Mr. Robot Season 3 Review
One of the few unpleasant surprises of last season’s Emmys was how one of the most acclaimed series of 2015, USA’s Mr. Robot, ended up being virtually shutout. It’s not like series of a dystopian future had become passe — witness Black Mirror and Handmaid’s Tale as the most prominent examples. Perhaps people had thought the series had succumbed to the inevitable sophomore slump. I was not one of those critics. If anything, I thought the series was willing to be even more daring than it had been in its remarkable debut season — keeping major characters offscreen for almost all the series run, showing even more surreal teasers than it had in the first year, and giving one of the more shocking twists of all of 2016 — that Elliot spent most of that season in a prison for a lesser charge.
Now that the third season has begun, Mr. Robot seems even more determined to delve into darkness. The 5/9 hack that Elliot and the Dark Army helped instigate has nearly crashed economic society across the globe. And Elliot (Rami Malek, incredible as always) who took a bullet from Tyrell Willick at the climax of Season 2, has finally realized that he is responsible and determined to fix what he has done. After calling off the start of ‘Stage 2’ — which we now know is the destruction of all of ECorp’s physical records — he implored Angela (Portia Doubleday) to get him a job at ECorp where he can make physically change all the wrongs he created. Of course, that also includes using his hacking skills to get rid of the middle management that doesn’t want to change, and removing all of the corrupt and well, evil, people who are behind the curtain.
Of course, Elliot doesn’t know a lot. For example, he thinks that ‘Mr. Robot’ (Christian Slater, using his overacting skills for good) was killed when Tyrell shot him. But now it appears that he and Elliot have merged and have now become more of a traditional disassociate personality. He now comes out whenever Elliot is gone. He doesn’t know that Angela has decided to work with the Dark Army — and by extension, Mr. Robot, to carry out Stage 2. He doesn’t know that his sister Darlene (Carly Chaykin) has decided to work with the FBI in stopping the hack (Grace Gummer continues to shine) He doesn’t know that White Rose (B D Wong, finally promoted to series regular) the head of Dark Army is using him and Angela, and plans to kill them both when the hack is completed. Which may be a lot sooner than any of them know. What he does know is that his job may not be over. Which is why in the last minutes of last night’s episode, he showed up on the FBI’s doorstep.
Mr. Robot remains one of the darkest series ever created for any network, particularly one like USA, which until recently has mainly been known for cheerful romps. Of course, like almost every series with some kind of mythology, there always seem to be more questions than answers? How did Elliot get involved in the Dark Army in the first place? Where was Tyrell Willick all of last season? Who is the man who appears to be a fixer for these people? (Bobby Cannavale, doing some of his best work since his turn on Nurse Jackie.) And once you’ve done something as dark and penetrating as the 5/9 hack, is there any going back for civilization? There are many dystopian series these days, but Mr. Robot remains by far the best, because it’s stuck so vividly in the now rather than some all-too close future. No matter what your political leanings are, this is a series that will speak to you. And leave questions far more frightening than any zombies or alien invasion might.
My score: 4 .75 stars.