‘Mr. Robot’ Season 3 Episode 6 & 7: Phase 2 Far

On the latest episodes of “Mr. Robot,” we finally saw what Phase 2 was, and it was far worse than anyone- least of all Elliot (Rami Malek)- ever realized, and lest we forget, it was his idea in the first place- or at least Mr. Robot’s (Christain Slater), which is technically Elliot, too. In addition, several characters found themselves in jeopardy, with one seeming to be doomed, while two others found themselves unsure of what to expect, but knowing it couldn’t be good. (They weren’t wrong.)

We also got the welcome return of TV-fixated Leon (Joey Bada$$), as well as the long-presumed dead- by Elliot and Darlene (Carly Chaikin), at least- Mobley (Azhar Khan) and Trenton (Sunita Mani), and a resurfacing of none other than FBI’s most wanted Tyrell Wellick (Martin Wallström), who had some bad news of his own to face.

Clearly, this season of “Mr. Robot” isn’t taking any prisoners- except when it does, and even then, it doesn’t turn out good for those concerned, to say the least. Needless to say, spoilers from here on out, so you have been warned. Strap yourself in, and let’s get right to it, shall we?

Episode six picked up basically where we left off, with Elliot and Angela (Portia Doubleday) having a stand-off, but with a neat flashback serving as an intro to Angela’s state of mind. We saw a young Angela (Mabel Tyler) attending a “party” in honor of her mother Emily (perfectly cast Julia Crockett, “Outcast”), to “celebrate” her decision to stop treatment for her illness. Elliot’s dad (Slater) approaches her and impresses on her the need for her to get closure with her mother, so she begrudgingly and tentatively does so, having a heart-to-heart with her to try and understand her decision to seemingly give up.

Emily tells Angela that she’s not worried about the two of them never seeing each other again, as she is convinced that there is a better place than this and that they will meet there someday, when Angela’s own time has come. This seems to calm young Angela, as well as explain how Whiterose (BD Wong) was able to manipulate her so easily in the past, by promising her precisely that sort of outcome on down the line, once her work was done.

Alas, as we discover, Phase 2 is much bigger than Angela, Elliot and Tyrell combined, and then some. After confronting Angela, who refuses to budge on telling him anything about Phase 2, Elliot realizes that Tyrell is in the basement of The Red Wheelbarrow restaurant and lets Darlene know this, who, in turn, relays this information to Dom (Grace Gummer).

Dom wants to act on this info asap, but is stymied by her boss, Agent Santiago (Omar Metwally), who is, of course, on Team Dark Army. At this point, it’s clear that Dom is starting to suspect something is off, but can’t put her finger on what it is. Whatever the case, she all but disregards Santiago’s orders and goes with her partner, Norm (Rizwan Manji, “The Magicians”) to the Red Wheelbarrow to stake it out and investigate, despite Santiago’s insistence that it will be taken care of and properly surveilled by an FBI team.

Naturally, Santiago tips off the Dark Army, who instantly go into damage control mode, bringing in Irving (Bobby Cannavale) to “fix” things, as per usual. He gives Tyrell a set of written instructions that clearly knock him for a loop, but continues to leave him in the dark about exactly what is going on. After reading them, Tyrell burns them, which gets the attention of a snooping Dom, who realizes the restaurant has a basement and goes down to investigate when she literally sees smoke, and where there’s smoke…

Alas, Tyrell is gone when she gets there, but Santiago promises to send FBI to scour the area, including the tunnel Dom finds hidden in the basement, which Tyrell obviously used to escape. Sure enough, they later capture and arrest Tyrell, who beckons to Dom that they need to stop the attack “before it’s too late,” but doesn’t elaborate, for now.

Meanwhile, Elliot seeks to do just that, calling in a bomb threat to the building where the Phase 2 bombing is scheduled to go down. It works, but by the time he gets there, a sweep has already been done and everyone is going back into the building, as no bomb has been found. Elliot uses the chaos to sneak in, much as he did at E(vil) Corp in the previous episode, and tries his best to use a computer to hack in and stop the bombing by any means necessary, but there’s a problem: Mr. Robot.

As soon as Elliot gets close to doing something, Mr. Robot takes over and forces him to stop, setting him back on his mission time and again. Eventually, Elliot goes so far as to bash himself in the head to keep Mr. Robot at bay, which does not go unnoticed by some alarmed workers at the building. He makes it down to the server room of the building, for one more last-ditch effort to save it, finally convincing Mr. Robot to help, as he points out that the papers that the Dark Army are seeking to destroy aren’t even in the building, as he re-routed them, after all.

Elliot shows Mr. Robot proof of this, and sure enough, Mr. Robot opts to help at the last minute, helping to set off a fire alarm in the server room and save the day for everyone concerned. As all this is going on, Darlene also confronts Angela, trying to get her to help stop it as well, and threatening to report her to the FBI, but Angela insists that all is well, and that the Dark Army promised to evacuate the building, so that no one will be hurt.

Thinking he’s stopped Phase 2 dead in its tracks, Elliot leaves the building as it is cleared once again. However, as he is walking, he notices everyone acting strange, looking in alarm at their smart phones and the like. He sees a group of people gathered around a television display and goes to see what’s going on, then sees that an attack has occurred after all- just not where he expected it.

It seems that Phase 2 happened anyway, as, when the Dark Army realized they couldn’t get all the paperwork to the same building in time for the UN vote, Whiterose opted to proceed with the plan in spite of it. But instead of blowing up the one building as initially planned, he blew up every single last building the files were being stored in, some 71 in all- and those buildings were decidedly NOT evacuated at the time, making for the single biggest terrorist attack on American soil in history- and Elliot essentially caused it, with help from Angela and Tyrell.

Floored by the revelation that he actually made things worse, Elliot flees to Krista (Gloria Reuben), his psychiatrist, to more or less confess, with an assist from Mr. Robot. Krista is alarmed, but unsure of how she should proceed. She later goes to report what she heard to her own psychiatrist, but he points out that Elliot is troubled and that it is common for people like him to confess to crimes they didn’t commit, and what is the likelihood he had the resources and ability to pull off something like the recent terrorist attacks? No one person could have done this alone, right?

Dom likewise has her doubts about that, and questions Tyrell to that end, but gets nowhere. He, as per the Dark Army’s request, is pretending that he was held captive by them in that basement, and that he isn’t the real villain here. His lawyer also helps to clear him of the murder he was accused of, and tries to cut a deal for him, much to Dom’s consternation.

Santiago corners Tyrell off-camera and threatens to end him if he tells anyone of his involvement with the Dark Army, and also breaks the news to him about his wife’s murder and his baby’s fate, promising that he will make it his mission to bury the kid in the system and put him in the worst Foster care habitat imaginable if he tries to betray him.

Tyrell is naturally devastated by the news, and now realizes why Irving and everyone was being so cagey about things with him and his plan to flee the country with his family. He nonetheless sticks with the plan, if only to save his son. He tells the FBI the identities of the “real” masterminds of the Dark Army, pointing to two pictures of the culprits. The FBI springs into action to go after the two people in question, but we don’t see who they are. Might it be Elliot and Darlene?

Meanwhile, we see Trenton and Mobley, who are being held hostage by Leon, who kills Mobley’s roommate. The three of them head out to an unknown destination in the desert, where Leon starts to dig a hole, insisting that it’s for Mobley’s roommate- for now. While doing so, Trenton escapes the restraints Leon placed on her and tries to steal Leon’s car and get them out of there, but she’s never driven before and wrecks the car instead, resulting in Leon forcing the two to dig the hole themselves.

They return to Mobley’s place, where those masked Dark Army agents are waiting for them, along with Zhang’s assistant (Tony Cheng). I can see now why the assistant was wary of Whiterose wanting to push forward on Phase 2, given all that happened, which could have been avoided, if they simply waited on the files to arrive at their one intended destination. But, as we discover, Whiterose did this on purpose to teach Price (Michael Cristofer) a lesson for his insubordination, and his lack of being able to keep Angela in line, as they discussed.

Now, Price will shoulder the blame for what happened, and will be replaced by someone Whiterose will likely more easily be able to control, thus allowing for him to relocate the Washington Township plant to the Congo like he wanted. Price, needless to say, isn’t happy about any of this, accosting Zhang, aka Whiterose’s “other” persona, in a swanky place they have met before, much to the shock of the other patrons. Zhang leaves, all high and mighty, having taught Price a lesson for his actions, or lack thereof. I guess you could say he paid the price, lol. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

Meanwhile, Angela is coming completely unglued, and seems convinced that everything that has been done can be undone, likely the direct result of her talk with Whiterose, who clearly implied that he had the ability to turn back time and undo everything bad that was happening, and that it was- literally- just a matter of time. I’m assuming this has everything to do with that machine we glimpsed in an episode earlier this season, which I’m guessing Whiterose thinks can be used to “redo” the past once it is perfected- if it is perfected. We shall see, but that’s a BIG “if.”

Irving takes Elliot to an upscale location after knocking him out and absconding with him when he goes to the mechanic’s shop/used car lot that he knows Irving works out of. He tells Elliot that he is there to “clean” up yet another rich person’s mess, in this case an inconveniently dead mistress of a politician. Irving points out a group of rich people partying on top of the building he’s headed to, noting that they continue to celebrate, even after the tragic events of the day.

Irving tells Elliot there will always be people like this, pulling the strings and lording it over everyone else, and implying that they’re both only cogs in the machine, and there’s little they can do about it. But are they, really? Might Elliot be able to do something about it? After all, both the 5/9 hack and Phase 2 were largely his ideas, and he was the key element in getting them done. We shall see in this case, as well, but Irving isn’t wrong, either.

Leon takes his leave of Trenton and Mobley, wishing them the best, but clearly assuming the worst. He isn’t wrong, as the agents of the Dark Army take them to the garage, where there are several computers set up, showing a plot to continue the terrorist attacks of the day by blowing up a host of airplanes. Zhang/Whiterose’s assistant tells them to shoot themselves or it will happen for real, but if they sacrifice themselves for the cause, another crisis will be averted.

Mobley seems reluctant, so the masked men help him along, grabbing the gun on the table and forcing Mobley to take his own life. As we see, Mobley and Trenton were also who Tyrell identified as the “real” heads of the Dark Army, and an SWAT team is put together to descend on Mobley’s house. When they finally reach the garage area, sure enough, the representatives of the Dark Army are long gone, and Trenton and Mobley are both found dead, with FSociety and terrorist type propaganda left all around to implicate them as the heads of it all.

Santiago congratulates Dom on her big win, pointing out that, though they might be dead, she just played an instrumental part in bringing down both FSociety and the Dark Army. Dom herself isn’t so sure, retreating to her white board of conspiracy and crossing off Trenton and Mobley, but remaining unconvinced that the Dark Army has really been defeated and that they have caught the real culprit. A Post-It she places on the board indicates that she knows about Whiterose and that she thinks he/she is still out there.

Episode five, with its seemingly unbroken long take of action, was a tough act to follow, but damned if these two episodes weren’t incredibly satisfying as well, if a bit less showy. Episode six functioned almost as an inversion of the preceding episode, as Elliot rushed to undo what Angela, Tyrell, Mr. Robot and the Dark Army had set in motion. Though not quite as intense overall as the “you are there” vibe of episode five, it came pretty close, and that final reveal of what Phase 2 had ultimately evolved into, thanks to Elliot’s efforts to stop it, was devastating.

Meanwhile, episode six featured some valuable character background for Angela that helped us understand why she felt compelled to do what she did- and the repercussions of her doing it on her already fragile state of mind. We also got the much-welcome return of fan favorites like Trenton, Mobley and Leon, however short-lived, in the case of the former two.

I loved that Trenton and Mobley’s fate basically was sealed because of Trenton’s inability to drive a car, lol. It’s such a New Yorker way to be doomed, given the fact that a lot of people there don’t drive, and it was darkly hilarious. I also loved, as ever, Leon’s musings on TV, particularly his rant about the unfairness of Frazier getting to “crush” so many ladies and how unbelievable it was, and how “Knight Rider” pre-configured our reliance on technology- and how Hasselhoff was much more believable as a ladies’ man. And yeah, that theme song still rules.

Indeed, as ever, I’m just loving the musical selections overall this season, which have run the gamut of The Cramps to Julie Andrews to what I’m pretty sure was the music from the cult favorite “Repo Man,” a movie I just love. Perhaps a bit of a tribute to the recently-deceased Harry Dean Stanton? Either way, even the cheesier selections- looking at you, Roxette– have worked like a charm for me. I’ve got the four volumes of score music by Mac Quayle already released, but I’d love to have a compilation of all the soundtrack music as well- it’s that good.

This has been nothing if not a compelling season thus far, more than making up for any shortcomings of the previous season, which had a tendency to drag a bit for many people. I do think it was a necessary evil, when all is said and done, as it got us from there to here, but the same can certainly not be said for this season, which has been exciting and chock full of unexpected twists and turns.

Indeed, I’m kind of at a loss as to what to expect from the final run of episodes this season, as many of these last few episodes easily could have functioned as a season finale as it is. That implies that writer/director/creator Sam Esmail has even more up his sleeve for the remainder of the season, and I, for one, can’t wait to see what he has in store for us coming up in the final episodes. I literally have no idea where all this is going next, and I’m good with that.

Care to take a stab at it yourself? Sound off down below in the comments section with your crackpot theories and predictions, and thanks for reading. Join me in a couple of weeks for another update. I’ll see you then!