When USA first announced that Mr. Robot would be ending with Season 4, they also revealed that it would take place on, or around Christmas — essentially selling the final season as an extended Christmas special. And for the most part they’ve delivered on that with episodes replete with Christmas imagery, parties, and lights twinkling everywhere. Tonight’s episode, though, which took place on Christmas Eve as the clock rolled over to Christmas Day turned out to be the true Christmas special episode. And if you know Mr. Robot, this isn’t a surprise: it was the most f-ed up Christmas special, ever.
Spoilers for Mr. Robot past this point.
Adding to the Christmas special flavor (I swear, I’ll stop using that phrase past this point), the episode is split into three tales of loneliness. That, of course, is one of the main themes of Mr. Robot, how and why we make in person connections versus those through the internet, in our office, etc. Are you more tied to the split personality version of your dead father who lives in your brain? Or the man you’re tied to in real life because you share so many secrets, you can’t separate from each other’s lives?
That’s the conflict in Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek) and Tyrell Wellick’s (Martin Wallström) story. After killing a member of evil hacker organization the Dark Army, they’ve driven his van upstate to bury him far away, only to find the van stolen and them stuck in the middle of nowhere. After pissing off a gas station clerk, they end up aimlessly walking through the snowy woods, getting colder and more frustrated while a strange, haunting noise follows them throughout the forest.
By the end of the journey, Tyrell is sobbing, knowing they’re going to get killed by the Dark Army. He’s going to die, and worse than that, he’s going to die with Elliot, a man who doesn’t even like him. Tyrell has always been surrounded by flunkies as part of his job at E-Corp, but he’s also always been totally alone. Elliot is the same: he always has Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) with him, but that’s part of him, another personality. There’s nobody else actually there.
While the boys get lost in a dark forest like something out of “Hansel & Gretel,” Elliot’s sister Darlene (Carly Chaiken) is facing her own loneliness. In a hilarious scene, she downloads Elliot on the info he needs to know, slowly devolving into a screaming fit where she can’t believe how little he cares about her, his own sister. Still, she can’t stop caring about him, and ends up through a serious of circumstances with an epically drunk Santa Claus, played by Jon Glaser. As she drives him home, his story gets sadder and sadder… He’s a Santa for kids in the cancer ward, who he calls “born to die,” it seems like his wife died in an accident, and he has a bottle of percocet on hand. When they get to his house, it’s covered in Christmas decorations, and turns out the car they’ve been driving in wasn’t even his car.
Finally, there’s Dom (Grace Gummer), the FBI agent who has been utterly broken by the Dark Army. She’s alone on Christmas Eve in her apartment, masturbating to interrogation footage of Darlene — and I mean, who hasn’t been there am I right — until she can’t finish. She logs into a chat room and has a graphic conversation with a man, who turns out to be a woman, who then comes over to Dom’s place to hook up. Except of course, the woman is from the Dark Army herself, and drowns Dom in her own bathtub, telling her to just let go of everything, nobody is coming to save her.
…Only Dom’s experience turns out to be a dream, she fell asleep while chatting — and missed Christmas at her mother’s house. Darlene’s Santa isn’t suicidal, his wife slipped and fell and needed the percocet, he’s just extremely drunk and actually pretty happy. And Elliot returns to Tyrell and makes amends, explaining that he doesn’t like him, but that doesn’t matter.
A happy ending, right? Of course not. Dom’s story ends with her still alone. Darlene’s ends with her driving alone — there’s a point when it seems like she’ll accidentally discover the lost Tyrell and Elliot, but instead she has to decide whether to go after Elliot (she has the location of his phone) or just take care of herself.
And then there’s Elliot and Tyrell. In what passes for a Christmas miracle on Mr. Robot, the Dark Army soldier, who didn’t get killed by Tyrell earlier, crashed his van on the side of the road trying (and failing) to avoid a deer. The duo sneak up on him, he fires off a few shots, and then kills himself. Elliot and Tyrell are safe for now, their partnership won’t be revealed… Except Tyrell was shot. In the finally bit underlying the theme, he decides to “talk a walk” and die of his gunshot wound in the woods. Going to the hospital would alert the Dark Army, which would be a death sentence.
Ultimately, for all the human connections the characters make over the course of the night, none of them are real, none are lasting. In a way, that’s the real truth of Christmas, right? Movies and TV shows tell us it’s a time for family and togetherness, but a good chunk of the world spends it alone, the Christmas lights constantly inviting them to a world they can never fully be part of.
There’s one last bit, of course, a final present for fans. As Tyrell heads into the woods to die, he sees a light, throbbing and blue. It’s the source of the strange sound from earlier, and as he stumbles forward he grins. It’s what he’s been looking for his whole life — whatever it is. The frame fades to white, without any answers. Merry Christmas.
Mr. Robot airs Sundays at 10/9c on USA.
The post ‘Mr. Robot’ Delivered One of the Most F-Ed up Christmas Specials Ever appeared first on Decider.