03rd Jan2020

‘Mr. Robot 4×12 & 4×13: Series Finale’ Review

by Xenia Grounds

mr-robot-poster

“Hello, Elliot”

With those two simple but very meaningful words, Mr. Robot came to its heavy-hitting and emotional close. How does this journey end for Elliot? In standard fashion for this show, it’s not a straightforward ride to the finish line but it’s definitely an ending fitting for this final delve into a tortured character.

The first episode in this two-part finale focuses on our Elliot and his exploration of this seemingly perfect world. He goes to the Mr Robot repair shop which is a lot more hi-tech and modern than it has ever been and ever was in his world. He nearly faces this version of his father but chooses to bail at the last second. He goes back to his childhood home to be greeted by a mother who actually loved her son. However, he realises that his sister doesn’t exist in this world.

Being as cynical and understandably suspicious as he is, Elliot expects there has to be something twisted at work. He goes to his alternate self’s apartment determined to find the catch in this apparently perfect version of Elliot Alderson but has no luck. However, he eventually stumbles across a drawing of himself (the Elliot we know) and other fsociety characters we’ve seen. At that moment, we see alternate Elliot walk in and he asks the question that we were left on in 4×11: “Who are you?”

For lack of a better term (and no pun intended), it’s a little mind bending seeing Elliot basically have a much needed conversation with himself. It does make sense that in this world where everything is perfect that this normal Elliot would fantasize about this vigilante counterpart. It does sound like an exciting life to your more stable person. It’s much like how our Elliot fantasizes about the normal life. This is also a massive foreshadow for the final twist but more on that later.

At the end of it all, our Elliot basically chooses to hijack this life for himself. In the confrontation, his alternate self ends up falling and splitting his head open on a radiator. However, vigilante Elliot doesn’t go through with calling for him and watching this version of him die painfully and slowly on the floor.

Starting with the second part, Elliot then proceeds to get to this wedding with Angela despite Mr Robot words of warning and other roadblocks along the way like an alternate Dom. By the time he arrives at the wedding, he’s greeted by guests wearing those fsociety masks which is the definite tip-off that this world isn’t real. More importantly, Mr Robot reveals that the Elliot we’ve been following this entire story isn’t real either. “Elliot” then sees Angela and goes after her which brings us back to a scene that we saw way back in season one during Elliot’s fever dream morphine withdrawal sequence. It blows my mind that this is something we were informed about way back in the beginning of the show and I (like many) didn’t see this coming until now.

After that, it’s a scene with a version of Krista that basically breaks down everything we need to know about what is really going on. This is all part of Elliot’s dissociative identity disorder. We have the child personality, Mr Robot, the viewer (us), the persecutor and finally: The Mastermind. The Mastermind that represented Elliot’s rage at the world and wanted to change it for him at any cost. Unlike the other personas, the Mastermind went rogue and wanted to be more than a personality so it basically buried the real Elliot in this perfect fantasy of a life while he took over in his harsh reality. It ties together the loose ends that have been scratching that part of our minds. What part does the viewer come into this? Why were those closest to Elliot saying he had changed so much since fsociety started? Where do these masks that Elliot has end and where does he begin?

Realising that he has to let go of his control, the Mastermind wakes up back in reality. He’s in a hospital room with Darlene keeping a close watch. Everything we saw in the series did really happen as it did. Angela’s dead. Whiterose killed herself and her machine was destroyed.
Darlene reveals that she has known all along that this wasn’t her brother but played along because she felt closer to him than ever. It was partly down to guilt for not being there for Elliot when he needed her.

In the last sequence, it’s all about letting go of Elliot. Not just for his other personalities but for us too. It’s incredibly meta but the last monologue we get to end this journey is very moving. “What if changing the world is just by being here? By staying true even when we’re shamed into being false? By believing in ourselves even when we’re told we’re too different?” It’s something that needs saying to the real Elliot but also a statement to us. In an age filled with superheroes and escapist fiction, Mr Robot tells us that being yourself in a world that can be judgmental and unforgiving is a victory. You don’t need to be a superhero to change the world. You are enough. With that, the Mastermind sits back in the theatre of Elliot’s mind to watch his life unfold. The real Elliot wakes up and Darlene greets him with those immortal words: “Hello, Elliot.”

Mr. Robot has been a brutally realistic show and pessimistic. However, it ends with the happiest ending that Elliot could ever get after everything is said and done. He finally gets to be his real self and heal in the correct manner. No more personalities are taking command of him. No more masks. The core of Elliot’s struggle has been authenticity and now he’s finally allowed it. It’s a truly hopeful way to end things. It’s sad because in a way, it’s the death of the Elliot we have come to know. It’ll be interesting rewatching the series now that this final twist is known and seeing which other signs I’ve missed all this time.

Mr. Robot is going down as one of the most definitive television series of the early 21st century. It’s been psychological, thrilling, complex and topical in its commentary on modern society. In fact, it’s downright scary how Mr. Robot has predicted events that have happened in the real world. It has a lot to say about the current state of the world and it’s not always positive but it shows the best in the most damaged people. The people that the world forgets still have great stories to tell. It’s not all hopeless in the end which is nice to hear in times where the world has left a lot of us feeling exhausted or cynical. I am so glad that I stuck around until the ending. I still don’t think Mr. Robot is a show that will be to everyone’s tastes but I still think everyone should give it a shot and find out.

The last thing I have to say to those behind Mr. Robot is: Goodbye, friend. Thank you for a show that will be remembered as one of the best for a long time yet.

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