The third season finale of Mr. Robot see a wide mix of emotions. There’s complete despair, touching family moments, and the continued glimmer of hope. It also ends up being a much lower-key finale than I was expecting, though considering the climax of the season very much was the middle, it doesn’t fully surprise me. Much of the finale takes place in a single location, one that we’ve seen before in Episode 3: The Dark Army safehouse in the middle of nowhere. How do all the characters end up there? Well, let’s get to that.
As promised by the Dark Army at the end of the previous episode, they have arrived to deal with Elliot for good. Luckily, Elliot saw the Dark Army retaliation coming and hid in Shayla’s old apartment. After they depart, Elliot realizes that if they’re looking for him, then they must also be looking for Darlene as well…and he hasn’t been able to get in contact with her for some time. Elliot heads to the arcade as it was meant to be a rendezvous after Darlene and Elliot were finished with their tasks, but still isn’t able to find her. Elliot realizes he’s out of options and allies, so he finally turns to the person he’s been neglecting all season.
Heading to the Coney Island Ferris Wheel, Elliot summons Mr. Robot out so they can have a chat like they used to back in Season 1. Elliot first demands to know if Mr. Robot was aware of the 71 building plan and, if he wasn’t, would he have gone through with the plan anyway. Mr. Robot states he didn’t know anything about it and would’ve found another way than what happened. Trusting Mr. Robot’s words, Elliot decides he can consider them on the same side for now and questions what Mr. Robot’s FBI note meant. He goes into further detail to explain that the FBI has a Dark Army mole, so the duo pays a visit to Santiago’s home to get any tips on what may have happened. Before they can get far into investigating, however, Irving arrives and states Elliot should come with him as it’s the easier option in his case than trying to scheme his way out of things again.
As to where Darlene ended up at, we last saw her in FBI custody. With Santiago freaking out over his cover possibly being blown, he decides to take matters into his own hands and bring Darlene to the Dark Army safehouse. Sadly, things don’t go successful for him as Dom finds him in the parking garage before he’s able to depart, demanding to know why he’s taking Darlene. His excuses don’t faze Dom, so he’s forced to knock her out and bring her along with as well. When she finally comes to during the drive to the safehouse, Dom pieces togethers that the mole has been Santiago and he was partly responsible for the shootout in China as well as the deaths of Cisco, Mobley, and Trenton since he gave their info away to the Dark Army instead of keeping it FBI intel. Santiago attempts to defend himself, stating that Dom would’ve done the same thing in his shoes if she knew what the Dark Army has threatened him with, but she still believes she would never flip (Oh, the sad foreshadowing).
All the parties arrive at the safehouse and are put into the nearby barn, where Leon and some other Dark Army operatives await. Santiago tries to explain to Irving that the situation of his cover is still salvageable and that he can deal with Dom. Irving decides that he too can deal with the situation and orders Dom out of the barn, while Santiago follows. Dom is brought to the same area where Tyrell had let out his anger and loneliness earlier in the season by chopping wood, except wood isn’t what’s getting chopped this time. Santiago shows that he still has a heart despite being a mole and pleads with Dom to just join the Dark Army so she doesn’t have to die, though she continues to refuse betraying her morals. Irving gets the axe prepared and then suddenly drives it into Santiago’s chest instead. Since there is now a void in the FBI to fill, Irving makes Dom agree to be their new mole. She states she’d rather die than join the Dark Army, so Irving decides to intimidate her by continuing to chop at Santiago’s body while also listing off several of Dom’s family that these blows could also go to. She quickly realizes the point Irving is making and tearfully agrees to betray the FBI.
Dom is brought back inside the barn, where Darlene is shocked to see her covered in blood and shaken to her core. Leon states she must’ve gone through initiation, explaining to Elliot and Darlene what actually happened. Mr. Robot is starting to become impatient and questions what Elliot’s play is here, to which Elliot replies that someone important is coming and they just have to wait. Cue a car containing Whiterose’s assistant, Grant, to arrive with some more Dark Army operatives. Irving greets them and gives them a rundown of the current events, including Irving having to kill Santiago. He explains that Dom seems like a better pick and also less of a dick, so it’s not all bad news. Irving then decides he’s done enough work for the Dark Army recently and he should probably take a vacation. When Grant orders him to stay, Irving coldly reminds Grant that he was in his position years ago and Grant is nothing more than a replacement for the real deal.
Grant and the operatives arrive in the barn and before anything can even be said, Elliot comes fully clean about Stage 3 being fake. But, he also reveals that due to his fake-out, he now has access to the entire Dark Army database and will leak all their info if anything is to happen to Darlene or him. Grant doesn’t believe this at first, but Elliot lists off a few things he read while combing through the data, including details about the Congo annex and Whiterose’s desire to ship contents there. None of this ultimately fazes Grant and he reveals he knows what Elliot really wants: to undo the 5/9 hack. As it currently stands though, the Dark Army has no intention of letting Elliot run about any longer, so Grant has decided to deal with both Elliot and Darlene personally.
At the same time that this is going on, Angela is still waiting for her meeting with Whiterose to warn her of what she’s learned. Instead, she finds out that she’s really been taken to Phillip Price’s mansion. Confused as to why this has happened, Angela eventually gets a meeting with Price. He explains to her that Whiterose’s plan to seemingly reverse time is nothing more than a delusional fantasy and that the only reason Angela was brought into this was that she refused to drop the lawsuit against the power plant that Whiterose holds so dear to her. Angela questions why Price cares so much about her, so he (as predicted) reveals that he is the true father of Angela. Her mother and him had previous dated and, while she eventually got pregnant through him, she could no longer deal with his cruel nature of treating her, so she married the man Angela knew as a father and refused to let Price have anything to do with Angela or her from there on out. Distraught by the revelations, Angela still tries to find some reason to why the 71 bombings had to happen, which Price states were nothing more than jabs at him from Whiterose for refusing to comply with her. It seems that while Angela believes part of this, there’s still something in her that truly wants to hope she can see her mother once more.
Back at the safehouse, Leon prepares to execute Darlene, forcing Elliot to yell to Whiterose through a security camera that he can get her project moved to the Congo. Grant finds this unlikely as all of the Dark Army couldn’t manage it, so how could one man like Elliot? Grant decides he’s had enough of Elliot’s stalling and also prepares to kill Elliot at the same time that Leon kills Darlene. Leon, however, seems to have gotten updated info from Whiterose as he proceeds to kill every Dark Army operative in the room besides Grant. A phone call comes from Grant’s pocket and, upon answering, Grant learns that Whiterose has grown tired of his jealous nature towards Elliot. It has blinded him from being able to see what Elliot is truly capable of and so Grant must be removed from the equation for Whiterose’s plan to succeed. Before Leon can finish up, Grant echoes his earlier sentiment to Mobley and Trenton that suicide is sometimes the most honorable thing you can do and kills himself.
Leon leads Elliot to a laptop and tells him to show Whiterose that he wasn’t bluffing about moving the project to the Congo. Mr. Robot also hopes that Elliot was telling the truth and luckily he actually was. With this, the Dark Army allows Elliot off the hook and able to move forward with reversing 5/9. Dom logs Elliot into Sentinel, hoping to at least do one more good act for the world before being forced to work for the Dark Army. Before leaving, Dom berates Darlene for getting her caught up in all of this and ruining her life (which isn’t entirely true), leaving Dom’s arc this season as one of the darkest endings. On the bright side though, Elliot indeed manages to gain the keylogger info from Sentinel, which also shows that it wasn’t Romero who exported the keys to reversing the hack, but Mr. Robot himself.
MR. ROBOT — “shutdown-r” Episode 310 — Pictured: (l-r) Portia Doubleday as Angela Moss, Michael Cristofer as Phillip Price — (Photo by: Peter Kramer/USA Network)
On a train ride home, Darlene wonders why Elliot brought up the day that he fell out of the window to her previously. He is confused when Darlene says their father wasn’t responsible for Elliot’s fall, with it actually being from Elliot having a fit of rage and falling out of it himself. This begins to break some of the resentment that Elliot has for his father and, by extension, Mr. Robot. He allows Darlene to go ahead and states he wants to take the train for one more stop. Here, he has a heart-to-heart with Mr. Robot about why he made a back-up plan to reverse the hack. Mr. Robot confirms something that Elliot said earlier on the ferris wheel: a part of Mr. Robot is in Elliot, but a part of Elliot is also in Mr. Robot. He knew it’s what Elliot would’ve done in the situation, so he did it himself. He then asks if they can remain a team and begin talking again. Elliot agrees, having warmed to the concept of Mr. Robot after everything they’ve been through.
Elliot arrives home and follows Mr. Robot’s directions. He hid the keys to reverse the hack within a certain picture on a blank disc. Elliot goes through it and knows it to be a picture of himself and his father dressed as Marty and Doc from Back to the Future. After regenerating the key from the photo, Elliot places it in an e-mail to E Corp’s recovery team and finds a sense of accomplishment as he hits send. He knows this isn’t the end of the fight, however. He’s reversed the hack, but now it’s time to take down the Dark Army for good.
As tradition, after the credits we are given a scene of Darlene walking to Elliot’s apartment, while having a conversation with a prostitute about what the future holds. The prostitute remains convinced that things will never improve in the world, but Darlene might have some additional knowledge that she isn’t letting on. Once they arrived at Elliot’s, a mysterious car opens and four men start to walk towards Darlene. As she questions who they are, the leader reveals himself to be Fernando Vera, the man responsible for the death of Shayla back in Season 1. The Brave Traveler has returned home and seems to have more in mind for Elliot.
So a lot definitely went down in “shutdown-r” and we’re left open for a promising next season in quite a few ways. While Elliot did send the keys to undo 5/9, we don’t see them actually implemented yet. Will reversing the hack actually end up as a good thing? Will the reversal even end up happening? As for Dom, I feel like her story still isn’t over yet. I don’t see her allowing the Dark Army to pull one over on her no matter how defeated she looked and sounded in her conversation with Darlene. Tyrell wasn’t even in this episode, so we didn’t get any updates on how he plans to use his CTO position to help Elliot, but I’m sure updates will be made next season. And what future will Vera hold for Elliot? Will they somehow team up against the Dark Army or will Elliot be looking for revenge? Season 4 couldn’t come soon enough.
shutdown-r – 5 out of 5
- While it was almost mostly set in a single location, that location was stuffed with tense drama.
- Santiago getting the axe, though I do feel slightly bad that he mostly was just don’t the things he did to protect his family. Still could’ve been less of a douche.
- Irving continues to rise up my character rankings, what a cool (and menacing) dude.
- I was kinda hoping Leon was turning sides during his assault, though I’m glad he’s still alive regardless.
- Poor Dom 🙁
- The twists of the episode (Santiago killed instead of Dom, Leon killing the operatives, and Price being Angela’s father) were kinda obvious to see coming. Idk, I just like being surprised.