Mr. Robot: Season 3 created by Sam Esmail (USA, Universal Cable Productions, Anonymous Content)
Starring Rami Malek, Christian Slater, Portia Doubleday, Martin Wallström, Carly Chaikin, Michael Cristofer, Grace Gummer, Stephanie Corneliussen, BD Wong, Sunita Mani, Azhar Khan, and Omar Metwally.
*Spoiler Alert for Previous Seasons*
In the End You’re Just Fighting Yourself
During a critical hour in a rehabilitated Season 3 of Mr. Robot, a weary protagonist runs down a hallway attempting to thwart a terrorist attack. In pursuit, the antagonist attempts to wrestle our hero to the ground in time for the attacks to commence.
In any normal show, this scene unravels with standard tropes, dialogue, and fight-scene choreography.
But given the psychological drama of Mr. Robot, protagonist and antagonist are one in the same, and Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek) fights himself in this dark hallway, throwing himself into walls and landing punches on his own body with devastating accuracy.
Mr. Robot represents many things. It analyzed the devastation of a solitary existence in modern society. It examines toxic masculinity. It critiques the excessive flourishes of the 1% at the expense of the many.
But to me, Mr. Robot’s raison d’être emerges in this scene. Its visual flourishes and all-in acting underline its unexpected plotting.
Shifting into Full Gear
Narratively speaking, Season 3 shifts into full gear after a listless, internally focused Season 2. Elliot has excommunicated his alter ego, Mr. Robot (Christian Slater). But he knows that Mr. Robot remains in contact with Tyrell Wellick (Martin Wallström) to execute Stage 2 of the plan to destroy E Corp after the successful 5/9 hack.
So, while Mr. Robot plots at night, Elliot takes a job with E Corp during the day thanks to his best friend Angela (Portia Doubleday). While attempting to live a “normal” life and encountering depressive feelings in the process, Elliot works to undo the work of his alter ego.
All the while, FBI agent Dom DiPierro (Grace Gummer) tightens the screws on Elliott’s sister, Darlene (Carly Chaikin) hoping to go through her to get to Elliot, Wellick, and, ultimately, the shadow leader Whiterose (BD Wong).
Let’s Hacker-Spy-Drama with Confidence
As the investigation proceeds and Elliot fights with himself to prevent Stage 2, Mr. Robot confidently moves forward in its engaging hacker-spy dramatic flourishes. In particular, the middle of the season shines, especially the aforementioned hallway scene white Elliot and he alter ego fight each other as Stage 2 ticks down. Likewise, Mr. Robot ambitiously executes an hour-long tracking shot (ala Birdman) that perfectly illustrates the chaotic societal conditions in the aftermath of the anarchist hacking accomplishments of Elliot and Fsociety.
Ultimately, Mr. Robot’s plotting reinforces the difficulties facing the average person where the 1% rules the word. Outside of some clunky references to Donald Trump, Mr. Robot rebuilds much of the goodwill it squandered in Season 2 and is well-positioned to take the mantle of it-show once Game of Thrones retires.
Verdict: 4.5 out of 5