It’s not enough to be a good show anymore in 2016.
You can’t just produce good content and have a captivated audience. You need the approval of the modern TV critic – a person who often will put a hit show like Mr. Robot on such a high pedestal for its second season that it can’t even reach it to try and pull itself up.
This is what I say to those critics: get over it.
This sophomore season was different and though it had snags along the 12-episode run, it still was an expansive look at what was trying to be accomplished.
I think this season addressed the 5/9 attacks from season one while also trying to invite (many) more players into the game and give larger roles to season one players.
We are literally in the golden age of television. Did you know there’s an anthology series called “Easy” that came out on Netflix yesterday that was created by Joe Swanberg (known for “Drinking Buddies” and “Happy Christmas.”) It has stars like Jake Johnson, Mark Maron, Orlando Bloom, Aya Cash and Malin Akerman. Yeah that’s an actual show you can watch right now.
Have you heard about “Transparent”? It only won a bunch of Emmy awards on Sunday and the new season is yours to stream.
What about “Atlanta” or “Better Things” on FX? Those two shows were renewed for new seasons after just TWO episodes each. How about “Stranger Things”? Now those kids are singing Uptown Funk to start the Emmys and going on every late night show.
This is a time where we can have 10 favorite shows. I literally have about six shows I love watching right now and some have made me forget about “new” shows from only a year or two ago.
We need to be conscious that shows are pouring out each month. Why is it such a problem that “Mr. Robot” is taking it’s time. This is a show still working under the traditional model on USA. It was a huge hit season one and Sam Esmail decided to slow down and trust the process by giving his audience a narrator that you can never trust. A narrator who also just won an Emmy for his performance in this show (shoutout to you, Rami!)
Why does this show make us as critics so mad? When I now watch Mr. Robot, I watch it like I would read a long book: day to day. This isn’t a sprint. This show is a distance run and our generation of “give it to me now” is all of a sudden mad that a basic cable show left us with some questions to end its season?
We start this week’s episode with a flashback of Elliot and Tyrell Wellick talking on the day of the 5/9 attacks. Elliot has this tone of his voice while speaking to Wellick that comes off as “don’t get in the way of what I've started.”
I will say that maybe this finale shouldn’t have been broken up into two parts. That seems pretty obvious now but it still doesn't take away from the universe that thsi season has built, destroyed and then built again.
We fast forward to Wellick and Elliot now heading up what seems like a fairly vacant building to a floor that overlooks a city street. Wellick doesn’t understand that Elliot is confused but Elliot doesn’t remember anything (probably because his mind is basically in split-screen mode between him and Mr. Robot.)
Elliot learns that Stage 2 of the Dark Army/ fsociety’s process will include the explosion of E-Corp’s remaining paper evidence and records from post-5/9 attacks.
Meanwhile, we learn Darlene has survived the attack from Dark Army but that Cisco has died. Detective DiPierro is trying to work with Darlene but she has no intention of being any assistance until she learns that Dom and the FBI have known about Elliot’s involvement all along.
This season finale gave us multiple answers including FBI’s knowing of Elliot, a (less exciting) reveal that Darlene is alive and we even learned that E-Corp CTO Scott Knowles was the one sending gifts to Joanna Wellick and not in fact Tyrell.
Even when Elliot tries to halt the Dark Army’s Stage 2, Tyrell shoots Elliot and he drops to the floor, his stomach covered in blood. This is really happening and once again Christian Slater’s character begins to fade out. But no worries! Angela receives the call from Tyrell to tell her Elliot is in stable condition and that she is heading towards them.
What will happen next? Who knows and why do you want to so bad? TV is the one medium where I don't mind being in the dark for the majority of the time.
That’s why the reviews for this finale have confused me. Did they expect Esmail and his team to just show all of the cards right away? If this show was on Netflix or Hulu then I think people would be less ticked off. But it was on basic cable and we invested 11 weeks into watching it. Sure, we may have wanted more payoffs, but I’m fine learning as I go.
This season could be another three or four seasons and the direction where we can go is endless. This season never needed to be finite in anyway, and when we see fscoiety-turned-witness-protection-persons, Mobley and Trenton (now Frederick and Tonya), sitting at an electronic store and mulling over the possibility of overwriting whatever it is that Tyrell and Elliot and Angela have done, it gives hope for more questions.
I want more questions, not answers. I’m in no rush.
When we see Leon walk up to Mobley and Trenton outside, he asks “do you have the time?” I thought that was a nod from Esmail and his crew asking the audience if they’re willing to still come along on this journey.
The answer is “yes”, Sam: I’m ride or die with this series and I have all the time in the world.