TV Recap: Mr. Robot: Season 3, Episode 8, 9, & 10
I was unable to cover episodes eight and nine of this season of Mr. Robot, so I’ve decided to cover them in my final write-up of the season because, as it turns out, I didn’t miss much. Episode eight is one of the most cringe-inducing and misguided episodes of television I’ve ever witnessed, and episode nine was merely set-up filler for a season finale that, while it does feature Bobby Cannavale straight-up brutally axe murdering someone we’ve come to hate, is an awkward cap to a season full of disappointments.
Episode eight is bizarre, a heavy-handed sob story that plays like an after school special, a blemish of forced drama on a show that has successfully pulled off similar emotions in cleverer ways. The whole episode follows Elliot living what he intends to be the last day of his life. He’s given away some belongings and tossed out his father’s old Mr. Robot jacket and secured a large bag of morphine pills from a caricature of a drug dealer and plans to pay his respects to the families of the recently departed Trenton and Mobley on his way to a final trip to Coney Island. He attempts to set Mobley’s brother and Trenton’s parents at ease, but they aren’t interested in any of it. At the beach, Elliot is approached by Trenton’s much younger brother, Mohammed, and the two get wrapped up in a wacky journey while trying to get him back home to his parents.
Mohammed’s parents aren’t around and Elliot doesn’t want to deal with any more of the kid’s badgering, he wants to hurry up and kill himself, damn it, so he takes him to the theater to watch a Back to the Future marathon. Why would a theater close by happen to be playing Elliot’s favorite movie series? Well, it’s October 21st, 2015, the day that Marty travels to the future in Part II. How cute. The kid’s not interested in the movie, though. He wants nothing more than to see Ridley Scott’s The Martian, for some reason, which Elliot is vehemently opposed to, for some other reason, so during the Back to the Future screening Mohammed sneaks out and Elliot finds him at the Mosque that they were talking about earlier. In this place of worship, Elliot bonds with the child who admits he’s had a key to his apartment the whole time and they part ways with a promise to go see The Martian later.
Thanks to divine intervention, Elliot has decided that life is worth living and returns to Mobley’s brother’s house and threatens him to ensure that he has a proper funeral. Elliot then goes to Angela’s apartment. She doesn’t let him in and he instead reminisces about their past from the opposite side of the locked door. Elliot goes home and the jacket that he tossed out earlier has magically made its way back to his front doorstep. A song from the Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure soundtrack plays as he logs on to his computer and discovers Trenton’s email that she said she would send to a special person who would know exactly what to do. The email informs Elliot that Romero held a log of every fsociety keystroke on his computer, possibly giving him a way to reverse engineer the entire 5/9 attack if obtained.
I wanted to keep that brief, but seriously, fuck that episode. The relatively uneventful episode nine should be easier to get through, at least. Elliot comes to Irving with a new plan, a brand-new Stage 3. He arranges a meeting with Whiterose’s right-hand man to discuss the ruse and Trojan horses a program into their system, giving him access to the entire Dark Army network. As this happens, Darlene builds a sexual relationship with Detective DiPierro in order to get access to her key into the FBI’s system so she can recover Romero’s keystrokes. She’s caught in the act and placed under arrest. Whiterose’s assistant Grant (Grant Chang) delivers some bad news, her plant is going to take at least a month to get running due to the Congo’s strict border patrol. She’s not happy, and Grant tries to cheer her up by suggesting that he finally make a big move and they cut ties with Elliot.
Now onto the big one, the season finale. The episode certainly breathes some sort of life into the proceedings, but it’s simply too little, too late for this lame duck season. Agent DiPierro has finally put the pieces together on Agent Santiago. Darlene offers exactly what they were searching for, and he refuses, instead arresting her, claiming to be transporting her to jail. DiPierro confronts Santiago and he knocks her out and tosses her in back with Darlene. He takes them to the middle-of-nowhere farm that Tyrell was staying in, and meets Irving who has brought Elliot.
DiPierro and Darlene are tied up inside a barn being watched over by a few Dark Army henchmen and Leon. Irving takes DiPierro and Santiago out to the chopping block where Santiago pleads with her to flip sides before she gets killed. She refuses and prepares for death, but Irving swings his axe directly into Santiago’s chest (with some truly bad gore effects). Irving orders her to take Santiago’s spot, but DiPierro is still unwilling to flip, until Irving rattles off a list of her extended family members in between blood flinging axe swings.
Chang arrives at the barn and Elliot pleads for Darlene’s and his life by claiming that he knows exactly how to bypass the Congo’s border patrol and get the plant running quickly. Chang doesn’t buy it and sets him on his knees and puts a gun to Elliot’s head. Suddenly, Leon takes his gun away from Darlene’s head and shoots the Dark Army members, leaving Chang alone. He gets a call from Whiterose, who says a tearful goodbye before Chang takes his own life. Meanwhile, Angela speaks with Phillip Price at his mansion and he confesses to why he has been so fixated on her. Price is Angela’s father.
Elliot claims to fill his end of the bargain and sends Leon off with a laptop that should have everything the Dark Army needs. Now under the Dark Army’s control, DiPierro reluctantly gives Elliot access to the computer inside of Santiago’s vehicle and he searches for Romero’s keystroke data, but it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Romero wasn’t logging the important keystrokes, but rather stopping an unknown somebody from doing it instead. On the subway home, Elliott has a personal conversation with Mr. Robot, who opens up and admits that he was the one logging everybody’s keystrokes and points Elliot towards a supposedly blank CD in his collection that holds all the data. Elliot pops it in, grabs the data, and sends it to E-corp.
Elliot has finally taken the biggest step to undo what he has worked so hard to achieve. It’s a nice moment at the end of a rough season, but it doesn’t get to linger long before the end credits stinger that teases the return of the unhinged drug supplier that Elliot wronged in season one, Fernando (Elliot Villar). It’s an interesting moment, but does Elliot really need another major problem to deal with? This one random drug dealer’s not all that scary when he’s already dealing with the ire of the world’s most powerful hacker group and being one of the FBI’s most sought-after suspects. It’s another misstep in a season chock full of them, but perhaps it could factor meaningfully into the recently confirmed fourth season. There were genuine series high points this season (particularly the anxious and inventive one-two punch of episodes five and six), but they were surrounded by some bad episodes. I don’t know what exactly went wrong, but I sure hope that it’s ironed out by next year.