Last week, USA’s Mr. Robot threw a nifty curveball our way: We know more about the nature of Elliot’s (Rami Malek) relationship to Mr. Robot (Christian Slater), and it wasn’t quite what we were expecting. With only two episodes left to go in the show’s first season, we spoke to series creator and showrunner Sam Esmail about last week’s big reveal and what to expect going forward on the summer’s best (okay, only — but also best!) hacker thriller.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Obviously episode 8 was a bombshell, with viewers finally discovering that Mr. Robot is, or was, actually Elliot’s father — and that Darlene is his sister. Will that discovery be fleshed out more in the final two episodes?
SAM ESMAIL: Yeah, absolutely. I’ve always said that when I initially wrote this, it was a feature, and that the first season was the first act of that feature. And that was to really say that the story is really about this relationship with Elliot and his father. Really, that’s the story of Mr. Robot. And we really, initially kick into high gear with that in episodes 9 and 10. Episodes 9 and 10 will obviously reveal more answers about their relationship, but 8 obviously answered the question of who he is — who Mr. Robot is.
What will be the driving factor in the final two episodes? Will it be a hacker suspense-thriller, or more of a deeper character exploration?
It’s hard to answer without spoiling anything, but the Evil Corp hack will very much be addressed in the last couple episodes, and we will see how that will all shake out with Elliot’s discovery of Mr. Robot and how their relationship impacts the whole entire plan.
Let’s talk about White Rose a little bit. We got a glimpse of her in Episode 8. How much more of her can we expect to see?
She is going to be quite impactful, but in a very mysterious way. I don’t want to give too much away, but she’s our glimpse into the Dark Army. But because she’s such a mysterious character, she potentially has different sides of her that we’re going to reveal throughout the series.
Let’s talk about Ben Rappaport’s Ollie a little bit. He started off a bit of an unlikeable douche, but now he’s a pretty interesting character – and almost empathetic in a way.
He’s somebody who’s caught in the crossfire. I always felt like, to tell a story like this where we can go so grand and epic with the stakes – literally, we’re putting the world at such great stakes – it’s also interesting to remember the people in the middle who are honestly just trying to go to work everyday and go home everyday and take their vacations and live their life. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, none of that is for me to decide. But Ollie kind of exemplifies those people in the crossfire. Especially if there’s consequences and fallout from this grand hack – it’s good to show how that would affect someone like Ollie. And the thing is, Ollie has done some douchey things. Really douchey things! But I think his flaws aren’t unusual. Unfortunately, they seem a lot more commonplace. And also, I think he just kind of tries to approach life with a simplistic worldview. He’s not too self-aware of his actions or his morals. And I think that’s okay to a certain extent. I don’t think everybody needs to examine that about themselves all the time. I can give him a little break because he’s not so self-critical, which is refreshing in its own right.
So what else can we expect in the last two episodes?
A lot of things happen in these episodes that are going to give people who are following the show a lot to process and a lot to rethink and a lot to figure out.
Mr. Robot airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on USA.
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