“Whiterose”

“Whiterose”

Mr. Robot, S01E08 – “Whiterose”

Episode Number: S01E08

Original Air Date: August 12, 2015

Time: 45 minutes

Synopsis: AllSafe is hacked and Elliot’s meeting with Whiterose is on. The police want to ask Tyrell questions about the death of Sharon Knowles. But it might all be overshadowed by sudden revelations about Elliot and his close companions.

Ballet Class

Darlene wakes up in the high-rise apartment of a rich banker, Xander Jones, after a night together. They discuss the divide between rich and poor and, after he leaves, she searches his apartment and takes a gun from his safe. At ballet class, she runs into Angela, and they chat about their lives and their mutual worry over Elliot and his “shitty month.”

  • Characters: The ballet instructor is played by James Brown III, a Broadway singer, actor and dancer who has starred in such TV productions as The Wiz Live and Peter Pan Live. Xander Jones is played by Nick Mills.

Another Way

Elliot’s at his psychiatrist’s office—last week, he told Krista that he had hacked her and knew many of her most personal secrets. At home, he copies all of Krista’s information to a DVD and puts it in his archive.

He meets Mr. Robot on the street—the man has managed to recruit all of fsociety back together. Elliot’s cracked the problem with Evil Corp storing their backups at multiple locations—the temperature controls in all the facilities are controlled remotely and can be hacked. Fsociety can raise the temperature in all the locations at once and destroy all the tapes. But there are still the physical backups in China. Darlene warns Elliot to be careful, and Mr. Robot agrees.

  • Notes: At Krista’s office, Elliot spends some time looking at the two paintings from the pilot episode again.

Firewall

Tyrell Wellick arrives at work, distracted and angry. Gideon Goddard from AllSafe is there to speak with him. Gideon tells him about the chain of custody issue, which will result in the charges being dropped against Terry Colby, and says AllSafe has improved Evil Corp’s network security. After he leaves, Wellick searches the network and finds evidence regarding fsociety. The police arrive—they’re questioning everyone in the building because a body was found on the roof.

At home, Joanna is pleased that Wellick supposed slept with Sharon Knowles—now they can move forward with the blackmail plan and Tyrell will become CEO. She doesn’t know that Tyrell killed Sharon.

Later, Wellick meets with Mr. Robot—Wellick wants to know what they are planning. “We were meant to be allies,” Wellick says. He hints that he knows Mr. Robot’s “secret.” At home, Wellick tells his wife they’ve been focused on the “wrong players” before the police show up to question him in the death of Sharon Knowles. Joanna fakes her water breaking so the questioning gets delayed.

  • Characters: Detective Quattlander is played by Edward James Hyland, who has appeared films such as Bridge of Spies and The Happening. Detective Jones is played by Mark Lotito.

  • Terminology: When a computer is air-gapped, it is disconnected and physically separated from other networks and computers, thereby putting “air” between them. A honeypot is a fake server set up to draw in hackers and trap them, keeping them away from the real network.

Faraday

Gideon arrives to find the AllSafe network is completely down. Elliot investigates the hack and find that the hackers, whoever they are, aren’t really going after anything valuable. It’s almost like the entire hack is a distraction. Ollie asks Elliot to deliver some drives to “Blank’s Disk Recovery on 36th and 5th.”

Elliot looks into Ollie’s emails and discovers Angela’s involved somehow—the hacker has nude photos of her. Elliot meets with Angela and he’s angry—if he’d known about this, he could have helped. But Angela is mad too: “You’re never there anymore. Something is going on with you, Elliot.”

Elliot arrives at Blank’s Disk and is ushered into the back—they have a Faraday cage. A woman enters—it is Whiterose and she tells him he has three minutes. They discuss the hack and she says the Dark Army will go through with it in exactly 50 hours and 23 minutes. Before then, Elliot must remove suspicion from himself—Gideon Goddard is watching him, and has installed a honeypot to catch fsociety. That’s one reason behind the Dark Army hack of AllSafe—to give Elliot time to fix the problem.

  • Notes: After meeting with Whiterose, Elliot is panicked by the deadline and tells us, the audience, that he wishes he could be more of an “observer,” like us. He asks what we would do and wonders if we have more information than he does (we do) and says that’s “not fair.”

  • Characters: The elusive Chinese hacker Whiterose is played by well-known actor B.D. Wong, best known for playing Dr. Henry Wu in the Jurassic Park films and as Father Ray Makuda on HBO’s Oz.

  • Filming Location: Elliot and Angela meet next to the fountain in front of the Chase Bank, located at 1251 6th Avenue. And according to WhereisMr.Robot, the location for Blank’s Disks is outside Nisha Sportswear Inc., located at 13 West 36th Street in New York City.

  • Terminology: An ASA firewall is the proper name of a particular type of firewall made by Cisco (the company, not the hacker). A Faraday cage is a particular kind of enclosure or room that’s built specifically to block electromagnetic signals from entering or leaving.

Darlene

Back at the office, Elliot makes his move to acquire Gideon’s phone—he needs it to kill the honeypot. Elliot had Darlene remotely attack the phone, draining the battery. When Gideon leaves to watch an fsociety video being broadcast to the office, Elliot goes into his office and acquires the code he needs.

Gideon realizes Elliot’s not watching the video and goes to find him. Gideon’s faith in Elliot is faltering. But Elliot knows he’s a good man—he hacked Gideon long ago—and sends an email as Gideon to shut down the honeypot.

Later, he tells Darlene the plan is coming along. She says she loves him and he tries to kiss her and she’s repelled. “Did you forget again? Tell me who you think I am.” She’s Darlene—and she’s his sister.

Suddenly it all comes back to him—Darlene used to ride her scooter in front of their house and sing “Frere Jacques,” just like the little girl in his hallucinations in S01E04. He asks us, the audience, if we’re “freaking out” as well and wonders if we were in on it the whole time.

At home, in the mirror, he sees himself as Elliot and Mr. Robot and the man in the fsociety mask from the videos. He decides he has to hack himself and finds virtually nothing on-line. In his DVD archive of past hacks, the first DVD has nothing written on it. Opening the files, he finds hundreds of pictures of Mr. Robot and a young Elliot. Someone bangs on the door—it’s Mr. Robot. He says they should talk.

  • Notes: Elliot uses Thomson Reuters on-line research tool CLEAR to hack himself. Designed for investigators, CLEAR provides comprehensive background checks and information on individuals, including addresses, known aliases, work history and affiliations and more. According to the website, CLEAR makes it “easier to locate people, assets, businesses, affiliations, and other critical facts. With its vast collection of public and proprietary records, investigators are able to dive deep into their research and uncover hard to find data.”

  • According to CLEAR, Elliot is 28 and was born on 9/17/1986. His address is not shown—just a P.O. Box, and his SSN is obscured, but it ends in 7250. One of the photos of Elliot and Mr. Robot shows them dressed up as characters from Back to the Future: Mr. Robot is Doc Brown, with crazy white hair and a lab coat; Elliot is Marty Mcfly, with a denim jacket and red vest.

  • Filming Location: The scenes with Elliot and Darlene were shot on Coney Island with the Wonder Wheel in the background. Elliot and Mr. Robot had an important discussion on the Wonder Wheel in S01E01.

  • Quotes: Darlene: “Oh my God Elliot! What the f*ck?!” Elliot: “I'm ... I'm sorry.” Darlene: “What the hell is wrong with you?!” Elliot: “I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I thought, I just, I'm sorry.” Darlene: “Oh my God Elliot ... did you forget again? Did you forget who I am?” Elliot: “What do you mean? Forget what?” Darlene: “Elliot I need you to tell me who you think I am.” Elliot: “What are you talking about?” Darlene: “Tell me right now.” Elliot: “What are you saying?” Darlene: “Elliot?” Elliot: “Of course I didn't forget ... you're Darlene. You're Darlene.” Darlene: “Elliot.” Elliot: “You're Darlene.” Darlene: “I'm your...” Elliot: “Sister. You're my sister.”

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Critique:

Things at AllSafe come to a head when the Dark Army hack begins, but we learn quickly that the whole scheme—the fake CDs from Cisco, the hack of Ollie’s laptop, the threat to leak nudes of Stella and Angela—all leads up to ensuring Elliot can meet with Whiterose, the head of the Dark Army. It’s an interesting conversation in the Faraday cage—whereas Elliot’s obsessed with people, Whiterose is obsessed with time. But the result of the very short meeting is the same—the hack is back on, even it means exposing Elliot’s secrets.

We see the repercussions of Tyrell Wellick’s loss of control last episode—the cops are sniffing around to figure out who killed Sharon Knowles and left her body on the roof of Evil Corp’s building. Wellick is not good at controlling his emotional level and starts to get that “horse in a burning barn” look on his face. I think he SERIOUSLY needs to find a homeless man to beat up.

Elliot is happy the hack is going to happen and tells Darlene and then leans in to kiss her. Darlene recoils from Elliot’s kiss and wonders if he’s “forgotten” who she is again, implying that this has happened before. Her casual intimacy with him has always seemed strange, but now it all makes sense—she is his sister. And look on her face is similar to that on Lorraine Baines—Marty McFly’s mother in the Back to the Future movies, when she kisses her son Marty on the mouth. She doesn’t know he’s her son—but she says there’s something wrong with the kiss. “It’s like I’m kissing…my brother,” much like Darlene and Elliot. This follows the earlier Back to the Future reference when we saw Mr. Robot and Elliot dressed up as characters from the movies.

The show ends by again hinting strongly that Mr. Robot is Elliot’s father—the pile of photographic evidence is hard to argue with. What’s harder to understand is how Mr. Robot knows to show up at that exact moment so they can talk things out. That’s going to be an interesting conversation, I think.

Episode Notes:

The title of the episode comes from Whiterose, the elusive leader of the Chinese Dark Army of hackers. And, according to IMDB, whenever they show Elliot’s cell phone, the battery is always at 22%

References:

NOTE: All sites accessed on September 1, 2016.

Greg Enslen is an Ohio author and columnist. He's written and published eight books, including four fiction titles and four collections of essays and columns. Several are available through Gypsy Publications of Troy, Ohio. To receive updates on upcoming titles, sneak previews and appearances, subscribe to Email Goodies. For more information, please see his Amazon Author Page or visit his Facebook fan page.