In Mr. Robot Season 1, viewers were quick to deduce that the titular hacker was actually a figment of protagonist Elliot's imagination. In Season 2, they were equally quick to pick up on the fact that Elliot's sojourn at his mother's house was actually a stint in prison. And now, in the show's fourth and final season, fans are just as sure that they've figured out what 11:16 means and why it keeps popping up.
It takes an eagle eye to even notice the recurrence of 11:16 in the first place — but once you see it, it's everywhere. It's on the clock on the wall in Elliot's mother's room, it's on the time stamp on the television, it's on the wristwatch of Whiterose's lover in the flashback to her tragic past. But why is that time so important? The first step to decoding the significance is to turn the hours and minutes into a different measurement of time: a date.
As Reddit user whereismymind182 points out, 11:16 can be re-written as 1/1/16… or Jan. 1, 2016. Given that Mr. Robot takes place in 2015 (the year the show premiered) and it's currently Christmastime in the world of the series, New Year's Day 2016 is just around the corner. It's clear that something momentous is going to happen on the first day of the new year.
Episode 3 of Season 4, "403 Forbidden," notably took place on Christmas Eve. At the beginning of that episode, Phillip Price told Elliot he had eight days until Whiterose's project shipped to the Congo. What's eight days from Dec. 24? You guessed it: Jan. 1. All those clocks and watches have been pointing viewers towards the moment at which Whiterose's plan will take full effect — and the point at which Elliot will become expendable. It's his expiration date, if you will, unless he can find a way to foil Whiterose's plan and bring her down once and for all.
The number 11:16 might hold other meanings as well. For example, it could be tied to this Hebrews chapter 11, verse 16 from the bible:
Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
It's easy to read this better, "heavenly" country as the fulfillment of Whiterose's promise to Angela of finding a way to a world (an alternate reality, a parallel dimension) in which everyone who has died — Whiterose's lover, Angela's mother, Elliot's father, all the people in the Stage 2 attacks — are still alive. Would that mean Whiterose is "God" in this equation, if she's the one who prepared that heavenly world for everyone? Or is she simply a devil full of false promises?
If you want to dive even deeper down the rabbit hole, you could derive meaning from 1116 through the use of "angel numbers." According to thesecretofthetarot.com, angel numbers are "sequences of numbers that carry divine guidance by referring to specific numerological meanings." So what divine guidance can 1116 provide? According to Australian psychic Joanne Walmsley, the number 1116 is, "a reminder from your angels that your thoughts create you reality."
Furthermore, the sum of these numbers (1+1+1+6=9) is, "a sign from the angels that your life path and soul mission involve being of service to humanity through the use of your natural skills and talents." So the time on the clocks could be both another tease at the possibility of creating a new reality, as well as a hint that — while Elliot and the audience view Whiterose as a villain — her mission truly is in service to the greater good of humanity, despite her violent methods.
As for when viewers can expect to see Whiterose's grand plan finally play out, Reddit user BradleyRancor points out that each episode of Season 4 has so far taken place over the course of one day. If this pattern holds, Episode 4 will take place on Christmas Day, and the show will arrive at Jan. 1, 2016, by the eleventh episode — which means Whiterose's new reality could be ushered in either the final moments of Episode 10, "410 Gone" (which takes place on New Year's Eve), or at some point during Episode 11, "411 Length Required" (which takes place on New Year's Day).
Given that the final season consists of 13 episodes, that still gives the show a couple more episodes after 1/1/16 to explore the fallout of this new reality — assuming Whiterose is successful — and bring the story to a close. Or maybe Elliot will manage to foil his nemesis before she can enact her plan… only to learn that the reality Whiterose was trying to construct really would have been a better, heavenly world for everyone.
The numbers may tell fans when to expect the big twist of the final season, but it's going to be harder to predict exactly what showrunner Sam Esmail has in store for us when we get there.