As I near the end of the trailer for a new TV series –Mr. Robot– my heart starts to race fanatically with joy. I have long dreamt of the day of the creation of a quality TV show starring a programmer/hacker. And while watching such a promising trailer, who wouldn’t get excited?
Short Plot Summary:
The series revolves around Eliot Alderson (portrayed by Rami Malek – not to be confused with Mesut Özil) a computer hacker in his late mid-twenties, who surprisingly works for a cyber-company in charge of protecting the data of the biggest corporation in the world. From the very start, the protagonist speaks to the audience directly, informing us with his concerns of corrupt governments and the depressing fact that our economy is controlled by 0.01% of our population. We watch Eliot don an invisible cape at night, turning into a hero by protecting the ‘little’ people from the big corporates. However, we also see the main character’s frustration as he knows he is not able to help everyone. But this all changes when a mysterious man who calls himself “Mr. Robot” approaches Eliot on the New York Subway asking him to join a group of hackers who are aiming to change the world. The show unravels in a relatively short period of time: 11 episodes, 40 minutes per episode.
Eliot Alderson is all but an ‘average Joe’; he suffers from severe social anxiety, schizophrenia, anger management issues, an addiction to morphine and later, it is also revealed that he suffers from multiple personality disorder (when, towards the end of the season, there is a clever reference to Fight Club while a cover of Pixies’ Where is My Mind? starts playing.) Eliot is portrayed as very introverted with a very monotonic voice. This refreshing character introduces mysterious and thought provoking qualities that I have never seen in television before (it could be compared lightly to Light Yagami from Death Note yet lacking the confidence and personal pursuit). Eliot is, in fact, the only variable holding the show together, as he takes it upon himself to take down the greatest corporation in the world. The same corporation that caused the death of his father. Eliot also possesses the most improbable, yet well structured jaw line ever seen on television.
Darlene is probably one of the more banal characters in the show: a tough, good looking woman, that doesn’t care about the rules. Darlene’s connection to the show is her part in the Mr. Robot organization: she acts as a virus coder. I found Darlene’s character incredibly boring and overused. This role has no real contribution to the shows plot, and her entire essence baffles me.
Angela Moss Eliot’s best friend: a damsel in distress type, the helpless and innocent woman. Angela struggles at her position in her workplace (the same one Eliot works at). Angela appears in the show every 10 minutes to ask Eliot how he’s doing – once again not the most interesting addition to the show.
Finally, Tyrell Wellick, the shows only antagonist. Tyrell is a power driven lunatic who devotes his entire self to his psychotic Scandinavian pregnant wife. His wife wishes him to be the new CEO of E Crop, the biggest corporation in the world. Alas, he is rejected and ends up going to extreme lengths, such as murder, in order to satisfy his wife’s needs. Tyrell is possibly one of the most pathetic ‘villains’ I have ever seen. His lack of confidence and of ‘criminal mastermind’ should almost disqualify him from the villain category. His connection to the show is quite confusing as well. But nonetheless, he does make for an interesting character.
Despite an extremely confusing plot, the show has an incredibly distinctive way of presenting its ideas to the audience. From the camera shots to the music, the show is simply unique, and at times feels as if it is trying to imitate Breaking Bad’s opening 5 minutes in every episode, all episode long. Unfortunately, the acting is a complete disappointment. With the exception of Eliot, played by the gifted Rami Malek, all performances resemble those of cheap comedy films. Additionally, few characters reveal any psychological depth and are extremely negligible to the plot. But as I mentioned, this is all balanced out by Eliot’s character which gives us an amazing insight to a person which suffers from so many mental illnesses. And, the show also helps deliver brilliant philosophical questions about our political and social systems.
Final score: 9/10
This was my original score, until I reached the final episode of the first season. It didn’t change because it was an exceptionally bad episode, but because it gave me the opportunity to look back at the show and understand the missed chance at tapping the vast potential that this series has. Before I watched it, judging by the trailer only, I wanted to give it a 10, however, I now notice poor choices made despite the possibilities this show can offer. I still recommend it. I really recommend it.
New score: 7.8/10