Tonight (June 24th) anyone can watch the new USA Network TV show starring Rami Malek. Mr. Robot offers a glimpse into the world of hacking, vigilante activism and powerful corporate interests. It promises smart writing, a familiar but interesting lead character and a new take on the hacktivism that became popular after the global economic crisis. This is review of the Mr. Robot Pilot, but the series is slated to last for 10 episodes. Officially the pilot has already been released in a move that seemed intent on generating buzz and mimic real leaks.
Mr. Robot Pilot eps1.0_hellofriend.mov Review
Mr. Robot jumps knee-deep into vigilante hacking when protagonist Elliot (played by Rami Malek) puts the police on the trail of child porn collector. Elliot enjoys his vigilantism besides his daytime job of helping large companies remain secure from other hackers. Elliot is emotionally stunted. He has a fear of expressing his deepest desires even if he likes to fantasize about them. After Elliot helps the E-Corp fend of a hack attack he is approached by a hacker named Mr. Robot. A Yuri of the cyber world who no one has seen. Mr. Robot offers a Elliot a chance to join his vigilante group. To Elliot it seems the ideal opportunity to vent his deep hatred towards E-Corp. He blames the company for the death of his father and his stunted youth. Meanwhile during the daytime Elliot continues to do his bests to maintain a ordinary life, as much as possible considering his obvious emotional detachment.
His only friend, Angela (Portia Doubleday), has entered into a troubled relationship with co-worker Ollie. Ollie is obnoxious but just understanding enough to know he needs Elliot on his side if he wants to keep his relationship intact. Meanwhile Angela has to deal with E-corps representatives and her own bosses who are unwilling to take her seriously. All this seems to drive Elliot forward even more to into the hands of Mr. Robot. After an absence of several weeks the two begin to plan their next move against E-Corps. The plan is for Elliot to present his results of the hack from the beginning of the episode and blame an executive of E-corp. Elliot almost doesn’t go through with it, especially as he fears one of the E-corps reps maybe on to him. Elliot decides to frame the executive.
Real or Not…
Right from the get-go Mr. Robot likes to play with its audience. There are many signs throughout the pilot that the titular Mr. Robot played by Christian Slater is a figment of Elliot’s imagination. First clue is when Elliot thinks he is being followed by E-Corp and Government agents. They do not exactly hide in plain sight. Neither does Mr. Robot. Elliot also keeps in the backdoor he finds after the hacking attack on E-Corp. He could be pretending that Mr. Robot was behind it to make his own culpability easier to swallow. After Elliot finds no trace of Mr. Robot or his hacking group online viewers have to come to the conclusion Elliot is delusional. All of his delusions occur when he practically alone. Also, Mr. Robot manifests himself when Elliot is down, which explains the interlude of several weeks when Mr. Robot was absent. We will have to wait until the second episode to further speculate whether Elliot is truly seeing things. In the last few scenes he is supposedly picked off the street and sent to the E-Corp boardroom. The viewer is left wondering just like Elliot if he has been found out. If the E-Corp executives are surprised to see him then he wasn’t picked off the street but walked into the E-Corp boardroom voluntarily.
So far, from one episode we have seen but a glimpse of the world of Mr. Robot. A world that mirrors our own except for some subtle difference, which could well be Elliot’s imagination. I am really excited about this world. A show wherein Rami Malek and Christian Slater run amok gives me boundless enthusiasm. At this moment I have no problem relating to both Elliot and Mr. Robot even though they are polar opposites. In the beginning I write that some things felt familiar. Well, Elliot does remind me a bit too much of Lisbeth Salander from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, but that may not be a bad thing. This was Mr. Robot Pilot eps1.0_hellofriend.mov Review. See you back next week for another episode.
Score; 9 / 10. Excellent performances by Rami Malek and Christian Slater.