This show could have been absolutely incredible. A scathing commentary on corporate greed and the illusion of security that permeates our modern world. Instead, what we get is the most depressing hypnotic story it has been my displeasure to view this season. Think of this as Blade Runner on acid, where the protagonist is mentally ill, does drugs constantly, and is obsessed with writing the wrongs he perceives in society by blatantly violating everyone’s privacy, having no sense of personal boundaries and an overly inflated sense of misguided hacker do-gooding which boils down to a bit of a God complex. Elliot Alderson is a strange character. Played by the equally strange looking actor Rami Malek, Elliot begins the show by talking to an imaginary person he has made up, namely us as the audience. He explains how doing morphine on a regular basis makes him operate more efficiently and his inner monologues are splattered all over the proceedings. His voice-overs about his thoughts and perceptions are layered over his awkward interaction with other characters that make you cringe in embarrassment for him. Expect lots of shots of Elliot doing drugs, hooking up with random women, loitering in seedy streets and of course, wearing hoodies. Lots of hoodies. Constantly. This show brought to you by the makers of Hoodies!
From Elliot’s perspective, there is something terribly wrong with the world and only he and a few others like him have the power to do anything about it. Illegally, of course. I was interested right up until the phrase ‘wealth re-distribution’ was used. Then I knew exactly what was going on, what agenda was being pushed and thus I was not shocked when Elliot started spouting hate speech about capitalism. This entire show, with its mesmeric and oddly compelling protagonist, is a smear campaign against corporate America. The villain of the piece, a huge conglomerate called E-Corp in actuality, is transposed in Elliot’s world to Evil Corp, embodying everything his particular political strain feels is wrong with society. The hacker group that tries to recruit Elliot goes by the sophomoric monicker fsociety, so that should give you a great idea of their general ethos. Christian Slater plays another character that seems to have escaped from the nuthouse, and Carly Chaikin plays Darlene, a wild and bizarre personage even more over the top than her performance as Dahlia on Suburgatory.
Basically this show breaks down thusly. Elliot is a deeply disturbed individual with a drug problem and some psychiatric issues, convinced the way to save the world is to hack everything and everyone. His methods are highly suspect, unbelievably underhanded and immoral, not to mention illegal. He finds others like him and they set out to topple corporations and give all that money to the people who are ‘entitled’ to it, though they have done nothing to earn it. This isn’t really even socialism being preached here, it’s more anarchy than anything else. All in all, watching a few episodes of Mr. Robot made me so depressed I felt I might need to watch a Disney movie to recover, angry at the show’s obvious lapses in logic, sick of the blatant liberal politics and just tired of seeing a sad character take out his frustrations on the world at large. If you agree with the political agenda portrayed here, then you might like it, but stock up on Prozac first. Democracy may have been hacked, but Entertainment has been annihilated. – BETHANY
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Here’s Elliot smoking something definitely illegal.
Inexplicable rendezvous in a subway station where Christian Slater’s character may or may not have been stalking Elliot.
Lots and lots of computer screens.
Lots of desolated, confused, vacant and sad facial expressions. Portia Doubleday as Elliot’s friend Angela.
Sullen weird hacker chick Darlene.
Isn’t this precisely the picture of the guy you’d like in charge of your future?
Photos courtesy of Universal Cable Productions, Anonymous Content and USA Network