Series … and men – Mr. Robot – “Under my skin hides a secret”

Having gone through many ups and downs, the Mr. Robot series ended on December 22 on the USA Network with a double episode episode. It has come to an end to a season of high flying, which will undoubtedly remain one of the creative peaks of the decade. When authors as brilliant and determined as Sam Esmail attack the “powerful people of this world who play the good gods without authorization”, this opens up a field of possibilities for the visionary artists of tomorrow.

Warning ! It is better to have seen the whole
from Mr. Robot before reading this post.

Episode 1.04, entitled “eps1.3_da3m0ns.mp4”. AT
short of morphine, Elliot begins to hallucinate to the point where we can no longer precisely dissociate reality from fantasy (already that in normal times, it was not
not too much…). He talks to his black fish, Qwerty, who urges him to place his
jar in front of the window to break his routine a little bit. A cup, and Elliot
ends up at the restaurant with Angela cutting a black fish to pieces
who looks furiously like poor Qwerty that we just got
to leave. Elliot’s hand reveals the presence of a key; Angela thinks she sees
a ring and immediately accepts her alleged marriage proposal, under the
applause from customers seated around them. Then Elliot enters the
arcade room that is usually the headquarters of fsociety. There is
found, under a painted portrait displaying an extra wide smile worthy of
Joker, Angela, in a wedding dress, who announces to him in a cryptic tone that he is not
not Elliot but … [perte de connexion]

It was July 2015, more than four years ago. The episode
was not even signed Sam Esmail, but Adam Penn (and directed by Nisha Ganatra, whose
this will be the only contribution to the series). However, everything was already there,
ready to be revealed to us … without that damn loss of connection that occurred at
worst time. In the final episode of the series (this time written and directed
by Esmail in person), the latter has fun replaying the arcade scene
almost plan by plan (even if their number differs). But this time, we
clearly hears Angela say to Elliot – or rather, to whom we took for
Elliot from the very beginning of the series – that he is actually the “Brain”
(“The Mastermind”), one of the personalities that Elliot was made up of
and who imposed himself on him until he took control of operations. (Note that
the series is close in that to two creations of the American cable which would win
to be recognized at their fair value:
United states of tara,
broadcast from 2009 to 2011 on Showtime, and
Wilfred, broadcast from 2011 to 2013
on FX before being relegated to FXX for its final season.)

Like David Benioff & D. B. Weiss having fun at
replay and extend, in the concluding episode of
Game Of Thrones, a
premonitory vision of Daenerys acceding to the Iron Throne (“Valar
Morghulis “, 2.10), Esmail mischievously makes us understand that he
it was enough to open your chakras to realize that the end of the story
was at hand, that there was only to tender slightly this one to there
to access. In retrospect, this may seem trivial: an author having in
head the last chapter of his tale when undertaking the first, the
great deal … Novelists will tell you that such a conception is nothing
very exceptional. However, needless to say, a series is not a novel
– particularly in the case of
Mr. Robot, which had its beginnings
dizzying (societal, technical mastery, power of embodiment)
before getting bogged down in a second season that quickly transformed the
prodigies in “tricks” with too obvious strings. See such
series fall back on its legs after getting lost along the way this of
enjoyable that serial writing is not a straight line (even in the case
series that feel like they should never fail, like
Sopranos
or from breaking Bad). We pad, we plug, we patch up; we
try to stay the course, and we pray that all this ends in apotheosis. Apotheosis:
the word perfectly matches the impression left by the conclusion of
Mr.
Robot
. The “Brain” and his black hooded sweatshirt joined the
gods of Olympus, letting (re) appear in the eyes of Darlene – his “constant”
– Elliot’s real face. End
(beginning?) of the story.

Maelstrom of emotions

There would be so many other things to write about the outcome
of
Mr. Robot (and the entire series) that a modest blog post is not there
not be enough. We will have to come back to it, again and again, on the occasion of chronicles,
specials, festivals, study days, courses
academics. From this point of view, the series is just beginning.

Darlene Alderson (Carly Chaikin)

Allow me
all the same, to point out certain salient aspects of the last moments of the
series, like Alan Sepinwall having
got into the habit of delivering
“Other thoughts”
at the end of the article:

– Beyond its narrative complexity, the finale of
Mr. Robot has fully respected the tradition of “closing
the loop “by multiplying the winks at the beginning of the series (by the image,
by sound). Many places and plans are revisited there in order to produce
disturbing echoes acting like
stimuli memorials. More notable: this
ending allows the series to adopt a circular shape which appears the
end to a mirror of the beginning. A fascinating exercise consists of watching this title
the pilot just after finishing the series: after Darlene pronounced
the words “Hello, Elliot”, we hear Elliot answer him “Hello,
friend “(words which correspond to the titles of the episodes respectively of
closing and opening of the series). See again
Mr. Robot in his
all will be, without a doubt, rich in lessons …

– In one
article
previous
, I predicted that Angela would hold a prominent place in the
conclusion of the series, and frowned upon the track
science fiction which consisted of exploring parallel universes. Sure
these two points, the choices made by Esmail turned out to be radical to say the least,
which did not stop the series from reaching artistic heights during
this fourth and last season. The inaugural scene, of confining Angela
at the bottom of the plan and abruptly eliminate it after a long “negotiation”
with Philip Price (initiated at the end of the previous season), will remain engraved
in many memories. Deprive yourself of such a magnetic character and
enigmatic will undoubtedly have cost the last season of the series (even if one
sporadically reviews Angela in her last two episodes); however,
the confidence with which Esmail will have taken its choice and led its boat until
destination commands respect. As for parallel universes, we know
now that they were to be reconciled with the dissociative disorder of Elliot’s identity.
This means that the series did not completely get off its rails at the time
to conclude, conversely, for example, from
Parks and Recreation or, side
French, from
Do
not this, don’t do that
.


The question of the true identity of the “friend” (“Hello,
friend “) that Elliot regularly talks to, looking at the camera – that is,
towards us – continues to arise. During one last therapy session, Krista
(in a version imagined by Elliot) explains to him that she is
aware of our presence – we “voyeurs who think we are outside
when they followed everything “(” the voyeurs who think they aren’t a
part of this, despite being here for all of it ”). Does that make us more
than mere spectators, another Elliot personality, even Elliot
himself? The mystery remains (ra) whole.


In his will to leave no doubt hanging
on the tangibility of the events portrayed by the series, Esmail sometimes turns to
the text explanation a bit demonstrative. I am thinking in particular of the scene
of a hospital where Darlene explains to the “Brain”: “I assure you,
it’s real. I’ve been by your side all along: fsociety, our E hack
Corp, the Five / Nine, your time in prison, the cyber-attacks, the accounts of
those dung that we dumped after what they did to Angela.
Angela is dead. Like Romero, Trenton,
Mobley, Shayla.
Elliot, I wouldn’t lie to you: it’s not in
your head. It’s real. “The scene strongly reminds of the last exchange
between Christian Shephard and his son in the finale of
Lost (without the church
and the soothing slowdowns that Damon Lindelof continues to bite
fingers). There is clearly a desire to reassure the viewer, to
explain to him that he has not been fooled for four seasons, even if it means paying
in the “summary” of previous episodes. (This explanation
also sounds like a disavowal of the first half of season 2, during
from which Elliot imagined returning to his mother when he was languishing in
reality in prison.)


Mr. Robot will never really have been
a series from USA Network. It will be briefly posed there, like a UFO
in search of contact, before leaving without anything having changed to his
area.
After
to have promised
bolder series (“We the Bold”), USA
Network has indeed fallen back into a form of comfortable mediocrity, alone
the darker tone of the speech making it possible to differentiate from the “blue
TV skies ”that preceded (let’s get out of the lot all the same
The Sinner,
seasonal anthology slightly less programmatic than its counterparts). For
For his part, Esmail has never ceased to claim his opposition to
conventions established by the basic cable: refusal of black fade (replaced
by abrupt cuts used to signal the unwanted intrusion of spots
advertising), diversion of shortened title pages (intended, in
general, to leave more room for advertising), use of a grammar
stylistic and particularly confusing curvy narration for a
non-regular audience, etc. Seasons 3 and 4 were also broadcast at a
hour later than the previous ones, under the protective wing of the “safe
harbor “, which allowed them to go further in verbal expression
and visual of the violence (just count the number of “fuck”
pronounced audibly in the last season to realize that we are far from
the sampling allowed by John Landgraf on FX …). When the edition comes out
DVD of season 4 of
Mr. Robot, it will be difficult to say the least
of the television version, so much Esmail will have fought to distinguish its creation
from the USA Network.


The hearings of
Mr. Robot have not stopped
decrease with the seasons. If the pilot of the series was seen by almost 2
million viewers on USA Network (according to reports from the institute
Nielsen), the final episode drew only about 300,000 fans of the
first hour. Morality: do not read the audience curves (especially at
the era of “Peak TV”) to get an idea of ​​the quality of a
series. Especially since the international impact of an atypical work like
Mr.
Robot
greatly exceeds the truth allegedly established by a few
pseudo-factual graphics.


It’s in a movie theater that
different Elliot personalities meet, at the end of the final episode,
to attend the screening of the film of his life. Rarely will a series
affirmed also cinematographic, whether by form or by multiples
references summoned.
Mr. Robot is the ideal witness to a successful marriage
between cinema and television, in what is most fusional but
also, sometimes, more chaotic. That television feeds on cinema should not
no longer be the object of sterile bell-tower wars, especially as the converse is
now also true.

– The musical accompaniment of Mr. Robot often hold
prodigy. Besides the
score electric (and electrifying) composed by Mac
Quayle, the titles chosen to illustrate, derealize or make more
still mind-blowing the adventures of Elliot, fsociety and the Dark Army are missing
rarely to redouble the hypnotic power of images. So from
Mr. Roboto
de Styx (1983), whose lyrics resonate funny with the revelations
finals of the series: “I’ve got a secret I’ve been hiding under my
skin.
My
heart is human, my blood is boiling, my brain IBM. […] The time has come at
last to throw away this mask.
Now
everyone can see my true identity ”. One might wonder if Esmail didn’t
designed the series solely with a view to inserting this madeleine of
Personal Proust in the Final Episode … I’m also thinking of this reunion
poignant between Dominique and Darlene, in the episode “410 Gone”
(4.10). By voice command, Dom intimate to his Alexa connected speaker
start a Faith Hill playlist. The two young women then argue over
attitude towards the threat posed by the Dark Army (now
that the bank funds of the Deus group have been misappropriated and the compromise of Zhang
revealed). Dom and Darlene appear at the height of an unspoken sexual tension
suddenly in profile, facing one another, suddenly mute, while being heard
the insistent words of the chorus of
This Kiss (1998): “This
kiss, this kiss “. Will the coveted kiss happen? In the meantime, the disorder that takes hold of the two false
rivals at the time this musical injunction is given is worth all
hugs of the world.

USA Network Photos

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