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"Mr. Robot": When Does a Series Finale Not Feel Like a Series Finale? [SPOILER REVIEW]
Well, we've arrived at the end of Mr. Robot, friend. It was touch and go for awhile there, but we made it. Like I have to say it at this point, but last night's special two-part episode wasn't just the season finale, it was the entire season finale for the show. There are MAJOR SPOILERS moving forward, just to be clear.
Now that you've been warned, let's get into it.
That was…an ending alright. It wrapped everything up – but then again, everything main plot wise was basically tied up at the end of the last episode before we went totally through the looking glass.
Did they go full sci-fi and have WhiteRose's machine really take things back to an alternate timeline and give everyone a world without pain? The first half of the two hour finale says yes – we see the same part of the fantasy dream thing we saw at the end of the last episode…except we see it from the perspective of "real Elliot" – the one who just had his entire world turned upside down by this whole crazy thing.
Real Elliot is freaking TF out: Darlene doesn't exist, his parents are loving and fantastic, and he has an entirely different version of himself who lives in this world. But we still know something's off by the tell-tale "things are fishy here" nosebleed. Did Stranger Things change the whole landscape of television this way? It would appear so here, even though it's just mentioned in passing and never brought up again.
And finally – nearly halfway through, we get Elliot v Elliot in Mr. Robot's rendition of Living with Yourself. There is absolutely no way the show is doing us dirty and making this a real ending. Real Elliot is a figment of happy Elliot's imagination? No way. I refuse to accept it.
Aah, and then he kills happy Elliot and assumes his life and takes Angela. That sounds more like the Elliot we know. It is weird though that they aired it with end credits between the two parts. Maybe it was distributed like that for future syndication? Who knows.
And it's at this point the novelty has worn off for me. Now we get the tedium of Elliot covering up his alternate self's murder and assuming his life. Except our Elliot has issues and problems and it's not that he doesn't deserve to be happy, but he's got so many issues that it feels cheap and kind of pointless to give him a happily ever after.
Bless Mr. Robot (the real and one and only Mr. Robot) for speaking reason – as always. Now it's time to watch Elliot try his best but twist it all up into a monstrous mess of a balloon animal instead.
Seriously – what on earth did this turn into? The whole payoff of this better be good, because an hour and a half of alternate timeline bullsh*t is getting a little tedious now. The appeal of this show is that it's rooted firmly in reality – Sam Esmail worked hard to depict hacking in an accurate way, and he has. For the final episode to expect us watching in the moment to believe that a machine went off and made everyone's lives perfect, but still put our incredibly messed up Elliot in the middle it is laughable and a little annoying.
I know it pays off here soon with the reveal that it's all an escapism creation of Elliot's screwed up brain and his personalities vying for control, but in the moment with it dragged out that long, it's a little tedious.
"This doesn't make any f*cking sense," we're right there with you, "real Elliot".
Spending the entire finale in Elliot's head watching his personalities fight for balance and control was an interesting idea for an episode – I would appreciate it more if it wasn't a finale gimmick.
It feels like this episode pair is a more natural fit closer to halfway through the season. If it were up to me, I'd re-order them to be right after the Vera's murder episode, but cut off before he wakes up. Then play the other episodes with the hospital and everything after being the very very end.
Overall it was entertaining, but I personally enjoy Mr. Robot for more of the commentary on society and less for the Split type twists and war of personalities.
I guess as far as finales goes, it wasn't the worst. I mean, at least it didn't end with him abandoning every sense of a life he knew and chopping wood in the pacific northwest, so I guess there's that.
So, Happy Holidays – we get the mystery of Elliot's disassociative identity disorder all wrapped up in a "happy holiday" bow (not like we needed it) with a shiny "it's all over" montage at the end. Did this finale make your holidays happy, or is it now the reason you spike your eggnog and get surly at family gatherings?
However you felt about it, it's over and it was quite a journey. Thanks for sticking the journey out with me week after week. I hope your final days of 2019 are fantastic and 2020 brings you new shows to fill the Mr. Robot shaped void in your television.