Mr. Robot got off to a great start, as the atmospheric mood, Elliot Alderson, and the exciting dialogue are all evident that this series has the potential to be one of the most memorable new series of the year. However, one of my biggest concerns was that Mr. Robot’s first episode did not have any noticeable flaws. Would the follow up episode quickly become undone?
No, as the drama picks up right after Elliot is picked up by Evil Corp’s men and taken directly to Tyrell. The opening scene was really consistent with what may end up being an overarching theme all throughout the series. This theme examines the decisions made by corporate America and how these decisions are all entirely negatively impacting because these men residing and working in such skyscrapers are inherently evil.
This is what Mr. Robot does so well so far. Elliot hates these men, yet he is just as scared and intimidated by their presence. His social anxiety and paranoia constantly remind him of E-Corp’s shadow extending its reach. Couple Elliot’s voice over with his own isolated scenes and the viewer can better understand the paranoia that is taking ahold of him. Hopefully the creators of Mr. Robot recognize the arresting tone of Rami Malek’s enigmatic voice over.
Elliot is, so far, the best part of the show. When he is talking, addressing the viewers and providing his own witty and twisted sense of both humor and social commentary, the show is all the better for it. That doesn’t mean all the other characters around him should only react to what he does, but Elliot should always have something to do. Even a simple question as whether he should take a job at E-Corp is enough for the show to remain engaging.
In fact, all the characters are interesting, which is another testament to the writing. While it may be cliche, all of the characters seem very realistic and as if they all have a purpose in the struggle between E-Corp, fsociety, and the rest of the population. Angela seems like a smart girl who is always about to dump Olli. Tyrell is very methodical and smart, as he is a villain who resembles more than prototypical television caricatures. Heck, even Alderson’s boss Gideon isn’t an idiot, but instead a careful manager who recognizes the political minefield he is positioned in between his employees and E-Corp.
As I mentioned in my review of the first episode, I raises concerns over fsociety and Mr. Robot as well. While the main characters and the villains seem like complex, real people from the start, fsociety and Mr. Robot come off, at least in the beginning, as your cliche freedom fighters. There motivations aren’t personal, at least in the beginning, and they’re not likable. The set pieces and plans surrounding fsociety are very interesting, as the show cleverly involves hacking and infiltration. The ending scene also added to my frustration of fsociety, as the season is only 10 episodes and I want to find out, right away, why I should root for fsociety. It also doesn’t help that Charlene is a little annoying, yet is constantly pining, and then not pinning, for Elliot’s attention. Hopefully, we’re able to better understand and connect to fsociety, as the writing brings up interesting points for why fsociety is doing what they do, but the personal motivation for each individual is lacking, thus making it hard to establish a sense of sympathy.
The end of the episode brings Elliot’s drug usage into better light. Elliot meets Fernando Vera, Shayla’s supplier. Due to his morphine addiction, Elliot needs Fernando, a brutally frank and scary drug dealer whose overconfidence is expertly portrayed. It’s fascinated and refreshing to note that Elliot won’t be able to send people away, like he did with his psychiatrist’s boyfriend, without consequence. While it makes everyone on the show more human and vulnerable, it prevents Elliot from attaining an almost God-like status among the rest of the characters. Vera commands Elliot’s attention, in reminding the audience that there is a world separate from hacking where Elliot resides, and this world has just as much influence on the character.
The show also continues to nail the little things and make improvements as well, such as Mr. Robot’s character development and the sound, presentation, and ambiance sustained through the show’s high production value. It was a promising second episode that hints at greater things to come for this engaging television series.
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.