‘Hidden Process’ is the perfect summary of what this season of Mr. Robot has been like. Between the hidden events that have been kept from us and the dire state everyone finds themselves into after the hack, the situation has grown more unsustainable than ever.
At this point, pretty much everyone will agree that Tyrell Wellick has been the biggest enigma of this season. However, there’s also a certain someone very close to him carrying a question mark over her head: Joanna Wellick. Ever since last season’s finale, we learned that there’s something about her that makes Elliot feel really transparent when he’s with her. This adds fuel to the “Tyrell is Elliot” (or “Elliot is Tyrell”) theories, which makes the constant back and forth on whether Tyrell is dead or alive even more interesting. The truth is, either of them could be right at this point. Regardless of that, Joanna, who aside from persuasive can also be very dangerous, is the one calling the shots as she demands Elliot to track the mysterious phone calls while accompanied by her bodyguard. To add even more mystery to the whole thing, Mr. Robot tends to disappear the closer they get to Tyrell. The whole thing is so confusing that Elliot even asks for our help in solving the mystery by searching around his room in a scene that almost feels like it belongs in a graphic adventure.
There’s certainly something off in all this. The “.axx” file extension in the episode title refers to an audio compression file, Elliot made references to blocking out the sound when the bodyguard was telling him about his life, and there was also a hearing-related ad behind Elliot in the scene he shared with Angela. All these references to audio (or lack of audio) could be part of the hidden process that could mean the final piece to Tyrell’s puzzle.
Angela’s role in this episode is that to offer her point of view on Mr. Robot and the things Elliot has been doing with fsociety. Meaning that there’s no longer any secrets between them. If anything, Angela is incredibly honest when it comes to voicing he thoughts on the situation, like saying that she doesn’t believe it’s possible to get away with this. Angela has always been the “playing safe, doing the right thing” kind of person, but it’s come to a point when not even her and her way of doing things can solve it. To be fair, there’s not even a solution anymore.
Darlene and Cisco’s relationship peaks in ‘Hidden Process’ as a result of being brutally honest with each other. Cisco drops some truth bombs when saying “you’re not a leader, you’re not special”, which resonates with Darlene trying to take Elliot’s place during his absence, but also as a comment that includes Elliot. As Elliot says himself, he’s the one who orchestrated the whole plan, and yet he wasn’t present, nor aware for most of it. Sure, the hack was a success, but they’ve done nothing but struggle after it. This statement triggers Darlene to open up about a story from her childhood in which she was kidnapped by a strange lady and how she saw that as something good because it meant separating herself from her family. Shortly after Angela talks about how everything is going to catch up to them, Dom and the rest of the FBI start following their trail from the hospital. In fact, Darlene and Cisco’s scene at the diner had a “last time” aura to it. The death flags were right all along: someone presumably from the Dark Army shoots the diner and the episode ends with no confirmation on whether either of them survived.
As the season nears its end, it seems like the situation has grown more desperate than ever. No one at fsociety has been able to deal with the consequences, causing many deaths as a result, and the FBI is quickly catching up to them. With Mr. Robot stepping aside and behaving strangely, it seems like the only thing that could save them at this point is some sort of plot twist regarding Tyrell’s whereabouts, or even his identity.