***SPOILER ALERT!!! IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE SERIES FINALE OF MR. ROBOT AS OF YET, DO NOT READ THIS POST! IT CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS! YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.***
So, if you’ve seen the series finale of Mr. Robot, you know that the Elliot we’ve come to know and love for the past four years (or in my case, a little over two) was not the real Elliot Alderson, but “The Mastermind.” He was another alter, like the titular character, and was basically made to take on Elliot Prime’s rage and change the world to make his host’s life better.
Yeah…this ending doesn’t work for me.
Have y’all ever searched for a piece of Tupperware to store your leftovers, but for the life of you, you can’t find the top? Then, when you finally do find the top, it doesn’t fit. There’s one corner that just doesn’t fasten. You can push on that thing harder than The Mountain pressed Oberyn Martell’s skull, and the lid still won’t close. Or worse yet, you finally get the corner to fit, but the corner on the opposite end loosens up. That’s what this whole “Elliot is The Mastermind” ending is to me. An ill-fitting Tupperware top.
I know a great deal of y’all (especially my fellow Redditors) LOVED this send off, so before y’all @ me, please allow me a moment to explain why this plot line just doesn’t really work. Settle in; this may take a while.
If Anybody Was “The Mastermind,” It Was Mr. Robot
Let’s just get this out of the way right now. In the pilot episode, our Elliot was none the wiser about fsociety’s existence. Mr. Robot “recruited” him—so to speak—into the group. Despite the revelation that our Elliot created fsociety to give Elliot Prime a better future, Mr. Robot was the ringleader. He even let it be known on numerous occasions. The titular character was always the one making moves, be they outright or behind Elliot’s back (which we will also touch on). Whenever Elliot wanted to deviate from Mr. Robot’s plans or if he wanted to just outright stop whatever they were, Mr. Robot would react violently. For him, their anarchy had to be carried out by any means necessary, like a man leading the charge, not a man following someone else’s lead. This brings me to my next point…
Mr. Robot Was the Ratchet One, Not Our Elliot
According to Pretend Krista, our Elliot was created to “carry out Elliot’s rage.” Uh-huh. Funny…up until this last season, the only person I saw rage out and show his entire ass was Mr. Robot. Yes, I realize they showed examples of Elliot’s “rage” during the finale, but they were from the following scenes:
- Elliot jacking Mr. Robot up after he found out he was his “dad”
- Elliot smashing the mirror after he remembered Darlene was his sister (after he kissed her…no rhyme intended)
- Elliot’s “fuck society” soliloquy
- Elliot backing Darlene in a corner after she went on and on about Angela being alive
- Elliot smashing the camera after he realized he forgot who his sister was
- Elliot telling Krista to shut up
- Elliot screaming after he remembered his father molested him
- Elliot putting on a hoodie
That last one really gave me chills. *Eyeroll* Hell, I’d get mad if half this stuff happened to me, too! Our Elliot’s so called rage was pretty justified with the exception of going off on Darlene and Krista. Mr. Robot’s anger and overall ratchetness was a lot more pronounced, and a lot less justified. If Mr. Robot’s job was that of Elliot’s protector, he sure did do a piss poor job of it for the previous three seasons. Here’s some examples of Mr. Robot’s rage and overall ratchetness:
- Pushing Elliot off the boardwalk because he “broke the sacred pact [he formed with his dad].” Huh?
- Wanting to blow up a power plant to destroy Steel Mountain (and his response to Elliot mentioning that hundreds of innocent people would die was, “C’est le mort!”)
- Having a colossal hissy fit when Darlene told him that the Dark Army pulled out of the plan
- Constantly lying
- Wanting Elliot to leave Shayla hanging after she got kidnapped
- Shooting Elliot in the head when he stopped paying attention to him (and at times he would also stab him in the stomach or slice Elliot’s fingers off; read Red Wheelbarrow, y’all)
- Trying to kill Tyrell
- Always throwing Elliot around like a rag doll
- Implementing stage two behind Elliot’s back (blowing up another damn building)
- Constantly fighting Elliot for control (maybe the alters should have a board meeting with him)
- Threatening Romero with a gun
- Beating Elliot’s ass to stop him from preventing the New York building from blowing up (he sure did love to blow shit up, didn’t he?)
- Wanting Elliot to turn the other cheek while Ray trafficked children
- Jacking up Tyrell when he wanted to take over the operation
- Making sure Elliot got his ass whupped in the coffee shop
I could go on, but we’d be sitting here all damn day. How is our Elliot the supposed rage monster, when Mr. Robot was the agent of doggone chaos for three seasons? My mother used to ask me if Elliot’s real dad acted like Mr. Robot (this was before we learned Mr. Alderson was Chester the Child Molester), and I would always tell say to her, “No, Mr. Robot is basically Elliot’s pent up anger and frustration manifesting itself in the form of his late father.” Funny how that description is reserved for our Elliot now.
It’s true, Elliot started showin’ out this current season himself, but a lot of that was due to his desperation to save himself and Darlene. Not condoning it, just sayin’. What was that phrase I kept repeating whenever Elliot did something heinous this season? Oh, yeah, I remember! “I want my sweet Elliot back.” Even folks online commented that Elliot’s behavior this last season was a shift in character. But hey, you don’t have to take my word for it (dun-dun-dun!)! A hug and kiss to anyone that knows that reference. Here’s some YouTube comments from the scene where we first learn that Angela and Mr. Robot are working together. You can click the link and watch the scene if you want; that way, you’ll see even more proof of Mr. Robot’s ratchet behavior.
And here’s some comments from that same video, basically calling Elliot a cupcake.
But Elliot is the one with the anger issues. Right.
The Ending Suggests We Never Met Elliot Prime…But We Did
Darlene said that she noticed Elliot was different when they started fsociety circa Nov. 2014, and the other alters claimed that Elliot Prime was asleep for about a year (apparently their board meeting was in Dec. 2015), providing the revelation that we as the audience never met the real Elliot. However, when Elliot had his fever dream after going through morphine withdrawal in late Mar. 2015, Angela told him he was only born a month ago. If that’s the case, our Elliot began circa Feb. 2015, when the show actually begins. That means that we’ve seen Elliot Prime. We’ve had flashbacks from Halloween 2014 when Darlene came to town, from Spring 2014 when Shayla moved in, as well as Shayla and Elliot’s date later that summer (if you haven’t watched the Mr. Robot Virtual Reality Experience on YouTube, please check it out). Even if you believe it really was Mastermind Elliot that hung out with Darlene on Halloween night, there’s no denying it was Elliot Prime spending time with Shayla earlier that year, which brings me to my next point…
Our Elliot and Elliot Prime Aren’t That Dissimilar
Mr. Robot, Darlene, and even Pretend Dom claim that our Elliot is nothing like the real Elliot. Y’all could’ve fooled me. When we saw Elliot Prime with Shayla and Darlene in 2014, he wore a hoodie, avoided social interaction, took morphine, and hacked people. Sound familiar? It’s even verbally confirmed. When Shayla and Elliot first met, she asked Elliot if he likes to attend concerts. He answered no, because they’re full of people, and he doesn’t like most people. When Darlene first showed up at Elliot’s apartment, he lied and said he was going out (once again, avoiding social interaction), but Darlene saw through the lie and told him, “C’mon, you don’t go out. I don’t mean that in a cunty way you’re just…you.”
It’s true that Angela and Darlene noticed subtle changes in Elliot’s demeanor, but if Elliot Prime and our Elliot were completely different, the ladies would’ve learned right away that they were dealing with another personality. Darlene claimed she knew all along, but let’s face it…for a hot minute, she couldn’t even tell Elliot from Mr. Robot, and those two are night and day. After Angela learned about Mr. Robot’s existence, he once asked how she could tell him from our Elliot, and she said that Elliot always looks away from people. That’s a trait the original Elliot must’ve had as well. Judging from the actual events that took place on the show, the only difference between Elliot Prime and our Elliot is that the latter is a vigilante. Other than that, it’s basically the same doggone dude.
Elliot Prime Woke Up a Few Times Before the Finale
Another reason the ending doesn’t quite work for me is because the other alters swear down that our Elliot held Elliot Prime prisoner in this dream world and he’s been asleep for nearly a year. However, past episodes show that Elliot Prime had to have woken up a few times throughout the series. Here’s some examples:
After Mr. Robot’s ratchet ass pushed him off the boardwalk, our Elliot woke up in the hospital and found out that he apparently spoke with Shayla a few hours prior and requested the staff to bring Krista in. However, Elliot doesn’t remember any of this.
During the “Red Wheelbarrow” scene, Mr. Robot took over and met with Tyrell (still being ratchet). As we already know, before Elliot left, Tyrell implored him to be his partner, and Elliot refused, saying, “You’re only seeing what’s in front of you, not what’s above you.” However, when Tyrell mentioned the quote to Mr. Robot a day or so later, the latter didn’t know what the former was talking about. Considering that our Elliot doesn’t remember this entire exchange either, it had to be Elliot Prime making that last statement.
There’s the infamous three days after the 5/9 hack. Our Elliot has no idea what happened in those three days, and Mr. Robot never comments on it either, so it’s safe to assume that Elliot Prime woke up during that time period as well. Were he and our Elliot fighting for control? Who the hell knows. On a side note, while taking this screenshot I noticed that when Elliot first wakes up, he asks Kareem (may his scary self rest in peace), “Who am I?” then changes it to “Where am I?” One thing about Mr. Robot, each rewatch reveals something new. Still don’t agree with this ending, though.
If There’s No Black Void of Nothingness, Why Did Elliot Lose Time?
Before Elliot retreated to the movie theatre of Elliot Prime’s mind, he asked Mr. Robot if it was true that he would be transported to a black void of nothingness. Mr. Robot said he’d always be a part of the real Elliot, and it turns out he was telling the truth…so why did our Elliot always lose time whenever Mr. Robot (or Elliot Prime) took over before? Whenever one of the other alters were in control, our Elliot had no thoughts or memories of what transpired over that period. The only exceptions to that rule occurred this season, and that’s when Elliot and Mr. Robot decided to work together instead of fight each other. Is it different this time because our Elliot willingly gave up control, or what? I know very little when it comes to dissociative identity disorder, so if anyone can assist me with this question, please let me know in the comments section.
Why Didn’t the Other Alters Subdue Our Elliot Sooner?
We learn in the final season that the other alters didn’t like our Elliot assuming constant control of the host and had to find a way to make him relinquish his power. Mr. Robot did that by showing our Elliot the dream world our he created, and in a way, trapping him in it. With that being said, why didn’t Mr. Robot or the others try to subdue him when he was going through his morphine withdrawal, seeing as he “accidentally slipped” into that same dream world while he was detoxing? Not only that, but why didn’t our Elliot see Elliot Prime there? I also believe they could’ve possibly repressed and/or trapped our Elliot in the sitcom episode if they wanted to. After all, there was a point in time that our Elliot believed he was “buried” in the sitcom. Why didn’t the others leave him there and just allow Elliot Prime to wake up and take over?
Darlene Actually Was in the Dream World, Despite What Everyone Else Says
Another thing Pretend Krista said that I disagree with is that our Elliot made sure not to include Darlene in the dream world he created because her connection with Elliot Prime is too strong. Here’s the thing, though: Darlene was in Elliot’s fabricated world before. When our Elliot had his fever dream while going through withdrawal, he walked to his old neighborhood and is approached by a little girl humming “Frére Jacques” and riding a scooter. He gave his signature “Hello, friend” greeting, and the girl answered, “But we’re not friends.” Later, after Elliot kissed Darlene and realized who she was, he has a flood of memories and remembered that Darlene used to sing “Frere Jacques” and ride her scooter outside their house. This also explains the reply the little girl gave Elliot in the fever dream: “But we’re not friends.” They’re not friends, per se. She’s his sister.
Now I know y’all are going to tell me that when our Elliot went back to the dream world, he was approached by another young girl riding a scooter and singing “Frére Jacques,” only she was older and made it clear that she wasn’t Darlene. Hell, she didn’t even know who Darlene was. So it’s possible the first little girl wasn’t Darlene either, right? No. The first little girl was definitely Darlene. Don’t believe me? In the famed Alderson Polaroid pic, we see Elliot and Darlene as children. Now, is it me, or is this the same kid?
There’s other questions and points I could make (i.e.: How is it possible our Elliot remembers certain events from Elliot Prime’s childhood? Why is it that both our Elliot and Elliot Prime were in love with Angela? Why didn’t the other alters intervene when our Elliot wanted to commit suicide? Why was Mr. Robot constantly doing things to hurt our Elliot knowing they could cause damage to the host?), but if I did, this post would probably never end.
Instead, I’ll conclude with a very brief tale. When I was a teenager, LL Cool J (one of my favorite rappers—don’t @ me) said something about artistry that I’ll never forget. He likened writing his songs to an artist going to a mountaintop and painting a landscape, with a vision of how his painting will look in his mind. However, after he gets to the mountaintop, he sees birds, clouds, and flowers that he didn’t visualize before that he now wants to include. That quote always stayed with me, because I encounter the same phenomenon (no pun intended) in my own writing, whether it’s a short story or this very blog.
I say all that to say this: Sam Esmail initially envisioned Mr. Robot as a film with the beginning, middle and ending mapped out. However, he realized his material was way too detailed to squeeze it in a two hour movie, so the project evolved into a TV show. Thanks to the writers’ room, studio influence, notes from the actors and other components, the show continued to evolve…so much so the ending no longer completely fits, much like a piece of Tupperware that was accidentally washed in the dishwasher.
Again, like I said in my recap and review of the series finale, the ending isn’t horrendous. There’s parts of it I absolutely loved (namely the use of the M83 song “Outro” and the finale montage of all the past events. That was so beautiful). To utilize my Tupperware metaphor again, the corners don’t fasten. It’s not like the top doesn’t fit the Tupperware at all. However, I still just can’t completely roll with the “Mastermind Elliot” ending, even when I take my personal feelings out of the equation (I’m still a bit heartbroken after learning our Elliot isn’t the real Elliot, so to speak).
Despite all that, Sam didn’t disappoint me this final season. Mr. Robot will forever remain one of my favorite TV shows, and Elliot will forever be one of my favorite characters, which is why I feel so strongly about this ending. However, now that I’ve officially given my two cents, I can take my Elliot’s advice and let go and let God. 😀😀
—Written by Nadiya
So what did you think about the “Mastermind Elliot” ending? Does it work with the show or do you think it doesn’t quite fit? Did you agree with the points I made? Why or why not? Regardless of how you feel about the ending, did you enjoy the final season? Will you rewatch the series again to catch more little tidbits? Let me know in the comments section!