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Fair warning: if you aren’t caught up, there are spoilers for the first episode of the final season of Mr. Robot below. It’s an alien sensation to be watching the fourth and final season of Mr. Robot as a civilian: having worked as a technical consultant for the first three seasons of the show, most of what unfolded as those episodes aired was already old news. It is satisfying for this season’s events to come as a surprise for change. It is unsurprising, though, to see Elliot and company right back at it, running the same sorts of playbooks we’ve seen serious threat actors use before (and will likely see again). As this season opens, the world is preparing for the Christmas holiday, having partially recovered from the effects of a cyberattack with devastating digital and kinetic consequences. Elliott, meanwhile, is in a race against time to thwart the plans of Whiterose and her Dark Army. While the premiere lacked some of the nitty-gritty technical shots that we’ve become accustomed to, the targets and tactics were as real as ever. What is striking in this episode is the indirection. Unable to get the information he needs by attacking the Dark Army directly, Elliot focuses instead on the law firm Lomax & Looney in an effort to uncover records about the Dark Army’s shell companies and financial transactions. This move mirrors the real-world attack against law firm Mossack Fonseca that occurred in 2015, resulting in the disclosure of the now-infamous Panama Papers. Elliot…

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