Mr. Robot Prepares to Log Out. Will It End Great?
Last year, in a review of the final season of The Americans, it was referred as to one of the greatest series still on the air (true). Game of Thrones was mentioned (respectfully disagree) as was Better Call Saul (enthusiastically agree). But somehow, Mr. Robot wasn’t mentioned in the discussion at all, nor has it been in any reviews I’ve seen so far. And that strikes me as rather odd, because it is clearly one of the most astonishingly perfect series I’ve ever seen, basic cable or pay, broadcast or streaming. It is one of the most visually striking series in the history of television, certainly among one of the best directed. It features sterling performances from it’s entire cast and guest cast, launching lead Rami Malek to superstardom. It is willing to make twists so bold that it would make the writers of Lost stare in awe, and have teaser so astonishing, Vince Gilligan would take off his cap. And that’s without counting all the experimental episodes that is has done over its run — eps3.4_runtime-error.r00 is a stunning when it comes its visual work alone, as well as being a vital story link..
But now, creator Sam Esmail has decided it is time to bring this dark series to its end, and the fourth and final season begins, Elliot Alderson (Malek) is so buried in his desire to destroy the Dark Army and White Rose (B.D. Wong) that he can no longer connect with the slightest bit of emotion. The burden of narration has now fallen on his alter ego, Mr. Robot (Christian Slater, daring us not to give him a nomination), who spending three seasons spitting vitriol, is now shocked at how Eliot is dealing with things. But Elliot has every reason to be concerned. In the opening moments of the Season 4, Angela (Portia Doubleday) was murdered by the Dark Army, while her father, revealed in the final moments of Season 3 to be Philip Price, the CEO of ECorp, watched helplessly. White Rose has made it abundantly clear that as soon as the final actions of Elliot take place, he will be disposed of.
Everyone is in a mood of despair. Darlene (Carly Chaikin) can’t accept that Angela was murdered, and can’t deal with her mother’s death. Agent Dom DiPerro (Grace Gummer), the one person in the Bureau who seemed to know what the Dark Army was doing, is now under their thumb. Even Tyrell Wellick (Martin Wallstrom) who finally seems to have achieved his dream of running ECorp, can’t seem to raise enough spirit to go through the motions. At this point, everything seems to hinge on a desperate attempt to steal the Dark Army’s money — a heist that it now seems like Price is willing to help with, even though everybody seems to know it is a suicide mission. All of this is complicated enough without the fact that old enemies of Elliot’s are appearing — and he seems to have developed yet another alternate personality.
Mr. Robot is one of the most incredible shows, partially because it is one of the most original dystopian series. It proves you don’t need to have an alien invasion or a zombie apocalypse or even take place in the future — it makes the argument that dystopia is going on here and now. During the course of the series, it is involved a hack that has led to financial ruin for the country, blackout throughout the nation, and a terrorist attack over the course of a single year. It argues that we are the architects of our own destruction in a far more realistic and subtle way than we’ve ever seen on TV before, and that trying to save the world can only make things world. And it argues that even the people who completely control the world — the White Rose and Philip Price — can’t ever be satisfied. Some might argue that this series is pro-Bernie or even pro-Trump, both of whom appear in frequent clips. It has no political affiliation. It’s pro-anarchy. It says not only that Big Brother is watching, but we volunteered to let it watch. That’s more quietly frightening than a nuclear war.
Will Mr. Robot cement its place as one of the greatest shows of the decade? It really will depend on how well it wraps up. A lot of it is going to depend on when we finally learn White Rose’s endgame, which the series keeps referring to as some shipment in The Congo. But even if Elliot somehow manages to stop their plans — as they reversed the 5/9 hack at the end of last season — you don’t have to be a genius to know it won’t have a happy ending. However it ends, though, Sam Esmail has cemented himself as one of the great geniuses in a medium that has produced more than its share. The bottom line, this is one hell of a thriller, and I’m sad to see it go. Especially since considering no matter how ugly its version of 2016 is, it can’t be any crazier than our present.
My score: 5 stars.