TV Reviews

Mr. Robot Season 3 Episode 10: eps3.9_shutdown-r Review

If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.

Synopsis: Elliot tries to save Darlene, but things don’t go as planned; Mr. Robot must decide whether to step up or step back. (IMDB)

Writer: Sam Esmail

Director: Sam Esmail

Rating: TV-MA

Runtime: 45min

Mr. Robot’s third season has easily catapulted itself back into the conversation for being one of the best shows currently on television. It has had some small bumps along the way, but it also has managed to tell an incredibly addicting and engaging story albeit in very fresh and interesting ways. This season was filled with well-crafted shots, compelling narratives, and an almost perfect soundtrack. It is also worth mentioning that this season also featured one of the best TV episodes in several years with the entire one-shot in episode 5. So it is expected that after a very strong season there would be an equally strong season finale and this episode did not disappoint.

The episode begins with The Dark Army on the search for Elliot. They know that Stage 3 isn’t real and they’re seeking to get Elliot’s side of the story aka kill him. Darlene is taken by Agent Santiago in a rash decision due to her knowledge of how to undo the events of 5/9. This triggers Dom to become aware of Santiago as a traitor and gets her kidnapped alongside Darlene as well. Elliot, in a move of self-preservation, manages to hack into The Dark Army’s complete network as insurance against any harm coming to him or his family. This is also the moment where Elliot comes to terms with Mr. Robot as they reconnect and reevaluate their priorities both with what lies ahead and with one another.

This conversation brings Elliot to an epiphany that drives his motivations for the remainder of the episode; there is as much of Mr. Robot in Elliot as there is Elliot in Mr. Robot. This is a profound realization for Elliot because it shows that Mr. Robot isn’t the one-track anarchistic sliver of his personality that he thought he was. He does have a rational and forgiving side much like Elliot does. There were various examples of this throughout the episode as Mr. Robot revealed that he still would’ve gone through with Stage 2, but he would’ve found another way instead of blowing up the 71 E Corps buildings, but the greatest example of this was the reveal that Mr. Robot, not Romero, sent the encrypted keys during the 5/9 attacks as a failsafe. When confronted with this by Elliot, Mr. Robot’s response was simply, “It’s what you would’ve done.”

One of the best parts of the entire episode was the scenes taking place at the remote barn owned by The Dark Army. Elliot, Darlene, Dom, Santiago, Irving, and Leon were all there waiting on Grant, WhiteRose’s number two, but before he arrived Irving took it upon himself to conduct some house cleaning of his own. Words cannot accurately describe the scene to its full justice, but the amount of force with which Irving brought down that axe into Santiago’s chest and the sound it made was incredibly disturbing. It was nice to see Irving show a little more of himself but it was also deeply troubling. Either way, he’s earned himself a sabbatical and will hopefully finish that book he’s been wanting to complete for a while. As a result of his necessary action, Dom is now reluctantly an employee of The Dark Army. This scene was almost heartbreaking to watch as Irving called out every family member that Dom had in an effort to show her just how broad their reach was, however, he did this while still taking an axe to Santiago’s corpse so some of the subtlety was lost but the point was very well made.

Once Grant arrives, Elliot takes this opportunity to reveal that he has successfully hacked The Dark Army’s network in an effort to preserve Darlene. He also states that he’s found a way to move WhiteRose’s project to the Congo which has been something that she and her Army have not been able to accomplish. This triggers a response from WhiteRose, who is watching all of these events via webcam, that eliminates the Dark Army henchman and causes Grant to take his own life. Seeing this gesture for what it was, Elliot makes good on his promise to make the Congo delivery occur for WhiteRose.

The third act of this episode is one of the most touching because it shows Mr. Robot and Elliot coming to a middle ground and realizing that they need to work together in order for both of them to be at their best. They both have elements of one another in them and as a result, can accomplish anything they set their mind upon. They have a great conversation with each other on the subway platform both being fully vulnerable to one another and Elliot reveals that his next move, after reversing the 5/9 hacks, is that he is planning on going after those who play God without permission and bring them all down.

By now, it’s been reported that Mr. Robot is renewed for a fourth season which is reason for excitement because while this finale was a great ending to the 5/9 hacks, Stage 2 and more it also allowed for Elliot and Mr. Robot to stop fighting one another and come together and form a powerful team working towards a common goal rather than be pawns used by a shadowy omnipotent Army. I for one am happy that we will get to see this plan carried out next season and hope that Mr. Robot’s fourth season can follow and build upon the exciting storytelling they’ve managed to create in its third season. This season has been a wild ride and has marked a return to greatness for a show that seemed to slightly lose its way in the second season, but all of that doubt is washed away after this incredible run of episodes.

Score: 9/10

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