m on your hit list, and there’s no way for me to get off it, please put me down for a sudden painless death that I don’t see coming instead of 30 seconds of rigid helpless terror as I wait for a hitman to finish me off. I honestly can’t decide if Joanna did this to be cruel or if she thought she was doing him a favor. That might be the most terrifying part.
Actually, no. The most terrifying part is that she made her goon give her the full-on murder recap while she was singing her baby a lullaby. Joanna is a) a monster, and b) my favorite character.
Dom has two problems, possibly related.
PROBLEM ONE: She is now very much on the radar of Whiterose — who we now know is also Minister Zhang, a top Chinese state security official — thanks to her blurting out the phrase “Dark Army” during their official meeting and poking around Whiterose’s precious clock collection during the party. Whiterose gives off big time supervillain vibes, right? Like the double identity is one thing, obviously, but even down to the habit of giving long, cryptic answers to simple questions.
“So what’s up with these clocks?”
“Life is but a walking shadow… [goes on for 90 seconds]”
I half expected the answer to end with, “We’re not so different, you and I.”
PROBLEM 2: Uhhh mass shooting cliffhanger. This is probably the more pressing issue.
Elliot, in the process of attempting to hack the FBI, found out that the same computer he was doing the hack from was also Ray’s primary access point for a Silk-Road-esque website — right down to the name “Dread Pirate Roberts — that deals in everything from drugs to arranged murders to human trafficking, and while he was debating whether to bring it all down, Ray and his goons showed up and dragged him out of his bed for a sidewalk beating.
4. Angela’s ex
This kid is so dead. And not because Angela will kill him for recording their conversation and freaking out about the FBI. I don’t think Angela would do that, not even in her new, more cutthroat E Corp persona. I just think he’s too dumb to avoid crossing someone else he shouldn’t or getting hit by a bus because he’s too focused on eating a hot dog while crossing the street. Or something. It’s a miracle he made it this far, honestly.
Angela is working for a company she helped try to destroy, and the only way she can keep the secret hidden from her employers and the authorities is to sneak a device into a tightly-guarded(-ish) building that is swarming with FBI agents, all in the hope that a hack engineered by her mentally ill friend will derail a federal investigation into the crime she is very much guilty of.
This also seems bad!
Darlene is a tricky one. On one hand, she’s running a vigilante hacker organization more or less by herself, and we saw it get to her very early in the season, and the FBI is getting mighty close, and one of the members of her braintrust got murdered in his weed garden by an as-yet-unidentified gunman who may be hunting all of them.
But on the other hand, Darlene is the best, and she has this cool habit of just popping up in people’s living rooms like she’s Batman, and that speech she gave Angela about hacking the FBI was kind of awesome. So let’s put her at six.
Ray isn’t so much in danger today, right now, because it looks like he killed or tortured the one computer guy and is now in the process of punishing Elliot for being nosy. But the arc of a television season is long and typically bends toward sketchy bad guys gettin’ got, so Ray is facing more of a historical, generic danger than a clear and present one.
Ray also might wanna work on his business practice of hiring people he barely knows to have them tinker with the website for a wildly illegal operation, using only “hey, please don’t look” as a deterrent, and then letting them sit at a mostly unsupervised computer with their mysteriously bruised predecessor. But what do I know?
Whiterose, a.k.a. Minister Zhang, a.k.a. The Timekeeper, a.k.a. Sinister Clockman appears to be relatively safe right now, pulling strings from a distance and collecting many fine ballgowns and prying into the backstories of nosy FBI agents. (How much funnier would it have been if Whiterose let Dom tell her whole long story about getting proposed to in a restaurant and sneaking out the back and running away, and then just looked at her when she was done and said, “Cool”? My vote: Very much funnier.)
The biggest issue Whiterose has right now, I think, is that being super evasive and cryptic about everything tends to set off alarm bells for people on the lookout for evasive and cryptic behavior (like, say, FBI agents), and judging by the Level 5 Stinkface that resulted from Dom bringing up the Dark Army, methinks Whiterose wants to be cautious of that.
Joanna is not in danger. Joanna is the danger.