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Mr. Robot may have started as a guilty pleasure that grew into a masterpiece. Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek) is a computer engineer by day, an expert in network security. He is also a vigilante hacker by night, reverse-engineering everyone’s lives and even bringing some criminals to justice. Doesn’t sound like a plausible plot until you bring forth Rami Malek giving the interpretation of a realistic human being, not a hollywood hearthrob. Rami’s Elliot suffers from social anxiety and has trouble connecting with other people. This doesn’t make him a caricature like the clownish nerd tropes from Big Bang Theory but a human being capable of being hurt and hurting back.
We soon learn that rather that joining society through regular interaction, Elliot prefers to view everyone’s lives through the internet, through their social network profiles, their browser history, their e-mail, their massive digital footprint. He constantly shuns the attempts of Angela Moss (Portia Doubleday), his childhood best friend, and her boyfriend Ollie to break him out of his introverted shell.
Elliot carries an on and off relationship with his neighbor and dealer Shayla (Frankie Shaw). He also constantly spies on his own psychiatrist, Krista Gordon (Gloria Reuben). And so, while Elliot constantly juggles his job and his life, we constantly get his honest opinion via a voiceover of himself.
Everything changes when he starts running into a guy he calls Mr. Robot (Christian Slater). He leads a group of hackers determined to erase everyone’s debts via a massive hack to E Corp, called “Evil Corp” by Elliot. E Corp is the main client of AllSafe, a network security company where Elliot and Angela work. AllSafe’s boss is Gideon, a caring leader that tries to get Elliot to open up. Also breathing down his neck is a young ambitious executive from E Corp known as Tyrell Wellick (Martin Wallstrom).
The series in the beginning focuses on Elliot’s life, but soon enough he decides to join Mr. Robot’s group who call themselves fsociety. The hacker activist soon become gaining fame as they successfully start hacking E Corp. As AllSafe struggles to keep up, Mr. Robot gives Elliot the tools to implicate one of E Corp’s top executives and bring him down. However, Elliot’s life also starts spiraling out of control and Mr. Robot might be involved. I can’t quite say more dare I risk revealing what his secret is, but when it does hit Elliot, things really start making sense as the coils start unraveling.
Psychological dramas with a high dosis of technological accuracy are very few. What we get is something that I don’t want to call a cyber-thriller or a techno-thriller because too many movies have made those adjectives a cliche. Let’s call this a thriller with technological paranoia embedded on it. It literally becomes a looming disaster event with a bit of an electronic caper to it. However, when the last layer is peeled back and the truth of Mr. Robot comes out, the finale does not really do more than set the game for the next season.
- Rami Malek’s Elliot is the epitome of the computer genius with deep social anxiety issues, one of the best interpretations that I’ve seen without falling into the usual cliches. No mentions of science fiction or comics or anything, just a messed up human being like everyone else.
- I wasn’t too thrilled with the idea of the psychologist. That could have easily fallen into the overused cliche. However it doesn’t.
- Tyrell Wellick is a scary character but he’s nothing compared to his wife, Joanna Wellick. Stephanie Corneliussen really makes for a character that needs a bigger role, and probably will get one. Don’t miss the chance encounter that Elliot and Joanna have in the finale.
- Angela seems to branch out into her own storyline, but we barely get a hint into the kind of person she could become only after she starts fending for herself. More character development expected in the next season, I hope.
- Tyrell Wellick’s arch spirals down, but we never see what happened to him. Is he going to become an ally or a nemesis? My money is on nemesis of course, but the key here is how?
- Christian Slater, Mr. Robot himself, is the most intriguing character although the leader of the Dark Army is a close second. That being said, in the last episodes we find out Mr. Robot is not quite… Sorry, saying that would ruin your experience. Go watch this.
- The series kept revealing more and more layers towards the end. The finale is brutal and violent but for Elliot, it seems things begin more than they end. And this, is a good thing to end on. Hopefully we’re in for more surprises next season.
That will do for now.
(Sources: USA Network)