‘Mr. Robot’ Series Finale: Seriously, What Just Happened To Elliot?

‘Mr. Robot’ Series Finale: Seriously, What Just Happened To Elliot?

22 Dec 2019 (PT)
WHAT JUST HAPPENEDSERIES FINALEMR. ROBOT

Warning: This recap contains spoilers from tonight’s USA Network series finale of Mr. Robot.

If you thought the last season of USA Network’s Sam Esmail series  Mr. Robot was becoming a little too straight forward and suspenseful sans its regular twist from the mind of Elliot Alderson, well then tonight’s 2-hour series finale and last weekend’s penultimate episode “eXit” popped the show’s arm back in its noirish socket complete with many Elliot doppelgangers.

Esmail wasn’t available to the press to sort out tonight’s series finale, and likely for good reason: We’d keep bugging him about what Elliot’s entire wormhole meant at the end, and quite likely the creator wants us to figure that out for ourselves, just like David Chase wanted everyone to come away with their own personal take on why their TVs went black in  The Sopranos finale after Tony Soprano had onion rings with his family in a New Jersey diner.

Arguably, by the end, Elliot is dead having been hospitalized after an explosion at the Washington Township Power Plant.

There’s several signs indicating death: Elliot closes his eyes, he rejoins his family his dad Mr. Robot aka Christian Slater, his mom played by Vaishnavi Sharma, and his younger self portrayed by Evan Whitten in a movie theater as what we assume is his whole life projected before him. The camera also pulls up and toward the projector light as if he’s running toward the light, with his memories streaming like a tunnel. Get it? It’s death. My grandmother once shared a story like this with me. The final shot is of Elliot’s sister Darlene Carly Chaiken coming in, looking down as though he’s dead - but then, oh, no - is he alive? She says to him in a positive tone, “Hello, Elliot”. It depends on which way we look at it, and I think this poor guy has gone through so much defeating a multinational Chinese hacker organization that he just wants to go to sleep like a bad Dell. It stands to reason given how Elliot has battled his dissociative identity disorder that we’d never end on a crystal clear note, and the series finale kept going back and forth as the hoodie hacker side of Elliot battled his white collar, perfect other self.

Such madness is a fitting end for Mr. Robot, but it was a very long season at 13 hours compared to Esmail’s previous tight ten episodes a season. While it’s always been a treat to wonder which way Elliot was going, for example back in season 1, when it seemed he lost his sense of time, and couldn’t locate Tyrell Wellick and wound up confused on wife Joanna’s doorstep confused, knowing that all this crazy math and coding we’ve been through in the last three episode didn’t yield a clear cut answer is a tad frustrating and tiring.

When a series is so particular to detail like Mr. Robot and Westworld, it’s literally like a soap opera/serial. We need our fix, need to remember the details and breaking for close to two years doesn’t help. While I remember the details of season 1 and 2 very distinctively because they were back-to-back, I vaguely remember season 3 of Mr. Robot other than Dom Grace Gummer, Elliot and Darlene being forced to be associates of big bad nemesis Whiterose B.D. Wong. Also, Bobby Cannavale going nuts with a bloody ax. It almost feels like season 3 shouldn’t have happened and we should have just cut to the chase here in season 4 as this long journey’s practical endgame has always been about the take down of Whiterose, and the re-distribution of weh to society.

In last weekend’s episode, the frame went to red after Elliot’s attempt to defuse Whiterose’s computer at the nuclear power planet. He awoke in a perfect reality as an upbeat, positive guy, the CEO of his former anti-virus firm AllSafe with Angela alive, not to mention they were seriously in love.  Hoodie-clad Elliot wakes up in tonight’s episode in Washington Township to find the nuclear plant gone and a perfect community, like Back to the Future‘s Hill Valley in the 1950s. His dad still has his shop, but life is off: Darlene isn’t around, the evil E-corp exec we know as Philip Price is a hokey plaid shirted dad of Angela we revealed himself as dad in the season 3 finale, her mom is alive, and Elliot learns he’s about to get married to her on Coney Island. But while visiting Angela’s parents, their phone rings and it’s Elliot’s er ego: the white-collar side. WTF is going on? Elliot heads back to his apartment and learns that the guy has decorated it in neat and posh way Elliot would never think of. Hacking into the guy’s computer, Elliot finds sketches of himself and Darlene. After the white collar dude enters his apartment, the two talk and he confesses to having made up this vigilante hacker storyline with characters in comic book fashion which is actually Elliot’s life. Throughout both parts of the episode, whenever Elliot runs into a sticky situation, an earthquake tremor happens, shakes everything up and he moves on to the next crazy set of characters in his life. Before the end of Part 1, a tremor shakes preppy Elliot to the floor. Hoodie Elliot then suffocates him and sticks him in a cardboard box.

In Part 2, Dom has become a traffic cop and demands to see the inside of the box. Opening the box, she draws her gun on Elliot but another tremor occurs and Elliot is off in his tuxedo to marry Angela. Mr. Robot shows up to tell him, that it’s not real, that Elliot is imaging this and she’s not going to marry him. That’s the short story, because it’s more complicated than that. Mr. Robot says it’s “a loop that you contructed about a year go…to keep him occupied so you can take control of him.”

“Who,” asks Elliot.

“The real Elliot,” says Mr. Robot.

Elliot spots Angela in a wedding dress across the way on the boardwalk. He chases her into arcade. Approaching her against the wall, she says, “He tried to tell you, you’re not Elliot, you’re the mastermind.” Elliot is thrusted back into an alleyway. Eventually, the Eureka moment comes in a therapy session with his therapist Krista Gloria Reuben, who you know is not really Krista so she says. Anywho how, she aims to make sense of why Elliot was encountering so many different realities. He’s not living in the perfect world that Whiterose’s computer was promised to yield.

Krista deconstructs Elliot’s dissociative identity disorder and how he created different personalities and version of Elliot, i.e. the one who jumped out he window, the er ego Mr. Robot to replace his abusive dad, a guy who Elliot put his life on the life to protect. There was Elliot’s abusive mom, and his understanding family mom, dad and younger self to get him through painful times. The crusading hacker Elliot who takes down evil in the world is “is only part of you” she says. It’s the only grounded explanation for all the zig zags we’ve been through.

“You’re not Elliot, you’re the mastermind and it’s now time for you to give the control over to the host, the real Elliot,” says Krista philosophically. Another tremor comes, “Don’t do this,” she tells Elliot, “this is your rage.”

Elliot awakes in a hospital. It appears we’re back in the real world. The TV news indicates that a near meltdown nearly happened at the plant, and that Minister Zhang aka Whiterose was found dead in a terrorist attack. Darlene tells Elliot he saved the world, and prevented a meltdown, but was hurt in an explosion. As he struggles to understand what’s real, Darlene tells him everything over the last four seasons - the hack on E Corp, going to prison, the cyber bombings and robbing the rich Illuminati to give back to the poor - was real. “I’m not Elliot,” he tell Darlene. While she admits she’s noticed sometimes he’s not himself, Elliot says “even though I’m only part of him, I want you to know that I love you.” And that is when there’s a fade to light, a blue sky and one of the images before we go to the movie theater is Elliot standing with his mom, dad and younger self in the E-Corp high rise as he tells us that he’s “a guy trying to play God without permission” and that “I don’t have a name.” Malek’s Elliot then launches into an end monologue much like Emily Thorne’s at the end of each episode of  Revenge looking to philosophically capitalize the meaning of life.

“This whole time I thought changing the world was something you did, an act you performed, something you fought for. I don’t know if that’s true anymore. But if if changing the world is just about being here, by showing up, no matter how many times we get told we don’t belong, by staying true even when we’re shamed into being false, I believe in ourselves when we’re told we’re too different. And if we hold onto that, if we refuse not to budge and fall inline, if we stood our ground for long enough, just maybe, the world can’t help but change around us even though we’ll be gone.” And the latter part of that quote is another hint that Elliot passed on.

And so it’s ‘Goodbye, Friend’ to  Mr. Robot. While there were some pretty taut moments in season 4 –that episode where Dom and Darlene were held hostage in the latter’s apartment by Whiterose’s associate Janice Ashlie Atkinson and how Irish mobster Deegan Maguire saved her family was one of the best that came to memory. Angela’s unfortunate murder was the trigger that got the season off to a rockin’ start. However the reveal that Elliot was sexually abused as a child was tasteless shark jumping. I found that moment when Elliot’s forced to emotionally unload at gunpoint to Krista by the gangster who took the life of Elliot’s girlfriend Shayla Frankie Shaw in season 1 to be just over the top, and negate Elliot’s whole purpose in protecting Mr. Robot and working with him to take down E-Corp. Overall, Esmail took USA Networks sense of drama to another level with a Kubrickian and in this finale, a Lynchian sense, and his sense of play with noir and the war against the man by the cyber Robin Hoods of the world will be missed.

That said, in regards to the whole wrapping of the series, Elliot said it best in his convo with Mr. Robot on Coney Island, “It still doesn’t make any f***king sense.”

Source: deadline.com

WHAT JUST HAPPENEDSERIES FINALEMR. ROBOT
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‘Mr. Robot’ Series Finale: Seriously, What Just Happened To Elliot?
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