Season 3 of Mr Robot is not just the best in the show’s history, its also one of the most culturally relevant and important shows to come out this year. Acting as a natural extension to the second, Mr Robot spent much of last year building up to this penultimate season. Whereas season 2 focused on slow building characterisation and clever artistic stylising, season 3 rewards this patience with 10 incredible episodes. The middle 3 in particular are among some of the best this year in any show and despite a slightly sombre ending, acting as a proverbial shock wave from these explosive episodes, Mr Robot manages to weave a clever mix of political and societal commentary into an enthralling plot and a sprinkle of incredible cinematography for good measure make Mr Robot one of the best shows out right now.
The story opens where it left off last year, with Elliot (Rami Malek) and Mr Robot (Christian Slater) wrestling for control around whether to initialise Stage 2 or not. Season 3 echoes some of the inner turmoil Elliot felt last year and the clever way the character traits shift depending on whether Mr Robot or Elliot are in control is really well shot and believable. With a more sporadic nature to this personality shift and the ever increasing importance of The Dark Army to the overarching plot, Season 3 is more complicated and focused than ever before.
Some of this renowned focus is thanks to answering some key questions hanging over the show and spending much more time with Elliot, who continues to anchor the series with his endearing character and narration. Last year suffered from parallel story lines that didn’t always hit and disjointed an otherwise decent season of entertainment. This year everything feels more cohesive and driven toward one collective goal and because of that, the plot feels as tightly woven and engaging as the first season.
Although the characters from last year return, there’s a much more interesting dynamic between key players Tyrell (Martin Wallström), Angela (Portia Doubleday) and Darlene (Carly Chaikin). The added complication of Elliot’s split personality and a tense atmosphere that hangs over much of this season help to bring out the best acting from everyone involved. Even the supporting cast, including new face Irving (Bobby Cannavale) and returning FBI agent Dom (Grace Gummer) do a great job with the material they’re given and fit perfectly in the Mr Robot universe.
Its worth mentioning that the technicality of some of the shots here are a step up from last year. The dizzying array of compelling scenes, ranging from aerial and crane shots at the top of tower blocks, down to hedonistic, warped visions in dim basements that echo through the series are on point and this year in particular sees a more reigned in approach to this. Thankfully, holding back on the pure artistry doesn’t hurt the show’s appeal – it still feels like Mr Robot. The sudden musical cues that end abruptly, the eclectic soundtrack and Elliot’s societal narration are all here and as good as they’ve ever been. Its worth noting too that on top of the impressive cinematography, Season 3 is much more politically charged than before. The subplots include society taking a xenophobic view toward Muslims, rampant commercialism and fear of terrorism really strikes a chord and more so than before, makes the plot feel much more powerfully relevant and important. This blur of blending reality and fiction pushes the boundaries of television, especially with such taboo subjects, and because of this it surpasses the first season in terms of quality.
Although Season 3 reaches its climactic peak during the middle episodes, there’s still an incredible amount going on here that makes it hard to find faults. The politically charged narrative, excellent cinematography and more complex character dynamics make Mr Robot as good as its ever been. With a much more focused approach to storytelling, gravitating all the individual stories around one cohesive goal, and a more important role for Elliot this time, season 3 of Mr Robot is an incredible achievement in television and should be recognised as one of the most important and relevant shows of our time.