‘Mr. Robot’ Series Finale Explained: Hello, Elliot

‘Mr. Robot’ has come to an end after four seasons with one final twist unraveled in the last episode…

By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer

Hello, friend.

From the moment “Mr. Robot” started four seasons ago, the point of view that we the audience were seeing came largely through the eyes of Elliot Alderson — a hacker activist, hell bent on tearing down the elite, the powerful and the ultra-wealthy, by any means necessary.

What started out as an homage to computer hackers soon transformed into a series about mental health and one man’s struggle to identify with himself. From the penultimate episode of season 1 when Elliot discovered that the person he thought was the leader behind fsociety — the group he joined in hopes of bringing down the powerful E Corp — was actually a figment of his own imagination.

Actually, Mr. Robot was not an imaginary friend as much as he was a piece of Elliot’s own fractured psyche that splintered when he was a child as he suffered through immense trauma. He created Mr. Robot as a way to deal with that pain and Elliot gave him the same face as his father, who had passed away years earlier.

As the seasons moved forward, Elliot continued to struggle with his own mental state as he seemingly faded from consciousness and questioned his own reality on more than a few occasions. In the midst of all of this, Elliot also brought down E Corp, helped build it back up again, turned his attention to the deadly Dark Army and faced off with the enigmatic Whiterose, who was equal parts puppeteer and madman as she pulled the strings behind the scenes while secretly serving her own purposes in order to create what she called a better world.

The final season of “Mr. Robot” largely focused on Elliot’s last gasp to bring down Whiterose and her Dark Army, not to mention the legion of rich fat cats, who only served to add a few more zeroes to their bank account while drinking society dry. What Whiterose and her cronies were doing was akin to that comparison about wealth distribution in the United States — if the economy was a pizza with 10 slices, they took nine and left the last piece for everybody else to divide.

Through sheer will and an undying thirst for vengeance, Elliot and his sister along with an assist from E-Corp CEO Phillip Price and a few others, he brought down Whiterose, her conglomerate of rich assholes and stopped her precious project from ever seeing the light of day.

But at the end of the last episode after Elliot stopped a nuclear reactor from melting down, thus destroying his hometown and pretty much half the eastern seaboard, he woke up in a much different life than the one he left.

The voices inside Elliot’s head were gone — instead he was filled with happiness because he was a successful businessman, running his own company and preparing to marry the woman he loved — Angela Moss.

Now in the “other” world, Angela had been murdered by Whiterose and her co-conspirators but in this alternate reality, Elliot was very much in love with the girl he knew growing up. In fact, they were so deeply in love that they were just 24 hours away from wedding bells.

One look at that alternate world had many viewers wondering if the rumors were true — that Whiterose was building some sort of machine that could literally tear through the fabric of reality. She was devastated years earlier when the man she fell in love with died and perhaps this machine was her ill-fated attempt to reunite with him in a world where they could be together. Elliot waking up in a similarly idyllic alternate reality where he was free from trauma and about to marry Angela made it all seem possible.

As it turns out, that was all inside Elliot’s head.

The finale split into two parts largely follows Elliot in this alternate reality as he spends time with his mother, who is a far cry from the abusive monster who raised him. He sees his father, who is a loving, supporting parent unlike the dad who sexual molested him as a kid. He finds out that he’s marrying Angela and her parents are both very much alive and well — her mother never died of cancer and her father, Phillip Price, had stayed with her for all these years.

But Elliot’s look into this new reality soon comes crumbling down around him when he’s confronted with a different version of himself from this world. This is the Elliot who was marrying Angela and turned AllSafe into a highly successful computer defense company. This was the Elliot who forged a strong bond with his father and still went home to New Jersey to visit his mother.

But our Elliot — the one who was a hacker activist — desperately wanted this life for himself. So throughout the course of the episode, Elliot tries to take it all away, going as far as killing the other Elliot and attempting to cover it up just so he can make it to the wedding to finally reunite with Angela.

Through a series of twists and turns, Elliot is soon confronted with the truth — this isn’t reality but rather a construct of his own mind. He eventually ends up on his therapist’s couch where a vision of Krysta speaks to him and tells him the truth about this alternate reality as well as the one he’s been living in for quite some time.

She goes onto explain to Elliot that he’s created multiple personalities over the course of his life to deal with the various traumas that he’s faced.

“The first personality was created the day Elliot jumped out the window — the protector personality, the one Elliot created to replace his father, to protect him from intolerable situations: Mr. Robot. Later in life, Elliot created the mother personality, the persecutor, blaming Elliot for the abuse, insisting that he needed to pay for it. Not long after her came Elliot’s younger self, who he merged to handle the abuse he couldn’t tolerate. With that, he created his own family of sorts.
“For a while, we thought we had identified all of Elliot’s personalities, but there’s another one who came about not too long ago. I know why you did it. Your heart was in the right place. You wanted to shelter him, which is why you changed his past but it was his future you really wanted to protect.
“That’s why you went through such great lengths to take out all of the evil that surrounded him in the real world. So you formed fsociety. You loved him so much, you wanted to save the entire world, so you could make it better for him, no matter the cost. That’s why you hid him here, turning his harsh reality into a fantasy, trapping him in an endless loop to keep him safe until you were ready.”

Through four seasons of “Mr. Robot” we met these personalities — Mr. Robot, who looked like his father. His mother personality and the boy who looked like Eliot as a child. A fourth personality was teased throughout the season but it wasn’t some monster hiding under the closet just waiting to get out.

No, the one that was hidden away was the real Elliot Alderson.

In other words, the Elliot Alderson that has largely existed since “Mr. Robot” began was a different personality he created to protect himself. This Elliot — nicknamed “The Mastermind” — fed on his own rage and channeled that anger to take down E-Corp and eventually destroy Whiterose and her operatives. The Elliot we’ve always known was a piece of his splintered personality — and he was desperate to create a better world for the real Elliot whenever he returned.

While the Mastermind Elliot personality was out creating havoc, the real version was locked away inside his own head, living in this picture perfect existence where he had a great relationship with his parents and he was about to marry the woman he loved. The personality gave Elliot everything he could ever want and then kept him locked away in that box, safe from the outside world, so he wouldn’t be harmed.

When the Mastermind Elliot personality starts to realize this is all true, he finally wakes up in a hospital bed where Darlene has been waiting for him. She tells him that everything he remembers is true — from the Five-Nine hack to E-Corp falling and being resurrected and eventually bringing down Whiterose — it all happened.

Darlene it seems was Elliot’s only connection to reality this entire time because in that fake construct he built in his head, she was absent. She had been scrubbed from existence — no longer part of his family and no one even recognized her name when it was mentioned. It seems Elliot and the Mastermind needed one constant — in a Desmond like “Lost” twist — and Darlene was the one who brought him back home again.

Remember earlier this season when Darlene revealed that she told Elliot about the return of Fernando Vera but he didn’t remember? That’s because for a brief moment she reached the real Elliot, who had been tucked away inside his own mind. The secret stayed with him, which is why the Mastermind and Mr. Robot had no memory that it ever happened.

Darlene also realized a long time ago that the Elliot she’s been dealing with this entire time wasn’t the brother she grew up with.

It seems Darlene abandoned Elliot when he needed her most because she couldn’t face the kind of pain and trauma that he was suffering through. When she finally returned in an attempt to resurrect her relationship with her brother, it didn’t take Darlene a long time to figure out that Elliot not only didn’t remember her but he wasn’t the same person she knew for her entire life.

Darlene eventually came to accept this new version of Elliot along with his multiple personality disorder, which included Mr. Robot, and she grew closer with him because she wanted to be near her brother. In reality, Darlene had been growing closer with this construct inside Elliot’s head — the mastermind he created filled with rage and anger, who wanted nothing more than to make the world a better place for the real Elliot, who had already suffered through so much in his life.

As time passed, the Mastermind couldn’t give up control because he was always finding new and inventive ways to protect Elliot while attempting to make the world a better place for him. He wanted to give Elliot that idyllic life that he cooked up in his imagination.

Sadly as we all know, that wasn’t possible but the Mastermind finally realized he had to give up control. It was time to let the real Elliot return.

In the closing moments of the finale, the Mastermind finally allows the real Elliot to return to his life while he goes back to the construct in his head where he sits down at a movie alongside the other personalities that had been created. One of the final shots was the Mastermind sitting next to Mr. Robot and Mrs. Alderson and the younger Elliot — all of whom sprung from Elliot’s fractured psyche after he endured so much trauma during his life.

When the real Elliot finally wakes up, he blinks an eye filled with tears as he looks up and finds his sister Darlene staring back at him. And that’s where “Mr. Robot” ends.

Show creator Sam Esmail promised when this final season began that the shocking conclusion would easily be traceable back to the origins of the series in the opening episodes. This was the plotted course from the very start of this show as Esmail weaved his way through Elliot’s fragile mind until finally leading him back through the maze to reality.

Considering the way that Esmail orchestrated the big twist at the end of season 1 — that Mr. Robot was part of Elliot’s split personality and not an actual person in a “Fight Club” type revelation — we all should have probably seen this coming.

Instead, “Mr. Robot” ends just like it began with the audience being turned on its head as we all realize that for all the computer hacking and the takedown of the elite, this story was really centered around one man, whose psyche was so damaged that he made this entire world just to protect the person who suffered through so much trauma that he just couldn’t take it anymore.

In a year filled with some brilliant storytelling on television — look no further than “Watchmen” as proof of that — “Mr. Robot” managed to orchestrate a truly beautiful conclusion to a four season long story. Shows are often judged — right or wrong — as much for the end as they are for the beginning.

The debates about the final episodes to shows like “The Sopranos” and “Lost” rage on years after those shows were finished. But here’s to Esmail and the team behind “Mr. Robot” because this was as close to a perfect ending as possible because the show constantly kept us guessing and this last season was arguably as good if not better than the first.

With that we say goodbye, friend, for the last time.

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