02nd Jan2020

‘Mr. Robot’ Review Round-Up: 4×08-4×11

by Xenia Grounds


Mr. Robot has finished its run. I’ll go into the finale in more depth when I review it but my general consensus is that the ending has made sure that Mr Robot is one of the best television shows of the 2010s. However, let’s talk about the episodes leading up to the stunning finale.

First is 4×08. As this is episode that immediately followed a very emotional and crushing revelation prior about Elliot’s father, it needed a solid aftermath. The episode is called ‘Request Timeout’ and it’s no wonder why Elliot needs one. He’s only in half of it. Elliot and Krista get out of her home before Vera’s goons find them in the same room as Vera’s dead body. However, this is only the start as Krista says: Elliot needs to find a way to keep going in the face of finding out he was sexually abused. Elliot sees his child self in the distance which leads him to the Queens Museum which is where he and Angela used to run away too. Elliot feels guilty that he never fought back but he was only a child so he had no real way to do that. This leads to a moment where he finds his father’s key to his old bedroom hidden away in the museum. Elliot did try to stop his father from hurting him in the only way he could find. It may not have been much but it shows that Elliot’s tendency to fight against the wrongs of the world in any way he can find didn’t let him down as a kid. Although, Elliot does break down in the arms of Mr Robot at the very end of the episode, he still pushes forward in the episodes afterwards.

The other half of the episode concerns Dom and Darlene. I didn’t get the chance to talk about this pairing in the last round-up. This relationship between the two was fractured in season three by Darlene’s betrayal which ultimately led Dom being forced into becoming the Dark Army’s FBI mole. Dom has every right to hate Darlene for this but even when she’s ordered to, Dom can’t bring herself to kill Darlene which nearly gets Dom’s family killed by the Dark Army. However, Dom gets the upper hand on Janice and the Dark Army by getting a criminal off on a technicality in exchange for moving her family to a safehouse. After seeing Dom getting beaten down by Janice for half of the season, having Dom getting her retribution against Janice after all her tormenting is so incredibly satisfying to watch.

4×09 is titled ‘Conflict’ and is probably the most triumphant episode in the entire series. This is another episode split into two central locations. One is the Deus Group meeting that has been built up for several episodes in season four. It centres around Whiterose and Price having great dialogue going back and forth while Darlene and Mr Robot work behind the scenes to dox Whiterose. Elliot is still on timeout at this point. Price’s line ‘All this over a pipsqueak in a hoodie’ still sticks with me weeks later because while it’s not describing Elliot in the best light, it shows how important Elliot has become in this grand scheme. It’s a real race against time on both sides to stop the other. Whiterose tries to tempt Elliot over to her side with the same tactics she used on Angela but in a powerful scene, Elliot sees through it. In this case, it’s this promise that she can create a better world with her machine. He knows Whiterose uses people’s regrets and wishes to win them over and he refuses to let her worm her way into his head. This all culminates in everyone in the Deus Group losing their fortune as a result of Darlene’s dox and being exposed to the world for all the crimes they have committed. Seeing the old fsociety mask and hearing the modulated voice again after so long was a moment where I had the biggest grin on my face because I immediately knew what was coming and who came out as the victors. Price takes this in great stride even though he’s broke saying something along the lines of he’d rather lose everything than see her win. It’s the ultimate payback for Angela’s death which is all he wanted. This brutal defeat causes Whiterose to snap and she shoots Price dead in cold blood but the damage is done and the good guys have finally won. After four seasons of having the heroes beaten down time and time again, seeing them come out as the victors in a show that can be rather cynical about having the right people win is a real throw your fist in the air moment.

It’s no wonder that 4×10 (Gone) is slower. It’s more like Mr Robot’s take on the romantic road trip story. Elliot stays behind to finish his last piece of business with Whiterose at Washington Township. Darlene’s part in things is done as far as she’s concerned. She’s helped take down the top 1% like she always wanted to do. This leads her to try and fly away with Dom to Budapest because Dom needs to leave the city as well since she’s still not completely safe. Leon drives away with Dom and Darlene to the airport. Of course like any journey, there are pit stops along the way. One of the most important being seeing the wealth being fairly redistributed to everyone who lost something thanks to the Deus group. Seeing everyone burst into smiles was very heart-warming. Dom sees it as legally wrong, but it serves as a reminder that what is legal and what is right don’t always coalesce with one another. Darlene then kisses her there and then during this incredible high basically telling Dom that sometimes the people deserve a win rather than being screwed over by these systems that Dom has worked for.

The crux of this episode is its ending. Will Dom and Darlene get on the plane together? As it turns out, they don’t. At first, Dom is the one to leave because she knows Darlene must learn to function on her own. Darlene still can’t really deal with life on her own. Minutes before boarding, Darlene has a panic attack which sends her running to the bathroom. Dom has a change of heart and runs back to the gate and boards the plane only to find Darlene’s empty seat. However, Dom chooses to stay on the plane while Darlene stays behind. It’s bittersweet that they don’t get their chance but it’s completely understandable why it doesn’t work for them yet. It’s better for both right now. The last shot we see is Dom finally sleeping after having severe insomnia which is a sign of hope for the future. The show doesn’t outright say they’ll never be together, but they still must grow up in some ways apart from each other. For Darlene, it’s getting to function without relying on anyone. Darlene even has a shot for her own life as Dom gives her a job opportunity at the FBI cybercommand. For Dom, it’s taking a step back from her rigid moral code and professionalism. After that, I like to think they’ll find their way to each other even if we never see it onscreen.

Lastly is 4×11 which is called Exit. This is the final confrontation between Whiterose and Elliot. Elliot heads to Washington Township to destroy Whiterose’s machine. If it turns on then the destruction will basically wipe the town off the map because of the nuclear meltdown. Mr Robot is against this as they’ve done what they originally set out to do. This leads to another instance of Elliot putting his alternate personality on timeout. The scene between Whiterose and Elliot simply sitting across a table is a great scene that sums up their philosophies perfectly. Elliot was hurt by the world and is very angry about its injustices, hypocrisy and selfish people but he still fights to help them. He may hate people but those special few that have proved him wrong keep him from falling too far into the abyss. Whiterose was also hurt by the world but she chose more hurt in order to create something she thinks will be a right. It’s a very similar thing to what we saw with Olivia regarding how the ends don’t always justify the means. Whiterose then shoots herself in the head saying that she wants to show Elliot what she showed Angela. She wants Elliot to see this better world that her machine will create. After that, Elliot is locked in the room as it descends downward into an explosion and he can’t stop it however hard he tries. The screen goes to red.

Then we’re back in Elliot’s apartment but it’s not the same apartment. It’s lavishly designed and decorated. Elliot doesn’t look like the anti-social hacker in the hoodie. The colours are much brighter and everyone is the best version of themselves. Everyone that we saw die is now alive. He dresses like a young professional because he’s the CEO of Allsafe. He bops to music while in the shower. Props to the song (Turn Up the Radio) being a little foreshadow with the lyric ‘Something must be wrong if everything is right’. Elliot is getting married to Angela in the morning. Edward Alderson is a loving father who wouldn’t be capable of doing what we know he did in the world we’ve seen. It’s so happy but there are hints that something isn’t lining up. The biggest clues that something is wrong is Darlene doesn’t exist in this world, the earthquakes and Elliot’s migraines. We spend twenty minutes not quite sure what we’re watching and wondering if Whiterose’s machine genuinely worked. We get part of the answer when this Elliot goes back to his apartment and sees our Elliot sitting at his desk asking the ultimate question: “Who Are You?”

As the finale reveals, that answer is a lot more complicated than we think it is.


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