One of the most mind-bending series on TV right now, with one of the most complex and multi-layered characters, Mr. Robot took the small screen by storm when it debuted in 2015. Now gearing up for its fourth and final season, set to premiere on October 6 with 13 episodes, we can expect many more twists and turns to come.
15 The 1% Of The 1%
“They showed themselves, the top 1% of the 1%, the ones in control, the ones who play God without permission. And now I’m gonna take them down.”
Elliot often fixates on the top 1% of the 1% and how they abuse their power. He always wanted to stop them and create a better world. The problem is that all his past efforts only made them stronger.
Once they revealed themselves in the season 3 finale, Elliot had a way forward. He had a kind of purpose, clarity, and hope that he’d never had before. This is an important moment for Elliot, but it also highlights issues of class disparity, and that significant steps must be taken to solve these issues and create a more just world.
14 Relationships Are About Control
“Every relationship is a power struggle. Some of us need to be controlled.”
Many people think relationships are about connection and growth, but in Elliot’s experience, they are often about control. His relationship with Mr. Robot largely revolves around the power struggle between them. The power in their relationship is in constant flux, with one often having the upper hand over the other.
Elliot’s outlook on relationships is also shaped by the relationships outside of himself, such as in season 3, when his relationship with Angela also becomes a power struggle. Relationships may actually be about who is the controller and who can be controlled instead of being about connection or growth.
13 Wearing A Mask
“How do I take off a mask when it stops being a mask, when it’s as much a part of me as I am?”
This question is posed at the beginning of season 2, but it remains relevant until the very end of the series. The show’s last big reveal makes this question even more compelling as fans learn that the Elliot they knew was a “mastermind” personality who manifested to protect the real Elliot.
Mr. Robot ends with the real Elliot returning to reality, but he is undoubtedly changed by letting the masks of these other personalities control him for so long. Everyone must be careful about the masks they wear as those masks will eventually become part of who they are forever.
12 The People Who Care
“There are some people out there… And it doesn’t happen a lot. It’s rare. But they refuse to let you hate them. In fact, they care about you in spite of it. And the really special ones, they’re relentless at it. Doesn’t matter what you do to them. They take it and care about you anyway. They don’t abandon you, no matter how many reasons you give them. No matter how much you’re practically begging them to leave. And you wanna know why? Because they feel something for me that I can’t… They love me.”
In Elliot’s final conversation with Whiterose, she tries to appeal to his self-hatred and his hatred of society. What she didn’t realize is how Elliot has developed. People like Darlene, Angela, and even Mr. Robot chose to stick with Elliot and love him, regardless of how he tries to push them away.
Their love for Elliot taught Elliot to love and accept himself. Just as they never gave up on him, Elliot refuses to give up on society. This signifies powerful character development and can serve as a powerful lesson for everyone.
11 Changing The World
“What if changing the world was just about being here, by showing up no matter how many times we get told we don’t belong, by staying true even when we’re shamed into being false, by believing in ourselves even when we’re told we’re too different? And if we all held on to that, if we refuse to budge and fall in line, if we stood our ground for long enough, just maybe… The world can’t help but change around us.”
These words from the series finale can act as an important reminder that change always starts with a single individual. True change can only happen when individuals stick to their beliefs and create the change themselves.
Elliot faces countless internal and external obstacles throughout the series, but by standing his ground and creating the change he wants to see, the world finally relents and begins to change for the better.
10 Wars Aren’t Meant To Be Won
“Maybe wars aren’t meant to be won, maybe they’re meant to be continuous.”
This sad realization suggests that wars are simply an ongoing product of the world we live in. You fight a war with one person or organization or situation, and then move on to the next. It’s purely cyclical, depressing, and never-ending.
This is the way Elliot always thinks; pessimism is in his blood. And maybe he’s right. Any time we win one war, another emerges. So do we really ever win at all? Or simply replace one war with another and call it something different?
9 Living In Paranoia
“We’re all living in each other’s paranoia.”
Elliott is mentally ill, seeing a therapist to deal with his identity issues, depression, anxiety, and severe paranoia. So to him, everyone is paranoid, really. We all just live based on the paranoia of others.
If one person suspects another of cheating in their relationship, for example, that suspected guilty party must live with their significant other’s paranoia. If you feel as though your boss is out to get you, your boss is going to live with the repercussions of your beliefs, whether it’s you lashing out at them or always questioning their motives. This, at least, is what Elliot believes about the world.
8 Find The Worst In People
“I’m good at reading people. My secret? I look for the worst in them.”
The expression goes that you should always look for the best in people. But to Elliot, if you really want to know someone and what they are all about, look for the worst in them. That will tell you who they really are behind the mask they throw on and the person they portray themselves to be every day.
Does the worst about a person truly define them? Is that who they truly are? In Elliott’s eyes, they are. Others who think more optimistically might simply believe that the worst in someone is just the worst they could be, but who they really are is reflected when they bring out their best.
7 The Code Of Chaos
“I do see the beauty in the rules, the invisible code of chaos hiding behind the menacing face of order.”
Leave it to Elliot to turn the concept of conventional rules into chaos. In his mind, rules are simply organized chaos, meant to manipulate and control people into living in a personal sense of chaos. But this truth is masked beyond what the rules present, which is a seemingly organized stream of people simply living out their daily lives, going through their motions.
In this comment, he’s admitting that he recognizes the appeal of the rules, it does make the chaos invisible. But he sees right through them. And he wants others to as well.
6 People Are Vulnerable
“I’ve never found it hard to hack most people. If you listen to them, watch them, their vulnerabilities are like a neon sign screwed into their heads.”
Throughout the series, we’ve seen Elliot use his tremendous hacking skills for what he believes to be a greater good, delivering his own sense of vigilante justice. When he believes that someone is up to no good, he hacks into them, finds proof, then essentially blackmails them to coerce them into doing what’s right.
He’s admitted that he often hopes he’s wrong and has hacked into an innocent person. But he believes that he is so perceptive that he can spot those who are doing wrong, and only hacks them to find the proof he already knows is there. This is confirmed in another great quote:
“…I never want to be right about my hacks, but people always find a way to disappoint.”
5 It’s Not Real
“It’s one thing to question your mind; it’s another to question your eyes and ears. But, then again, isn’t it all the same? Our senses just mediocre inputs to our brain? Sure, we rely on them, trust they accurately portray the real world around us, but what if the haunting truth is they can’t? That what we perceive isn’t the real world at all, but just our mind’s best guess? That all we really have is a garbled reality, a truly fuzzy picture we will never make out?”
This is one of those lengthy internal monologues delivered by Elliot that really makes you stop and think. Is what you perceive actually real, or just how you perceive something? Do other people see things the same way you do? Is everyone just making their own best guesses about situations, and often times, our views are all completely different? Could this explain so much of the conflict in the world?
It’s a really troubling and thought-provoking statement that might make you question, well, everything.
4 Our True Selves
“Annihilation is always the answer. We destroy parts of ourselves every day. We Photoshop our warts away. We edit the parts we hate about ourselves, modify the parts we think people hate. We curate our identity, carve it, distill it. Krista’s wrong. Annihilation is all we are.”
Especially in today’s world where we are so focused on presenting our ideal selves through social media, endlessly editing photos until we find the best one to post, using unrealistic filters, and trying to present the best versions of ourselves aesthetically, Elliot hits this nail right on the head.
Krista, his therapist, tries to explain to him that annihilation is not what we need, but to Elliot, that’s exactly what we do every day.
3 Control Is An Illusion
“Control can sometimes be an illusion. But sometimes you need illusions to gain control. Fantasy is an easy way to give meaning to the world. To cloak our harsh reality with escapist comfort. After all, isn’t that why we surround ourselves with so many screens? So we can avoid seeing? So we can avoid each other? So we can avoid truth?”
For any fan of the series, you know that Elliot himself is prone to illusions, or rather hallucinations. But to him, he thinks the fantasy is, well, his reality. It’s what helps him control a situation, when he’s, in a way, living outside of himself.
We all do it, as Elliot notes, by immersing ourselves in fantasy movies and TV series (like Mr. Robot), scrolling through social media feeds with profiles that only show one side of peoples’ lives, and cutting ourselves off from reality by escaping to a digital world via an entertainment medium like gaming. Is that really all that different?
2 The World Is A Hoax
“The world itself’s just one big hoax. Spamming each other with our running commentary of bullshit, masquerading as insight, our social media faking as intimacy. Or is it that we voted for this? Not with our rigged elections, but with our things, our property, our money. I’m not saying anything new. We all know why we do this, not because Hunger Games books make us happy, but because we wanna be sedated. Because it’s painful not to pretend, because we’re cowards.”
Whoa. Just whoa. Those are the only words we can use to describe this quote from Elliot, which completely calls out every social media tactic, every way we, as a society, have focused on material goods and unimportant fake relationships versus real ones.
He believes all of this numbs us to reality, to what’s really going on in the world. And he might just be right.
1 Saving The World
“I wanted to save the world.”
It’s the shortest of the quotes, but one of the most impactful. While what he accomplished with Fsociety was terrible and had severe implications on society, he really did have good intentions. Behind all of his cynicism was a young man who simply wanted to re-program the world and make people focus on what was important; forgive the debt people had incurred due to greedy banks and investments, and take the money and power away from corporate conglomerates and give it back to the people.
Of course, it backfired. But in the end, Elliot really did just want to save the world and thought his actions would have done just that.