Warning: Spoiler Alert
“Michael Hanson” arranges for a meeting with Krista at a place they used to frequent under romantic assumptions. Krista has her guard up, ready to defend against Michael’s charms. She is here because she believes he is dying. Michael puts that notion to bed almost immediately. He used a lie to get her there. Michael wants her help in bringing down Elliot Alderson. Michael feels violated. As if 1) His feeble life is worth more than everyone else’s and 2) As if this was the worst thing to happen at the hands of Elliot Alderson. Krista, with some resistance, endures this meeting for as long as she can. She too has been violated by Elliot’s hacks. However, she cannot see clear to aid Michael in his pursuits to take down Elliot. Michael returns home. He turns on his television just in time to witness the unraveling of the world. His marriage, girlfriends, and dog probably don’t seem so important now.
Elliot wakes up in Tyrell’s suv. With the world falling apart, there is no use of credit cards or electronic finances. So the lot attendant informs Elliot that they will need to proceed with this arrangement with cash. All the while, Elliot is completely disoriented. He has no idea where he is or how he got there.
Angela, dressed for work, nervously rides the subway to her new job at Evil Corp. Meanwhile on the other side of town, Elliot arrives at f_society. The team has been wiping drives and covering their tracks. Elliot still does not know what has happened. Elliot has been gone for three days. Darlene tells him that the last ‘execute’ went off without a hitch. News and the hacker community are a buzz over what this might mean. Darlene asks if he’s still seeing ‘him’. On the outside he says no, but on the inside he says he needs to. Elliot tries to leave when Darlene says they need his help with the cleanup. Elliot shows the first signs of remorse. “I told you, we shouldn’t have done this.”
Elliot makes his way back to the city to find Tyrell Wellick. There is a controlled sense of panic everywhere, specifically in the Evil Corp building. Elliot swims his way through the people to find Wellick’s former assistant. Shortly after learning that Tyrell doesn’t work there anymore, all attention turns to the monitors. Another f_society PSA. The man in the mask on tv makes the announcement that all of Evil Corp’s financial data has been effectively destroyed.
Man In The Mask: Remember to repeat these words. We are f_society. We are finally free. We are finally awake.
The VP of Technology at Evil Corp, James Plouffe, prepares to do a television interview and he is clearly on edge. Angela attempted to organize his talking points on index cards, but that doesn’t stop him from snapping at her expense. He does apologize for his behavior.
f_society minus Elliot show up and what looks like a dog kennel with all of their digital evidence. CPU’s, disk drives, etc. They do not approve of this man’s job, putting down dogs, but the evidence must be removed from the equation. The employee unlocks a back door that leads to the incinerator where the deceased dogs are cremated. The team burn the computer equipment, and before they leave, they release all of the dogs. A rebellion inside a larger rebellion.
Elliot knocks on Tyrell Wellick’s front door rather hard when Mrs. Wellick arrives. She is polite and cryptic. A combination that keeps Elliot’s mind moving. It doesn’t take long before he gets the sense that she’s hiding something or knows something. He gives her the name Ollie as his own before finding any opportunity to remove himself from this interaction.
On camera, James Plouffe tows the company line. They are working on the technical aspect of the problem. The people have nothing to worry about. Then the interviewer presses on. She will not let him skate by this like it were nothing of consequence. Then like a light switch, he smoothly changes his tone. While he explains how his life is now effectively over, he pulls out his bag. The same bag he ripped into Angela for moving. As he explains the demise of this life he built, he pulls a handgun from inside the bag, looks off camera and tells everyone to calm down just before he puts the barrel in his mouth and pulls the trigger.
For anyone who might be wondering, this has to be the scene that prompted the USA Network promptly and respectfully decided to postpone this finale in the wake of the Virginia shooting last week. While the subject of the graphic images from this finale did not necessarily mimic the events in Virginia, the graphic nature not completely dissimilar. That said, USA Network made the right decision to postpone.
Angela sits not quite catatonic in a lobby when Phillip Price (Evil Corp head honcho) walks into the room. He is mildly disarming. He goes out of his way to convey to Angela that it’s perfectly fine if she needs to go home after what happened. That sense turns slightly when he suggests she be at the press conference later where she may learn some valuable things by watching. She matter of factly says no. His tone dips a little bit more than he puts some cash on the table in front of.
Phillip Price: You’ll need new shoes. Those won’t do anymore. (because they’re covered in blood)
Elliot returns to Wellick’s suv. He rummaged through it looking for any clues that could shed some light on what happened. He pulls back on the sunroof shade and a pair of sunglasses fall to the passenger seat. At first a disappointing clue. Then Elliot pulls off one of the sunglasses arms, revealing a very clever place to his a USB flash drive.
Darlene returns to f_society with the final piece of the cleanup puzzle. They will be hosting an end of the world party on the premises. This way, even if anyone one pegs them as responsible, there are no drives, no computers and an insane amount of fingerprints everywhere.
Elliot takes this ‘flash drive’ to a cyber cafe. He is quickly able to hack the password on the drive. It’s a video of Elliot sitting on the railing at the Coney Island park where Mr. Robot shoved him off of said railing. Only problem is, there is no Mr. Robot. Elliot’s sits, presumably talking to himself, then just like that, flings himself off of the railing. Neither Wellick nor Mr. Robot will show themselves so Elliot decides to draw one of them out. He attempts to turn himself in by confessing to 911. Before he can get the sentence out, Mr. Robot appears.
Their interaction is not friendly. During which, we get to see how the rest of the rest of the world must see Elliot when he ‘sees things’. We the viewers see him strangling Mr. Robot. The random strangers see Elliot strangling himself. (TYLER DURDEN THEORY INTACT!) Call it self-preservation or the delusion taking control, but Mr. Robot (or Elliot, I’m beginning to lose track at this point) makes a comment to a large stranger about coitus with the stranger’s mother. The stranger slugs him in the eye. Then we see Mr. Robot standing over Elliot and eventually helping him up.
Mr. Robot: You’re losing it kiddo. I’m only supposed to be your prophet. You’re supposed to be my God.
Angela did reconsider Price’s offer for the press conference. He notices her and her look of curiosity. He indulges her questions. He is confident that they will survive this momentary period of chaos because whatever this is, was perpetrated by people. No monsters, no aliens, people. She also can’t believe they are permitting her, knowing who she is, access into their world. Price was impressed by her determination and fight. Something they’ll need going forward. Then Price reveals something more telling. While he is generally a disarming man, he was all but pleased to see James take his own life. He was weak and Price hates that about people.
Mr. Robot helps Elliot limp through the city until they find themselves in what looks like Times Square amidst an f_society rally. Mr. Robot throws him against a wall when he’s finally had enough of Elliot’s whining. Elliot begins to converse with Inner Elliot. Mid thought, Mr. Robot interrupts and demands Elliot “stop talking to them”. Mr. Robot can hear Elliot’s thoughts. For a very specific reason. Then the dialogue shifts slightly. This is the first time we’ve heard or seen any concept towards the idea that Elliot, Inner Elliot and Mr. Robot aren’t necessarily all on the same team. This could be nothing or it could reveal a larger series arch. Inner Elliot and Mr. Robot are opposing perspectives.
If that wasn’t enough for you to pick up your brain off the floor, Elliot’s mother confirms this notion. Now Elliot is staring at Dad, Mom, and his younger self all telling him he is hurting the whole family. Elliot begins to think to Inner Elliot that these people aren’t real. Mr. Robot interjects again, “Neither is whoever you’re talking to”. This sends Mr. Robot into an almost hippie-esque rant about how nothing is real. Elliot wants to be alone, despite earlier episodes that would suggest he hated being alone. Eventually he yells it out hard enough that when he opens his eyes, he is alone, or so he thinks. He walks around until he turns upon a large jumbo-tron.
Mom, Dad, and young Elliot stand together on a sandy beach, looking more like the loving family one hopes for and less like the nightmare he remembered in previous episodes. Mr. Robot claims they came because Elliot asked them to. Young Elliot tells actual Elliot that they can’t leave. They are inside of him and he is inside of them. Elliot begins to break down, “I don’t know what to do”. Mr. Robot leans in close to the figurative camera.
Mr. Robot: I’ll tell you exactly what you’re going to do. You’re going to start listening to us. The world is a better place because of what we did, Elliot. You’re going to realize that one way or another. Here’s what I need you to do now.
Elliot, shaken and confused gets on the subway. He gets off on his stop. Makes his way to his apartment. Sits in front of his dual monitor display and revel in the chaos he has created. This is followed by a video montage of what this carnage is doing to world governments, not limited to the United States. Then there is a loud knock on his door. Elliot turns slowly looking over his shoulder and directly into the viewers eyes with a curious grin. He walks towards his door. Before he can open the door…fade to black. Credits.
If it ended there I would be content, even satisfied with this entire first season. Including the finale we graciously waited two weeks for. There is another scene. This one is cryptic so I won’t try to simulate the delivery. The thing to take away is that we were left with enough of a cliff hanger to be satisfied when Elliot approached his apartment door. This next scene opens up even more doors. Introducing questions we did not even know were part of the story even 30 seconds earlier. One thing is for sure, if you were hoping for closure, I’ve got bad news for you. I personally see it as good news. This show was never going to give closure by the end of season 1. This is a much larger story that hopefully will take three or four seasons to tell.
Let’s approach this like a Marvel Studios post credit scene. A new Asian man (new to this show, but he is familiar on some level so I expect him to be a major player in season 2). The man sits down in a nice chair, in front of a fire-place just adjacent to Phillip Price. There is a real familiarity. These are not acquaintances, they are business partners of some sort. The Asian man wants to discuss a business deal that could not be further from Mr. Price’s priorities. Mr. Price wants to listen to the music. A young woman is playing a harp not that far in front of the two men. Whatever this ‘deal’ is, revolves around the Congo. The Asian man then asserts that ‘they’ (Price included) know the identity of the person responsible for this new chaos. And they will deal with him in the typical way. The Asian man tells a quick anecdote about how Emperor Nero played a similar instrument…(the man’s watch alarms, he tends to it, then continues)…a similar instrument as he watched the Roman Empire burn.
“Mr. Robot returns with an all new season next year”. USA Network has made every episode of Mr. Robot season one available on-line or on-demand. This is exactly the kind of show that merits re-watching it. I recommend binging it, but either way, we will be here for season two, recapping, and yelling at our televisions right along with you.