The third season of Mr. Robot has come to a satisfying and utterly gripping end.
This whole season has been one of destruction. Everyone has splinted under the pressure and everything comes to a head. It’s in desperation that Elliot turns inward. He has to confront and talk to Mr. Robot instead of fighting and isolating his two sides. He goes to the Wonder Wheel at Coney island and they begin to rebuild their burned bridges. Elliot has feared Mr. Robot so his first instinct was to lock away Mr. Robot to try and keep himself whole. But they function better as one and they each hold pieces to the puzzle they are trying to solve. They can’t move forward, and save anyone, by not talking. Mr. Robot sits across from Elliot as the wheel spins and they start with the basics, what did Mr. Robot’s message about the FBI mean? What does Mr. Robot know?
Santiago is the Dark Army’s FBI mole. They go to his apartment and look for clues until Irving shows up and asks them (Elliot actually. I’ve fallen completely into the narrative of the show that Mr. Robot and Elliot are two people) to come with him.
The cat is out of the bag for Santiago. Dom finally catches him in a lie he can’t get out of and he physically strikes to keep moving. When Dom confronts Santiago in the car with Darlene, Santiago is at his wit’s end. She condemns him for being a traitor and his panicked reply is that she has no idea what the Dark Army has put him through and now he has no choice but to bring her to them. The meeting place is the property where they hid Tyrell.
It’s basically a horrible Mr. Robot reunion with Elliot, Leon, Dom, Santiago, Irving, and Darlene in a barn. Santiago takes charge first, pissed that he seemingly has to clean everything up. He wants the Dark Army to settles this one by turning Dom into a new mole. Irving takes Santiago and Dom outside and Dom quickly sticks to her ethical guns. Stopping in front of the stump with the ax in it changes the mood considerably, though. And it turns out Irving has had enough as well. He kills Santiago with the ax and makes it very clear to Dom that she has no choice but to take over Santiago’s role. When Dom comes back shell-shocked and sprayed with blood, Mr. Robot goes on red alert. Leon calmly lays down a hint at how this organization works: “She’s been initiated.” I think it’s safe to say at some point Santiago was put through a very similar ordeal that Dom just witnessed. Mr. Robot is panicked for a way out but Elliot sees a different scenario unfolding. He notes the security camera watching them from above and he deduces that they are fine, for now anyway and that someone important is coming.
Enter Grant. Irving has cleaned himself up and meets Grant and his security detail outside of the barn. After he states that now that he’s killed Santiago in favor of Dom, he’s taking off for some much-needed R and R. With his new found power, Grant flexes on Irving to pull rank and Irving defies him. “I was once you, many years ago.” A rare glimpse into Irving’s past, we now know that Irving’s been with Whiterose for a long time and he clearly feels like he’s paid his dues. Irving takes off leaving Grant to deal with things.
And we’re plunged into another life or death ultimate situation. Leon pulls a gun on Darlene to force Elliot to make his final move. Grant, on a mission to kill Elliot, wants to know of a single reason why he should spare his life, how is he any different the legionsn of capable people in the Dark Army. Elliot says he’s better than all of them. That he’s gained access to the Dark Army infrastructure and he rattles off a list of things they have done and can be exposed for. Grant shrugs it off, they’ll be able to survive a leak. With one card left to play, Elliot says he’s come up with a way to move the Washington Township plant to the Congo. He came up with a way to do it in a day where Grant and the rest of the DA have been idling for weeks. This is exactly what Whiterose wanted to here. Elliot figured out the one thing that no one else could offer her. Grant moves in for the kill when the phone rings and Whiterose speaks to Grant from her bathtub as she watches them all on a monitor. “It’s your jealousy that blinded you from seeing the value of Mr. Alderson.” She’s bet on Elliot for a lot, this guy that everyone thinks is simply unhinged and it’s paid off again. Grant gets made to look like a fool again and Elliot isn’t even doing it on purpose. Grant has framed this kid in his mind as his arch enemy and Elliot just found out Grant exists.
Whiterose is in control of everything! Pushing the pieces around to suit her needs, using every single person as she sees fit. Suddenly, Leon shoots every Dark Army guy and leaves Grant standing. Grant will not be allowed to kill Elliot. He’s shocked. And then she says “Know that I will find you as soon as our project is complete. But for the here and now, our time has come to an end.” She then says she loves him in Chinese and Grant says something to Elliot in Chinese just before he kills himself. With her last remarks, I thought she was just giving Grant the order to stand down so I was shocked when he shot himself. Whether she wanted him dead seems unlikely to me, but his anger and resentment must have pushed him over the edge. If he pulled on Elliot, Leon would have shot him before he could have pulled the trigger and knowing he’s second banana to Elliot must have felt insufferable to Grant.
Elliot comes through with his plan and the Congo move is put back in motion.
Angela thought she was being brought to Whiterose but it’s Price who picked her up. At his mansion, we get another big reveal: Price is Angela’s biological father. A lot of pieces came together right here and a broken Angela gets no better. He initially hired Angela to drop her case against the plant and he slowly watched Whiterose get her hooks into his daughter (that he stayed away from for 32 years). Seeing her so shattered, he felt he had to finally do something. In telling Angela Whiterose’s true motives, she pleads for a reason. Why were the deaths of all the people she was complicit to, necessary? What was the goal? And as Price found out a few weeks ago: spite. Nothing more. In the first line of fatherly dialog out of his mouth, Price tries to console and advise his daughter: “Find a way to live with what you did.” Well what now, she asks? Nothing from Price as he’s given up. It looks like Angela will spend some time at the mansion but will she pack it up too?
And that’s the question for everyone. As they leave the barn, Darlene tries to apologize to Dom and Dom lets her have it. Dom is now trapped by the Dark Army, her entire family a marked for death if she doesn’t fall in line. Darlene is an awful person and she’s taken everything from her. Dom’s life is upside down and ruined.
Dom gives Elliot access to Sentinal in order to try and get the keys that Romero backed up with the keylogger. He finds the material from Romero’s computer on the server and because he knew Romero (and the FBI didn’t) he’s able to figure out the password to get in. He finds a dead end though. The keys to decrypt E Corps backups isn’t there. Someone exported them to another location and it wasn’t Romero. They keyloggers weren’t his doing.
Once back in the city, Darlene and Elliot are able to talk on the subway where we get another reveal: Elliot’s dad didn’t push him out of the window. Elliot was having some kind of manic episode and jumped out the window himself. Elliot doesn’t remember it that way at all. Darlene answers that she’s here to remember for him. To be his back up. Just like Trenton did, Darlene trusts her brother. The siblings are back as a team.
This leaves Elliot alone with Mr. Robot. After 10 episodes of destruction, the finale ends with reconciliation. They have an honest talk about how their life works together. The guilt of the hack (not just Stage 2) is eating Elliot alive and he can’t handle the guilt anymore. Mr. Robot wants to hold off to somehow wait for some way to trap Whiterose, but Elliot simply wants to undo 5/9 as a start. For his own sanity.
Pulling from their Wonder Wheel conversation earlier, Mr. Robot admits that just like a piece of Mr. Robot is in Elliot, part of Elliot makes up Mr. Robot. When Elliot asks Mr. Robot if he knew he jumped out of the window, we don’t hear the answer because a subway train goes by. As frustrating that is for us, I get some comfort in knowing that Elliot got an answer.
Now that makes you wonder when Elliot created Mr. Robot. Clearly, he wasn’t well before his father was sick. Was that his first mental break? Did jumping create Mr. Robot as a coping mechanism beyond grief? Angela went through a similar ordeal with losing her mother because of E Corp (Whiterose) and ger mind navigated it differently (which at this point looks like she just hid the emotional damage longer, only to be exploited).
What Mr. Robot can answer, is that it was he who put the keyloggers on the fsociety HQ computers and exported them off the premises. And he did that because of the Elliot directive: what if 5/9 was a mistake and they were wrong? Having a way to undo it, a way to go back in time to change a mistake would be valuable. Mr. Robot sent the keys to their server at their apartment and burned them to an unmarked CD for safe keeping. Elliot is able to start the healing process.
Mr. Robot feeds brilliantly into the modern zeitgeist of the conspiracies of who really runs the world. Forget the Illuminati, the Stone Masons, and the Lizard People, it’s Whiterose. A mortal acting like God, pulling the political and economic strings of the world. Tech and politics whipped together in the darkest and most secretive ways possible. The finale accomplishes a lot. The motif of mistakes and the desire to go back in time to fix them (Angela’s bereavement and manipulation over her mother’s death, the Back to the Future and Superman references) came to a head. We witness both sides of Elliot being revealed as a source of good even if their methods have been mired in ethical peril and personal danger. He’s becoming whole again, as much as that’s possible for Elliot. It also resets the show to the beginning.
When we first met Elliot he was a white hat hacker using his expertise the go after the bad guys that no else could see. The 5/9 hack was initially created to recenter the balance back to the people and away from evil corporations. Now with one major problem fixed by getting the recovery files back in order, Elliot has a clear target. Whiterose is THE problem that needs to be solved. He now has a physical head to hunt for, someone who without a doubt does no good for the world. While resetting the world’s finances was a shot in the dark to change the world for the better, going after the creator of many of the world’s ills is a goal that will get results. Elliot has some measure of purpose and reason again. Something Angela needs too.
The stinger at the end of the credits reveal a personal monster of Elliot returning next season and I cannot wait to see how it unfolds.