TV Review: Mr. Robot (2015)

Posted: September 7, 2015 in Drama
Tags: , ,

MrRobot

Episode 1.0 Hellofriend.mov

Elliot Alderson (Raimi Malek) is a computer security expert by day and a hacker by night.  He is working for a security firm that has as its biggest client E-corp, a global corporate conglomerate, which Elliot despises.  He meets a man who calls himself Mr. Robot, (Christian Slater) who tells Elliot he can bring down E-Corp.  Does Elliot hack Evilcorp as he calls it, or does he save them?

I love this episode, there are an abundance of interesting characters here and the audience gets the backstory in an interesting way.  Raimi Malek’s spaced out burned out look weirded me out at first, but really it fits the character,  I’m not a big fan of Christian Slater, but I’m willing to give him a chance.  The episode ends on a cliffhanger, and I can’t wait to see the next episode.

Episode 1.1 Ones and Zeroes.mpeg

Elliot has a choice to make between becoming a security operative for E-Corp or working for fsociety.  His methadone addiction gets worse, and he confides with Mr. Robot about his father’s last days.

I like the mix of characters, and how they are intertwined with Elliot.  There seems to be some mystery building between Mr. Robot and Elliot, the writers seem to be pushing in one direction, but that seems too obvious.

Episode 1.2 d3bug.mkv

Elliot’s methadone habit continues, Elliot meets with Mr. Robot, he kisses Shayla (Frankie Shaw) his methadone supplier.  Tyrell Wellick (Martin Wallstrom) is plotting to become chief technology officer for E-Corporation.

I like this episode, but the meeting with Mr. Robot was the first example of bad writing I’ve seen on the show.  The Tyrell character is just an example of the show trying to be edgy, I don’t think it has to go to those limits just to try to be edgy. But it is funny, it’s always funny.

Episode 1.3 da3m0ns.mp4

Elliot comes up with a plan to bring down E-Corporation, but he’s trying to quit his methadone habit cold turkey at the same time. Angela Moss, (Portia Doubleday) Elliot’s childhood friend and co-worker  downloads something from her boyfriend’s disk.

The scenes of Elliot’s detox are quite harrowing, but also somewhat deceptive, purposefully so. The titles of the episodes have two meanings, a daemon in computer lingo is a background program, but it’s pretty obvious this episode is also about Elliot’s demons. The one thing I don’t like is there seem to be too many hookups going on, I hope this doesn’t turn into a conventional relationship show where Elliot develops feelings for Angela or Shayla, that’s too easy.

Episode 1.4 3xpl0its.wmv

Elliot tries to hack E-corp’s Steel Mountain Data Center. Tyrell Wellick is still plotting, Angela breaks up with her boyfriend.  Fernando Vera (Elliot Villar) confronts Elliot.

This was the first episode that didn’t feel true to life to me, hackers are supposed to keep a low profile, the point of hacking, I thought was to make sure that no one knew your identity, this James Bond episode blows that theory to smithereens.  The Angela breakup means that this show is at least partially a relationship show.

Episode 1.5 Br4ve Traveler.asf

Unless Elliot breaks Fernando Vera out of prison, brother Isaac (Rick Gonzalez) is going to hurt someone.  The weirder Tyrell’s plan becomes, the less effective it seems to be.

I really liked the first four episodes of this show but the last two seem to be moving farther and farther away from reality.  The solution to all Elliot’s problems always seem only one hack away.  It gets a little credibility back for the ending, but still, I thought Elliot was supposed to be amoral, not super moral, and that is what I’m struggling with.

Episode 1.6 v1ew-s0urce.flv

Angela wants to meet with Terry Colby. (Bruce Altman) Mr. Robot wants to meet with White Rose. Wellick’s plan goes awry, or does it?  Is Elliot going to stop meeting with his psychologist, Krista? (Gloria Reuben)

This show is becoming more about shock value, and less about a hacker trying to hack a conglomerate, the language, the subplots, all seem to be more interested in generating shock value than building characters and advancing a storyline.  When Elliot is the “normal” character, I worry about this show.  The more characters the writers introduce, the farther the show gets from its central premise.

Episode 1.7 _Wh1ter0se m4v.

Elliot meets Whiterose (BD Wong) Tyrell’s plan is going off the rails.  And Elliot remembers something about himself while kissing Darlene. (Carly Chaikin)

This was a much better episode because it was more about hacking then Tyrell and his bonkers plan.  BD Wong was phenomenal as Whiterose, he is what a hacker should be.  And then the ending happened, totally Empire Strikes Back, and not in a good way.

Episode 1.8 _m1rr0r1ng.qt

Elliot has waited three months, but finally learns some uncomfortable facts.  Tyrell has nowhere else to turn, so where does he go?  Angela has a surprise visitor to her home.

Writer Sam Esmail has taken one of the most exciting, exhilarating concepts on tv and wrecked it in two episodes, if you watch these last two, you’ll know what I mean, the most interesting part of this show was Angela’s visitor, but the episode was too far gone by then.

Episode 1.9 _Zer0-day.avi

Tyrell is missing, and Elliot tries to find him.  Angela has an interesting day in her new job.  Does the hack of E Corporation work?

I’m extremely disappointed in the final episode of Mr. Robot.  The show had really jumped the shark two or three episodes ago, and this was really the culmination of a pretty conventional show.  The blackout is a conventional plot device, using video news clippings makes it seem like any of those “ripped from the headlines” tv shows, there is shock value for the sake of shock value, but the show missed the scariest part of the drama. A bunch of hackers can bring down the country and the world, and nobody in our governmentseems to care.  Christian Slater delivered some hackneyed warmed over Occupy Wall Street drivel, and that’s supposed to placate the hoodie wearing disenfranchised rabble?  Sorry, this show could have been so much more, and it just settled to be like every other show.

Overall, I’d say this show had a really good premise, but the more characters were introduced and new subplots were written, the more watered down the central idea of the hacker as hero became.  There are better ways of paying homage to movies than stealing central plot ideas, an homage needs to be way more subtle than that.  The shock value of the show was too much to bear. The violence was excessive, the language was excessive this is basic cable? And I didn’t like the obvious hints about a major plot point as early as episode two.

The acting was very good. Raimi Malek played wild-eyed, hoodie wearing Elliot with precision.  Gloria Reuben was excellent, as Krista.  Portia Doubleday gave a multifaceted performance as Angela, Carly Chaikin was interesting as motormouthed tough as nails Darlene.  Christian Slater overacted a lot as Mr. Robot, I expected as much.

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Comments
  1. I was also disappointed in the finale. But I still think it’s a great show. It’s because it got us used to high standards that we feel let down by the finale. I totally agree Mr Robot’s rant in the middle of Time’s square was dull.
    I don’t think the whole “Mr Robot is Elliot” was intended to be a big reveal, that’s why I think it was a clever idea to hint it as early as episode 2. I also think the show is a good homage to Fight Club. Did you notice the instrumental version of “Where is my mind” that played at the end of episode 9? That was sick!
    Overall, I think the value of this show is in it’s cinematography and how it explores/portrays mental illness and addiction.

    • I binge watched the first 4 episodes, and it hooked me immediately, but I think it could have been more original in its storytelling, and not be a tribute show, but blaze its own trail.

      Glad you liked the review, hope there’s more in here you like.

      • Actually I recently wrote a post about mr Robot’s references to 2 films other than Fight Club. In the comments section, people also pointed out other similarities. I think you’ll like it.

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