Mr. Robot: eXit
December 16, 2019 3:28 PM - Season 4, Episode 11 - Subscribe

 
great, I caught up on an aggressive binge of this show just in time to have to wait a week after a crazy-ass cliffhanger.

the whiterose/elliot scene was a pretty incredible showcase for both actors and for both characters. elliot telling Mr. Robot/himself "I love you" was, I thought, really affecting.

as for the alternate reality, well, I don't even know what to make of that yet, except I cannot wait to see what Esmail does with two hours to close this out.

(the absence of Darlene is fascinating and heartbreaking and central in some way to Eliot's whole mental construction of family Elliot; I think it was someone on AV Club who made the interesting insight that Darlene, as the only one who Elliot wouldn't see as having failed him/themself in some way, has no place in this world full of altered/improved alternates. not so sure about that, but very interested to see how the alternate timeline teases that out.)
posted by Kybard at 3:32 PM on December 16, 2019 [2 favorites]


I’m almost positive Elliot is in his head with the third personality rather than an alternate reality.
posted by CMcG at 4:08 PM on December 16, 2019 [4 favorites]


The FCorp ~ ECorp logo flicker strongly suggests that this is a mental construct.

I'm almost wondering if the changeover happened before White Rose's use of her pistol.

Totally on tenterhooks on how this all resolves.

Very interesting observation on Darlene's absence. In that (superficially?) 'idealized' timeline, what would she have been up to? What is (Elliot's idea of) her dream life? Way back at the beginning of the show, Elliot was confused enough to think that she was a romantic interest of his.
posted by porpoise at 5:06 PM on December 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


Wow the ending really got me. It reminded me of an episode from one of the first two seasons that ended with Elliot's door opening, but we don't see who's there. Since we've also seem to have gone back in time as we travel to this alternate universe, I suppose it's possible that the Earth 2 Elliot was the one at the door.

The earthquakes also felt like a reference to near the end of Stephen King's 11/22/63.
posted by mabelstreet at 11:15 PM on December 16, 2019


Also, anyone have ideas for why the episode title deviated from the 400-series error codes that have been used this season? The only thing I could come up with was that 411: Length Required would've made it sound like a filler episode.
posted by mabelstreet at 11:17 PM on December 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


Darlene is Elliot from an earlier loop.
posted by Catblack at 6:24 AM on December 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


Classic western narrative structure has a plot build to a climax. But then there's the anticlimax, a section afterwards for us to calm down and reflect on the characters and themes. I think S04E09 was our climax, the thrilling hack finally finished. Episode 10 was our first anticlimax, ending up Dom and Darlene's story. And now we're going to have three episodes of Eliot's anticlimax, albeit with a couple of major plot points to resolve.

I'm super unclear on Whiter0se's story now. She somehow feels an affinity with Eliot? She wants him to stop the machine? Why does she shoot herself? My guess is that it's because she trusted the machine was about to wipe out that reality and so it wouldn't matter what happened to her there. But, really? Then why leave this puzzle for him? A simple one? I didn't get it. Maybe it doesn't really make sense.

I enjoyed watching alternate reality Eliot live through his boring life, realizing it's boring but also liking it for what it was. Interesting that Tyrell is the one on edge and uncomfortable in this world. I was kind of hoping we'd see a reprisal of Gideon from the first season, but I guess with Eliot in charge of Allsafe there's no need for him.

On the episode title; I immediately noticed they departed from the HTTP error codes too. And why "eXit", with the capital X? maybe they're just being l33t.

Now that Whiter0se is off stage, maybe permanently, I want to say something that's been bugging me.. This show has flirted very close to the "twisted queer who is evil" trope, that bad old thing from the 60s and before. (a la Strangers on a Train). They leaned hard on that in this episode, with Whiter0se's whole monologue about how her transgender identity and injustice she suffered means she has to destroy the world. I mean really? Most transgender people I know go through a lot of pain, sure, but they don't end up trying to destroy the world. I'm not really mad about this.. I've always kind of liked the evil queer trope (hey, at least there's a queer on screen!). And Whiter0se is written sensitively and BD Wong is a hell of an actor with a unique resume that lets him pull this character off. But, well, they also sort of used a stereotype and never really acknowledged that stereotype and it bugs me a little bit.
posted by Nelson at 8:30 AM on December 17, 2019 [6 favorites]


In alternate reality world they have a different set of HTTP standards.
posted by onya at 8:43 AM on December 17, 2019 [9 favorites]


I feel like I should rewatch season 2 to see Elliot's delusional reality at that point, to see what might happen in the next two episodes. Or I'll just read recaps.


Also, anyone have ideas for why the episode title deviated from the 400-series error codes that have been used this season? The only thing I could come up with was that 411: Length Required would've made it sound like a filler episode.

I think this episode broke the pattern, given that Elliot is not himself. The next two episodes are (currently) titled "Season Finale Part 1" and "Season Finale Part 2."
posted by filthy light thief at 8:59 AM on December 17, 2019


Is everyone that Elliot speaks to in the alternate reality someone we've seen die/heavily implied to die on the show?
posted by jordemort at 1:40 PM on December 17, 2019


Here is something that's been bothering me from the start. Elliot routinely sees his dead father, and sometimes he sees his now-dead mother as well, plus a younger version of himself. (Apparently they all have board meetings somewhere in his limbic system.) He saw them on a jumbotron at the end of Season 1, he saw them at the end of 401 as he lay OD'ing, and he saw them in the parking lot early on in eXit. The entire long-gone Alderson family--and you know who's never there?

Darlene. Who is also absent from FCorp World.

And now I think I see why. Out of the Alderson family, she's the only one he can stand as-is, the only one who never sold him out. The real Darlene is enough: he doesn't need a fantasy version of her. In that way she's unique--the only thing left to tie Elliot to reality. Without her, there'd be nothing to stop our favorite misanthrope from abandoning this world for one of its many alternatives, through pills or dream sequences or nuclear reactors or whatever. This is why, whenever he starts down the road of pretending and forgetting, she's always the first thing to go. If we're to believe what she said after the kiss, he's forgotten her twice now (at least). She was the one who made him see the truth about Mr. Robot (alongside Angela, who later drank the kool-aid in her own right and is also way too dead to stage an intervention now). Mr. Robot flat-out admitted that she was in the way of his attempts to con Elliot. And if there's anyone left to testify to Edward Alderson's abuse--anyone who experienced it and did not forget--it would be, well, d0loresh4ze.

She's missing from this fantasy for the same reason she's missing from all the others. She is where his fictions go to die.
posted by queen anne's remorse at 8:01 PM on December 17, 2019 [7 favorites]


I don't know what to make of this. I do kind of feel like the alternate life is in Elliot's head, so then the whole Whiterose power plant thing was just nothing, a delusion Elliot had to explain his father's absence in a more convoluted way, the way conspiracy theories are sometimes more palatable than simple but difficult to face truths?

I was not sold on the scene where Elliot and Whiterose faced each other in the power plant. It all seemed a little off and forced, both the writing and the delivery. Elliot laying everything out like the author of a self-help book rather than his usual pained form of expression and Whiterose's maniacal laughter when she has usually been the epitome of self-possession and minimal, controlled communication. Of course, Elliot is sort of in the midst of an epiphany and Whiterose is at the end of her rope, so I guess there are reasons why they are as they are, but it didn't feel right.

It also bothers me that Philip Price, a bad person only looking to become rich and powerful who conveniently had a crisis of conscience at the 11th hour after he was outmaneuvered, got to go out like a hero, while Whiterose, who was motivated by unjust suffering and had every intention of making the world a better place (assuming she believed what she said), died in a pathetic way. Also, having her solution involve an unnecessary nuclear meltdown seemed heavy handed—why not deal with all the ramifications of her project directly, rather than throwing in a nuclear meltdown to make her a comic book villian?

Of course, maybe this is not the way things actually played out since we don't really know what is reality and what is an alternate dimension and what is Elliot's delusions.
posted by nequalsone at 9:49 PM on December 17, 2019 [3 favorites]


That said, if everything comes together in the end, it's gonna be pretty great and the show will go down as a favorite despite some missteps.
posted by nequalsone at 11:22 PM on December 17, 2019


Along with all the points already made, I can’t help but view this side by side in my head with this year’s earlier GoT travesty, and see this as a master class in how to end an extended narrative. I’m not sure to what extent Esmail had the entire show plotted out from day 1, but I’m also of shows like “Breaking Bad” that literally made it up as they went along, at least to a point, and came to a relatively satisfying ending.

As someone else above pointed out, the nominal climax of the show happened a few episodes back, and were are now on a downhill slide to the real end, but there is still actual plot and character development occurring. Congrats again to Mr Esmail for having faith in his audience and not just providing a standard Hollywood ending where all the bad guys blow up at once and all the heroes mosey happily into the sunset as the credits roll.
posted by hwestiii at 5:02 AM on December 18, 2019 [1 favorite]


This episode went full Evangelion and I'm kind of into it, as long as they can stick the landing. Going the Elliot Instrumentality Project route does gel with this show's approach.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 8:43 AM on December 18, 2019 [1 favorite]


hwestiii: I’m not sure to what extent Esmail had the entire show plotted out from day 1, but I’m also of shows like “Breaking Bad” that literally made it up as they went along, at least to a point, and came to a relatively satisfying ending.

First, The Mr. Robot Creator Already Knows When And How The Show Will End -- Cinemablend caught a comment from Sam Esmail back in 2015, after only a few episodes had aired in the first season. At that point, Esmail wrote "I have an ending and it's about 4 or 5 seasons away."

But before that, he talked with Forbes: Creator Sam Esmail On Transitioning The Show From Feature Film To Pilot And More --
When I saw it as a movie I knew where I was going. I knew the ending. It was either I had just gotten too longwinded or the story just asked for more characters or more storylines to develop. When I got to Page 90 and I was still halfway through Act 1 that’s when I decided, “OK. This can be a television show.”
The comparison to Breaking Bad is interesting. In listening to the BB and BCS podcasts, it's clear that the writers have a very fluid relationship with their world, and allow the fantastic actors to play a part in shaping the story line. I think that's a pretty unique situation, so it's hard to compare other shows to that. I'm not saying that the Mr. Robot cast aren't good, but it's not at the same level, IMO. Definitely some of the better TV currently, but BB and BCS hold a special place for me, and I don't think it's only because it's filmed in my adopted home state.

If anything, it feels like Esmail had the main beats to the multi-season arc of Mr. Robot, but some places were more skeletal than fully developed, and they don't feel quite as cohesive as the first season.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:06 PM on December 18, 2019 [1 favorite]


porpoise: I'm almost wondering if the changeover happened before White Rose's use of her pistol.

nequalsone: I was not sold on the scene where Elliot and Whiterose faced each other in the power plant. It all seemed a little off and forced, both the writing and the delivery. Elliot laying everything out like the author of a self-help book rather than his usual pained form of expression and Whiterose's maniacal laughter when she has usually been the epitome of self-possession and minimal, controlled communication. Of course, Elliot is sort of in the midst of an epiphany and Whiterose is at the end of her rope, so I guess there are reasons why they are as they are, but it didn't feel right.

These comments together pose an interesting theory.

Whiterose wasn't at the end of her rope, but at a point where her goal was within grasp -- the ability to make the world a better place, where the dead are reborn.

Whiterose: Earlier you accused me of being a murderer, but soon you will see all those lives that have been lost so that we could get to this point will not be in vain. In fact, they won't be lost at all. They will all be found again as soon as this world around us transforms into a parallel world. A world where we were meant to be all along.
Elliot: The machine can't run here, and you know that. It's going to cause a meltdown.
Whiterose: Which is why I have been trying to move my project. Our tests here were quite limited in proximity, however you left me no choice.
Elliot: Haven't you killed enough people?
Whiterose: Nobody will be killed. The opposite, actually. We will be reborn as new, finally liberated from the horrific and brutal past that we've been shackled to for so long.

Emphasis mine -- maybe this is some virtual reality, recreating lost loved ones in a perfect world.

Except the perfect routine is a routine, and without the potential to fuck up, to fail and get hurt, "the worst thing in my life is also the best thing."
I get up every morning, I play my records, I get ready, get my coffee, I come to work, I'm stuck in a repetitive, boring routine that feels endless. And, sure, I've imagined what it would be like to be someone with a more exciting life. A risk-taker. Someone more interesting. But in the end, I know I'm lucky to be where I am.
A splendid, boring life, forever. A crappy simulation of perfection, on repeat.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:17 PM on December 18, 2019 [3 favorites]


Broke out of my rewatch (the only I have done of the whole series) to watch this and... I'll see it again in a few days on my way to finale! There are a lot of things I hadn't remembered from the early episodes which I'm surprised were early seeds planted. Kind of fun.

When I do rewatch, I'll write more about it. It was a bit jarring to go from S2 to nearly the end.
posted by hippybear at 8:13 PM on December 18, 2019


Even if all this was in Elliot's head, I am kinda bummed it appears whiterose's LHC was not a definitively named time machine. I mean, so many references to time, 'hacking time', alllll the BTTFII stuff. Plus no real explanation for why the Congo?

Also: (somebody mentioned this in previous episode FF post I think?) - totally ready for Mr. Robot spinoff where Leon & Darlene work together.
posted by bitterkitten at 9:55 AM on December 20, 2019


It appears that this entire story takes place over 9 or 10 months. I don't know why that feels significant, but it does to me. It's a very small time frame.

This rewatch I'm on has been fascinating.
posted by hippybear at 9:41 PM on December 20, 2019


@bitterkitten, I think I just saw that Leon-Darlene comment on the MR subreddit. Either way, I stan Darleon.
posted by mabelstreet at 7:14 PM on December 21, 2019


Plus no real explanation for why the Congo?
I'm not sure the Congo (presumably the Democratic Republic of the Congo) itself is necessarily significant; I think it's partly to lend some verisimilitude as real-life China has been investing heavily in African nations as part of the Belt and Road Initiative (though the DRC, in real life, is not one of those nations), partly to suggest (if it wasn't outright stated in the show; I don't quite remember) that the machine relies on large quantities of the conflict minerals that flow out of the DRC in its construction or operation, and partly to demonstrate that Whiterose has nearly unchecked power at her command such that she can annex an entire country in pursuit of her ambitions. I guess we'll find out in the series finale tonight, but I don't think the DRC itself as the eventual location of the machine will turn out to be significant, particularly as it was already activated in Washington Township in this episode.
posted by zztzed at 6:54 AM on December 22, 2019


I'm not sure the Congo (presumably the Democratic Republic of the Congo) itself is necessarily significant;

IIRC, Whiterose wanted the whatever-machine moved to the Democratic Republic of the Congo so that she wouldn't cancerfy New Jersey (again).
posted by mikelieman at 9:55 AM on December 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


@mabelstreet - word.

@mikelieman - ah. That had not occurred to me, about the cancering. My friend and I who constantly discuss time travel quandaries and stories, etc, talked about one thing that nearly all the time travel things you read/watch ignore. That chances are that if you traveled through time even a couple weeks, you would not reappear in the same exact position in space, due to the earth rotating / moving, etc. So this was one theory we had for 'why Congo'; because the travelers might be displaced, and that's where whiterose calculated she would need to activate the machine in order to show up spatially where she wanted to be in alternate timeline. ;)

However, whiterose doesn't seem to indicate, especially after the last episode, that the machine is a 'hop in and go' kind of time traveling deal anyhow.
posted by bitterkitten at 5:08 PM on December 22, 2019


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