‘Mr. Robot’ Season 3 Finale: Getting the Axe

Well, that was intense.

After a take-no-prisoners season three which saw several major cast members killed off, I shouldn’t have been surprised that the season finale of “Mr. Robot” literally took some prisoners. Not in the least after doing so already with Angela (Portia Doubleday) in the last episode- to say nothing of the fact that she had previously been taken by Whiterose (BD Wong) in the penultimate episode last season. But would they all be left standing in the end? (Spoilers from here on out.)

We may as well start with Angela, who can’t catch a break to save her life. As I suspected in my last review, it was indeed Phillip Price (Michael Cristofer) who had her kidnapped, but not for the reasons I thought. Though Angela clearly states she wants revenge for what the Dark Army and Whiterose had her do- her role in bringing about the deaths of thousands of people in the terrorist attack on the 71 E(vil) Corp buildings- her reasons for being there caught me by surprise, admittedly.

As it turns out, it makes perfect sense, and explains why Price took such an interest in her. It’s fitting, what with the latest “Star Wars” about to hit theaters, that the big twist here with Angela should be the bombshell that, in fact, Price is her father. Nice timing, Sam Esmail! It turns out that Price and her mother, Emily, had an affair which led to Angela, but Emily left Price after he emotionally abused her, choosing to raise Angela with another man instead, understandably.

As we saw in a previous episode, Price recognized Angela for who she was almost immediately, taking a keen interest in her and her career. This is also why Price has done so much for her, and at considerable personal expense, given the way Whiterose lashed out at him for doing so. It’s also clear that Whiterose doesn’t seem to know this, or he might have used it more to his advantage, instead of merely brainwashing Angela to get her to drop the lawsuit against her company.

Also, according to Price, Whiterose’s claim that he can “undo” everything that has been done, including the terrorist attacks on the E(vil) Corp buildings and the deaths of her mother and Elliot and Darlene’s father, is complete hogwash. As he points out, nothing that is done can be undone- it simply isn’t possible. But is that really true? One has to wonder about that machine we spotted earlier in the season. Might it provide the means to do just that? We’ll just have to wait and see on that one.

Meanwhile, Darlene (Carly Chaikin) is taken by a panicked Santiago (Omar Metwally), who is caught in the act by Agent DiPierro (Grace Gummer). Realizing all too late that Santiago is the mole for the FBI for the Dark Army that Darlene was alluding to, Santiago knocks her out and takes her as well, taking them out to the country home that Tyrell was once held at earlier in the season.

There, Irving (Bobby Cannavale) takes Santiago and DiPierro aside, and Santiago insists he has a plan to salvage all of this, but they’ll need to get rid of Dom. At first, it seems like Irving plans to do just that but instead, he brutally kills Santiago with an axe, in a scene that’s like something out of that slasher flick that Elliot loves so much. Talk about overkill!

Irving tells Dom she has a choice: either she becomes the Dark Army’s new turncoat, or they will kill her family one by one. He proves he already knows exactly who and where they are by naming names and locations, much to Dom’s horror. She agrees to go along with it and be the Dark Army’s new spy at the FBI, not that she has much choice in the matter.

It’s no wonder she tells Darlene she is the worst person she’s ever known near the end of the episode- boy, did Darlene drag her into some horrible stuff. Though, to be fair, really, it was the Dark Army. Also, it was her own ambition and persistence that led her here- though, it was her job, after all. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fantastic work being done here by Gummer- she’s a chip off the old Streep, as it were.

As all this is going on, Elliot scrambles to find his sister, eventually uncovering the identity of the Dark Army’s mole, Santiago. Unfortunately, it’s all too late, as the Dark Army already has her. Irving shows up at Santiago’s place, where Elliot is looking for clues as to where he might be, and tells Elliot to come with him or else things won’t end well for Darlene.

He does, and Elliot and Darlene end up held hostage at the barn near the aforementioned country house, watched over by the steadfast Leon (Joey Bada$$, living up to that name in this episode) and several masked members of the Dark Army. Eventually, Grant (Grant Chang) arrives and threatens to kill Elliot. Elliot begs for Darlene’s life, saying that he can undo the 5/9 hack. Grant says the Dark Army doesn’t care about that. Elliot tells them how he hacked into their files and that, if he kills them, all that info on the Dark Army will be leaked to the public, exposing them.

Grant still doesn’t budge. Finally, in a last-ditch effort, Elliot claims he can do what no one else has managed to do thus far in mere minutes: find a way to get Whiterose’s beloved plant- the one with the “special” machine in it- to the Congo, like he’s been wanting to do all this time. This finally gets Whiterose’s attention, and he has Leon kill everyone but Grant, who he calls shortly thereafter.

Whiterose orders Grant to stand down, and tells him his services are no longer needed. Whiterose tells Grant she loves him, and that they will see each other and be reunited once the plan comes full circle. (Earlier in the episode, we also discover that Irving was once Whiterose’s lover and right-hand man before Grant, much to Grant’s dismay and shock.) Grant then shoots himself. Yikes! Talk about a job termination! Definitely quicker than the axe route, though.

Leon gives Elliot a laptop and orders him to do what he claimed he could with the plant move, warning him that if he fails, he will end up like Grant, only it won’t be self-inflicted. Elliot does it, though I’m not entirely sure how he manages to relocate a plant by downloading something online in a matter of minutes.

Either way, it’s good enough for Leon and he leaves, with Dom, Darlene and Elliot taking Santiago’s car back to the city, after Elliot uses another secure laptop to access Sentinel, with Dom’s FBI password, thus allowing him to plant a backdoor in it, so as to undo the 5/9 hack later on. When he gets home, he checks out the encryption keys, but discovers they weren’t left by Romero after all- but Mr. Robot (Christian Slater), aka himself.

Elliot goes to Coney Island and rides the Wonder Wheel, where he has a talk with Mr. Robot. He realizes that, deep down, Mr. Robot isn’t a bad guy after all, even if he is an avatar for his father. Part of this realization comes when Darlene reveals on the subway that their father never pushed Elliot out of the window for revealing to their mother he had cancer. Elliot went crazy, smashed up his room and jumped out the window himself, meaning that his father never did the heinous things Elliot thought he did.

As such, Elliot realizes that, contrary to what he thought, he and Mr. Robot can work together from here on out to achieve the same goals, instead of working against each other, as they had been previously. The proof of this was in that Mr. Robot left those encryption keys for Elliot on purpose, despite his seeming actions to undo everything Elliot had been doing; which, in turn, meant that Elliot himself left those keys, knowing deep down that, if anything went wrong that was unexpected, he could undo it in a good way.

This serves as a sort of metaphor for the entire series to date. Just as Elliot seeks to undo everything he did with the 5/9 hack, so does Whiterose literally want to undo reality and turn back time to undo certain things himself. Likewise, so does Angela. We know why Elliot and Angela want to undo things they did, obviously, but why Whiterose does remains elusive.

Sure, she can undo the awful things she’s done, from the recent terrorist attacks that cost thousands their lives, to Grant’s death, but all of this was set into motion long before those events, so there must be a deeper reason. Perhaps Whiterose also lost a family member she wishes to resurrect, a la Angela and Elliot. Or perhaps she did something bad in the past that she wishes she could undo, like Elliot did with the 5/9 hack, which only made things worse.

We end with Elliot setting into motion the undoing of the 5/9 hack, and also making a decision to join forces with Mr. Robot to bring down the top echelon of society: the 1% of the 1%, as he puts it- the ones who truly control the world. Now, they know who they are, and can do something about it, contrary to what Irving told Elliot in a prior episode.

In a post-credits scene, we see Darlene talking to a girl (Hailie Sahar) who’s smarter-than-the-average-prostitute. She points out that things weren’t great before the 5/9 hack, and undoing it won’t exactly magically make them better now, a fact which Elliot clearly picks up on, hence his decision to go after the puppet-masters of the world. Darlene arrives at her brother’s home and says her goodbyes to her friend, then is confronted by a gang of thugs, led by Vera (Elliot Villar), the drug-dealer that had Shayla (Frankie Shaw) killed in season one.

That is where we end things, and as with much of this season, we’ve basically come ’round full circle. Where things go from here is anyone’s guess, but it’s a decent place to end things. It will be interesting to see how Vera figures into things moving forward, and I’m definitely curious as to how Elliot will go about his plan to take down the world leaders. I like that he and Mr. Robot are now working together, as they had basically exhausted the whole them-being-at-odds-with-one-another angle over the course of the show’s three seasons.

I can, however, see where Esmail would want to end the series after a few more seasons. We’ve got some excellent forward momentum now, and Esmail clearly knows where he’s headed with everything. You can tell in the way he’s ducked and weaved through the timeline of the show, going back to fill in blanks when necessary, and showing that everything on this show happens for a reason, including the way he’s choosing to tell the story itself.

Thankfully, “Mr. Robot” has already been renewed for a fourth season, so Esmail has nothing to worry about in the short term, in regards to continuing his vision. Here’s hoping he gets to see it through to the end.

As for this season, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and thought it was a definite step up from the last one, although I didn’t hate season two as much as some people. Season two was slightly more predictable than season one, but I thought season three was full of great twists and genuine surprises, not in the least the show cleaning house with many of its major characters killed off.

At this point, it’s no wonder they brought back an older cast member- hell, they needed someone to fill the void left by all the departed ones. I’m sure there will be more where that came from moving forward, as well, including some new faces. I, for one, can’t wait to see what Esmail has in store for us next.

How about you? Sound off down below with your thoughts on the season, and predictions for the future of the show, and thanks for reading!