‘Mr. Robot’ Recap ‘eps3.4runtime-error.r00’: Panic Switch

In the ‘Mr. Robot’ recap, an ambitious episode follows Elliot and Angela on two separate missions on the date where Phase 2 is about to be unleashed…

By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer

It was promised that the latest episode of ‘Mr. Robot’ would be the can’t miss one of the season and it turns out the hype wasn’t wrong.

The 45-minute episode shown commercial free on Wednesday night was an especially riveting caper as Elliot Alderson feverishly attempted to stop the Dark Army from blowing up an Evil Corp building while his best friend Angela Moss worked in direct opposition to him as she helped put the final pieces in place to launch the attack.

The episode is also shot as if it’s one long continuous take.

Now that’s not necessarily new in today’s television landscape — perhaps most famously done in the recent episode of “True Detective” season one when Matthew McConaughey’s character is escaping a drug den and trying to track down a biker at the same time while police and gangsters are roaming the streets. That continuous shot lasted for several minutes.

‘Mr. Robot’s latest episode is shown as if it’s all one long continuous shot from start to finish.

The frantic pace is only assisted with Elliot doing his best to flee from building security after finding out that he’s been fired while Angela faces her own obstacles following a horde of protesters break into the Evil Corp building and begin assaulting and vandalizing anyone and everyone inside.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about ‘Mr. Robot’ creator Sam Esmail over the past three seasons, it’s that he’s not afraid to take chances. Sometimes he misses — like Elliot’s extended stay in jail while we followed a delusional scene set up inside his own head — but more often times than not he’s hit his target.

The latest episode of ‘Mr. Robot’ is a brilliant example of that and one of the reasons this remains one of the best shows on television today.

With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of ‘Mr. Robot’ titled ‘eps3.4runtime-error.r00’…

Under Fire

The episode begins with Elliot returning to work at Evil Corp and not remembering at all what happened over the past few days. The last thing he can remember is telling his sister Darlene to follow him if he left his apartment, which meant he had transformed into Mr. Robot, and after that everything else is a haze.

That means Elliot forgot about his interaction with Tyrell Wellick or seeing his best friend Angela as a Dark Army operative before she shot him full of drugs and kept him locked as Mr. Robot for several days until he returned to work.

While that disturbing lack of memory is messing with Elliot’s head, he’s more concerned that he woke up needing to put the final pieces in place to ensure that the Dark Army can’t go through with their plans for Phase 2, which ends with a building being leveled so the physical copies of the digital records wiped out in the Five/Nine hack would also be destroyed once and for all.

When Elliot arrives at his computer, his inner monologue isn’t working so well after he lashes out at a co-worker, who likes to drone on and one about all the sex he’s had from the weekend before. Elliot finally centers himself but a strange thing happens — he can’t log onto his computer.

When he calls the help desk to reset his password, he asks his cube mate to borrow his computer and Elliot soon finds out that much of the work he’s done to block the Dark Army from executing Phase 2 has been undone and it’s only a matter of time before they work around his patch in the system that will fully allow them the path to level that building. Before long, Elliot notices that Human Resources has shown up on the floor with security in tow and it’s clear that he’s been fired and that’s why his login is no longer working.

That’s when Elliot heads for the stairs to get to another floor because he has to be at a physical Evil Corp terminal to re-establish his hack that will stop the Dark Army from executing Phase 2. Unfortunately being chased around a building by security isn’t very conducive to hacking into a computer and Elliot just can’t seem to break away long enough to finish his work.

In the midst of this madness, Elliot also gets a call from his sister Darlene that she’s downstairs and really needs to tell him something important. For now he ignores her wishes and continues his panicked run around the building trying to get to a computer in time to stop the Dark Army from finishing what they started with the Five/Nine hack.

Finally in his mad dash — that includes a rather hilarious run in with the Evil Corp sales team during a meeting he has no business being in — Elliot is finally trapped in an elevator that’s going all the way to the lobby where security finally greets him. He’s escorted from the building and that’s when he finally runs into his sister Darlene and she comes clean with him.

Darlene confesses that she’s been working with the FBI — and that alone blows her immunity deal because she wasn’t supposed to tell her brother anything — and that leaves Elliot in a confused and angered state. He realizes that Darlene has been working with the FBI ever since Cisco was killed, which meant she hacked him for the FBI not because she was scared of Mr. Robot.

Remember, Darlene telling Elliot that Mr. Robot hurt her left him in a fragile state because he’s been scared of what the other side of his personality was capable of doing when he’s not in control and it nearly shattered him to find out that he hurt his own sister. Now Elliot is finding out that Darlene was just manipulating him to get information for the FBI.

Darlene also divulges one more key piece of information.

After following Mr. Robot leaving the apartment a few nights ago, she tracked him to a meeting where she discovered that he’s working with Angela. That means, Angela has been working for the Dark Army and keeping everything from Elliot but instead working with Mr. Robot. That doesn’t sit well with Elliot either as his already fragile mind most likely feels akin to a Peep about to explode in the microwave.

Panic Switch

The long shot that takes us through this entire episode cuts past Elliot and his conversation with Darlene to a news crew doing a report outside of the Evil Corp offices and then to a group of protesters barreling through the crowd before attacking a security card and breaking into the building.

Alarms sound off as the protesters begin running rampant through the Evil Corp offices, spray painting or destroying everything in sight and generally terrorizing the staff left inside the building. The path of destruction is followed all the way up to the 41st floor when the camera finally arrives at the office of Angela Moss where she’s on the phone with Irving from the Dark Army.

He’s giving her instructions that need to be followed ahead of Phase 2 being enacted.

It seems there’s a Hardware Security Module that the Dark Army needs copied and it can only be taken from inside Evil Corp so Irving tells Angela that there’s a package waiting for her at the front desk on her floor and she’s to give that over to Elliot, who will then execute the hack needed to copy the module to help finish Phase 2.

Angela then goes on her own journey through the Evil Corp offices — after Irving tells her that this invasion was set off by the Dark Army as a distraction that would allow Elliot to move through the building unimpeded — except there’s no time to find her best friend.

Angela gets stopped by one security guard who notes a badge in her belongings that she probably shouldn’t have and he’s ready to take her in for questioning until he’s attacked and bludgeoned by the invading protesters.

After that encounter, Angela takes it upon herself to go into the room where the Hardware Security Modules are located and copy the information the Dark Army needs. Of course, Angela runs into a few problems along the way — most notably an employee who takes note that she doesn’t have proper security clearance to be in this room. Thankfully an intruder interrupts them and it gives Angela the distraction she needs to finish the transfer and get out of the room.

She calls Irving, who instructs her to hand over the package to his courier waiting on her floor and he’s admittedly a little surprise to hear that Angela completed the hack herself rather than Elliot doing the job. Either way, the transfer is complete, Angela hands off the package and the rest of the pieces to complete Phase 2 are in place.

Throughout the episode, there are cutaways to news clips being shown from the United Nations where a vote is about to take place on whether or not to allow China to annex the Congo.

Whiterose spoke very specifically about this date when she ordered Phase 2 to take place because it was Phillip Price, the CEO of Evil Corp, who used his influence to help China annex the Congo but this act of aggression against his company was being orchestrated to show him who wields the real power in this relationship. Whiterose not only wanted to get her way but she planned to rub Price’s nose in it at the same time.

Finally after Angela completes her mission, she turns to go back to her office and that’s where she runs into Elliot, who is waiting for her there.

He wants to know if she has something to tell him and the childhood friends just stare back at each other — one with anger and suspicion in his eyes and the other showered in panic because she’s just been found out.

‘Mr. Robot’ returns with a brand new episode next Wednesday night at 10pm ET on the USA Network.

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