Sunday, December 1, 2019

REVIEW: 'Mr. Robot' - Elliot and Darlene Enact Their Greatest Hack Yet Against the Deus Group in '409 Conflict'

USA's Mr. Robot - Episode 4.09 "409 Conflict"

fsociety v deus group.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of USA's Mr. Robot.

"409 Conflict" was written by Kyle Bradstreet and directed by Sam Esmail

At the very start of the series, Elliot mused to the audience about the top one percent of the top one percent who secretly control the world. He targeted them with malicious intent in the hopes of restoring the natural balance to society. He has been on this crusade for so long and every step of the way has taught him something. He has realized that it's a lot harder to fix systemic inequality. Him committing one hack may not drastically improve the lives of others who have been taken advantage of for far too long. In fact, it may only send more power to the top who will always live comfortably no matter what. That may always be the fear that he has. There may always be a cabal of wealthy and privileged people who determine the fates of others. The whims of those with the money and influence to achieve whatever they want build those dreams at the expense of the common man and woman. They play with the lives of so many people without a genuine concern at all. And yet, that's what makes it so thrilling to watch when Elliot and Darlene embark on this hack of the Deus Group and eventually succeed. It has been the core action driving this season. They had to plan this out meticulously knowing just how insane the cyber-security was going to be. It wouldn't be a heist if everything went according to plan. So, it's thrilling to watch as they realize that Whiterose has changed the location of the meeting without telling Price. That confirms her suspicions that he has been working with Elliot to disrupt her grand plans. She has been more fixated on that idea more than ever. She sees that project as the end result of years of hard work and determination. She can finally achieve her dream of reuniting with her former lover. That's what she craves more than anything else. She is more than willing to offer that peace and happiness to anyone whose support she needs in the moment to further gain control. She sees power slipping out of her hands. It's all Elliot's fault. She had talked about bringing him into the fold to see how their interests are aligned. And yet, Elliot sees no point of doing so. He may not be in the right headspace to carry out this hack. That's why Mr. Robot steps up and inhabits his body fully. Even Darlene can see that physical change and know it may only call attention to something bad that has happened. They have both sacrificed so much this season. It seems like everyone is dying in order to pull off this hack. Sacrifices have been made in the pursuit of taking down those who abuse the world the most. Whiterose mentioning Angela though is the action that brings Elliot back to life. In that moment, he sees blatantly what he has lost and what he may potentially gain again. However, he made his thoughts known an episode ago about trying to change history. He understands he is who he is because of everything that has happened to him. He has created the tools for him to cope with everything in his life. He may still not operate with the full truth. It may be disappointing that Mr. Robot continues to withhold information from Elliot believing that he is doing so for the greater good. It may be time for Elliot to operate with full knowledge and awareness of what he has done. That may not inspire a better future for him. He achieves so much here because he relies on Darlene and all the resources they have built together. They are both capable enough to pull this hack off. It's absolutely devastating to the Deus Group. It calls them out in a way that may guarantee public outrage and shaming. Without control, Whiterose may have nothing. He still has the influence to mount an armed assault against those who try to arrest her. She murders Price because that presents as the only sensible thing to do after he has taken everything from her. Her story may end but she makes damn sure to leave as her authentic self. That's the most important thing. Everything she worked for may have been futile in the end. She caused so much damage. Elliot will still have to deal with the lingering consequences. He and Darlene may be too emotionally fragile to celebrate their win. And yet, this is a clear and concise victory that delivers on everything the show set out to do from the very beginning while leaving things personally complicated for the protagonists heading into the conclusion of the series.