BY KALI O'ROURKE
Mr. Robot didn’t spend all of “Exploits” on F Society breaking into Steel Mountain, but what it did spend on it was infinitely interesting to me. Like I pointed outlast week, I love heist movies, and that was what we got for about 20 minutes this week.
With Elliot (Rami Malek) recovered from his withdrawal, the team moves on Steel Mountain, and Elliot heads inside to mess with the climate control. So, basically, the heist stuff we got was the breaking and entering without getting caught phase, which is always my favorite part.
Mr. Robot puts a spin on this that I should have expected but didn’t: Elliot is really bad at getting inside the building. It’s part and parcel of his social anxiety, I assume, and he almost doesn’t get to go on his tour because the security guard just isn’t biting. Mr. Robot’s idea is to yell at the guy, which Elliot kind of does later on, but he’s obviously uncomfortable jumping to such extremes. It’s actually really cool to see the plan almost derailed from the first moment, especially since it fits so well with Elliot’s character.
The later interruption of the plan when the wrong supervisor shows up – one the team hadn’t prepped for – was more a typical complication of the heist genre, but it was funny to see F Society so turned around because the woman didn’t have any social media to exploit.
And then the final problem: Elliot runs into Tyrell Wellick (Martin Wallström) before he can get to the climate control. Wellick showing up is a nice shocking moment, and of course, he could bring the entire plan down, so it introduces the right amount of tension. Plus, it’s useful that Elliot can use Wellick to get closer to the climate control on Level 2 with his pass to the executive dining room.
Wellick’s presence is also a good reminder that “Exploits” doesn’t exist in a vacuum. There have been other episodes in this TV show and other things have happened, some of which Wellick knows about. As he tells Elliot, he knows about the setup with Colby from episode one. While it panics Elliot at first, Wellick says he won’t tell, and really, since his goal is obviously to take over Colby’s job, why would he? Elliot did him a favor, even if he didn’t realize it at the time.
In spite of Wellick, Elliot manages to complete his mission at Steel Mountain, only for F Society to run into another problem. Darlene’s (Carly Chaikin) Dark Army contacts won’t come through. In fact, they pulled out of the job before the others even went to Steel Mountain. It’s a little frustrating to have F Society run into so many problems, but this is tempered by the fact that everyone knew it was a long shot going in.
Plus, the Dark Army problem definitely ruffles Darlene’s feathers. I assume, like Elliot, she has a really good reason for wanting to bring Evil Corp to its knees. I’m not sure if the scenes of her lashing out in anger over the Dark Army’s betrayal would have been stronger if we knew her reasoning or not. As it is, they stand fine on their own, but I think Mr. Robot should at least hint at why Darlene was so upset sooner rather than later.
But it’s not clear if the show is going to do that. Bookending the episode were scenes with Fernando Vera (Elliot Vilar), the drug dealer that Elliot ratted out, and boy, is he mad. So mad that after figuring out Elliot was the one to turn him in, it looks like he kidnapped Shayla (Frances Shaw) at the end of the episode.
I’d imagine that getting her back will be Elliot’s top priority for at least the next episode, but it’s not clear if F Society will figure into that plan or not. They probably should at this point because it would bring the disparate plotlines of Mr. Robot together, but I don’t think F Society would care that much about helping a girl they’ve never met.
Angela (Portia Doubleday) and Ollie (Ben Rappaport) skirt around the edges of “Exploits” with Angela taking center stage after she breaks up with Ollie. She then returns to her dad’s house and finds what I’m assuming are overdue bills – they only showed them briefly, but that’s what makes the most sense. She doesn’t really get a chance to do anything with this information before the episode ends, so it’s not really clear where this plotline is going either. But it will probably lead back to F Society somehow, like the CD virus she uploaded to Allsafe’s network.
Mr. Robot has really kicked it into gear the past two episodes by upping the ante with F Society as well as giving the characters who aren’t Elliot a chance to breathe, and I hope that this pattern continues in the weeks to come.
- If, like me, you weren’t totally clear on everything F Society actually did to orchestrate the sort of heist, you can check out this recap from Forbes which explains a lot of it.
- Elliot may not have been impressed by how big Steel Mountain was, but I was. Their own fire department and roads inside the building? Wow.
- That scene in the bathroom between Wellick and the other guy’s wife was creepy as hell.
- I feel like I shouldn’t have related to Elliot’s “weakness” of not liking being outside, but same, Elliot, same.