Director: Sam Esmail
Writer: Sam Esmail (created and written by)
Starring: Rami Malek, Portia Doubleday, Carly Chaikin, Michael Cristofer, Stephanie Corneliussen, Martin Wallström, Christian Slater, Michel Gill, Sandrine Holt, Gloria Reuben, Grace Gummer, Craig Robinson and more.
Episode length: 42 minutes
The hack is back. The series shifts from the surreal to the real in an episode with some big revelations, and some brutal and violent surprises.
A big dose of reality is back this time around, gone is the inner struggle portrayed in the first few episodes of season 2. Its replaced by an episode that’s based in reality, and focuses mostly on Agent Dom DiPierro, and also spends time on Angela, Darlene, Joanna Wellick, and of course our hero Elliot.
(*warning, spoilers follow*)
eps2.3_logic_b0mb.hc begins with another nice soliloquy by Elliot, talking about hacking, while revealing a little of his history in his favorite pastime. He really loves this stuff, and says as much in no uncertain terms. This is accompanied by lots of images of him at the keyboard, his fingers playing out the staccato of digital music that is him typing away, doing his job for Ray, while also initiating his plan to hack the FBI.
The scene shifts locations and we join Agent DiPierro as she arrives at the E-corp server farm where Elliot planted the actual hardware that made the hack possible. She inspects the gadget he used, and mutters in appreciation of the simple cleverness of it while doing so. Agents are shown all over the place, but it is not made clear if this has actually aided the investigation.
Next comes a short visit with Joanna who is meeting with her boy-toy who is freaking out, and makes it obvious he is about to crack from strain. Its obvious this guy is a goner, it was telegraphed by the show last week when he was depicted doing more of the same. Of course this leads to his sudden demise, at the hands of Joanna’s chauffeur and ever-present handy guy, who makes it look like a burglary.
Angela shows up this time around too, she is visited by Darlene who wants her to help with the FBI hack, meant to cover up any evidence that might lead back to her or Elliot and the others. She refuses , and throws Darlene out. When Darlene approaches Elliot about Angela being involved, he is adamant about not wanting her to be any part of it, but later its Angela herself who tells him it makes sense.
The two spend a short time together at his parents house, and for a brief moment it seems like they manage to reconnect as friends, until he confesses his dead father is there standing right behind her. She tells him she has missed him, and offers to be there for him to talk to if he should ever need it, because it might help.
Meanwhile Agent DiPierro (Grace Gummer) and a small entourage of FBi agents including her boss, Agent Santiago (Omar Metwally), and her fellow agents, are depicted visiting China in connection with the 5/9 hack and it turns out the person they are visiting is none other than the Chinese Secretary of National Security, Minister Zheng, who we know better in his alter ego as White Rose.
What a surprise seeing him in this role, and it certainly explains a lot, the whole rich man’s club scene at the end of last year has tentacles inside national governments which actually should not be all that surprising.
Zheng is unperturbed in the face of the FBI’s arrival, until, just for a moment, he reacts to DiPierro’s mentioning of the Dark Army, the Chinese hacker group he is the leader of, his calm veneer seems to slip slightly, but only for a moment.
I am really enjoying BD Wong in this role, he seems to escalate any production he takes part in with his presence, his face is remarkably expressive and effective in conveying whatever the role calls for.
Later, at a party at Minster Zheng’s home, Dom goes wandering about looking for a rest room, when she stumbles upon a room full of clocks. Zheng finds her admiring his collection and begins questioning her about her life and how she became an agent for the FBI. This conversation briefly reminded me of the relationship between Hannibal Lecter and Clarice in Silence Of The Lambs (1991). He shows her his collection of dresses, claiming they belong to his sister, but it’s revealed later she knows he doesn’t have a sister.
Anther change of scene shows Angela meeting with her ex-boyfriend from last season, Ollie Parker (Ben Rappaport), he asked her how she’s doing and then pulls out his resume, just in case she can help him get a gig at E-corp.
He mentions the CD she used, but still doesn’t realize how its connected to the hack. He tries to draw her out for more information about it, and when she discovers he’s recording their conversation with his phone, she questions him about if he’s working with the FBI and he confesses he has been talking with them. This makes Angela both angry, and very paranoid, and she abruptly leaves.
Later Angela is shown taking a taxi, and then another, before switching again to the subway, using the old spy tricks to lose anyone attempting to follow her before arriving at the condo of the E-corp executive that Darlene and her F-Society friends have confiscated for their headquarters, She follows Darlene into a room where the original F-society members are waiting.
Elliot has taken an interest in what Ray’s website is all about, and he concocts an excuse to meet and talk with the guy that was working for him before. They meet, and the guys is obviously very scared, and not happy to be there, but finally breaks down and signs into Ray’s site before he leaves.
Mr Robot warns him against it, but Elliot disregards his advice, and takes a look and find some disturbing stuff, stuff like underage sex slaves being auctioned off, ads for military hardware, hitmen, drug sales going on, etc.. Its an underground market for lots of illegal stuff.
The episode ends on a violent note. Elliot is suddenly awakened in bed that night by two very rough looking characters who drag him outside. Ray is there, along with his buddy Lone Star (Michael Maize), who’s not as dumb as he looks. he has a small lock of hair with some bloody remnants of skin and flesh that looks like it was violently removed from its owner, the guy Elliot met with earlier that showed him Rays website.
Lone Star ratted out Eliot for looking where he shouldn’t. Ray tells him he warned him not to look as the thugs begin working him over right there in the street in front of his house. The scene ends with a shot of that bloody rat’s tail of hair laying on the sidewalk while Elliot is being beaten.
Back in China Agent DiPierro’s light hearted conversation during her “field trip” to one of E Corp’s Chinese server farms is abruptly interrupted by a sudden eruption of gunfire from two masked men, that’s killing her colleagues left and right, including the woman she is standing right next to. Dom grabs a gun and wounds one of the shooters, who finishes the job himself by shooting himself in the head. As the hour drew to a close, it ended with a real cliffhanger, as the other shooter seemingly had her in the crosshairs. Did she wander a little too close to the flame when she met White Rose/Zheng and mentioned the Dark Army?
This was a surprising episode chock full of revelations, Minister Zheng/White Rose is apparently as crazy as Elliot, or maybe crazier. Being the leader of the Dark Army, while obviously playing on the side of the privileged wealthy at the same time all while being part of the Chinese communist government is one hell of a juggling act. This raises all sorts of questions, and makes Zheng the most intriguing character in this story, and someone to keep an eye on.
The truth about Ray has finally been revealed, we knew there was something dark going on beneath that friendly veneer, but what does that mean for Elliot going forward, and how will it impact his plans to hack the FBi in order to cover his tracks and those of the others?
The noose is tightening around the neck of F-Society, and if she survives, Dom is getting too close for comfort. All this added up to a very exciting episode that stood out as a major break away from what has gone before this season. Great stuff from a show that was full of surprises last year and obviously still has some tricks up its sleeves.
After being such a hit in season one, I have been wondering if this series could ever match the impact it had in its rookie season. I see now there was no reason to worry about it not being as good. It just seems to keep getting better.