The devil is really in the details with “Mr. Robot.” After Elliot (Rami Malek) decided to come out of hiding and hit the keys in last week’s episode, all eyes ended up moving to Ray (Craig Robinson). Helping get his computer up-to-speed after playing a mental — and physical — game of chess, Ray advises Elliot to stick to the task at hand and not to look at the man’s work.
Well in Wednesday’s (Aug. 3) episode, titled “eps2.3_logic-b0mb.hc,” Elliot goes against the man’s wishes and ends up paying for it in the end. And while it absolutely sucks that our intrepid hero has to once again go through some physical pain to get to the end-goal — logic bombing the FBI — an intriguing detail that grabs our attention is what Elliot sees on Ray’s website, Midland City.
Midland City looks to be a website where anything from illegal drugs to human trafficking can be offered at the right price. It’s a horrifying for Elliot to witness, and what’s more … it’s based on a real thing.
The Silk Road was a website created using the free, and anonymous, browsing software known as TOR. Launched back in February of 2011 by a user going by the moniker “Dread Pirate Roberts,” the site was an online black market where mainly illegal drugs were offered for purchase or trade. The focus of the site was to offer a safe place for substances to be bought and sold, and ultimately to drive down crime.
By June of that year, the government got wind of the site and Chuck Schumer made it his mission to get the D.E.A. to shut the site down. After a manhunt that lasted a couple years, a man by the name of Ross Ulbricht was detained and indicted on charges of money laundering, computer hacking, conspiracy to traffic narcotics and the attempted murder of six people. According to the intel received, Ulbricht was “Dread Pirate Roberts.”
However, there are theories that Ulbricht is innocent of that last charge, stating the government used him as a poster child for everything wrong with The Silk Road. As well, some say there were multiple people using the “Dread Pirate Roberts” handle when the misdeeds went down that ultimately led to Ulbricht’s arrest.
How does this all relate to “Mr. Robot?” Up until this episode, we’ve had the drugs, the hacking and the murder. Human trafficking adds a whole new messed up layer to Elliot’s world. And what makes things even more genuine is the quick camera shot of the FBI papers he received last week when he discovered the Feds were moving from Blackberry to Android. What those papers also mentioned was that free, anonymous browser software: TOR.
What ever the bigger picture here is, remains to be seen. But it looks like Angela (Portia Doubleday) is now on the f society bandwagon and Elliot and Darlene’s (Carly Chaikin) plans have been set in motion. As for Ray? We have a feeling he’s going to get what’s coming to him. As soon as Elliot lets Mr. Robot take over, who knows what he’ll be capable of?
“Mr. Robot” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on USA.