Mr. Robot: Elliot crosses a line and someone else pays the consequences

Rami Malek and Christian Slater in Mr. Robot, “Not Acceptable”
Image: Elizabeth Fisher/USA Network

In “Mr. Robot’s” first three seasons, Elliot Alderson has done a lot of terrible things to further his mission. He has blackmailed people, destroyed his kindly boss’s company, and participated in a hack that killed thousands of people. But all of those things had mitigating circumstances, like the influence of an alternate personality or outside manipulation. “406 Not Acceptable” saw the show’s protagonist cross a major line without the benefit of an easy excuse.

In it, Elliot did something unforgivable to another person and avoided responsibility even as he saw the gruesome consequences of his actions. Indeed, even Mr. Robot expressed disgust at his alternate personality’s actions. With the program’s final season now hitting its midway point, the line separating its heroes and villains is gone.

Elliot’s Rubicon

During a phone call, Darlene told Elliot they still needed administrative login credentials to compromise Cyprus National Bank’s network. Elliot assured her he had a plan, which involved re-establishing contact with Olivia Cortez. He also apologized for being so awful a few episodes ago.

Manage your supply chain from home with Sourcengine

Also, Leon is back, has quit Dark Army, and now works as a drug dealer.

They hacker brought his ex-lover a peppermint mocha, and the pair made small talk until he lowered the boom. Elliot dosed Olivia’s coffee with OxyContin, something that would cost her custody of her daughter if the authorities find out. Under protests, Olivia got her boss to access the company network, which allowed Elliot to steal his credentials. But in the middle of the scam, she tried to commit suicide, feeling even an unintentional slip had destroyed her.

Even worse, Olivia agreed to help after she learned Deus Group contributed to her mother’s death. Had Elliot explained his mission to her, none of his strong-arm tactics would’ve been necessary.

“406 Not Acceptable” was a real showcase of Rami Malek’s acting. In his performance, he let the viewer see the entire decision-making process that went into blackmailing Olivia. At first, he felt immense regret at his action, even more so following her suicide attempt. But as the episode went on, he used his arrogance and dedication to destroying Dark Army to suppress his guilt. Despite his rationalizations, Olivia’s labeling him a monster was dead on.

At its most basic level, Elliot’s case against E Corp, Whiterose, Dark Army, and Deus Group is that they treat people as tools. Indeed, all Team Robot’s enemies have used and thrown away countless lives to further their ambitions. But now Elliot has no moral high ground against his enemies. When push came to shove, he destroyed someone because it served his agenda.

As such, it’s worth pondering if Elliot wants to defeat his enemies or replace them.

Vera Makes His Move

As predicted, Fernando Vera kidnapped Elliot’s former therapist Krista Gordon and tortured her to get intel on the hacker. Thankfully, “Mr. Robot’s” producers depicted his methods of interrogation as psychological harrowing rather than physically damaging. Nevertheless, at the end of the hour, a completely broken Krista gave the crime lord Elliot’s file.

Curiously, she also said that Mr. Robot is the key to breaking Elliot psychologically.

In previous seasons, other individuals and groups have tried to force Elliot to do their bidding. But their plans always go sideways because of his dissociative personality disorder. When being threatened or even assaulted, he can retreat within his mindscape. He has also shown the ability to “tag out” and let Mr. Robot take the wheel when under duress.

As such, it’s a mystery why Krista would think telling Vera about Mr. Robot would allow him to gain control of Elliot. That is, unless the show is playing games with the viewer again. In the past, “Mr. Robot” has used Elliot’s fugues to hide crucial information for the audience. Consequently, Krista may know Elliot has more than one alternate personality.

More importantly, she might know Elliot has a persona capability vicious enough to handle Vera, namely the mysterious Other One.

Dom and Darlene’s Reunion

After finishing her phone call with her brother, Darlene found out Dom had broken into her home. The FBI agent demanded Elliot’s location, but she wouldn’t budge. Dom asked Janet for further instructions and was told Elliot needs to be brought in (at Whiterose’s request), but Darlene is expendable. After much internal debate, Dom ordered Darlene to kill her, believing it would free her family from Dark Army’s influence.

However, before that could happen, Janice and some goons arrived on the scene. The taxidermist prepared to kill Darlene herself until she revealed she wiped her smartphone, meaning tracking Elliot is no longer possible. Consequently, the episode left the show’s female leads in a dicey but also hopeful situation.

So far, Dom and Darlene have an incredibly messed up relationship. Darlene initially slept with the FBI Agent to get her credentials, the situation that led to the Dark Army drafting Dom. As such, Darlene feels incredibly guilty about what she did, and Dom hates Darlene for ruining her life. But underneath it all, the two women have a great deal of affection for one another.

In the chaos of terrorist attacks and reality-altering schemes, they found something genuine in each other. Accordingly, their twisted relationship has become one of the series’ bright spots. As Darlene and Dom are two of the show’s most honest and least cruel characters, they still merit emotional investment. Hopefully, “Mr. Robot” will allow them to explore their connection before it concludes.

Rami Malek in Mr. Robot, “Not Acceptable”
Image: Scott McDermott/USA Network


At the end of the episode, Krista called Elliot and told him that she had been kidnapped but let go. However, Vera actually just used her to lure Elliot into the clutches of his henchmen. Now the hacker is headed for a meeting with the gangster without backup or anyone else knowing his location.

On the surface, things look bad for Elliot. Undoubtedly, Vera will use the information in his psych profile to mess with his head. Moreover, he will almost certainly threaten to kill Krista right in front of Elliot to secure his obedience. But, as is often the case with Mr. Robot, things aren’t exactly what they seem.

As noted above, Elliot does have the ability to dissociate when threatened. That means he’ll probably be able to withstand more of Vera’s abuse than the drug kingpin expects. If Elliot can get a message to Leon, he can get the upper hand. While Vera’s people are intimidating, Leon is “Mr. Robot’s” most lethal character.

Plus, there’s the whole Other One situation. Earlier this season, Elliot’s other alternate personality assured Darlene that Vera wouldn’t be a problem. As such, the persona may have a plan to deal with the criminal that involves getting close to him. Indeed, the only way to kill someone as cunning and meticulous as Vera might be a sacrifice play.

Twitter Reactions