Mr. Robot is one of those shows that flew under my radar for way too long. I’m actually shocked that it managed to, because I keep my ear pretty close to the ground when it comes to amazing programming. The thing with Mr. Robot is that its a sleeper hit in the same way that Hannibal was. The atmosphere it sets is ominous and gloomy. Actors do an excellent job of conveying understated angst and Rami Malek does a great job of setting a very intriguing tone as Elliot, the vigilante hacker. While the plot seems pretty simple on the surface, when you dig a bit deeper, it’s pretty complex.
The elevator pitch is pretty simple. A kid whose father was killed by leukemia begins a journey of existentialism as he realizes that the corporate overlords, Evil Corp. (or so Elliot calls them), have a hand in just about everything the world does. Elliot resents the greed and power that Evil Corp represents, so he becomes a vigilante hacker capable of taking down a person’s entire life in mere moments. He’s a modern day Robin Hood with all of the agoraphobic tendencies of Sherlock Holmes wrapped right into the mix. Elliot is estranged from the world, and the only things that ground him to the reality that he’s nearly given up on are his friend Angela, and his therapist Krista.
Its through the eyes of these supporting characters that we develop anxiety for Elliot. If they didn’t exist in the show, it would be pretty hard to like Elliot, as Malek does such a good job of portraying our protagonist that the character is more real than just about any other depiction of a character out there right now. One day, he meets Mr. Robot, the namesake, and Mr. Robot takes him into an underground world of hackers dedicated to taking down Evil Corp. Its from here that Elliot must decide what revenge is worth to him, and what lines he’s willing to cross to get revenge for turning his father into a leukemia ridden quitter who barely mustered a word in the last days up until his death.
The show is brilliantly shot, well directed, and does a fantastic job building tension throughout the series. There isn’t just one inciting incident, the whole series is an inciting incident. Elliot is such an odd duck that its hard to predict what he’ll do at any given moment. He ends up being likable because under all of the ticks and oddities that make his character so complex…he’s just a kid with a good heart. The good people in his life are under his shadowed wing, and he seeks to do nothing more than protect them. Although he’s outwardly awkward and uncomfortable, his inner monologue keeps us reeled in as we become fascinated with each decision that he’s going to make.
New York’s gloomy streets come alive as the shows overtone is very gray. There isn’t much time to bask in happiness, as Elliot bounces from problem to problem attempting to tow the line between vigilante and blatant criminal hacker. There’s a particular scene in the opening of the show where Elliot takes down a child pornographer that’s fascinating to watch. The show isn’t perfect, but there’s only one season out so far. It’s going to take a bit of time to develop, and once the show hits its stride I have no doubt it will be remembered as a modern classic.
With Season 2 on the way, I highly suggest you jump into this dark drama before its too late. Within a few weeks, everyone will be abuzz with Mr. Robot and you don’t want to miss out on that action. This is a pretty easy recommendation for anyone who enjoys mystery, hacker stories, and crime dramas. I’ll say this, its one hell of a ride.
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