I had 45 episodes to choose from the grand vault of Mr. Robot’s entirety to place onto this Top Ten list, and believe me, it took a while to comprise. This series has so many remarkable highlights that should be recognized and eulogized, however, it would make it a nearly fatiguing activity to talk about all of them. Thus, I’ve put together this concise Top Ten list of my favorite episodes of Mr. Robot that will hopefully encapsulate a good understanding of what specific marks in the story’s timeline made this show such a victorious accomplishment for storytelling and television.
And heads up; there will be MAJOR SPOILERS in this ranking, so if you haven’t seen Mr. Robot yet, I would recommend not diving straight into this article quite yet.
It’s already stressful enough thinking that Darlene is possibly going to get caught by the FBI throughout the majority of this episode. However, it’s EXTREMELY stressful when an episode is so dexterously ornamented that it has that capacity to make you think that a beloved character like Darlene might’ve been killed off. Knowingly, she’s not, but the divine build-up and masterfully executed, one-take shootout sequence at the very end of the episode genuinely could’ve fooled me.
9. 401 Unauthorized
401 Unauthorized took you back to the days when you first saw that pilot episode of Mr. Robot; it placed you 4 years back during a time when you saw an episode of television that completely caught you off guard due to its eventful speed. This initial piece to the fourth season of Mr. Robot completely diverts its audience into a calamitous circumstance while simultaneously having that anti-hero rush that made the earlier spots of the show so dear to the viewers’ hearts. Not only that, it took Sam Esmail less than 5 minutes of beginning screen-time to kill off one of the biggest characters (Angela) on the program. This ultimately damaging shift is a prime aggressor to setting up a season of hopelessness, and a season that rigorously communicates to its audience on just how precise and industrious both Elliot, Darlene, and Dominique are going to have to be in order to ultimately survive this unfeasible situation.
This is a somber sort of moment in season 2 because this is the devastating episode where Angela gets indoctrinated by the main villain, White Rose. This is the Harvey Dent becoming Two-Face from The Dark Knight of the Mr. Robot show, except, it’s executed almost like a David Lynch project. It’s apparent that it’s a love-letter to the filmmaking genius, but it’s also something that works hypnotically well by itself. It’s a very visually tranquil yet internally complex episode of television that may take some viewers a little time to fully appreciate.
7. whoami & Hello, Elliot
The final two episodes of Mr. Robot I’d prefer to consider as a whole—sorry, I’m a dirty, stinkin’ cheater. The more I’ve thought about this polarizing, game-changing series finale, the more I genuinely find it to be the best ending this show could’ve possibly received. It takes Sam Esmail’s insane creativity and offbeat-ness that he unapologetically embraces to a soul-crushing level of innovation. It’s one “interesting” way to end your program and one that I’ll be talking about for years to come.
Yep, this is the sitcom episode, where we’re utterly confused yet geekishly entertained by the soul fact that the majority of the presentation has suddenly transformed into a retro comedy program. Not only is this episode just satirically fun and beneficially functions as its own thing, but it has one of the most heartwarming reveals of the entire show. Elliot partially coming to the realization that Mr. Robot is essentially a device that’s there to personally help him and get him through grievously tough situations was so unexpected. But, I fell for it, and I will be falling for it over and over again as I continue to rewatch it.
Yeah, I’ve kind of already spewed my thoughts on this episode when I was discussing 401 Unauthorized, but I still have more to say about this one. eps1.0_hellofriend.mov might still be the best pilot episode to a TV show of all-time. At the least, it’s still affirmatively the most energetic and eye-gripping TV pilot I’ve ever witnessed. It’s fast-paced, it manages to get you to already care for our main characters in a matter of minutes, and its unorthodox use of realistic coding terminologies and verbal explanations can make any anti-computer samaritan a technological admirer instantaneously.
Time to wake up to reality. So, Elliot was in prison this whole time for nearly half a season. Wow. As goofy as that may sound on paper, Esmail made it make 100% sense. This is a supreme example of a mind-boggling episode that additionally makes the previous episodes that came before it in the season better. Episodes 11-16 are now automatically more cohesive and intelligent considering eps2.5_h4ndshake.sme just made a lot of occurrences in those pieces enhanced like crazy. I also unexpectedly, as anyone was, got to see Joey Bada$$ gut a gang of prison rapist to pieces, so that’s a bonus.
Eps3.5_kill-pr0cess.inc picks up immediately after its previous episode in a panic-struck race for time. Elliot must stop a bomb that is set to blow up the New York Recovery Building, and through this challenge, we get to see Elliot violently battling his own self (AKA, Mr. Robot) for control, and ultimately coming to an appealing compromise in which both sides become neutral again. This then leads to what we believe to be the termination of the Phase 2 explosion, thanks to Elliot and Mr. Robot. It’s a shame to later learn that Elliot and Mr. Robot didn’t actually stop the bombings though. Yep. Remember when Tyrell said that he “would fix this” issue when Elliot decided not to get involved. Welp, turns out he altered the codings to bomb multiple smaller E-Corp buildings across the world. It’s smart and it makes sense. Good job, Tyrell and good job show; way to completely gut your viewers after thinking that Elliot had triumphantly saved the day. Genius writing.
One take. One episode. eps3.4_runtime- reminded me of one of those long-takes in Netflix’s Daredevil, except, the long-take isn’t made for the sake of exclusively making high-brow action sequences; the one-take is implemented to serve such an important purpose in expressing to the audience the savage and chaotic motions that are characters are frantically running through—mentally and physically. Not only that, but it makes the “in-the-moment” fret that our characters receive when finding out about some new twists and turns all the more hard-hitting and sudden. It’s also kind of a humongous technical achievement in of its entirety as well—no biggie.
1. 407 Proxy Authentication Required
There is simply no competition when it came down to this decision. 407 Proxy Authentication is the greatest episode of television I have ever seen in my entire life. Sure, I have personal favorites like “Felina” from Breaking Bad, or “Lonely Souls” from Twin Peaks, but as much as those episodes stay true to my heart, I cannot plainly look over the sheer perfection of Mr. Robot’s 39th episode. From the emotional baggage that this episode cleverly spills on you to Sam Esmail’s clean-cut directing, this is an hour-long excursion that’s taken television by the hand to a whole other dimension. I see this being the landmark in Mr. Robot that’ll live on for an eternity in the legendary cinematic accomplishments of human history.