Mr. Robot, Series Finale Parts 1 and 2; Goodbye, Friend

It’s the end. It’s the end, it’s the end, it’s the end.

Over a red title screen we finally hear Elliot address us again, calling us friend. He admits thinking we were gone, thinking he might be dead after the plant events, realising he can’t be if we’re talking. But, he wonders, if We are here …where is Mr. Robot?

Early theories before we kick-off;

This is all a simulation and Elliot didn’t really die.

Darlene’s absence from this world is significant, a flaw or a mistake that will prompt Elliot to fix it and try to get home. Or her presence in the other world is a flaw and the reason the world is so ‘bad’, but Elliot will be willing to accept and live with his trauma if it means Darlene lives (Like Sam in Life on Mars — ***SPOILER*** — committing suicide to return to the afterlife with his friends).

Bill WILL return.

Cut to Elliot lying in the middle of a huge open lot as the earth shakes around him. The empty lot appears to be the carpark for a town park, with a community centre and sports equipment. Elliot slowly realises this is where the plant should be, while insisting to himself and us that there’s no way the machine worked …right? But as he leaves the slightly despairing little park and heads back into town, we see that in fact …it did. He passes a sign advertising the community centre, inviting people to ‘Live in the world of tomorrow …today!’

Familiar? It’s from the storage room in the museum where Elliot his key. This isn’t real.

Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto FINALLY kicks into the soundtrack because Sam Esmail is a blessed man, as Elliot returns home to town. If it’s not the actual town from Back to the Future it looks exactly the same, down to the clock tower. A baffled Elliot walks the clean, sun-kissed streets, confused by everyone’s politeness, police who wave and say ‘good morning’, children laughing and playing.

He hits Main Street and freezes up at the sight of the Mr. Robot store, reminding us it closed twenty years ago when Edward died. Elliot heads inside the store we saw last week and it becomes clear he was the mystery customer who distracted Edward from his call with the other Elliot. For ease of understanding, I’ll call our original Elliot by his name, and the other one Blue Elliot (for his sweater).

Elliot hears Edward say that he’ll be right out and is trapped somewhere between total surprise and no small measure of terror, asking us if this is really happening. He picks up Edward’s phone and spots the familiar photograph of the family at the beach, the one Darlene should be in, was absent from and reappeared in when he remembered her in Season 1. He reels in shock. Hearing the end of Edward’s conversation, Elliot peers through the doorway and spots the older Edward, eyes widening in absolute, complete terror, telling us ‘my monster is still alive’.

He drops the phone and runs. As before, we see Edward come out and find his dropped phone.

Later, Elliot follows Edward through the town and sees the kindly old man stop to greet neighbours, pet their dogs, generally act and look like Mr. Rogers if the man could type. He enters their old home, audibly greeting someone but Elliot can’t figure out who. He stops a kid on a scooter and holy shit. It’s the same girl from Season 1, Elliot’s dream when he was withdrawing from morphine, the one who cryptically asked Elliot ‘What’s your monster?’. She’s a little older but wears the same clothes and similarly greets Elliot like they are old friends. Maybe a little too knowingly?

Of course in this universe, they actually are, not that Elliot knows that. Edward leaves for his lunch with Blue Elliot, our Elliot hiding and his nose beginning to bleed. Uh oh. He asks about Darlene and learns she doesn’t exist here and before he can process that, Magda — his very much alive and healthy mother emerges from the house — spots her ‘son’ and calls him over. She hugs him and Elliot is Our Elliot about it but Magda is just Mum Oblivious, chattering he’s too skinny, bringing him inside for food, and encouraging him to notice the ‘difference’ the new curtains make. The home is gorgeous and Magda talks knowingly like the girl outside how one small change can make the world feel new.

Elliot, as you can imagine is mostly going ‘…’.

He scans family photos showing him happy and healthy with his very much alive parents, realising the difference. When he whispers ‘No Darlene’, Magda somewhat intensely asks ‘…who is Darlene?’ and stares just a beat too long, and sweeps past the subject to ask how his presentation went.

Elliot tells us this doesn’t sound like his mother and everything, including him, has changed. He wonders if their past has changed, if it means his has too. He wonders about the window and goes racing upstairs to his old bedroom. His hesitation before entering is a a lot to wrap your head around and when he opens the right door …it’s a closet. His mother confused, worried by his questions where his room his and directs him to a different door ‘Where it’s always been’.

…See. No. Time travel wouldn’t change the bedroom layout of a house when the rest of the house remains the same. He can’t go in that room because it’ll bounce him out of whatever this is. No reminders, no proof, nothing to validate the other universe. This isn’t real.

Inside, the room is neat and organised and all the same shade of blue as Blue Elliot’s sweater which to my eye is the same shade of blue as the Blue Screen of Death computers show when they suffer catastrophic failures. Elliot’s room has trophies and worn-out skateboards hung proudly on the walls. Elliot asks about his accident, breaking his arm but Magda insists he’s never broken a bone in his entire life. Not ever? Not once? Every kid has, even just a toe from running into a coffee table. Not even while skateboarding? A universe with no problems? Hmmm.

Elliot wonders if he never jumped was it because he had no reason to? Haltingly, Elliot asks his mother if she or her father ever hurt him. Magda seems to understand the depth of the question but gently reassures her son they would never hurt him, and love him more than anything.

No. Something is wrong.

Magda thinks it’s wedding nerves and mentions Angela (the timing here is too much. He’s arriving when it’s too perfect). Magda talks about the wedding and then Elliot goes to find Angela. I know it’s the day before the wedding so it works in context but Edward and Magda are just way too ready to sweep in with these assurances and step over the actual subject.

On the train, Elliot asks us what we think, is it real, is this what we always talked about? He’s not sure either and I’m glad he’s as uncertain as I am. He won’t let himself accept it’s real yet, not until he sees Angela. And figure out where Darlene is, right? He goes to Angela’s place, wondering if seeing her will cause things to make more sense. He rings the doorbell, takes a deep breath and the door opens to reveal …

…Philip fucking Price.

Y’all. I screamed. I should have expected it, but I howled. Elliot’s eyes are like saucers and he literally recoils in panic as Price intones ‘Mr. Alderson’ in far cheerier tones than we’ve ever heard. He teases Elliot about being ‘evil incarnate’ and Angela’s mother Em appears to stop her husband teasing their soon to be son-in-law. Elliot is led, dumbstruck, inside. Philip looks a little wobbly on his feet while Em enthuses about the wedding and how she can’t wait for Elliot to see Angela in her dress. Elliot manages an ‘…okay’ and y’all the keep-away with Angela is on purpose.

They finally wonder why he’s here and he admits he just wanted to see her; they invite him to a lunch with Angela they’re having. Philip is drinking, enough that Em is quietly sort of mad about it. Em talks to Elliot about her happiness and pride they’re getting together. They manage to work in one last dig at Ollie without even naming him because Sam Esmail sees me. Elliot spots a gift Angela has made, photos of him and Angela all together in a beautiful frame. He starts to smile at the idea of it, buying in. Philip hands Elliot a whiskey sour and they are all just sweet and adorable, and toast together.

And then Blue Elliot dials Em’s phone. Philip thinks it’s some dreadfully clever prank and asks pointedly ‘What happens if you answer?’. It’s like Timecop and you absorb yourself and cease to exist?

Elliot answers the phone, hears himself speak and starts shaking in terror and confusion. Clearly, up to this point, he thought he’d just slotted into an existing life. The room violently shakes as if from another earthquake. Elliot drops his drink and Em cuts herself cleaning up the glass and Elliot is out of there.

Walking the streets he reels in surprise, figuring out there are two of him. Back at his apartment, his key still works and he ventures inside. Like everything else, it’s all clean and neat and Elliot wonders if this isn’t his world, whose is it? He knocks, finds the apartment empty, so creeps inside. There’s that same blue.

Elliot looks around his apartment and realises this isn’t his world. He searches, finds the evidence of Blue Elliot’s status as just …ordinary, looking for any sign of who they both are. He finds what we recognise as the disk wallet he uses to store hack data but it’s a photo album, full of pictures of Blue Elliot, his family, and friends. He tries to log in to Blue Elliot’s Mac, finds higher levels of security than he expected, but nothing he can’t hack. He spends hours in Blue Elliot’s social media, looking for anything beneath the evidence of contented, fulfilled happiness to suggest Blue Elliot’s life isn’t so great after all. He scrolls picture after picture, mostly of Blue Elliot and Angela. Elliot insists ‘everyone has a monster’ and hacks and hacks, then finally finds a drive full of files Blue Elliot has locked and hidden.

He opens a file full of images titled ‘fsociety’ and uploads digitised sketches of …himself — of our Elliot, of Darlene, Trenton, Mobley, the Fun Society Arcade, the server farm from Season 1. They look like comic sketches or concept art as if for a game.

Elliot’s first question is wondering if Blue Elliot somehow hacked Elliot’s world? He wonders if he is Blue Elliot’s monster. And then Blue Elliot comes home and asks who he is.

My heart is in my mouth.

Blue wonders who he is, wants to call the police but Elliot snatches his phone and gently asks him to sit down so they can talk. Blue gives it a beat then turns to leave, so Elliot shares their name and birthdate, waving away the idea he’s made it all up because …you know, look at him.

Elliot asks Blue about the sketches. Blue says ‘Sometimes when I get bored, I create people in my head’, describing Elliot’s life as something he made up. Elliot asks about Darlene and Blue calls her ‘sort of like his partner in crime’.

He explains the name ‘Fsociety’ was just a cool name for a hacker society, because, you know, ‘fuck society’. He’s just a dork. Just a dork. It’s a creative outlet he has; a good game, a good movie, a good TV show idea.

Blue realises Elliot is the ‘character’. Elliot asks why he created him and Blue naively says he fantasises about being ‘him’. Elliot bristles at this and Blue walks it back, admits he doesn’t really, because Elliot is angry, with no life, alone and not normal. Then realises who he’s speaking to as our Elliot just looks empty and sad. Elliot speaks to us and Blue …hears it.

Wait, what? Elliot starts to freak out and try to leave and Blue grabs his arm, causing the room to violently shake again. Because they can’t touch, like Timecop? The shaking sends Blue crashing into the radiator, smashing his head in what’s likely a mortal wound.

Elliot reels in shock and tries to wake him, realising the dude is badly hurt as blood pools beneath his head, with INCREDIBLE timing (…) Angela calls Blue’s phone to talk about the book but Elliot emotionally tells her he’s not who she thinks and that he lost her. She, in that same casually knowing way as Magda as Edward, calls it nerves, encourages him to let himself be happy, make the choice to be happy. She asks if he loves her and he whispers that of course he does, he always has. She loves him too and asks if he wants to ‘start this new life’ with her (!!!) and promises to see him tomorrow.

Nnnope. Blue suddenly speaks, begs for help, an ambulance. He’s paralysed, needs medical assistance immediately. Our Elliot whispers ‘But I’ll lose her. And I can’t lose her again’.

Elliot intones ‘I’m sorry’ and then reaches down to smother Blue. Blue puts up enough of a fight to suggest he’s not dying, could easily have recovered, but Elliot doesn’t stop. He suggests we look away and we do, and then he walks back into frame, his hand bloody from Blue’s head wound. He begs us not to judge him, suggests it was inevitable, claims the earthquakes made it so. They can’t both exist in this world. He had no other choice.

Holy.

Shit.

Straight into the next episode, we hear Blue’s death rattle, see Elliot shakily try to justify himself to us again. He dives into the ‘wipe down’, showering to wash the blood off, going to get Blue’s very fancy SUV to bring around to carry the body. He gets a call from Price, asking why he’s not already at, you know his wedding, which is taking place at Coney Island because OF COURSE IT IS. Elliot, every bit the Crisis Pragmatist, swipes a nearby lifting trolley and stuffs Blue into a moving box, bleaching down the apartment and dressing in his wedding tux.

While he dresses …Mr Robot finally shows up and as Elliot tries to explain himself, Robot just ‘seriously?’s the whole situation. He’s deeply troubled and stresses to Elliot he can’t just take Blue’s life, insisting ‘You are not him’. KNOWINGLY, LIKE. Elliot thinks Robot wants to steal ‘this’ from him and Robot stares at the box full of dead Blue like ‘…boy?’

The music is starting to sound sinister and there are glass fracture sound effects because Esmail knows his shit.

Elliot carries the box outside to load it up but he’s stopped by OH MY, BEAT COP DOMINIQUE. Y’ALL. Also, TIMING.

She’s writing him a ticket for being illegally parked and has to see his ID, but when he hands it over she takes one look and says it looks ‘nothing like him’. We don’t see it but it can only be …him, right? She asks about the box and he fumbles that he’s moving, and getting married, so she asks him to open the box, noticing blood on his sleeve and leaking from inside the box. She draws her gun and opens the box, spotting the body. Another earthquake is triggered and Elliot runs off, Dominique giving chase behind him.

Elliot runs into the subway and safely aboard a carriage. Robot ‘I told you so’s and Elliot rages, but Robot begs him to calm down so he can explain what’s going on. Elliot just thinks Robot doesn’t want him to be happy and demands to be alone. Shakily he lies ‘That’s all I’ve ever really wanted from you’. He walks away, leaving Robot stunned, sitting alone on a seat.

At a resplendent Coney Island, Elliot approaches his too perfect, too simple wedding and it’s immediately clear something is wrong. The guests sit completely still and silent and when Elliot reaches the altar they all wear golden fsociety masks. Robot appears and puts a black hoodie on Elliot over his tux (wearing his sunglasses for the first time in a while). He gently explains Angela isn’t coming and there was never going to be a wedding.

Elliot talks about the machine and Robot explains; he did deactivate the machine, like he was meant to. But this was a world Elliot created, not Whiterose. Robot tried to bring him back here, when Elliot was withdrawing from morphine (…the little girl on the scooter). Elliot asks if it’s a dream and Robot explains it’s a prison — recursive loop Elliot constructed to keep ‘him’ occupied, so ‘Elliot’ could take control of him. Elliot asks ‘who?’ and Robot answers …’ the real Elliot’.

Robot haltingly reveals that ‘the real Elliot’ was Blue, or at least, as real as he can be in this candy-coloured universe. Our Elliot is as ‘real’ as Robot, just a part of the original. Our Elliot can’t ‘kill’ Blue and there will never be a wedding, just this loop.

Elliot breaks down and wonders who he even is? Robot tells him he already knows and Elliot turns, sees Angela in her wedding dress. She runs from him and sounds all start to echo and distort.

She leads him into the old familiar arcade, Elliot entering as a song hits the lyric ‘Queen’, which, Sam, hehehe. Inside, Elliot, in his tux and hoodie approaches Angela in her wedding dress. It’s just like the fantasy. Angela says the people outside don’t need to be there, telling Elliot ‘isn’t it obvious? He tried to tell you. You’re not Elliot. You’re the mastermind’.

The screen flickers like a crashing computer and Elliot, back to his jeans and hoodie, is ejected outside. He spots Robot and follows and out on the busy boardwalk, everybody, every man, woman and child has Robot’s face. And then it’s just Robot, our Robot leading Elliot through the crowd as klaxons blare. Elliot grabs him but when he turns it’s Tyrell, in his suit, and he shoots Elliot. Elliot collapses to the sound of Tyrell’s infamous greeting ‘Bonsoir Elliot’.

Then it’s dark and he’s on the beach, Tyrell burying him in the a huge pit in the sand, a child counting and chanting ‘Ready or not, prepare to die!’.

Elliot lays dying and a voice, Darlene — OH THANK GOD — whispers ‘Elliot, please wake up’.

Elliot jumps up and he’s in Krista’s office, with no gunshot wounds. Krista, in a white dress and more fancied up than we’ve ever seen her, greets him. He knows it’s not really her and she nods, explains ‘the others’ thought he’d trust her more. He thinks they’re trying to kill him and wants to talk to Darlene, but Darlene ‘isn’t here’. Hmm. Elliot asks ‘where’ and is told she’s out in the ‘real’ world, trying to wake him. Krista explains Darlene is Real Elliot’s strongest link to reality and that’s why she was removed from the fantasy, so our Elliot could trap him. (Called. It). Elliot tries to leave but he’s trapped in a loop, begs to wake up and have his life back, walking the loop over and over until Krista convinces him to sit.

She explains he does have Dissociative Identity disorder, the first personality splitting off the day Elliot jumped out of the window because of Edward’s abuse. This was the Protector personality. Later in life, he created the mother, The Persecutor. She beat and abused Elliot, blamed him for what happened. Later came Young Elliot, who was created to handle the abuse Elliot couldn’t. Elliot had created his own family ‘of sorts’. Elliot thinks she doesn’t know about ‘you’ but Krista looks dead to the camera and says ‘I know all about them too, the voyeurs who think they’re apart from this despite being part of all of it’. We see flashes of Elliot looking at us, including that brief glance from a few weeks ago when he was blackmailing Olivia. Krista thought they’d identified all the personalities but then a new one came about. Elliot says he doesn’t want to hear this ‘again’ and vexes but she goes on.

She explains how Elliot changed the real Elliot’s history, erasing the sexual abuse, dedicating his existence to fighting the monsters surrounding Elliot in the real world; we see the subjects of hacks, we see Vera. He created fsociety, and hid the real Elliot in this wonderful, happy place to protect him while he made the world good enough for Elliot to live in. He did it out of complete love. She points out Real Krista, who got so close but didn’t realise she wasn’t talking to the real Elliot, the angry, so so angry Elliot who raged and screamed and smashed mirrors. The one who sought vengeance, the personality who gained so much control that he forgot. We see the four seasons of clues this was not the original Elliot; forgetting Darlene, Angela telling him repeatedly ‘You’ve not been yourself’, the sudden dramatic spiral Elliot’s life took when this all started back in Season 1. We hear Elliot wonder how you stop being the mask once you take it off, Elliot remarking his ‘mask’ sometimes takes over, Darlene wondering who she’s talking to, the clues of the morphine hallucination, ‘What’s your monster’, ‘You were only born one month ago’, even Elliot’s first lines when he announces himself to the coffee shop manager as ‘the one in control’.

Krista tells him ‘You’re not Elliot. You’re the Mastermind. And now it’s time for you to give control back to the host’.

For a second Elliot seems to give in but the room shakes and he demands ‘No!’. He insists he doesn’t have to give up control. Krista says he’ll be stealing a life while Elliot insists it’s his life, it always will be. The ceiling collapses and Elliot wakes in a hospital bed, with cuts on his head. A TV alerts Minister Zhang is dead in a suspected terror attack and a nuclear crisis was narrowly averted. Elliot turns his head and spots Darlene (!!!!) waiting for him and she’s so relieved. He grabs her hand, holds on tight, begs her to tell him it’s not a dream. He won’t let go of her hand and she squeezes back, promises she’s is right here, isn’t going anywhere. These beautiful kids, man. My heart … Darlene calls for the nurse and Elliot admits he thought he’d never see her again, Darlene having feared the same.

Elliot promises he’s not going anywhere and Darlene asks if he remember what happened at the power plant; apparently he stopped the meltdown but there was still an explosion. The only reason he survived was the room he was in had ‘advanced’ shielding. Whiterose is officially dead, as is her machine. Cutting the power made it malfunction and blow up. Elliot officially ‘saved the world’, she says, using his full name. He takes his hand out of hers then, admitting he’s not sure he can do it. He tries to tell her who he is, isn’t real, but Darlene grabs his hand again and reminds him of her promise; as long as she’s there and holds his hand, it’s real. She lists everything, confirms it all happened, all of it, the hack, everyone is dead, Trenton, Mobley, Shayla …Angela. Darlene promises she wouldn’t lie and this is all real. All of it.

Elliot nods and whispers ‘but I’m …not’. Darlene doesn’t understand and he tells her he’s not Elliot. Only a part of him. Darlene takes a …long moment and says …’I know’.

…What?

She’s known since they started fsociety. Elliot doesn’t act like ‘him’. At first she thought maybe it was Elliot but just different, but then he forgot who she was again and she figured it out. He asks why she never said anything, but she doesn’t know. She says that they were hanging out, spending time together, finally getting close and she didn’t want that to stop. Elliot asks why ‘they’ weren’t close before, asks what ‘he’ did? Darlene sobs that it wasn’t ‘him’, but her. She couldn’t talk to him and didn’t know how to help him, so she took off. She came back to fix things, but her Elliot was gone and this one was there instead. She asks if her Elliot is okay and if your heart isn’t breaking …

Elliot promises he made a safe place for Real Elliot, where he has everything he ever wanted. Darlene is relieved and admits she thinks about him every day. Oh, baby. She admits she misses him and our Elliot shrinks, just a tiny bit. Darlene leaves to go and find the nurse. Elliot calls after her and admits he’s wrong about the real Elliot. He doesn’t have everything and even though our Elliot is only part of him, he loves Darlene. She nods and leaves and Elliot is alone. There’s a sound like wind and Elliot  …just fades away. We fade to a blue sky and Elliot speaks to us. He apologises for never giving us a better name than friend, but admits he doesn’t have his own. We pan back to see Elliot in the tower, with Robot and Magda and Little Elliot. As Robot leaves him to watch the sunset, Elliot asks if they’ll fade to nothing. Robot reassures him they’ll always be part of the real Elliot.

Elliot tells us he thought he was saving the world but maybe he wasn’t. Changing the world is about turning up, believing in ourselves, standing up against being shamed, refusing to fall in line. If we stand our ground, maybe the world changes around us.

He realises he was the best part of Elliot Alderson, the part that showed up, stayed, changed him. And who wouldn’t be proud of that.

Our Elliot leaves the office and enters a long corridor. He walks towards a red door in silence, footsteps echoing around him. He looks at us one last time and tells us ‘This only works if you let go too’.

He opens the door and steps inside a movie theatre, where the rest of the family sits. He takes a seat amongst them as the music swells and the movie begins. We pan in on Elliot weeping as he watches, the lyrics on the soundtrack singing ‘I’m the king of my own land …I’ll fight till the end/creators of my dreams raise up and dance with me’. We zoom in on the projector as our Elliot’s life flashes before our eyes, as his memories and experiences integrate and become part of the real Elliot, and then we zoom out on the real Elliot finally waking up. We see Darlene return to the hospital room, gazing down at her brother, her real brother, who we never see. She smiles warmly and says ‘Hello Elliot’.

And then … it’s over.

I would go on and on and on but I don’t think I should. I think that just needs to …be.

This is been a joy. I’m going to go and cry for a thousand years.

Goodbye, Friend.

 

 

Nadine Morgan

Nadine Morgan

Nadine Morgan is really terrible at the ‘About You’ part of life. Nadine developed her reviewer skills writing epic facebook rants about the details script supervisors forget and trying to explain why Carol on The Walking Dead broke Lizzie by accident. Nadine loves TV, film and books but she wishes someone would pay her to be the continuity editor. She can be found on Facebook and in her forest garden and if she’s not yelling at her TV she’s trying to convince a cat to be an Instagram model and refusing to let 90's fashion die.

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