I think it was maybe less than 2 minutes into this show that I was completely hooked. Everything just worked for me. The voice over, the amazing performance by Rami Malek, to the music and general tone of the show… it all just worked. It feels so reminiscent to something akin to Fight Club meets Dexter (but so far without the homicidal tendencies).
So, what’s this show about? Elliot (Malek) works cyber security by day and by night he’s a vigilante hacker, who takes down pedophiles and adulterers. Hacking is a compulsion for him. He describes it as a scratch he gets at that part of his mind. He sees the world in dark tones and to him society is awful and wrecked. He trusts so few people and he hates so much. So, he hacks. He hacks everyone in his life, whether he likes them or not. To be honest, so many of us have live large parts of our lives on the internet as it is, that it’s not all that difficult for someone like Elliot to learn everything there is to know about us.
Enter Christian Slater, as the titular character Mr. Robot. He is a leader of a group of elite hackers who all have a single mission: to cause a massive economic disruption. Think of them as Robin Hood and his Merry Men but with computers.
The big question, however, is… Is Mr. Robot real?
Elliot is the definition of an unreliable narrator. We, the audience, are ourselves a figment of his imagination that he created to have someone to confide in. Elliot has a history of schizophrenia, specifically delusions of “men in black” whom he believes are following him because of his skills. The return of his delusions is something that his therapist warns him about early on in the episode.
The audience is trapped inside his head, forced to experience events as they are filtered through Elliot’s conscience. Elliot hates his job protecting a company he loathes. A company he exclusively refers to as “Evil Corp”, therefor, we only ever hear this company referred to as “Evil Corp” despite the character and/or context. Even Elliot questions himself through the episode because he is unable to distinguish reality from his delusions.
I think what we have to ask ourselves is: If this secret team of hackers, who work out of a now defunct fair grounds are real…than the scary men in the suits following him have to be too, right?
In conclusion: It’s dreary, the soundtrack is perfect, and I am so along for the ride.
(Total side note that has nothing to do with anything… Back to the Future II?! Really Elliot? That is arguably the weakest in the trilogy).