MAJOR SPOILERS FOR ALL OF MR ROBOT UP UNTIL EPISODE 4.03 Forbidden
Two years after the finale of season 3, Sam Esmail’s ground-breaking drama Mr Robot, centred around everyone’s favourite unreliable narrator/hacker Elliot Alderson, has entered its final season. I know I’m a little late to review each episode individually but, in this article, you can find some general thoughts on the series so far as well as some speculation on where the show might go from where it last left us.
Esmail’s writing has always left Mr Robot fans second guessing their theories, only to then subvert their expectations entirely. Realising Elliot is a schizophrenic shocked us, when he comes clean to reveal he was kept in a prison in season 2 baffled us, and discovering Whiterose had murdered hundreds of innocents by blowing up hundreds of E Corp buildings in season 3 left us speechless. Thankfully, two LONG years later, Esmail proves he hasn’t lost his touch. Opening episode 4.01 Unauthorized with Angela’s demise was heart-breaking, truly setting the tone for what is to come. The camera angles of Mr Robot have always been intentional, side-lining characters to the edge of the screen to remind us that they are, in essence, not as influential as they think they are. They are also used to purposefully pitch characters against one another. When Price walks away from his daughter knowing her defiance against Zhang means her death, the rustle of the microphone taped to his chest of deafening for two reasons. 1. It is the short, sharp shock that a man could be so cold, and 2. HOW COULD SOMEONE DO THAT? THE AGE OF REASON AND MORALITY IS DEAD. LONG LIVE CAPITALISM, GREED, POWER AND MONEY.
That got a bit real didn’t it. But this is a philosophy that has persisted throughout the show’s life. Society values what they own over their own dignity and security so that billionaires and politicians can treat the world as their property to do with as they see fit. As Elliot and Mr Robot become aware of the Deus Group and how deeply embedded Whiterose is in global affairs, Darlene is fighting an internal battle with her guilty conscience, believing she is to blame for Angela’s death. Not only this, but Dom has been owned by the Dark Army, following their orders in the fear that if she steps out of line, her mother will be the first of many to die by their hand. The episode titles have, so far, been alluding to the futility of Elliot and Co’s actions, taking the form of common messages found when you are being denied access to certain pages. Unauthorized is centred around Elliot’s failed attempt to uncover more information on Whiterose, Payment Required is based upon the discovery of the Deus Group and the plan to hack Cypus National Bank and, Forbidden is focused on Zhang’s past and how his true self must remain a secret to seize the throne of the world.
Mr Robot has evolved into something we never thought it would back when the first season blew us all away. Some have lost interest in its story developments, but it’s commentary on American-Chinese politics, world economics, the corruptibility of capitalism and the omnipresent network of underground hackers has been nothing short of genius. Stay tuned for more Mr Robot reviews as I reflect on what are sure to be (he says with great optimism) some of the greatest moments television has seen this decade. Will FSociety emerge victorious? Is Whiterose’s project really a time machine? Have we met Elliot’s third persona before? Am I thinking too heavily about this? Probably…
Words by Jacob Fleming