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Mr. Robot Review: shutdown -r

Stefanie Smith, 21 December 2017

Avast summarizes the season three finale of Mr. Robot

The season finale of Mr. Robot season three aired last week and it was full with revelations, along with some gory and some heartfelt scenes. Unfortunately, the episode lacked hacks, but there are some hack-related things we can recap.

The episode begins with the Dark Army ransacking Elliot’s apartment, while he hides in the empty apartment next door. As the Dark Army leaves the apartment, the camera zooms in and lingers for a moment on a blank CD laying on the floor. What have we all learned from watching TV and movies for years? The CD is important! More to that later though.

Dom finally wakes up and smells the Santiago-is-a-traitor coffee! She confronts him in the FBI parking garage, as he is trying to kidnap Darlene. This doesn’t go well for Dom. Nothing goes well for her in this episode. Santiago punches her in the face and sits her in the back seat along with Darlene (who I thought was sitting in the passenger seat during the parking garage scene?).

Elliot realizes he needs Mr. Robot’s help in order to rescue Darlene and undo five-nine. Elliot summons Mr. Robot by taking a ferris wheel ride on Coney Island and they come to the conclusion that they are better as a team.

Mr. Robot tells Elliot that Santiago is working for both the Dark Army and the FBI. They go to his apartment, searching for clues to find him and Darlene. While going through Santiago’s belongings, they find a Redwheel Barrow receipt with cipher on it. Mr. Robot says “Not this s**t again”, why? Because this isn’t the first time Elliot found a cipher connected to Redwheel Barrow. In our review of eps2.9_pyth0n-pt1.p7z we described what a cipher is. Before Elliot can even think of about the decrypting the decypher, Irving appears.

The next scenes jump between the farm where Tyrell was being held this season, where Dom, Darlene, Elliot/Mr. Robot are all taken to, and a psychiatric home Angela was taken to that is owned by Phillip Price who pays her a visit.

In the scene between Philip and Angela, we finally learn their true relationship. Philip is Angela’s biological father, which is why he looked out for her. He explains all of White Rose’s actions, how she manipulated Angela, and tells her to give up her hope of seeing her mother again.

Meanwhile, Darlene, Dom, and Mr. Robot are brought into a barn where masked Dark Army guarda and Leon are waiting for them. Grant, White Rose’s assistant and lover also appears.

Irving takes Santiago and Dom outside, where he wants to “take care” of Dom. For a few seconds, I thought Dom’s life was in danger, as did she. Santiago, however, gets asked from the Dark Army team. I mean Irving literally axes Santiago and then threatens Dom’s family, forcing her to take Santiago’s place in the Dark Army team.

As Irving is about to leave Grant confronts him, basically asking him where he thinks he is going. Irving tells Grant he has done his time, insinuating he used to be in the exact same position as Grant currently is with White Rose…

Back in the barn, Grant lets Elliot know that the Dark Army knows stage 3 never existed. He threatens to shoot Darlene, as Elliot tells him he owns the Dark Army. Before Grant can kill Darlene, Elliot pleads that he can move the Washington Township plant to the Congo. In the blink of an eye, Leon shoots the guards, leaving everyone in shock. White Rose speaks to Grant via the surveillance system she was using to watch them all from the comfort of her bathtub. Grant is devastated by the fact that White Rose values Elliot more than him and shoots himself.

Elliot now has to deliver on his offer of moving the plant to the Congo. We don’t see much here, other than a URL Elliot enters into Leon’s laptop. While downloading a file, Elliot says that the Coast Guard was allowed a humanitarian shipment into Iran. Maybe this is how White Rose can bypass restrictions?

After Elliot shares this information with White Rose, him, Darlene, and Dom are free to go. In the car, Dom logs into Sentinel so Elliot can get Romero’s keylogger files, to undo five-nine. Elliot finds the files and brute forces the key Romero used to encrypt the keylogger files. He does this by downloading lyrics from Romero’s favorite songs, to guess his password.

In the next scenes, Elliot finds out that Romero wasn’t the one who exported the data during the five-nine hack. Mr. Robot had and tells Elliot to look on the blank CD that was focused on at the beginning of the episode.

Elliot inserts the CD and sees old pictures of him and his father. He then uses a steganography tool to uncover data Mr. Robot embedded in a specific image. Steganography is nothing new, it can be traced back to the 1400s and is the practice of hiding a message within an image or another message. The hidden data in the image is an RSA key that will decrypt E-Corps’ data, thus undoing the five-nine hack. Elliot emails this to an E-Corp email alias and now we have to wait for season four to see if the hack can really be undone!

In the extra scene at the end, Darlene discusses the consequences of five-nine with a friend and what would happen if the hack were undone. They reach Elliot’s stoop and three men come towards Darlene. One of them is Vera, the drug dealer Elliot hacked and anonymously reported to the police, who locked him up. Is Vera back for revenge? I think so, or has he also been recruited to work for the Dark Army?