We gave it an A-
In the middle of the woods Mr. Robot crafts one of the show’s most horrific, intense sequences yet. Every major player, save for Angela and Phillip Price, is there, sitting in the barn, or else their presence is felt. Santiago brings Darlene and Dom into the barn, where two masked Dark Army operatives and Leon are waiting for them. Then, Irving shows up with Elliot. There’s an eerie contrast in the panicked looks on the faces of Dom, Elliot, and Darlene, and the calm demeanor of everyone else. Leon scrolls through his phone, and Irving casually takes Dom away from the group.
He’s attempting to clean up the mess that Santiago brought on. Santiago tells Dom to flip and agree to be a part of the Dark Army in order to save her life, but she refuses. Irving has a more efficient, brutal way of fixing all of this. He takes off his shirt, picks up an axe, and swings it into the torso of Santiago. Dom watches as he bleeds out. “You work for the Dark Army now,” says Irving. She replies with an expletive. Irving takes a few more swings at Santiago’s lifeless body, all while talking about which family members of Dom’s he’ll kill first once they leave the woods. The Dark Army knows everything, and this is no negotiation.
As Grant arrives on the scene, to the tune of “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down),” there’s little panic in Elliot. He thinks he holds a power position, that he can find a way out of this. Presumably, Santiago thought the same thing. With Mr. Robot on his side though, maybe Elliot does have a certain amount of power he didn’t before. We get a glimpse into the power dynamic of the Dark Army when Grant arrives and tells Irving that he can’t leave because their job isn’t done yet. Irving grabs Grant and gets in his face. “I was you, years ago,” he says, musing on Whiterose and her ability to get close to people. We’ve long known Irving was no schmuck despite his appearance, but this confirms that if there are rankings within the Dark Army, he’s high up there.
After “Eps3.9_shutdown-r” builds some truly unbearable tension with the drawn-out killing of Santiago and the intimidation of Dom, the episode kicks into another gear, leaving the more patient (but terrifying) actions of Irving behind, and using quick cuts between scenes to create some serious feelings of dread.
Essentially, Esmail rapidly cuts between Angela and Phillip Price having a conversation at the latter’s massive home — his gardener quietly prunes bushes in the background — and Elliot making one last-ditch effort to save his and Darlene’s lives. For Elliot, that means telling Whiterose, who’s watching the events unfold via security camera from her bathtub at home, that he can move her project from the Washington Township to the Congo. I’m fuzzy on the details — it has to do with the U.S. possibly going to war with Iran and a shipment across borders — but it’s exactly what Whiterose wants. So, she makes the exchange, and that means that Grant has served his purpose. “I love you,” she says before Grant hangs up the phone and shoots himself in the head.
Then there’s Angela. Perhaps no one has been through more this season than she has. Whiterose manipulated her into helping set up the cyber bombings. She just wanted her family back. The bombshell Price drops is not what she was expecting though. He says that he knew her mother. In fact, they dated many years ago, but he was cruel to her and unworthy of her love. Thus, when she revealed that she was pregnant, she also pushed Phillip out of her life, not wanting her child to be “raised by a monster.” Angela doesn’t believe Price at first, but he seems so sure in his story that she comes around. Phillip Price is her father, and that’s why he’s always shown an interest in her.
It’s a massive reveal, and yet it feels slightly out of place within this episode — perhaps because so much of the episode, and the season more generally, is about establishing a mysterious atmosphere, so this information just being laid bare feels strange. Who knows what consequences and changes this will bring about next season, but for now it’s clear that Angela is not primed for any sort of redemption arc. She’s not even close to done paying for her sins. (Recap continues on next page)