It’s one year ago at the beginning of “Galaxy of Minds,” as an unnamed, unfamiliar General sits in the cabin of his private plane. He’s typing up some sort of secret document, and as with all secret documents, the giant bold heading stands out: “Project Golden Rhino.” What could this be? We flash to a lab somewhere, as two Mr. Robot actors (Gloria Reubens and Michael Drayer) fill us in on the details. Well, they give us a vague sense that Project Golden Rhino is some sort of high-powered weapon unlike anything the world’s seen, and that Crawford wants it. General Baxter, however, is killing the project because, despite all the military funding, he hasn’t seen any demonstrations.
“Why don’t we give him a demonstration?” says Bob Drabkin, Avery’s adoptive father who turned out to be a menacing man involved with Crawford. The “demonstration” goes off flawlessly. The pilots in the General’s plane collapse and the windows all blow out. The plan goes down, and there’s seemingly no evidence that anything shady happened. Whatever this weapon is, it’s no surprise that Crawford wants it.
Back in the present day, Patterson may have a lead, or least something new to connect to Crawford. She’s found the land he purchased, which happens to be in the middle of the Saharan Desert. Since there’s nothing there, Reade and Patterson can only imagine what the land will be used for. That’s when they get a hit from the tattoo database, a rare thing these days now that Roman has flipped and isn’t helping them with the clues.
The hit is for a beetle tattoo on Jane’s body. The tattoo itself corresponds to the cover of a book that’s about to be released that threatens to expose one of the government’s darkest secrets: Project Golden Rhino. The man who wrote the book, Daschelle Watkins, is a former history professor denied tenure, probably because he’s got a lot of crackpot theories.
The FBI quickly finds out that Daschelle “call me Dash” Watkins is an eccentric character when they bring him in for questioning. He lays out what he believes is the truth about Project Golden Rhino. Essentially, he says Michael Ganzman (Drayer) worked for a defense contractor named Varnew, and that they were hired to build a one-of-a-kind weapon that will change the face of combat forever. He’s hesitant to say what the weapon is, because he thinks the team won’t believe him, but they push him on it and he reveals that his book posits that the weapon is a mind control device.
Of course, the team doesn’t believe it, and Dash’s mess of files and research doesn’t exactly give him much credibility. Still, his research is the only lead they have, so Patterson is stuck working with him to try to figure out what the weapon is and, more specifically, where Michael Ganzman might be. Ganzman is the key to tying Crawford to the weapon, so they desperately need to find him.
Whatever the weapon may be, Dash tells Patterson that Ganzman must have had a “trigger man” for the attack on Baxter’s plane. Dash has a massive list of suspects, and when Patterson combs over it and compares it to the FBI’s database, she comes across a name: Surjik Fells, a man hired by Ganzman as security when he was at Varnew. Surjik is currently in prison, so Reade organizes a transfer into FBI custody. It’s a solid plan, but Roman is two steps ahead. He received his own notification about the beetle tattoo, and he’s doing everything he can to stop Crawford from being incriminated in anything.
So, Roman intercepts Sufjik as he’s being transported, and takes him back to his penthouse suite in New York to torture him into giving up the location of Ganzman. He’s got a problem though, as Blake has decided to follow him from Germany to New York. She’s on her way to the penthouse at the same time as Roman, which means any and all torturing must be quick. Luckily for Roman, he’s pretty good at the torture stuff, and he gets two potential locations out of Sufjik before killing him, leaving him in a bathtub while he convinces Blake to head to Oneonta to check out a bed and breakfast. Blake wants time for just the two of them. Roman wants to check out a cabin where Ganzman could be hiding. The FBI has the same idea. The race is on.
For a moment, it looks like the FBI actually has Roman beat. They have a helicopter in the area, and Roman is nowhere to be found. But then, the helicopter pilot starts to feel weird. His nose starts to bleed. It’s exactly what happened to Baxter and his pilots. The FBI, listening in on comms, hear the “warbles” that Dash points to as evidence of the brain ray that’s used to control minds. The helicopter goes down, and all four agents die.
It’s another miss for the FBI, but Patterson does figure out what the weapon does: it uses powerful sonic rays to cause a brain hemorrhage, essentially shutting the body down. Not exactly the mind control device Dash was thinking, but certainly still very dangerous. With their plan ruined, the team turns to questioning the executives at Varnew. Initially, they refuse to talk, offering up lawsuits instead of information. But then the team puts another plan into place, and this one is a lot more fun than a helicopter going down in the middle of nowhere.
This one involves bringing Avery in to act out a fake interrogation. Weller shows one of the executives a live video of Avery being questioned by Jane. Avery confirms that her father worked with Ganzman at Varnew, and that this executive, Camille Moon, had knowledge of it all. It’s not enough to get Camille to flip…until Avery says she knows all of this because her father kept a journal with all the details. That gets Camille to admit that Ganzman has been calling her all day. The team gets her to call him back and get his location. He agrees to meet her at an abandoned warehouse in Woodstock, and once again the race is on, as Roman is heading to the same place, leaving Blake in bed in the middle of the night.
When the team shows up in Woodstock, they’re immediately taken out by Ganzman and his sonic ray. The armored humvee they’re in does enough to make sure they don’t die, but they still have to take out Ganzman and the weapon. They do a little humvee bowling, putting a rock on the gas pedal and running the vehicle into the weapon, and then storm the warehouse to find Ganzman. Again though, Roman is just ahead of them. He arrives in time to find Ganzman, luring him into a false sense of security before killing him with a quick knife to the ribs.
That means that, once again, Roman has escaped. Jane fails to capture him, and Roman sees it as a sign of weakness and that she won’t be able to pull the trigger when she needs to. Back at the FBI office though, Jane insists Roman is scrambling. She tells Avery that they’ll get Crawford eventually, and that stopping him from getting the sonic weapon is a huge win anyways.
As the episode comes to a close, Avery has agreed to move in with Weller and Jane, and Roman has overloaded the FBI’s tattoo database with false positives, leaving the FBI with no leads at all. Even with that move, Roman’s world is crumbling. Blake is suspicious of his actions — note: I am so sick of how dumb this character has to be just to make Roman’s arc more complicated — and the FBI is clearly closing in on him. Crawford is the end goal, but this has always been about Jane vs. Roman, and now we’re that much closer to the final clash.