Mr. Robot had a lot to live up to. A lot. This finale had to justify all of the waiting, all of the side tracks, all of the tediousness of some of its more long-winded episodes. Because this season certainly wasn’t as good as the first one, if only because it got grander without producing enough story to back up the expansion. I’ve complained about it quite an it, but it is really, really easy for a television show to become enamored with its own stylizing. That’s usually something that becomes more annoying the worse the writing and the storytelling is, such as in Sons of Anarchy, where the show was so self-congratulatory but didn’t have the quality to back that up.
Mr. Robot, on the other hand, is a different story. Did it deliver everything I wanted in the finale? No. Not really. I’m not sure it even can close. But I’m not sure I mind. Season 2 wasn’t a story. It’s a mood. It’s a feeling. It’s a sick, awful feeling that comes after the beginning of the “revolution”, the notion that you’re about to fall in the abyss, that you’re way, way in over your head. And by sticking to that idea of what this season is supposed to be, it at least stays true to itself, analyzing how people react to this feeling and showing us the ways it twists them into something they don’t want to be.
Really, my least favorite scene of this episode is a microcosm of what the series is as a whole. Scott Knowles feels he has been wronged, so he cries and complains and weeps. But Joanna tells him he’s pathetic, so he lashed out and beats her senseless, disgusted by his actions. That’s essentially how fsociety feels. They represent the downtrodden, the beaten, those taken advantage of by “the man”. So after they hit that breaking point, they lash out, violently, destroying anything they can. They went too far. Look at Darlene in this episode. She thinks she can evoke the fifth amendment, but she doesn’t understand how in over her head she is. She committed a terrorist attack. She killed a woman. She might be able to talk sass to Dom, but she doesn’t know how to be a leader. She doesn’t know how to deal with the death of her lover. She’s beaten. Revolutions are messy, awful, and Darlene is finding that she’s more a pawn than she knew.
But Elliot, he’s now understanding the reality of the extent of his control. He thinks he knows something, but it’s taken from him, hidden from him by Mr. Robot, by Tyrell. We do finally find out what Stage 2 is: They’re going to blow up the Evil Corp building, murdering a large group of people in the process. And while Elliot doesn’t want anything to do with it, mostly because he legitimately doesn’t believe that he was a part of it, he doesn’t understand how out of control he is. He assumes that Tyrell is another figment of his imagination, but he’s not. He’s very real and very willing to shoot Elliot for trying to stop him. This entire season really is about the fallacy of control, how people think they can change things, can control the way their lives work or how the world works, but they can’t. Trajectories were in place years, decades, centuries before we could even think about them. We’re special because we’re unique, but we’re also remarkably ordinary. And our best intentions don’t really mean a thing.
So Season 2 wasn’t what we all wanted it to be, but there was still something fun, something exciting about it. That being said, storylines like Joanna’s were essentially useless and could have been shaved off entirely. What was certainly audacious television failed in a few regards, but is that such a bad thing? Isn’t it better to reach and stumble than not reaching at all. Now that we’ve had a season to poke around, to see new thing tried and to see how well certain characters played out, Season 3 should be all the better for it. So while that ending wasn’t necessarily satisfying, it’ll do for now.
What did you think of the finale? Did it live up to your expectations? Let me know in the comments!