BY DANIELLE HOUTKOOPER
It’s been an incredibly titillating and turbulent season for Mr. Robot, and holy shit was it worth the ride. In the beginning we had just one truth, Elliot has created us as an audience to deal with his everyday life. In just ten episodes, he’s taken us on a roller coaster that had no right being as good as it was. Ten episodes, capped with a truly stellar season finale, what are the odds?
Part of Robot’s incredible ambient culture it’s built for itself is in the music they use for each scene. Music composed for a moment in time, filled with grating noises and exhausting beats, everything comes together perfectly, quivering in a dark cloud. If it’s not something perfectly tailored, it’s at least expertly chosen. It’s been a long time since a show was able to perfectly embody each scene. You should feel uncomfortable when these events are happening, like your skin is about to crawl away from your body in an attempt to find solace beneath the blankets in your parents’ bed. Robot, more times than not, is able to do that for you. Quickly, and precisely.
On that same note, there’s been a huge amount of talent going into the breathtaking and artful shots that littered this first season. The season finale had two notable ones in particular: one came with Angela’s quick shoe shopping venture, a judgmental and dismayed clerk kneeling before her. We get the shot from the shadows of a back room containing expensive Italian made shoes, leading directly into the uncomfortably lit boutique, Angela faced towards our opposing wall and hiding her face from the street outside. Another shot came when the press conference was lined up at Evil Corp. Rather than hide true intentions, the shot gave off a big brother vibe, backlighting Phillip Price in an intense shadow to be cast only behind him in order to give off a menacing pretense.
Getting to the main agenda, let’s talk about the finale. It made sense that it would serve as a set up for what’s to come. We got our big shocker/death, and then additional big shocker/reveal so early in the series that it almost felt like cheating. Were we truly worthy of that information? Did we accidentally watch things out of order, missing out on key story building moments that were interesting, yet not incredibly integral to the overall story arc? Robot did something really important this first season: It trusted its audience enough to pay attention and keep track of what was happening without having to be reminded of those things over and over throughout the season. Yes we had those boring moments that were around solely to cushion characters, but only when it was absolutely necessary. How else would we be able to speculate during the break between this and next season?
The finale was actually pushed back due to last week’s on air tragedy. In an excellent marketing moment, USA chose to pull the finale from the line-up for a week in order to show respect to the families, friends, and supporters that were touched by the shooting. The scene in question turned out to be an Evil Corp higher up’s suicide during an on air segment questioning the Evil Corp hack. He tries, working hard to keep on a pleasant demeanor through the shit they’re wading through constantly. Eventually, the truth comes out and his half-hearted smile turns into a mangled bloody mess, both literally and figuratively. It’s understandable why USA chose to hold back. The likeness may not have been uncanny, but it was close enough to act as a trigger, born out of a tragedy not yet 24 hours old.
Though most of our main questions were answered this season, several more were generated to take their place. So what, we know who Robot is now. Who didn’t? It was glaringly obvious that he was a manifestation coming from Elliot’s psyche. And if you didn’t see it then it all made sense as soon as we got the big reveal in episode nine. So fine, we know he’s not real but what else are we missing? One of the biggest problems we were left with was the sudden disappearance of Tyrell. Sent into the streets by his post-natal wife, he had no choice but to come to Elliot looking for the easiest solution to all of his sorrows. Instead of giving us a clue to his whereabouts, we set to searching for his last remembered moments. The fsociety money-bags mask guy was an outside party with a seemingly light complexion and light eyes. Is Tyrell in hiding, biding his time until he can make a triumphant return and get his family back?
What’s the bigger picture here? What was the ambiguous ending? Does “Whiterose” only like dressing like a woman when he’s making deals? Why was the harp playing the “we’re going down” music from James Cameron’s Titanic movie? Are we ever going to address the fact that Darlene put a gun in a popcorn machine? Don’t heat and guns/live ammo not mix? Is Elliot going to be able to hold on long enough to fix some of his bigger mistakes? Can anything be fixed? Who the fuck was knocking on the door???
Though many of these questions have no resolution, part of the wonderful thing about waiting a whole year until they can be offered is the wild speculation we’re privy to. One thing I’d like to humbly submit is a solution to who is behind the door. Think on the idea that Gideon (Elliot’s boss) has come to his home, figuring out that he’s behind the whole hacking debacle, to either congratulate him on a job well done, possibly offering his services to aid in the revolution. Or, maybe hold him hostage until he admits to the crime/Gideon backs down because he has a secret soft spot for the hacker. It would make sense, Tyrell came to Elliot in his darkest hour and Gideon is just as knowledgeable of Elliot’s gift.
Aside from the mysterious door knock, we also get that Easter egg with “Whiterose”. We know that Price is part of this Illuminati type club where the two of them converse, leaving the viewer to question whether he’s blaming the hack on Wellick (who’s missing and possibly a part of fsociety) or Elliot. It makes sense he would be blaming Elliot considering the sudden need for Angela in Evil Corp. Either way, we’re in for a pretty intense season two.
Time is the most important part of this show. Where it goes, where it stops, when it jumps…it’s all a part of what makes this work. It’s constantly in the present, acting as a prolific judge of what’s happening and what’s to come. And yet, the finale left us with three unaccounted days that we have no choice but to sit and ponder over. Mr. Robot successfully added one more brain fucked engagement to hold us over until next season. And with that, ladies and gentlemen, I hope it has cemented itself as your new favorite television series.