Mr. Robot is
one of the year’s most talked about television series and with good reason. There’s a reason why it won the Golden Globe for best Drama Series. It is simply one of the most compelling shows with its unique narrative and gorgeous visuals, with credit to the amazing cinematography. Mr Robot stands on its own, as being a great conspiracy-drama, with a rich protagonist.
The protagonist, Elliot Anderson, is a socially inept and schizophrenic young man, who works at a cybersecurity firm by day, but is a hacker vigilante by night. He eventually joins a hacktivist group known as fsociety where he and the group plan on erasing everyone’s money; everyone debt free. What makes Elliot so engaging is that he breaks the fourth wall and interacts with us, the audience. To him we are his imaginary friend and we are whisked away on his adventures, making us feel sympathetic to the tortured soul that he is. Even though he displays unethical behavior, by invading people’s private lives, he is reprehensible for his immoral actions. However, we don’t care because Elliot takes us on a psychological journey where we, the audience are just as clueless as he is and that’s thanks to the wonderful acting of Rami Malek.
There were two other characters worth noting, Christian Slater’s Mr. Robot and Martin Wallstrom’s Tyrell Wellick. The character of Mr. Robot is one that is interesting and offers some great dialogue between him and Elliot, but the twist towards the end of the season makes you realize how much you don’t know, which is what we need as an audience, to not be able to guess what happens. Won’t say it, but there is a great twist with his character towards the end of the first season. Now Tyrell Wellick is a very intriguing character. A Senior Vice President at Evil Corp, a giant conglomerate, he WILL do anything to reach to the top. The character reminds me very much of Christian Bale’s American Psycho, but with a better twist. His motive behind everything is for his wife, Joanna. In reality, she’s the one in control of him and their relationship mirrors that of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, which add for some very intriguing moments.
Another character that has her own arc is Angela Moss, who is a childhood friend of Elliot. She starts off in the series as just a normal side character and was never really engaged in her story, until the final episodes. The character practically does a 180 on her careers and joins the very thing she hates, but even though she is conflicted she does it anyways, because what choice, if we have any, does she have? I believe the writers didn’t really know what to do with her, because through the majority of the first season, she’s just Elliot’s friend. Eventually she does become more fleshed out as her story seems to become more intriguing to watch.
You also have Elliot’s girlfriend, Shayla and his sister Darlene, who are basically the same characters. Here is where I get to the major gripe I felt with the series; the way they wrote the women and the other supporting characters. It certainly wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either. They were lacking in motivation and often times I confused the characters Shayla and Darlene because of how similar they were. Also, the other members of the hacktivist group fsociety, aren’t fleshed out enough. Truth be told, I can’t even remember their names and have no knowledge as to why it is they’re doing, what they’re doing. Hopefully, that can be fixed in the future season.
Although we don’t get to spend enough time with the supporting characters, there were still moments of character development, specifically towards Elliot. What may be considered ‘filler episodes’ are actually some of the most emotional episodes, as they further Elliot’s pain. I would also like to acknowledge the shows score and various soundtrack that really grasp the ambiance. There are moments of claustrophobia and a sense of discomfort, allowing for feelings of angst when it needs us to be. It is also fair to point out and appreciate the pitch perfect sound mixing.
Now I don’t know much about the hacking world, but I feel that this is the closest thing we have on television that dives into that world. The season finale leaves on a cliffhanger that may feel cheap, but with such a splendid first season, it can be forgiven. Even the Epilogue gives us a very ominous presence that everything that happened, was meant to happen, and leaves you asking more questions.
In terms of its narrative, the series has been compared to David Lynch films, as well as Fight Club and although there are certain similarities with its psychological elements, Mr. Robot is able to be its own thing, with its own identity that has a rich story, making it one of the best television series, out right now.