BY JOSH WIGLER
Every week, THR and Post Show Recaps are teaming together for podcasts about 'Mr. Robot' season three.
[Warning: This story contains spoilers for season three, episode two of USA Network's Mr. Robot.]
Friend, it feels great to have Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek) back at work — but how long will this "New Sensation" last?
In the second episode of Mr. Robot season three, Elliot returns to the workforce in a surprising new capacity: as an "Evil" Corp employee. He's part of the data recovery team working to right the wrongs committed during the Five/Nine Hack — a hack he set into motion, as we already know all too well — with his eyes firmly set on one goal: preventing Stage Two, the deadly Dark Army plot set into motion by his own darker self, Mr. Robot (Christian Slater).
Elliot's plan of attack against Stage Two is three-fold, as writer-producer Kor Adana outlined in THR's weekly "Cracking the Code" column. For our current purposes, let's bring up the first two of three prongs, bolding on our part for emphasis:
1. "At the end of season two, in order to start rebuilding their database, we learned that E Corp was shipping all of their pertinent paper documents — titles, deeds, loan/debt records, etc. — to their New York recovery building. To buy himself some time, Elliot hacks into the E Corp shipping management service, E Shipping. With that access, he is able to re-route the shipments of paper documents and make sure they don't arrive in New York. However, in the E Shipping manifest, he's creating a mirage and making it look like the original shipments are arriving. Anyone who takes a look at the manifest, like the Dark Army, would think that the paper is getting moved to New York — while in reality, it isn't."
2. "Just in case the Dark Army figures out a way back on to the E Corp network and decides to run Stage Two themselves, Elliot decides to patch the UPS systems in the recovery center. The plan for Stage Two is to install a new, malicious version of the UPS firmware that would result in an explosion. Elliot installs a patch on the UPS system to ensure that no firmware updates can take place without digitally signed keys from E Corp. Essentially, Elliot is protecting the UPS firmware and making it very difficult for the Dark Army to modify it."
So far so good, right? Nothing can be changed without access to an E Corp digital signature, which Elliot has. Here's the big problem: if Elliot has that access, so does someone else — Mr. Robot, who very much wants Stage Two to succeed. Once again, heed the words of Kor Adana, who previously told THR about Elliot's new job: "It also creates some cool dramatic irony because we know that Mr. Robot is still around. Elliot working at Evil Corp is like giving Mr. Robot on-site access to an enemy territory."
Will Elliot's quest to stop Stage Two actually end up accelerating the plan? It's a menacing prospect to consider, but consider it we must! And it's one of many considerations on this week's Mr. Robot podcast, a collaboration between THR and Post Show Recaps, co-hosted by Josh Wigler (that's me!) and Antonio Mazzaro.
Other topics this week include:
• Joanna Wellick's ill-timed demise, and why we're not fully sold on Stephanie Corneliussen's exit just yet;
• The reveal that Darlene (Carly Chaikin) is indeed working with the FBI;
• How Elliot's latest breakthrough in therapy paves the way toward a much larger reveal;
• Why it's important to not get too lost in the reveal of what's inside the Washington Township power plant;
• And more!
Listen to the podcast below: