Mastermind Elliot and the Ill-Fitting Tupperware Top

***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.

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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

Elliot and Mr. Robot Meet (Alt)

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

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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

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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 referenceHere’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.

Old YouTube Comments About Mr. Robot 2 (Alt)

And here’s some comments from that same video, basically calling Elliot a cupcake.

Old YouTube Comments About Elliot (Redux) Alt

But Elliot is the one with the anger issues.  Right.

The Ending Suggests We Never Met Elliot Prime…But We Did

Elliot in 2014 (Alt)

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

Elliot with Morphine (Alt)

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

Elliot and Elliot (Alt)

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.

Elliot in Hospital (Alt)

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.

Elliot Hears the Red Wheelbarrow Poem (Alt)

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.

Elliot Wakes Up Three Days Later (Alt)

If There’s No Black Void of Nothingness, Why Did Elliot Lose Time?

Elliot and Mr. Robot in Boardroom (Alt)

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?

Elliot and Mr. Robot in the Sitcom World (Alt)

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

Young Darlene (Alt)

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?

Elliot With Entire Family (Alt)

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.

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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.  😀😀

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The end.

—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!

9 thoughts on “Mastermind Elliot and the Ill-Fitting Tupperware Top”

  1. You don’t understand the point man.
    Mr robot’s ending doesn’t really explain the ending we need to know..
    I’ll explain:
    Do you know Kubrick’s movies? For example “Eyes wide shut”… or “Mulholland Drive” (David Lynch).
    if you want to understand these films, you have to be careful with every single detail…
    I read all your considerations …they are right questions … and to these questions there are the right answers…. trust me.
    The first time when I saw “Eyes Wide Shut”, I understood the end of the film (it wasn’t so difficult)…
    then I discovered that I had not seen and understood 80% of the film, I had lost a lot of details…but fortunately there was a person who managed after 12 years to explain every single frame of the film (2 hours of video) … and from that day everyone (including critics) considered this film a true masterpiece.
    Same thing for Mulholland Drive… Mr.Robot is more than just a tv series … it hides many things that haven’t had an explanation, but that in a few years maybe someone will be able to decrypt them.

    I wanted to ask you a question… Have you ever wondered why this box was so important to Darlene?

    Magda’s safe deposit slip reads 05/18/1992, which is about a week after Mother’s Day that year (5/10/1992) .Later in the scene, they listen to a recording of a message to Angela’s mom for Mother’s Day.
    Sam wants to tell us something.

    Other questions :
    Why was there the book “Lolita” on the desk? (Angela-Whiterose) .
    Why the girl who entered in the room … is the same girl who plays Angela in the third season (in the flashback between she and her mother).
    And the lashes on her back ?
    There is so much to know… so much :

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey, Eliot! Thanks for the comment, first of all! Secondly, I want to say that I totally get what you’re saying, but it’s not that there’s some hidden meaning that I’m missing. To be honest, the ending of “Mr. Robot”—and the actual point of the show, for that matter—was basically summed up in Elliot’s final soliloquy to us about changing the world. I just feel that there’s things in the actual narrative of the overall show that don’t add up with the “Mastermind” ending. Even when I re-watch an episode and see a hint or clue that goes along with the ending, there something else I see in the show that doesn’t fit. I definitely appreciate the respectful and insightful difference of opinion, though. 😀 I have to be honest, I don’t watch too many Kubrick films, but I plan to.

      Now, onto your questions:

      1. The safety deposit box storyline had me intrigued, too. I was hoping we’d see what was in it, but c’est la vie. I think Darlene wanted to know what was in it to gain further insight into who her mother was. Also, considering that she started renting the safe deposit box a week after Mother’s Day (which I never noticed before; good eye!), it could be that she saved some stuff regarding Elliot and Darlene (if Elliot’s theory about Mrs. Alderson wishing the kids made a Mother’s Day cassette for her is correct).

      2. I think the “Lolita” references throughout the show (the book on the desk during Angela’s brainwashing session; Darlene’s glasses and Dolores Haze handle) are basically ways to foreshadow what happened to Elliot as a child.

      3. The lashes on the little girl’s back were fabricated (remember, Whiterose admitted she used makeup to fool Angela into thinking the girl was beaten)…and that’s the only explanation I can give regarding that scene. Unfortunately, we never really learn why the girl resembles Angela so much as a child, or what Whiterose said or did to make Angela a card carrying member of the Dark Army.

      I hope I helped a bit.

      Like

      1. Sam showed us throughout the series , who is not a type to end his story in many plot holes … the reality is that we are a personality … we are involved in the show for a specific reason.

        there are films that when it ends, you understand everything and don’t feel stupid … instead there are films like 12 Monkeys ( and other films I mentioned before ) that they need time to be decrypted …

        SO… you will continue to ask yourself the wrong questions, or you will begin to ask yourself the right questions and find YOUR right answers.

        I repeat … I don’t believe in the least that Esmail has resulted in many plot holes … like kubrick or david, you have to have a careful eye … mr robot is not for everyone.

        Sam couldn’t have revealed the presence of “THE OTHER ONE”, if he wanted to finish mr robot in the best possible way for us …

        we’ve never noticed him, before the 4th season , or not?? 😉
        Krista (his subconscious) … just explained Elliot’s disorder and the order in which he created the personality… that’s enough !!
        She didn’t explain the outstanding things, what was the point then? She was his subconscious… Sam put she on to help us … but he didn’t give us anything else, because Mr robot was created to live in time…
        until… someone or Sam , will give the full explanation. So anyone trying to figure out a 50-hour series, the first time, is ridiculous (i’m not referring to you, I speak in general)

        (sorry about my English. I’m Italian.)

        Like

  2. Thank you! So many holes in the ending, and so many beautiful complexities that Esmail just forgot about. I’m like….you mean I’ve been taking notes for three years for NOTHING? I was and still am pissed that it ended like this. Plop.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad someone else agrees with me on this! Everyone else loved this ending so much I felt like I was taking crazy pills! There’s so many other things that don’t add up with this ending that I didn’t even mention, it’s a wonder Sam and the network still decided to go with it. Oh yeah, and I HATE everyone calling Elliot “The Mastermind” now. Elliot will always be Elliot to me, doggone it.

      Like

  3. Glad to see someone else who noticed that the girl in S1E4 should be young Darlene! And thank you for confirming my doubt about Elliot Prime being the angry one instead of Mr Robot. Overall I agree with most of the points in your analysis but I also believe things like how the other personalities work in Elliot’s head is more open to the writers’ interpretation. I also wonder if you can give a reference to the episode about Shayla first meeting Elliot in the Spring? I always thought that happened at some point after Elliot meeting Darlene on Halloween.

    (I guess the person in the comment who mentioned Kubrick was trying to attribute things that don’t add up to you missing the details, but they themself wasn’t able to offer any example that serve as counterargument).

    My hypothesis/regret about the show is that Angela was supposed to play a much bigger part in the final season (but Portia decided to leave the show early and they had to accommodate that). This heavily impacted the storyline. New character Olivia seemed a bit rushed. The visual quality of the finale was not their best performance – perhaps Esmail and his crew would have opted not to reuse the clip of Angela holding the irrelevant key (that they tried to cut out of the frame but still showed up at the fringe). Darlene wouldn’t have to be absent in Elliot’s dream world, the motivation for him to wake up could at least be someone else, like Angela.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, Harley! I’m glad you enjoyed the post and saw where I was coming from. To answer your question about Elliot and Shayla, I’ve looked back and although it’s not specifically mentioned that they met and dated in the spring and summer of 2014, judging from the clothes Shayla was wearing, it appeared to be a lot warmer out. During her date with Elliot, she wore a short skirt, a sleeveless shirt and sneakers with no heel (here’s the link to that video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2Jc1wHlhEU&t=321s). To me, that screams summertime. Either way, it was before the time frame the alters or dream Angela mentioned.

      I have to agree with you about Angela, too. On one hand, the writers handled her death well and used it to enhance the story, but on the other hand, I wish I could’ve seen more of her character arc. I believe she was supposed to have a bigger role in the series as well. I liked Olivia, but Elliot screwed that up, so there’s that. Oh, and I noticed the editing mistake with the key during the “Mastermind Reveal” right off the bat! At least the visuals and music at the very end were beautiful (although I can’t stand the storyline itself). Thanks for the feedback!

      Like

  4. […] The Power series finale aired last month (Feb. 9, 2020), and quite frankly, it was anti-climatic and disappointing.  Not only that, it seemed the sole purpose of the finale was to promote the Power TV Universe, which will feature 50-11 (pronounced “fiftyleven”) spinoffs, including Power:  Book II, which continues to tell Tariq’s story (gross).  On a side note, I don’t know what the hell is up with these series finales for my favorite shows!  They’re either the cherry on top of a horrible season (Game of Thrones, possibly Empire), or they’re hurtful endings to a stellar season and overall show (Power, Mr. Robot). […]

    Like

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