Mr. Robot ties all the loose ends together as it finally dives into its last season. Some of us already expected it in this arc, but the hacker thriller show has finally made a point to embrace the brutal villain’s backstory and connect all the dots.
The show pits our protagonist Elliot Anderson (Rami Malek) and Dark Army leader Whiterose (BD Wong) in an epic battle of wits and ideologies. Their differences are clear as day: Elliot hacks to fight the top corporations and the one percent of the one percent while Whiterose is the embodiment of that power. In the most recent episode, the creator has taken the distinct black and white dichotomy of the show and has made things ambiguous. Episode “403 forbidden” is meant to clarify and humanize the heartbreaking origins of the villain, and it also leaves the audience seriously conflicted as to what’s right.
Per the Hollywood Reporter, USA Network sources mention from Sam Esmail that “[getting] the audience to actually root for the villain’s goal is really fascinating.” Case in point, Esmail actually humanizes Whiterose through several depicted scenes and the overall narrative of the episode.
Granted their adversarial relations, it’s easy to categorize them in either “the good guys” or “the bad guys,” but Esmail has broken that illusion in the episode. Some of their commonalities are proof: Elliot works through “Mr. Robot” to get things done while Whiterose, a woman in power, disguises her identity as a man. Both have things to hide, and both are willing to mess with society to get their justice across. In truth, they have similar goals and mindsets, and without explicitly stating anything, Esmail illustrates that the characters are more complex and not the one dimensional heroes or villains we make them out to be.
The thriller hacker dystopia is chalk full of philosophies and intense action that can leave any audience rooting for either side. Esmail intended to make the show conflicting and engaging, and you really have to think for yourself on an emotional and intellectual level to realize what’s right.