Perhaps sensing that keeping a grip on star Rami Malek would soon become much more difficult, the USA network announced back in August that the fourth season of hit hacker drama Mr. Robot would be its last. That was really all we knew at the time, other than that creator Sam Esmail had pretty much always intended his story to end around this point in the weird, confusing saga, but today Esmail and the core cast—Christian Slater and Carly Chaikin along with Malek—appeared at the Tribeca Film Festival for a special “Farewell to Mr. Robot” event where they gave some hints about what to expect from the final episodes.
The main reveal is that the final season will all take place “over the Christmas holiday of 2015,” which most likely means the whole December season and not the specific day, but it’s not like Mr. Robot is above doing strange narrative gimmicks. That also means there won’t be any kind of big time shift up to the Donald Trump presidency or Russia hacking the 2016 election, both of which have been vaguely referenced and foreshadowed by the show. Esmail noted during the panel that he specifically didn’t want the show to approach the present too closely, preferring instead to make “almost like a period piece of current day” so it wouldn’t suddenly become dated by things happening in the real world.
The other interesting thing comes from the show’s Twitter account live-tweeting the panel, which mentioned used the line “it’s time to return to the beginning.” The first episode of Mr. Robot had its premiere at Tribeca, which is the most straightforward reading of it, but this is Mr. Robot we’re talking about. The most straightforward reading is not always the correct one.