What's The Twist In 'Mr. Robot' Season 3? The Drama Tends To Hack Its Own Reality
Mr. Robot is a one-of-a-kind show, combining hacker culture with a depiction of mental illness and adding a heavy dose of anti-capitalist philosophy to present a unique vision unlike anything else on television. However, the finer details of the show can be overshadowed by its defining twists. Leading up to Dec. 13 season 3 finale, Mr. Robot had established a pattern where once per season, the rug is swept out from under the audience and they discover that their perception of reality was incorrect. While fans have been crafting theories and making predictions as to what the twist of Mr. Robot Season 3 is, there may not actually be one coming.
Mr. Robot Season 1 revealed that the titular character was not a real hacker, but a split personality of Elliot Alderson inspired by his dead father. Season 2 followed suit by showing Elliot moving back home for half a season, only to reveal that he had been in prison the entire time but had dissociated. After two similar twists revolving around Elliot's perception of what's happening, fans expected Season 3 to feature a twist of a similar scale that would re-contextualize the series and force audiences not to believe everything they see.
Viewers were conditioned by the first season alone to expect a twist to come somewhere in the middle of the season. In fact, theorizers were able to figure out pretty quickly that Season 2 was actually showcasing Elliot's prison sentence. In an interview with UPROXX, creator Sam Esmail talked about the situation that the show put itself in by prompting fans to speculate and search for clues. He said:
"I didn't expect people to catch on from the very first episode, but I thought people would start to theorize and catch on. Look, a reveal is great when it's surprising, but it's terrible when it feels like a cheat. To me, the fact that some people who guessed it may not be surprised, it verifies that we didn't cheat anybody, because it adds up and makes sense to them still."
So it may be that Season 2 was enough of a lesson that Mr. Robot is dropping big twists entirely in favor of surprising plot developments. Still, the show has been dropping clues all season that a huge, reality-shifting twist was on the horizon. Some fan are expecting to see Mr. Robot introduce time travel, parallel universes, or massive computer simulations (oh my!) into its fairly realistic world. Talk of changing the past and references to Back To The Future littered Season 3, with Elliot actually taking Trenton's little brother to see Back To The Future Pt. II at one point. But it could be that all those hints are a red herring, meant to throw off the show's rabid Reddit fans.
Elliot has spent most of his adult life trying to keep a grasp on reality, and Season 3 marks the first time he probably wishes he could discover that his mind was playing tricks on him. For Elliot, being mentally unwell might be easier or better than carrying the guilt of being complicit in the destruction of 71 buildings and the deaths of everyone inside them. However, there may not be a reality-bending twist this season to protect him from what happened. (Meaning: those buildings definitely did come down.) If anything, the biggest twist in Season 3 might be that both Elliot and Mr. Robot were unaware of the secret plan to level 71 Ecorp buildings. For once it doesn't matter what was going on inside Elliot's head, because the biggest twist was happening outside of it.
While Elliot may wish he could seperate from reality, it's clear that Angela already has. Angela, over the course of the season, has grown obsessed with the idea of finding a way to rewind time and save everyone who died – including her own mother. While the twists of Season 1 and 2 were meant to prove how fractured Elliot's mind was, Season 3 showed the blunt reality of what happens when someone's mind can't endure the trauma being inflicted on them.
But between Whiterose's giant mystery device to her desire to annex the Congo, it's clear that the leader of the Dark Army is up to something. Her machinations may end up pulling the rug out from under the entire world. Surely, nothing good can come from someone obsessed with time and parallel universes who's as powerful and manipulative as the Dark Army boss.
After it established a pattern, fans spent all season searching for clues and Easter eggs, possibly not taking the events happening on screen at face value. If the Season 3 doesn't reveal a big twist, it would be the single most surprising thing that Mr. Robot could do.