The Mr. Robot season 3 finale featured a post-credits scene that reintroduced a familiar character from season 1, but you’ll be forgiven for not immediately knowing who it was. As it turns out, the man who approaches Darlene and the prostitute outside Elliot’s building is Fernando Vera (Elliot Villar). For those who haven’t re-watched the first season, he’s the gang leader and drug dealer Elliot sent to prison after discovering his abusive relationship with Shayla (Frankie Shaw). It was another example of Elliot’s pre-five/nine hacktivism that targeted individual people — those who were outright breaking the law or those hurting people close to him — only this one backfired in a devastating way.
It didn’t take long for Vera to figure out who orchestrated his arrest, and in one of first season’s most anxiety-inducing episodes, he blackmailed Elliot into setting him free, using Shayla’s life as leverage. Elliot hacked the prison where Vera was being held, causing a riot that allowed him and several other inmates to escape. But that wasn’t the end of the ordeal, as it was revealed Shayla had been murdered long before the prison break even occurred. Shayla and Vera haven’t really been part of the conversation since, largely because the five/nine hack and Elliot’s own time in prison have taken precedence, but as the series gets set to reposition its narrative and its characters, it’s seen fit to reintroduce an unwelcome blast from the past.
The episode, ‘esp1.5_br4ve-trave1er.asf’, resonated not only because of its horrific conclusion, but also because it showed that Elliot, super-hacker extraordinaire, was also vulnerable to attack, he had a weak spot and could be manipulated. That was a terrifying thought, and one that Vera capitalized on with alarming proficiency. He knew Elliot would come through on his end of the bargain and still chose to kill Shayla. As such, his return, and the fact that he approaches Darlene, makes for a frightening prospect for what had appeared would be a mostly fresh start for season 4.
What exactly Sam Esmail and his writers’ room have in mind for Vera remains to be seen, but given what he knows about Elliot and the things he can do, it stands to reason that he’s not coming back around to catch up on old times. But Vera’s return might not be as one sided as it appears. After all, Elliot and Mr. Robot did choose to continue what they started, but by going after the individuals who exposed themselves as corrupt in the wake of the five/nine hack. With Elliot no longer dealing with the fallout of his failed revolution, he should have plenty of time on his hands to deal with Vera and perhaps find some belated justice for Shayla.
Either way, while the idea of a Mr. Robot post-credits sequence probably didn’t take anyone by surprise, the chances that Vera would show up probably wasn’t too high on anyone’s list. And the unlikely nature of his return makes the question of what he wants all the more puzzling.
Mr. Robot season 4 will premiere sometime in 2018 on USA.
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