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Mr. Robot - eps3.8_stage3.torrent - Review: "Sizzling"

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Last night's penultimate episode of Mr. Robot was exactly what I was hoping to see. All the major players featured, and the storyline was progressed substantially, revealing a faux third stage in Elliot's plan to disable Evil Corp - and the Dark Army, from the inside out. Kyle Bradstreet & Courtney Looney wrote "eps3.8_stage3.torrent", with showrunner Sam Esmail directing as per usual.

An extensive 90 second recap reel before the hour's proceedings immediately indicated that this episode would contain many more moving parts than last week's internal examination of Elliot did. Phillip Price, Tyrell, Whiterose and her assistant, Dom, Santiago, and Irving all featured, and had an impact on the new direction the series looks to be taking.

That direction consists of Elliot being much more firmly in charge than we've previously known. In Season 1 he was depicted as being in charge of his own nucleus of hackers, while in Season 2 that was eroded as Evil Corp was fleshed out and the Dark Army became known. In Season 3, Elliot has been smaller than ever, but that small, socially inept guy looks to have given himself a major advantage over the opposition.

In a flashback which opens proceedings, we see Gideon Goddard pitching his company, Allsafe's services to three E Corp executives - Phillip Price, Terry Colby, and Tyrell Wellick. Colby was the most vocal, not hesitating to dish out rather rude remarks toward Goddard and other subjects. Assisting Goddard was Angela, and when she brought some paperwork to Goddard, it was then that Allsafe's business hopes were confirmed, with Price immediately developing an infatuation with her. We also saw Tyrell as being nothing more than a pretty face despite his expertise. Price was going to do business with Allsafe, whether he liked it or not.

In present day, Tyrell arrived back home for the first time since Irving was in charge of him, and he had been held in custody by the FBI. He was visibly devastated at the loss of his wife and son, and the other events we saw which depicted Tyrell as much less of a player than we had previously understood, making it quite a bit easier to feel sorry for a guy who is basically powerless and well out of his depth.

Obedience will be your only task at my company.

That being said, the confrontation Tyrell had with Mr. Robot was absolutely spectacular. It was one of several dialog-heavy long take scenes, and had the most unusual anticlimax when Price stopped by, interrupting Tyrell as he was about to beat the daylights out of Mr. Robot - if not worse.

What the fuck is Stage 3?

In Elliot's world, things were drastically different to last week. Following the receipt of Trenton's email after her death, Elliot and Darlene now had something to chase that could entirely undo the 5/9 hack. In a fascinating series of scenes and dialog, Darlene met with Dom in the same bar we saw them in a few weeks ago. Since Darlene wasn't an informant for the FBI and Dom any longer, they were free to do what they pleased, which included getting drunk, and eventually led to sex between them. I was really pleased to see Dom retain her smarts and not be taken advantage of. She put her gun and ID card in her safe before beginning, and even then she wasn't sure she wanted to proceed with Darlene because she isn't known to be lesbian or bisexual. When she thought Dom was asleep, Darlene broke into the safe to steal the ID card, but Dom caught her in the act, meaning it was down to the FBI headquarters for both of them, to an interview room mere meters away from Darlene's goal: the servers which stored the data kept by Romero.

This was another sizzling showdown between Dom, Darlene, and Agent Santiago, Dom's boss. Darlene knew the Dark Army owned the FBI, but Dom is only now beginning to click that Santiago may be under their control, given his apprehension to back Dom's pleas for further investigations in this and in past episodes.

Meanwhile, Elliot had another plan. He requested a meeting with Whiterose to propose "Stage 3" - the next stage in his supposed plan to destroy Evil Corp. Noting that E Coin was becoming more commonplace and standardized, eradicating it would be the best way to terminate Evil Corp for good. However the Dark Army wasn't really prepared to go that far, and when Elliot met with Whiterose's right hand man, they swept his computer which gave Elliot access to the Dark Army's worldwide network. Just like he did with the FBI, and others prior, Elliot has internal access to an enemy, and is now in a position to take complete control. An awesome turn of events for sure.

I don't think their target is E Corp any more. I think it is us.

The bad news for Elliot, however, is that Whiterose finally decided that Elliot is no longer of any use, much like his father was years earlier. Elliot can now be killed, so he must now work to avoid that while trying to dismantle the Dark Army. This is a genuine race against time which I'm super excited to watch.

Aside from the flashback from Allsafe days, Angela barely featured in present day proceedings. The little we saw of her indicated she is spiraling in the wake of the 5/9 attack. She had hundreds of photos stuck to the walls of her apartment - and she had painted said walls black where she could reach. The last we see of her, she is walking along the street, and bumps into the fake artist pedaling his CDs on the street - the same one whose CD was responsible for her computer getting hacked in the first season. She's wiser this time, but a moment later, men in suits come with a van to collect her.

Heading into next week's season 3 finale, as per usual, anything could happen. With Elliot now wielding more power than he's ever had, along with arguably more motivation than before, he is now in a position to both take down Whiterose and the Dark Army, and reinstate Evil Corp. If both of those things occur (though highly unlikely that they will happen in one episode), I will be staggered by the storytelling that has taken place.

Perhaps something that can be almost guaranteed will be another scene after the finale's credits, which is something that was pioneered in Season 1 and continued in Season 2. These scenes in previous seasons have proved vital in the longer term, so we will have something to go on looking ahead to Season 4, though we all know there will be so much in store for this season finale, and for what is a highly likely fourth season.

For now, that's where I'll end this review. This episode was a fantastic way to build to the finale. I loved the expanded cast, and the story continued building right through. Next week's season finale will no doubt be spectacular. As usual, do share your thoughts and theories on this episode in the comments below. See you right back here next week.

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