Carly Chaikin in Mr. Robot,
Image: Scott McDermott/USA Network

For “Mr. Robot’s” entire run, Elliot Alderson has pursued one goal; the humbling of the top one percent of the one percent. In “409 Conflict,” the hacker finally succeeded by executing a devastating strike on the Deus Group. However, in the episode’s opening sequence, the show’s writers indicated the character still has miles to go in his journey.

Before getting into the series-upending revelations of this installment’s prologue, it’s important to discuss the fall of Whiterose’s empire.

Setting the Stage

“Conflict” began with the Alderson siblings reunited. However, because of the devastating events of “407 Proxy Authentication Required,” Elliot ceded control of his body to Mr. Robot. As such, he and Darlene didn’t discuss their respective kidnappings. But they did outline their plot to take down Deus Group. Essentially, the pair intended to hack the members’ smartphones, trigger a security alert, and empty their bank accounts by subverting their credentials and two-factor authentication codes.

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Before that happened, though, Philip Price visited the Alderson’s and gave Mr. Robot info needed to destroy Whiterose’s Congo-based machine.

Although it’s always been a feature of the series, “Conflict” highlighted the Aldersons’ remarkable capacity for compartmentalization. Most of the season’s events have occurred within the same 24-hour time span. That means Elliot and Darlene have lost their mother, been captured and tortured, and set up a massive hack all within that time.

While the show’s compressed storytelling does strain credulity, Elliot and Darlene’s actions make sense. They’re both at the end of their ropes, and finishing the hack is the one thing keeping them going. Now that it’s done, it’ll be fascinating to see where they next end up. At the very least, the pair needs to have a conversation about their father. It’s time they walk away from the shadow he’s cast over their relationship.

Unexpected Complications

After meeting with Team Robot, Price met with Whiterose in a lushly appointed but empty building. Therein, Minister Zhang revealed she figured out Price and Elliot had been working together and relocated the meeting as a result. Contemporaneously, Mr. Robot pieced together what happened and hacked Tyrell Wellick’s phone to find the new location. He then dispatched Darlene to capture the groups’ handset data.

Price interrupted Whiterose’s supervillain monolog by revealing Wellick would not attend the Deus Group’s meeting. When Zhang refused to withdraw despite being outplayed, his assistant abruptly quit.

Mr. Robot called Price, and Whiterose intercepted the call. During the conversation, Zhang claimed Angela survived her seemingly fatal encounter with Dark Army. By offering him the opportunity to revise his life, the Chinese billionaire got Elliot to emerge. Though tempted, the hacker ultimately rejected Whiterose’s promise of a new life.

Since season two, “Mr. Robot” has teased the possibility that Zhang has access to technology which either allows for temporal or dimensional travel. Indeed, the character presented Angela with something that convinced her to join Dark Army. But Elliot and Price have dismissed Whiterose’s claims as elaborate con jobs.

As the series nears its end, it’s on the cusp of revealing the truth about her fantastic plans. Currently, the show is suggesting Zhang is a gifted manipulator who tricks people by teasing them with their heart’s desire. However, the series also has a penchant for upending expectations, so she may own a time machine/dimensional transporter. Either way, it’s heartening to know Elliot wouldn’t betray his ideals to get a fresh start.

Michael Cristofer in Mr. Robot
Elizabeth Fisher/USA Network

All Empires Fall

Seeing no way to breach the Deus Group meeting, Darlene instead forced the elite out of the building. Using a hastily assembled costume, she posted an fsociety video and doxxed the entire assembled party. She then locked down the building’s garage, which forced the association to seek taxis/Ubers outside. That move allowed the hacker to capture their banking credentials and two-factor challenge passcodes successfully.

With that information, Elliot successfully executed a multibillion, if not trillion-dollar heist.

Simultaneously, an irate Whiterose attempted to move Price to another location. After learning that his nemesis had become bankrupt, Price mocked Zhang for running out of time. In response, she gunned him down in the street in front of several witnesses, included Elliot.

In a flash-forward, the FBI raided Whiterose’s residence but met extreme resistance from some Dark Army operatives. “Conflict” cut to black before revealing her fate.

Right now, it’s difficult to say if Elliot and Darlene succeeded in destroying the Deus Group. Presumably, Cyprus National Bank and the FDIC would cover the organization’s losses given the fraudulent nature of fsociety’s funds’ transfers. However, with their membership and files leaked to the press, the association can no longer operate in the shadows. As anonymity had to be a key feature of its existence, the Deus Group may be defunct.

That said, it’s undeniable that Whiterose is finished. Without her financial resources, she can’t maintain her business operation. Moreover, without access to her machine, she can’t command Dark Army’s absolute loyalty with the promise of a do-over. Also, the fact that she openly killed a man on American soil probably cost her favor with Beijing. Even if she survived the FBI raid, her vast empire is now dust.

The Other One Isn’t Who We Thought

Since “402 Payment Required,” Mr. Robot fans have been desperate to learn more about Elliot’s other dominant personality. “Conflict” offered the first new information about the persona since that episode aired. In its opening, Mr. Robot met with Elliot’s mother and his child self within Elliot’s mindscape. Both expressed concern about their creator’s psychological blue screen of death.

Notably, the Mother seemingly referred to Elliot as having been asleep for an extended period. Mr. Robot replied that he woke up two months ago to talk to Darlene.

As such, “Conflict” hints at an incredible idea; the Elliot the audience knows is not the real Elliot Alderson. In truth, the socially isolated hacker is just another alternate personality. Judging by the alters’ conference, the real Elliot is mostly dormant, with the Other One, the other Elliot, acting in his place. The group’s discussion also indicates the persona is more vulnerable than the resilient fsociety founder.

Besides, the collective’s conversation also suggested Elliot has another big secret, something he’d done and subsequently willed himself to forget. As this installment’s next episode preview noted Elliot would be returning to Washington Township, it’s likely something involving Elliot’s father’s death.

Accordingly, it’s possible the young Elliot poisoned his father to save himself from Edward Alderson’s sexual abuse.

Because Edward later died, Elliot might’ve retreated into himself and generated another persona to act as his surrogate. Whereas Mr. Robot is the hacker’s protector, the Other Elliot could be his emotional fail-safe. Ultimately, the show will likely keep those answers concealed until the show wraps up.

Where Do We Go From Here?

While fsociety achieved a big win in “Conflict,” it required great sacrifice. Price is now dead, a historically significant theft has occurred, and the public now knows the identities of the Illuminati. As “Mr. Robot’s” second season detailed, instigating that much societal upheaval always has significant consequences. Firstly, Elliot and Darlene’s wealth redistribution plan will likely throw the financial sector into chaos.

Furthermore, the Deus Group leak and Whiterose’s murder of Price will likely prompt the FBI to resume its Dark Army investigation. With its chief financial backer gone, the group will probably be hunted into extinction rather swiftly. And there’s no better FBI agent to take the lead on that case than Dominique DiPierro.

On that note, Dom and Darlene are going to meet again. Unfortunately, the preview for “410 Gone” suggests their reunion won’t be a happy one. But since Darlene did grant her wish of taking down Dark Army, hopefully, there is room for forgiveness. It would be a shame if the show’s central theoretical couple never got together.

Also, the FBI or some other law enforcement agency will have to follow up on Wellick’s disappearance. Since much of season four has unfolded over one day, his absence has gone unnoticed, but that’ll change post-Deus Group hack. Though it seems unlikely, it would be nice if investigators don’t just recover his icy corpse. Despite his sociopathic tendencies, he deserves a better ending than that.

Lastly, Elliot needs a break. Having achieved his lifelong ambition and theoretically acquired billions of dollars, he needs to find something new to do. Ideally, the hacker should put away his keyboard and resume therapy. No matter what truth waits for him in Washington Township, Elliot has earned a shot at happiness.

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