Title: Mr. Robot
Air Date: 08/12/2015
Genre: Thriller, Cyberpunk
The show has continually gotten better and better ever since the suspenseful, thought-provoking, and climatic episode six. Given how much the previous two episodes stand out, in a good way, and that this is a very good show with very few weak points, the show has to end well. Even those weak points are masked or completely forgiven by fantastic acting, a captivating lead performance, intriguing themes and questions that are asked by the audience, and cinema-like production values.
With a show riding on such highs, I went into “eps1.7_wh1ter0se.m4v” looking for any weak points. Less than five minutes in I was reminded what makes this show so strong, as episode 8 is possibly the best episode of the entire series, supported by insane twists, great writing, and consistent production values that complement the show’s themes and plot.
The sense of paranoia that has constantly hung it’s dreary cloud over this series finally rains down and touches every character. Tyrell freaks out when the police confront him. Darlene thinks she has stalkers. Elliot is paranoid over the truth. Even Gideon’s attempts to calm himself, as Dark Army launches an attack on Allsafe’s servers, are futile.
One has to give credit where credit is due. The show has a few plot lines going on, with not a whole lot of characters, but the writers manage to close one plot before any suspenseful material dries out. As previous plotlines and characters are seemingly ended, a new twist or realization will occur, providing Elliot with more conflict.
A deep voice arises from Elliot’s narration, reminding the audience he is in trouble. Malek delivers a superbly delicate performance. I’ve said it from the beginning of this show; he is the key to holding this entire season together. He virtually has to nail every single moment he is in, as the rest of the principal moments depend on Malek’s Elliot acting as the figurehead and harbinger of paranoia for the audience. We wouldn’t notice as clearly Darlene’s frantic expressions or Gideon’s careful watch without Elliot watching back. It would be a surprise, as well as a major disappointment, if a performance the likes of Malek’s, one of such of such range, misses out on next year’s television awards circuit.
After all, this is his story, not just fsociety’s or Tyrell’s, and yet Malek and the writers know when it is best to pull Elliot back. What do the other characters think of Elliot and how does he factor into their lives? How do they think of themselves in respect to Elliot’s story? Why do the other characters matter to Elliot? The writing and careful dialogue in this episode remind us of such, from important connections to character studies that lead us to compare Elliot with his peers.
This episode also contains several twists, with four specific ones coming to mind. One is significantly smaller, less impactful, and thus abled to be spoiled. Elliot, toward the end of the episode, tells us he has looked at Gideon’s past and files. He notes, with great regret in his voice, that Gideon is a hardworking, honest man with nothing to hide. To me, this places Gideon in the role of the actual hero and victim of the entire show. His character represents all of the hard working people who have had their lives ruined by freedom fighters and corporations alike in an attempt to reach their goals.
Having seen the entire season, this episode contains some of the best moments of the entire series. While it would be interesting for the show to end here, the show still has to push forward and answer the questions from the final scenes. It brings into question the reliability of Elliot as a narrator and character, while upping the suspense of the overall conflict between fsociety and Evil Corp. And while this is the best episode in the entire season, it also dutifully serves the series by encouraging viewers to continue until the end, as the mystery of Elliot’s personal psyche and fsociety’s true mission continues to unfold.
- Story: Strong balance between Elliot and the rest of the cast, especially in the wake of recent events in the show, allow for a range of performances.
- Acting/Characters: This season, when it is all said and done, will be known for its great performances. It has been a very special breath of fresh air for a show with such dark, heavy storylines to remain as grounded and true to the characters as possible.
- Cinematography: The camera work remains cool, sleek, and emphasizes a sense of paranoia. This cinematic presentation has been present in every single episode, and it can become tiresome at points
- Organization: Perhaps the best part of the entire episode was how it was tightly organized. This allows for the viewer to watch at a brisk pace, and not have to worry about any slowdown.
- Focus on Elliot breaking down this episode
- Gideon's humanity
- Sense of paranoia
- Slightly disorienting, looking for something negative about the show that is not there.
Liam has been watching movies and too much tv since they took Batman: The Animated Series off the air. He can be found on Twitter tweeting and retweeting nonsense.