“403 Forbidden” – Recap and Review

Alright y’all, it’s time for another (late as hell) Mr. Robot recap and review!  Let’s do this thing!

My Love Wears Forbidden Colours

Whiterose Board Meeting (Alt)

In 1982 (during the best decade ever!), Whiterose—who’s known full time as Director Zhi Zhang at this point—and her translator are closing a major deal between China and IBM.  The folks at IBM believe they’re entering a lucrative enterprise, when really and truly, Whiterose has every intention of stealing their intellectual property, and even says so!  Of course, the fools at IBM don’t catch this because they don’t speak Mandarin.  Learn another language, y’all.

Whiterose and Her Lover (Alt)

It turns out that Whiterose’s translator is also her lover, who hopes the deal allows her to become an ambassador to the US.  That way, they can be together without facing persecution.  After the IBM deal is done, Whiterose and her man hang out in their hotel suite watching Culture Club’s “(Time) Clock of the Heart” video (that’s my favorite Culture Club/Boy George song, by the way!) and Whiterose has a bit of an epiphany.

Boy George (Alt)

Whiterose’s lover, who believes in extreme punctuality, lets it be known that they’re scheduled to have drinks with the IBM businessmen in 15 minutes.  Whiterose declines and has her man go ahead in her place.  A few hours later, Whiterose’s lover comes back looking rode hard and put away wet, and when he enters the suite, we are all treated to the first glimpse of the real Whiterose.

Take a lesson, y’all.  This is a bad bitch.

Young Whiterose in Full Dress (Alt)

Whiterose is fierce as all hell with her curly wig and badass dress (that used to belong to her mama!).  Her man is shocked, but he doesn’t ridicule her or judge her.  As a matter of fact, he tells her she’s beautiful.  He kisses her, and the camera zooms in on his watch…the same digital watch Whiterose dons now.

Whiterose and her Lover 2 (Alt)The Watch (Alt)

Some time later, Whiterose’s man is getting married…to a woman.  Whiterose goes with the flow, and even delivers white roses to him to lighten the mood (white roses symbolize death) but her man is miserable.  At the reception hall, Whiterose tries to assure him that this “marriage” won’t change anything.  The lover asks if Whiterose will still be ambassador to the US, and she honestly answers that she won’t.  Things went so well with the IBM deal, the government appointed her as the Minister of State Security, a much more lucrative and powerful position.  She couldn’t turn it down.

Whiterose's Lover (Alt)

Whiterose’s man is even more heartbroken.  She assures him to be patient, but he tells her that when folks ask you to be patient, they’re actually asking for your surrender.  The gentleman then takes a nearby knife from a platter and slices his own throat with it.  Whiterose screams for help, but it’s no use.  The camera pans around and we see that her man bled all over the white rose bouquet.

White Roses (Alt)

Time Won’t Give Me Time

Whiterose and Her Assistant (Alt)

In the present day (2015, to be exact), Whiterose has her assistant, Wang Shu (aka Ms. Thang Jr.) get her mother’s dress ready.  She wants to wear it when her project is shipped to the Congo.  Ms. Thang Jr. reminds Whiterose that she shouldn’t be poppin’ champagne just yet.  Elliot is still out there plotting against them.  The whole situation with Eddie Lomax committing suicide and Phillip Price’s sudden resignation request aren’t coincidences.  Whiterose suggests to deny Price’s request and to keep looking into Elliot via round-the-clock surveillance.  Ms. Thang Jr. tries offer comforting words, saying that they’ll figure everything out, it’ll just take patience.  Whiterose remembers what her late lover said about being patient, and abruptly changes her mind.  Give Price what he wants, but move the date up.  Ms. Thang Jr. is totally against this, saying that Whiterose’s rash moves will put them in jeopardy.  Whiterose is fresh out of patience, and she states that disrupting the timeline is the perfect way to force Elliot and Price into a mistake.  I have to agree.  Now, instead of Elliot having eight days to come up with a plan, he has less than 24 hrs.

Ms. Thang Jr. reminds Whiterose that once Price resigns, there’ll be no CEO at E-Corp.  Whiterose has the perfect idea…make Tyrell the CEO.  He’ll accept it.  You damn skippy he will!

Unexpected (and Unwelcome) Surprises

Krista (Alt)

Mr. Robot is narrating…again.  Elliot, when are you gonna talk to us?  Anyway, Mr. Robot is nervous and on the lookout for Vera’s crazy ass, as he should be.  Elliot, on the other hand, is basically like this:


As he and his alter ego (the one we know of) walk down the street, they bump into Krista, and she ain’t too happy to see him.  As a matter of fact, she mutters, “Oh, shit,” the minute she realizes who it is.

Elliot and Mr. Robot See Krista (Alt)

Elliot tries to say hi and that he’s taking her advice about Mr. Robot, but Krista ain’t got time.  To summarize, she lets it be known she wants nothing to do with him, and she feels unsafe around him.  Krista even goes so far as to threaten legal action if he doesn’t leave her alone.  Really, Krista?  Elliot, clearly hurt, says he just wanted to thank her for helping him.  He pulls his hoodie back over his head and leaves.  Poor Elliot.  Little do either of them know that DJ, Vera’s right hand, is watching this entire exchange…

DJ (Alt)

Elliot ain’t the one you got to worry about, boo!

Sibling Rivalry

Darlene and Elliot 5

Back at Allsafe, Darlene is telling Elliot about Olivia Cortez, Susan Jacobs’s US contact with Cypress National Bank.  Apparently, Olivia is the only account manager Susan dealt with, so they’re going to have to hack her to get access to the Dark Army’s accounts.  Elliot’s already hacked into her computer remotely, but he’s not finding anything useful…at least not regarding the Dark Army.  He does however, learn that Olivia has a date later that night and is involved in a custody battle.  Darlene tells him most bank employees have a laptop specifically for the job that has to be hacked in person, which is why he’s not seeing anything related to Whiterose’s money.

Elliot uses Olivia’s schedule to his advantage and decides to break in her house to get access to her work laptop while she’s out.  Darlene’s not down with that idea.  The plan was that she would hack the bank computer and Elliot was supposed to deal with the SS7 license (whatever the hell that is).  Elliot says that was before they found out that they have put hands on the computer to hack it.  It’s too risky for Darlene to go now.  Darlene, being her usual hardheaded self disagrees, and Elliot asks Mr. Robot to step in and talk some sense into her.  Darlene still doesn’t listen, so Elliot takes back over and the “protective big brother bit” Darlene was criticizing him for a second ago is gone.

Elliot Manhandles Darlene (Alt)

Elliot grabs her arm, hurting her.  Darlene asks if it’s really him, and he lets her know that it is.  No Mr. Robot.  No mystery third guest.  This is Elliot being rough and hurtful.  Darlene is disgusted, especially after she figured they were in a better place since cremating their mother the night before.  She asks if things will always be this way with him, and Elliot tells her things’ll never change.  Before he leaves, he drives an even deeper nail in her heart by telling her that he wishes he never opened the door for her when she came by last Halloween.  Really, Elliot?  Darlene tears up as he leaves.

Darlene Tears Up (Alt)


Elliot at Olivia's Apartment (Alt)

As Elliot breaks into Olivia’s apartment, Mr. Robot tells us that there’s no word for someone that’s lost everyone:  his parents, friends, and his girlfriend.  Some folks would call him a survivor, but others would say he’s a ticking time bomb.  We all can see that Elliot’s in the latter category.  Elliot eventually locates the work laptop, while Mr. Robot searches her personal computer for any possible clues (it still cracks me up how Elliot and Mr. Robot “split up” and do different things when they’re together).  It’s soon revealed that in order to get into Olivia’s work computer, Elliot needs her security fob. Mr. Robot recommends other alternatives to get Olivia to log into her computer, but Elliot’s not trying to take a chance of her getting suspicious.  He knows there’s only one way to get his hands on the fob…crash her date.

Elliot and Mr. Robot at Olivia's (Alt)

On a side note, I used to have one of those security fobs for my job.  We had to keep it on us at all times, preferably on our key chains (Mr. Robot suggested maybe Olivia got sloppy and left it at home, but I know for a fact that’s a no-no).  It’s also true about the security code changing every 60 seconds.  As a matter of fact, if you haven’t logged onto your computer after 45 seconds pass, you might as well wait for the next code to come up, because the current one will be considered useless.

Elliot and Mr. Robot at the Bar (Alt)

Back on subject, Elliot and Mr. Robot go to the bar where Olivia is waiting to meet Evan, her date.  It appears she’s been stood up, and she’s about to leave.  Mr. Robot advises to regroup and try something else, but Elliot has some dirt on Olivia.  Earlier, he peeped a bottle of Oxycontin in Olivia’s bathroom.  Elliot also learned that as a part of her custody agreement, Olivia has to stay clean, or she’ll lose her son.  He can use that information as leverage to get the fob.  Really, Elliot?  It turns out I wasn’t the only one that didn’t like Elliot showing this ruthless side.  Mr. Robot blasts this idea and instead suggests they just have small talk with Olivia and snatch the fob.  Elliot ain’t goin’ for it.

Olivia and Mr. Robot (Alt)

He approaches Olivia, but as we all know, Elliot’s not always the most assertive guy, so he stumbles a bit before he’s about to lay out his blackmail scheme.  Before he can do so, Mr. Robot takes over, charmingly introduces himself (as Elliot) and offers to buy her a drink.  Elliot protests, but now it’s Mr. Robot’s turn to ignore him.  Olivia agrees, and Mr. Robot lets Elliot take over again.  Just like that, this encounter has turned into an actual date.  Hmmm…

The (Wannabe) King of New York


We’ve returned to the same restaurant Elliot and Shayla had their last conversation before she was snatched up by Vera’s men and eventually murdered.  We soon get confirmation on something all of us already figured:  it’s really a front for Vera’s drug operation.  This crazy fool is in the back stuffin’ dope in chickens and using kids as delivery boys.  DJ shows up, and Vera asks if he has any good intel on Elliot.  DJ can’t get a read off Elliot, considering that he always seems to run solo (I’m surprised he missed Darlene).  Vera starts going off on how he returned to be king of New York and how he needs a good architect to do that.  DJ offers to hold Elliot hostage and make him cooperate, but Vera says he wants Elliot as a partner, not a prisoner.  I still say this:


Vera presses DJ for info, but all he knows is that Elliot got into it with some chick on the street earlier that day.  He shows Vera a pic, and he sees Krista yelling at a distraught Elliot.  Vera tries to get more info about Krista’s attitude towards Elliot, but DJ fails to provide details.

Krista Screenshot (Alt)

Vera shows the pic to one of his pediatric drug mules and the kid remarks that Elliot looks sad, like how he does when his mother is mean to him.  Without even blinking, Vera takes his gun and shoots DJ in the gut.  As DJ’s bleeding out on the floor, Vera studies the picture and decides that Krista is the perfect target.  Then he proceeds to finish DJ off by shooting him in the head.  Really, Vera?

Vera Shoots DJ (Alt)

By the way, the scariest part of this scene isn’t Vera killing someone at random.  Anyone that’s a fan of the show is used to that.  The scariest part is that the kid that witnessed all this—who was sitting next to Vera when he fired the gun—didn’t flinch.  Eerie.

A Child Lost (Alt)


Olivia and Elliot (Alt)

Olivia and Elliot are still in the bar, having drinks.  Elliot hasn’t been able to swipe Olivia’s security fob yet, so they’ve been talking.  As it turns out, they both have a lot in common.  Olivia’s mother died, and she doesn’t get along with her dad that well.  Elliot admits (awkwardly) that he was addicted to morphine, but he’s clean now…except for the heroin he did two days ago that he really didn’t want.  It’s especially hilarious when Olivia asks if someone held Elliot down to do it, and he was just like, “Yeah.”  That’s fine, though.  She seems to be really into to him, and vice versa.  Elliot even manages to smile while he’s talking to her.  Yes, he smiled!  Just then Evan shows up.

It becomes more apparent that Olivia’s into Elliot, because she acts like she doesn’t even know who Evan is.  She tries to ditch Evan officially by hinting that she and Elliot are about to leave together, but Elliot doesn’t catch the clue.  Olivia says goodbye to Elliot and leaves, taking the fob with her.  Elliot runs after her and kisses her in the street.

Elliot Kisses Olivia (Alt)

Then the unexpected happens…


Elliot Gets Some 3 (Alt)Elliot Gets Some 2 (Alt)Elliot Gets Some 4 (Alt)Elliot Gets Some 1 (Alt)

Sometime later, Elliot’s still at Olivia’s place, getting dressed.  By the way, Elliot’s sex game must be off the charts; he managed to put both Shayla and Olivia to sleep when he hooked up with them.  He put it on Shayla so good, she forgot what day it was when she woke up!  Anyway, Elliot finally gets his hands on the security fob and sneaks in the bathroom to text the code to Darlene.

Text to Darlene (Alt)

Right after he sends the code, Price sends Elliot a text, letting him know that the Deus Group meeting is scheduled for tomorrow.  Dun-dun-dunnnnnn!  Olivia knocks on the door, startling him.  Elliot knocks over a small crate with some items on it, one of which was the bottle of Oxycontin.  Olivia tells him that bottle isn’t what he thinks it is.  She admits that after her mother was murdered, she became an addict to numb the pain, which harmed her relationship with her father.  She then opened the bottle to show Elliot what was really inside of it…a razor blade.  Olivia goes on to say that she uses it as a reminder that if she goes back to using, she may as well kill herself.  Elliot opens up and tells her about his own desire to commit suicide a few months ago and how Trenton’s little bro saved him (I wonder if Elliot ever kept his promise and took him to go see The Martian).  Elliot tells Olivia that she can’t scare him, and after she lets him know there’s plenty more crazy where that came from, she snuggles up with him.  Awww…

Olivia and Elliot 4 (Alt)

Elliot leaves and while he and Mr. Robot are waiting for the subway, the latter remarks on how Olivia overrode Elliot’s access to his heart, and now he’s learned that letting people in doesn’t have to hurt.

Tyrelliot In Full Effect!

Dark Army Follows Elliot (Alt)

After leaving the subway, Elliot notices a white van following him.  He can’t go back to Allsafe and meet up with Darlene, so he decides to walk home and act like everything is everything.  The only problem with that is, when he gets home, he sees that some fool pried the door open.  Mr. Robot wants to run, but Elliot knows that’s fruitless, considering the bad guys are outside, too.  Elliot pushes the door open, and who does he see?

It’s Tyrell, muthafuckers!

Tyrell in Elliot's Apartment (Alt)

The second Tyrell sees Elliot, he’s all like, “HEY, ELLIOT!  THEY MADE ME CEO!  WE CAN TAKE DOWN WHITEROSE JUST LIKE WE PLANNED!”  *Sigh*


Elliot tries his best to shut Tyrell’s crazy ass up, but this fool…keeps…talking.  Finally, Elliot literally has to spell it out for him by writing on a sheet of paper:

They're Listening (Alt)

Sure enough, the white van is parked outside of Elliot’s apartment building doing just that.  And that’s where our story ends.

Dark Army Outside Elliot's Apartment (Alt)

I really enjoyed this episode.  As a matter of fact, the more I watched it, the more I liked it.  I noticed that it’s been getting some mixed reviews, due to some folks believing this latest installment was pure filler.  Yeah, the episode was a bit slower than the previous two, but it was still very entertaining.  One of the things I loved about “403 Forbidden” is Whiterose’s backstory.  It gave us a bit of insight on what made her into the person she is today.  Don’t get me wrong, she was always a bit ratchet (after all, her ultimate goal was to steal IBM’s intellectual property), but her early shady behavior didn’t include mass genocide.  Losing the man she loved pushed her over the edge, I think.  Despite all the evil Whiterose has committed throughout the series, you can’t help but feel sympathy for her when her lover takes his own life.

Speaking of which, suicide was a pretty big theme of this week’s episode.  So much so, the network decided to provide the number for a suicide hotline for those in need of counseling.  Trust me, there’s so many people that need help with this issue.  I’m glad they did that.

Suicide Prevention Number (Alt)

I’m a bit perturbed with Krista.  Yeah, I get why she’s wary of Elliot, but damn.  She acted like he was stalking her, when all the poor man was doing was walking down the street minding his business.  Then, that whole, “I don’t feel safe around you” bit.  Girl, bye.  You ought to know that Elliot wouldn’t hurt you physically.  That’s okay, though.  She’s about to be in the presence of real evil, and she’ll wish her biggest threat was bumping into Elliot on the sidewalk.

Speaking of which, that damn Vera is still a hot mess, but I didn’t expect anything less.  This fool really thinks that Krista is Elliot’s heart.  Wrong.  I mean, Elliot cares about Krista, but ol’ boy missed out on his grand opportunity when he first came waltzing into town.  It’s a good thing Darlene didn’t mention to him who she was.

Darlene Sees Vera (Alt)Vera Returns

Plus, coming back to the same city and operating in the same quarters really isn’t the smartest move when you’re a wanted man that broke out of prison.  Then again, this is the same dude that went along with the idea of posting all his nefarious shit on social media.  SMDH.  By the way, there’s some people that don’t believe Vera’s return adds any value to the show, but it does.  Now Elliot has the Dark Army and Vera gunning for him.  I’m assuming Elliot’s not too worried about Vera at the moment because the Whiterose threat is a lot more dangerous, but Vera’s interference will soon become a serious issue.  Not only that, it’s gonna cut into the time Elliot needs to take down Whiterose, which’ll give us even more white knuckle situations.  On a side note, I’m still freaked out about that kid.  That’s another Vera in the making.

On to Tyrell…  Tyrell, yo’ ass is too smart to be sloppy like that.  First of all, learn to hush when people tell you to shut up.  Second of all, why the hell did you bust in Elliot’s apartment like that?  What, you couldn’t just pick the lock?


Elliot still isn’t talking to us.  I really hope that changes soon.  I miss him.  Mr. Robot doesn’t spill half as much tea.  The 180º shift in Elliot and Mr. Robot’s characters continues to be interesting.  Elliot’s off the chain right now, and Mr. Robot always has to be the one to talk him off the ledge.  Not only that, Mr. Robot is always the one that has to be the supportive big brother to Darlene, while Elliot is being more rough and dismissive of her.  I honestly think that Elliot was still upset over the whole Krista encounter and between that and Darlene being hardheaded about staying put when he asked her to, he decided to use her as a punching bag.  Not cool.  Speaking of not cool, I can’t believe Elliot actually considered blackmailing a single mom!  I get a sleazy pedophile, but a single mom doing all she can to take care of her son?  That’s cold-hearted, boo.  Ironically enough, if Elliot had gone along with his initial blackmail scheme, it would’ve thwarted his plans, seeing as Olivia no longer had prescription narcotics in her possession.  Mr. Robot’s interjection saved the plan, and it allowed Elliot’s newfound hard demeanor to soften, thankfully.

Now onto Ms. Olivia.  I like her, just like I liked Shayla.  She and Elliot make a cute couple and their love scene together was super hot.  I have to be honest though, I hate that we were cheated out of a potential love scene with Elliot and Angela.  I really wanted those two to get together ever since the first episode.  However, I do like Olivia, and I’m glad Elliot found someone he could bond with, that was able to break through this tough exterior that he’s developed.  Also another cool thing about Olivia is that in real life, she’s Andy Garcia’s daughter!  I love him!

Olivia and Elliot 2 (Alt)

There’s some theories going around that Olivia’s not really here for Elliot; she’s another physical honeypot trying to trap him.  After all, the white van started following him after he left her place.  In the description for “403 Forbidden,” it mentions that “Elliot gets owned by his own hack.”  Plus, if you listen to the lyrics of “Flesh Without Blood” (the song that plays while Elliot and Olivia are getting their freak on; I’ve fallen in love with that song since I heard it), you realize it’s actually a breakup song.  As they say, Sam Esmail very seldomly incorporates things into the show on accident.  Then there’s the fact that 1) Elliot doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to romantic relationships; 2) poor Elliot stays losing and 3) this is Mr. RobotIf Elliot can wake up in a damn ’90s sitcom, it’s not too far fetched for Olivia to be a card carrying member of the Dark Army.  Despite all those points, I have to disagree with his theory (for now).  It seems like Olivia has genuine feelings for Elliot, and she’s just a single mother who has no idea about the evil SOB’s she’s working for.  “Elliot [getting] owned by his own hack” could just mean that in opening up to Olivia to socially engineer her, she ended up gaining access to his heart.

However…now that we’ve been introduced to Olivia, we now know that things will eventually sour between her and Elliot.  This past episode confirmed that she’s the mystery woman berating Elliot in her apartment in the teaser trailer.  It’s clear that he’s sitting in her apartment as she gives him the business.  If you don’t remember that scene, here’s the video (courtesy of USA Networks/Universal):

I’m assuming that Elliot either told her about his involvement in the 5/9 hack, he admitted he slept with her mainly to gain access to her security fob, the Dark Army found out about Olivia being with Elliot and now she has a target on her back (or worse yet, her and her son), or all of the above.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

Next week, Tyrell, Elliot and Mr. Robot wander around the woods and Darlene gives Santa Claus a ride.  God, I love this crazy ass show.

—Written by Nadiya

So what did y’all think about “403 Forbidden”?  Did you sympathize—or at least empathize—with Whiterose?  Did you agree with how Krista treated Elliot, or do you think she was too harsh with him?  Did you agree with how Elliot treated Darlene, or is he lashing out at the one person that loves him?  What do you think about Elliot and Olivia?  Do you like them as a couple?  Do you think she really likes him or is she working for the Dark Army as an operative?  Do you miss Angela and wish she and Elliot could’ve had a chance?  Do you think Vera and Tyrell are damn fools?  Let me know in the comments section! 

2 thoughts on ““403 Forbidden” – Recap and Review”

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