mr robot season 4

Nothing says Christmas like an antisocial hacker dealing with existential dread and vicious alternate personalities. But Mr. Robot is nothing if not a TV series that loves to upend our expectations. The Emmy-nominated USA TV series created by Sam Esmail and starring Rami Malek will be wrapping up its fourth and final season during the happiest time of the year in what Esmail calls “one very long Christmas special.”

“Is anybody here a fan of British television?” Esmail asked at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. The Mr. Robot creator was giving a talk about the critically acclaimed show at a panel where he hinted at the setting of the fourth and final season (via Deadline):

“Typically how [British shows] wrap up series, like the British ‘Office,’ you tend to do a Christmas special. So the final season of ‘Mr. Robot’ is one very long Christmas special that will last about a week over Christmas of 2015.”

Yes, this show is still set in 2015 — a quirk that the series has stuck through for the past three seasons. The first season began in 2015 and the show has stuck by that timeline since, taking the chance to patently foreshadow the election of Trump and double down on its whole “downfall of democracy” thesis. But it’s all part of Esmail’s master plan, he said at the festival, stating with a smile, “It is still ending [the exact way I always envisioned].”

“Part of the reason people connected to the show is we wanted to talk about now,” Esmail added. “The show is still set in 2015 for this reason. The technology will always look dated, but we specifically said, this is about 2015, so it’s almost like a period piece for current day.”

But why a Christmas special? Perhaps Esmail likes the contrast between Malek’s gloomy hacker and the bright tinsel and mistletoe of the holiday. The “Christmas specials” he speaks of in British TV heavily revolve around the merry environment of the time of year, with shows like Doctor Who even doing riffs on Christmas classics like A Christmas Carol or bringing Santa himself on board. I doubt that Mr. Robot can do the same thing, but setting an entire season over the course of Christmas sounds like an appropriately ambitious task for an always-ambitious show.

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