The Mr. Robot season 3 finale may have tied up plenty of loose ends, but it left us with even more questions. Where will Elliot go now? What will Angela do with that earth-shattering revelation from Philip Price? And just what is up with that end credits scene?
The third season of Sam Esmail’s dark hacker series hurdled toward its finale earlier this week, only to quietly wrap up with a return to the beginning. It’s not the promise of a better, alternate world that Esmail kept dropping hints of, but of a world that its denizens — Elliot, mainly — can strive to better.
But there’s another season planned for the USA Network show. Where can Mr. Robot go from here?
Back to the Beginning
The third season ended with Elliot (Rami Malek) reversing the 5/9 hack — a fix that has been teased since Trenton revealed a fix existed during the season 2 finale coda. With Dom and Darlene’s help, Elliot is able to access the Sentinel and decrypt the data, with a key that was left for him to find by Mr. Robot (Christian Slater). E Corp.’s data will be restored.
Will the return of E Corp.’s data be enough for the economy to be fixed and for the damage that fsociety inflicted to be undone? That’s the big question that is left hanging in the air at the end of the season 3 finale. But that was always the intention, Esmail told Entertainment Weekly. The return to the beginning and the reversal of the hack that Elliot worked for throughout season 1, marks a halfway point for Elliot:
It’s literally turning the main motivation and main dramatic drive upside down. It’s kind of an Odyssey structure. With Elliot, because the journey is really internal and really about his emotional growth, having the plotline be circular like that lent to that more internal exploration.
Rather than hinging the season’s twist on a shocking revelation, it was Elliot’s mea culpa that served as the climax of the episode — realizing that he wants to undo 5/9 for himself, and resolving to go after the “top 1% of the 1%” next. Esmail continued, “I think the way this season ended, there is a strong pivot of Elliot’s real mission being realized and being energized by that.”
Angela’s Big Reveal
But you can’t have a Mr. Robot finale without a bombshell reveal. Philip Price’s confession that he is Angela’s father sparks an emotional turning point for Angela, who had insisted until now on remaining blindly loyal to Whiterose’s mission. But Philip Price’s revelation that he loved her mother was enough for Angela to realize that she was merely a tool in Whiterose’s plan, chosen simply to hurt Philip. With that, her delusions that Whiterose could bring back her mother faded, and she breaks down. Portia Doubleday, who plays Angela, told Esquire where Angela is after this confession:
Yeah, in the midst of this mental breakdown it all finally starts to hit her that she did these things. That was my fault, I did that, I killed all these people. It’s a moment in time where she actually lets go of the illusion that she’s had, because Price is telling her that what Whiterose said isn’t real. She’s also hearing Price give this monologue about meeting her mom and loving her mom, and she’s thought for this whole season that she and her mom were going to be reunited, so it’s a really emotional moment. But although she does seem to acknowledge the fact that she was duped, I think there’s still a part of her that believes what Whiterose has told her, because of what she’s seen.
Can Angela recover from her horrific arc as a brainwashed tool of a sinister organization to an aimless, fragile person responsible for the deaths of thousands? Doubleday responded that she doesn’t know what is planned next for Angela, but that “We leave her with a sense of vengeance, that she’s going to go after Whiterose, so I’ll be interested to see that. I don’t think it’s going to be a simple recovery.”
Elliot’s New Enemy is an Old One
Now that Elliot has made peace with himself, his new mission to “save the world” is surprisingly similar to his first one. Only this time, he knows who to target. The “top 1% of the 1%” in this case is Whiterose and the Dark Army, but now Elliot finds himself in a wary alliance with them after helping them move their assets to the Congo. Esmail said in an interview with Deadline:
The way we are ending the third season is that we’re coming back to the original promise: Elliot’s mission to take down secret organizations who are controlling things behind the scenes. It’s the first time that Elliot has exposed them and seen their true identity in that they’re being led by White Rose and the Dark Army. It’s an interesting predicament: He has leverage of them, but they have leverage over him as well. It’s an interesting Mexican standoff.
Will Elliot’s renewed attack bring the Dark Army out of the shadows? Or will they remain “out of Elliot’s life” as they promised in the season 3 finale, with Elliot forced to move on to a greater enemy?
Who is the Brave Traveler?
In the post-credits scene of the season 3 finale, a mysterious figure approached Darlene (Carly Chaikin) in front of Elliot’s apartment, calling himself “a brave traveler who has finally come home.” Viewers may remember him as Fernando Vera (Elliot Villar), the drug kingpin who Elliot sent to jail after he found out that Vera was abusing Shayla. But Vera was quick to find out who orchestrated his arrest, blackmailing Elliot to bust him out of prison. For fear of Shayla’s life, Elliot did as he was told, only to discover that Shayla had been already been killed. It was a harrowing moment of failure for Elliot, and Vera’s return can only bode ill.
Esmail confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that Vera will play a “critical part” in the fourth season. He continued:
“I’ve always said this show is about Elliot’s internal and emotional journey. Vera hits that button, given the huge loss Elliot suffered in the first season — and really, I would say his only true connection we’ve seen in the show, his connection with Shayla. This absolutely brings clarity to Elliot’s mission moving forward into the next season.”
It’s likely that Vera will play more of a role than to “hit Elliot’s buttons,” with his cryptic message that he relays to Darlene. He could be there as a wild card to once again threaten Elliot’s loved ones, but it seems like Esmail is setting up Vera to be something more.
What’s Planned for Season 4?
Esmail has previously stated that he planned for Mr. Robot to be a five-season arc, aping the structure of a five-act play. He has changed that structure a bit — stating that season 2 and 3 were more like a combined second act of the story — but that doesn’t change his plans to pivot Elliot’s story and give him a “renewed” mission in season 4. He told THR:
Honestly, I’ve always said it’s four or five seasons, and I’ve said that because I think it’s somewhere in between. Whether that means the next two seasons are two short seasons, or it could technically still be two full ten-episode seasons, we’re still kind of figuring that out. It’s something the writers’ room and I take very seriously. We never want to feel like we’re treading water. Hopefully it fits into two more seasons, but we’re trying to figure out that number.
So far we have a few potential plot threads: Elliot goes after the Dark Army, despite being compromised because of his actions in the season 3 finale. Vera threatens Darlene and Elliot’s loved ones, going on to become Elliot’s main foe. Dom, as the Dark Army’s new mole, hinders Elliot’s mission to take down the Dark Army. Irving (Bobby Cannavale) finishes his novel.
You can read my Mr. Robot season 3 finale review here.
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