‘Mr. Robot’ Season 3 Finale Recap ‘eps3.9_shutdown-r’: The One Percent

In the ‘Mr. Robot’ recap for the season 3 finale, Elliot comes face to face with the Dark Army and his inner demons about Mr. Robot while Angela receives some shocking news…

By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer

A tense and taut ‘Mr. Robot’ season three came to an end on Wednesday night with possibly one of the best hours of television all year with several stories being wrapped up, all while setting the stage for the third and final act in creator Sam Esmail’s carefully plotted story.

Now it’s safe to say that ‘Mr. Robot’ season two took the show off course — it wasn’t a bad batch of episodes by any means, but the show really lost focus on the main story at hand after Elliot Alderson and his rag tag group of hackers helped to bring down the largest and most powerful corporation in the world.

Instead, ‘Mr. Robot’ season two was more about personal conflict as Elliot was battling against himself more than attempting to face the reality of his hack or the powerful behind-the-curtain forces that helped him launch the attack. ‘Mr. Robot’ season three still gave some deep insight into Elliot’s fractured mind while giving us reasons why Mr. Robot was created in the first place — but the plot also moved along at an intense pace, all barreling towards the final showdown that we have to imagine is coming over the course of the next couple of seasons.

‘Mr. Robot’ was renewed for season four on USA Network on Wednesday as well but it’s unknown at this time how much longer Esmail envisions the show going. One thing is for certain — after the ‘Mr. Robot’ season three finale, time is ticking on everybody left alive.

With that said, let’s recap the ‘Mr. Robot’ season three finale titled ‘eps3.9_shutdown-r’…


Following last week’s episode where Whiterose’s assistant Grant convinced her that Elliot Alderson had become a liability rather than an asset, she gave the go ahead on his assassination. So the season three finale picks up after that decision was made with the Dark Army kicking in Elliot’s door, prepared for an execution but he’s not at home.

Instead, Elliot is camped out next door at Shayla’s apartment listening to everything the Dark Army is doing until they leave. Once he’s certain they’re gone, Elliot wanders back to his own home and sees the place has been ransacked but the Dark Army has no real idea what they were looking for, especially regarding his location.

Still, Elliot is panicking because if the Dark Army is coming after him, then they are probably going after his sister Darlene as well and that’s one casualty he’s not willing to spare.

Elliot races to the rendezvous point — the arcade on Coney Island where fsociety was first born — but Darlene is nowhere to be found.

In reality, Darlene is still locked up at FBI headquarters after her plan to break in to steal the hard drives in custody from her former partner Romero had backfired. Darlene seduced Agent Dom DiPierro but she got caught trying to steal her ID badge and it ended up with an arrest.

Unfortunately, Dom handed Darlene over to her boss Santiago, not knowing that he’s been a secret operative for the Dark Army this entire time. We saw Santiago call Irving last week in a panic asking what he should do after Darlene was caught and basically confirmed that she could undo everything from the Five-Nine hack.

It seems Irving instructed Santiago to take Darlene out of custody and drive to that secluded farm where they stashed Tyrell Wellick for months after the Five-Nine hack occurred. Santiago does as ordered but he underestimates Dom’s detection skills after she tries to turn over her report to the new agent handling Darlene’s case, but he’s dumbfounded because he’s never been told anything about this arrest.

Dom quickly surmises that something fishy is happening as she searches the building for Darlene but finds every interrogation room and holding cell empty. Finally, Dom tracks Santiago to the parking garage where he’s just seconds away from absconding with Darlene until she arrives and asks what exactly he’s doing.

Santiago tries to play it off — but the heat is on and he’s clearly not build to handle things under pressure — and she quickly deduces that he’s not where he should be much less that Darlene is headed to a different holding cell as ordered. Instead, Dom decides to call Santiago’s boss for confirmation so the FBI agent in charge only has one choice left to make.

He cold cocks Dom and takes her prisoner alongside Darlene before all three of them drive to the farm in upstate New York.

As for Elliot, as he’s reaching a critical point in concern over his sister’s safety, he has no choice but to confront his other half that he’s been stamping down all season long. Elliot grew scared of Mr. Robot over time and the majority of this season has been spent with them in conflict with each other, constantly battling for control.

With Darlene in peril, Elliot lets his guard down long enough to seek out Mr. Robot while riding the Ferris Wheel at Coney Island.

The two speak as equals for once rather than constantly at odds with each other as Elliot asks for his help finding Darlene while also fishing out some information from Mr. Robot about the Phase 2 attacks. Mr. Robot admits that while he wanted to take down Evil Corp, destroying 71 buildings and killing thousands of innocent people was never what he wanted or planned.

Remember for all the ways that Elliot and Mr. Robot have been at odds these past two seasons, the reality is they are cut from the same cloth. It’s very much like ‘Fight Club’, which is obviously an inspiration for this series — the Narrator played by Edward Norton creates this alternate personality that basically lives out his darkest and most sinister desires, giving him the freedom to do everything he’s ever wanted to do but was never brave enough to pull it off. In essence, Tyler Durden was always the Narrator — he was just a different, morphed and perhaps damaged version.

The same could be said for Mr. Robot and Elliot Alderson — they’ve always been two halves of the same person, no matter how different they seemed at times. This revelation leads to Mr. Robot telling Elliot about the mole inside the FBI that he discovered while working with Wellick on Phase 2 for all those months.

Elliot quickly tracks down Santiago’s apartment, looking for clues where he might have gone or better yet, where he could have taken Darlene. Just as he starts to decode some numbers leftover on a Red Wheelbarrow BBQ menu, Irving arrives to handle the other part of this equation.

Irving will gladly take Elliot to see his sister — although ultimately he may not appreciate the end result once they reach this destination.

Clean Up

Once Irving arrives at the farm with Elliot in tow — with Mr. Robot riding along as well — everybody is taken into the barn where they reconvene with Darlene and Dom, who have been sitting there waiting as well. Elliot’s first concern is his sister’s safety but Irving has bigger problems to deal with right now — namely Santiago mucking up his cover and allowing another FBI agent to discover that he’s a Dark Army operative.

That forces Irving to lead Dom out to the wood pile — where Wellick was chopping away with an axe for month — and as he disrobes so his shirt won’t get stained, Santiago pleads with his highly capable agent to turn traitor and agree to work with the Dark Army as well to save her life. Of course, we learn in rather quick and brutal fashion that Santiago was nothing more than a pawn in this game with no real power to call the shots.

That’s made abundantly clear when Irving’s axe swings and plunges directly into Santiago’s chest.

The initial fling of blood from the axe smacks Dom in the face, and the horror she displays in that moment tells you just how jarring this must be to witness. Irving goes onto chop up Santiago — somewhat out of necessity, somewhat out of his own personal desire — while forcing Dom to become the Dark Army’s newest agent inside the FBI.

Dom tries to resist — after all she watched the Dark Army cut down her friends and colleagues in that ambush in China not to mention Cisco’s murder after he was expected to be a key witness for the FBI — and she despises what Santiago did to orchestrate all of that. Still as Irving rattles off personal information about Dom’s entire family — including locations and daily routines — she has no choice but to acquiesce to his demands.

Inside her heart, Dom is absolutely shattered because now she’s under the Dark Army’s thumb after doing everything in her power to bring them down over this past year. Now she’s going to be nothing more than their puppet, called onto betray her country and every principle she holds dear.

After Dom is sent back into the barn, covered in blood, but free to roam around now that she’s got her new assignment, Irving gets dressed just as Grant and his goons arrive. Elliot has known for a while that they weren’t brought there simply to kill because if that was the case, they’d already be dead. Instead, Elliot knows that someone with a position of power was about to show up and he knows someone even more powerful is watching from above when he spots a security camera inside the barn.

Somewhere, Whiterose is seeing this all unfold.

Outside the barn, Irving tells Grant that his work is done and he’s going on a nice beach vacation where he can hopefully finish his long gestating book. Grant barks at him that he’s not allowed to leave but we learn rather quickly that Irving doesn’t take orders from him.

Irving reminds Grant that a few years ago he was in this same position as Whiterose’s proxy but now he’s moved onto bigger and better things and only one person gets to order him around right now. Irving then hops in his car, no doubt bound for a tropical vacation while we all start to understand the real power structure behind the Dark Army.

Whiterose is the one calling the shots and Irving is the one she tasks to execute her every order.

Bang, Bang

Time is starting to run short for Elliot as Grant arrives, tasked with executing the hacker and his sister to keep them quiet after their usefulness has run its course.

Elliot quickly reminds Grant that when they met last week to talk about a fake Phase 3 that he was able to install some malware on the Dark Army mainframe that gave him access to everything the group has been going. Grant scoffs that anybody could hack the Dark Army but Elliot begins reeling off plots, payoff and illegal activities that no one outside of the key leadership could know about unless he actually gained access.

Elliot then promises that he can help finish what Whiterose started — he can orchestrate the move of the Washington Township nuclear power plant to the Congo just as she’s always wanted. Remember, Whiterose has always had major plans for this power plant but it was in danger thanks to Angela Moss’ lawsuit and potential investigations from the American government. Whiterose even went as far as annexing another country so her precious power plant could be relocated but sanctions have held up any move, which only further frustrates her to no end.

For all of Elliot’s revelations and promises, Grant seems unimpressed and he’s just about to pull the trigger when Leon — the Dark Army guardian angel who kept Elliot safe in prison — executes every Dark Army operative in the room minus Grant. When a phone starts buzzing, Leon informs Grant that it’s his to answer.

On the other end, Whiterose professes her love for Grant but also remarks how he never understood Elliot’s potential nor his ability to help their cause. She utters some final words to him but rather than being executed, Grant turns the gun on himself, committing suicide after shouting some sort of phrase in Chinese.

Elliot realizes in that moment that his fast thinking has saved everyone’s lives but he still has to complete one more task to avoid being murdered. Leon opens a computer and tells Elliot to do what he said he could do to help Whiterose’s power plan get moved to the Congo.

It seems Elliot discovered a humanitarian shipment being allowed to crossover borders by the Coast Guard to provide relief to Iran. That shipment is big enough to move Whiterose’s plant from the U.S. to the Congo without anybody else being the wiser. Of course, Leon warns Elliot what happens if his plan doesn’t work but he’s confident that he’s just helped Whiterose complete a task that no one else could.

Leon exits and the entire group is free to go.

Darlene tries her best to comfort Dom after her horrific day but the FBI agent now beholden to the Dark Army lashes out instead. Dom declares that the day she met Darlene as the worst of her entire life because now everything she’s ever believed in has crumbled around her.

Finally, Elliot and Darlene head back to the city with plans to undo the Five-Nine hack after getting access courtesy of Dom’s logins, per orders from the Dark Army. As it was revealed during the interrogation, the Dark Army never cared about the Five-Nine hack or Evil Corp’s records being recovered — this was always about a larger goal so appeasing Elliot’s wishes doesn’t harm anything they are doing going forward.

That’s when Elliot discovers something rather odd — the hard drives that belonged to Romero prove that he was tracking everybody in fsociety to see what they were doing but he never saved the information that could restore Evil Corp’s files from the Five-Nine hack. Instead, Romero’s tracking showed who really did back up those files — it was Mr. Robot himself.

Daddy Issues

In one of the only side stories during the finale, we find out that Angela being picked up by operatives in an unmarked van last week while she was in the middle of a breakdown was actually Phillip Price’s actions, not Whiterose.

Angela has been suffering through a mental break ever since Phase 2 ended up killing thousands, which was something she never signed up to help the Dark Army do despite promising Whiterose her assistance. When she arrives at Price’s estate, he begins explaining his reasons for being so entranced by her and why she ultimately became such an important part of this entire ordeal.

It seems Price knew Angela’s mother Emily when they were both working at Evil Corp together and their friendship eventually involved into a relationship. Sadly, Price had no desire to fall in love so he kept Emily at arm’s length, which only served to hurt her even more. When Emily revealed that she was pregnant, she told Price that he would have nothing to do with her child and the two of them split apart with plans to never see each other again. Sadly, Price had to watch as Emily died after contracting cancer from working near Whiterose’s precious power plant but he never lost sight of their daughter.

Yes, Philip Price is Angela’s biological father.

Now that might all seem a little too soap opera but it does explain why Price was so enamored with her from the start. It explains why Price was willing to work with All-Safe, a company that was ill suited to handle the security needs of Evil Corp. It’s why Price groomed Angela as his pet project while she worked at Evil Corp and why she was never to be harmed by the Dark Army despite her lawsuit against the company.

Price has been protecting Angela from afar, even if she had no idea why he was doing it.

Angela doesn’t believe him at first but then confesses everything she’s been a part of up until now. She’s still broken inside after all those people died during the Phase 2 attacks, but Price offers her up some sort of comfort — not so much as her father but more so as somebody else who also was forced to play a part — they’ve both been nothing more than pawns in Whiterose’s petty game. Angela was manipulated into helping her thanks to Whiterose’s promise to bring back her mother — another hint that there may be some sort of time travel advancement attached to this mysterious power plant — but in reality she was just another piece of the puzzle that helped the Dark Army finish their agenda.

The One-Percent of One-Percent

On the train ride back to the city, Elliot and his sister share a moment together when she asks him about a moment from their childhood that he brought up recently. It was the time they built a snowman together and called him Kevin McCallister — the kid from ‘Home Alone’ — and he mentions that it popped up in his head while remembering the day that their father pushed him out of a window and broke his arm for telling their mother that he had cancer.

That’s when Darlene shocks Elliot by telling him the reality of what actually happened because she was in the room.

Darlene explains that Elliot went into a blind rage that day like he just snapped and started swinging his baseball bat at everything and anything in his room. Finally, Elliot broke the window and when his father arrived, he threatened to jump out if he came any closer. Elliot finally followed through on his threat by leaping from the window, falling to the ground and breaking his own arm.

This revelation rocks Elliot, who has lived with the pain and guilt from this moment for years. Not only was Elliot convinced that his father hurt him on purpose but as we saw a few weeks ago, he was still tormented with guilt after watching his dad die right in front of his eyes while he just wandered into a movie theater by himself as if he didn’t care. It turns out, Edward Alderson’s diagnosis with cancer may have been the very moment when Elliot’s psyche split into two parts, creating Mr. Robot as a father figure because he know his real dad was destined to die.

After Darlene leaves the train, Elliot gets off at the next stop where he holds a heart-to-heart with Mr. Robot. They both confess that this entire time they’ve been fighting against each other is probably why things have been so screwed up. They are two parts of the same person, which means they were supposed to work together rather than apart. Mr. Robot then admits that he saved the information to restore the data lost from the Five-Nine hack because that’s exactly what Elliot would have done.

After all, they are still a part of each other no matter how opposite they’ve been these past two seasons.

Elliot returns to his apartment and finds the CD that Mr. Robot burned with the information to restore Evil Corp’s hacked records. With a few keystrokes after finding the codes hidden in a Halloween photo where he was dressed up as Marty McFly and his father was Doc Brown — another reference to time travel — he sends the information to Evil Corp. Elliot has now erased the Five-Nine hack and helped restore Evil Corp to full power.

While that might seem like an impossibly bad idea, perhaps Evil Corp regaining strength will ultimately help Elliot with his true purpose now.

He wants to bring down the one-percent of the one-percent in power — Elliot wants to bring down the Dark Army.

The Brave Traveler

In a post credit scene, Darlene is seen walking back towards her brother’s apartment while she shares a conversation with a prostitute she’s just met. Their conversation revolves around the possibility of the Five-Nine hack being reversed and what that would mean for the average person affected by Evil Corp toppling over.

As the prostitute notes, while her life has fallen apart since Evil Corp was crippled, reinstating the data only puts her back in debt after all the money she owes is once again accounted for. In other words, damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

The whole way back, Darlene and the prostitute are being followed by a car that looks all too familiar. Finally when the prostitute leaves, the men inside the car get out and approach Elliot’s building and begin talking with Darlene.

She asks who they are and the lead man responds that he’s just a brave traveler.

The camera pans back to reveal Fernando Vera has returned — the brave traveler was his Twitter handle where he dealt drugs in New York City before Elliot shut him down.

A quick history lesson if you don’t remember — Fernando Vera was the drug deal responsible for Elliot’s fix back in season one but he was also involved with his next door neighbor Shayla. Elliot eventually figured out that Fernando was hurting Shayla as they started to have a relationship of their own and he orchestrated a sting to put the drug dealer behind bars.

Sadly, Elliot underestimated Vera because his gang kidnapped Shayla to force him to hack a way to escape jail. With Shayla in peril, Elliot had no other choice but to comply and he helped Vera escape jail before he left the city.

Before fleeing, however, Vera left Elliot with a parting gift. In the trunk of the car they had been driving around in all day long was the body of his girl Shayla — she had been murdered long ago and Vera had no intention of returning her to Elliot unharmed. Shayla’s death was just another catastrophic loss for Elliot and Vera remains the only person to cross him over three seasons and completely get away with it.

Now Fernando Vera is back but for what we won’t know until ‘Mr. Robot’ season four debuts next year.

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