2015, thus far, has been year consisting of a variety of films across all genres. From a new standard of science fiction seen in Ex Machina, to the non-stop action in Mad Max Fury Road and new approaches in action movies found in Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret Service. Television, thus far, has also seen an intriguing year. From the well-received first season of The Flash to the HBO series Game of Thrones breaking the limits that the previous season, season 4, set in 2014. One of the most interesting shows of the year, however, was the summer series Mr. Robot. (This Post Contains Spoilers)
Mr. Robot follows social outcast Elliot (Rami Malek) who works as a computer programmer but secretly is a hacker in his own time. Although Elliot’s hacks are typically violations of privacy, and illegal, he often hacks people for the greater good of society. It does not take long for the series to progress to determine that Elliot is a troubled person. He takes drugs, isolates himself from society and deviates from social interaction. Alongside with Mr. Robot’s beautiful directing, the writing of the show was excellent, always holding the audience on a thread. What I found most interesting about Mr. Robot was that the viewer could never determine what aspects of the show which were fact and which were fiction as the show was directed in Elliot’s perception. Due to Elliot’s high intake of drugs, his perception of reality is constantly hindered through hallucinations. Unknowingly, the viewers slowly became engulfed in Elliot’s universe (as we are his imaginary friends) and see the world as he sees it. The huge conglomerate in the show was first introduced as “E-Corp”, which Elliot labels as “Evil Corp”. By episode 3ish the stickers, billboards, logos, etc. found in society become labeled as “Evil Corp as well. Even when characters, other than Elliot, reference E-Corp, the viewers hear them say “Evil Corp”. This is merely a fragment of Elliot’s imagination. In addition, show writers use Elliot’s perception to their advantage and shock viewers when they unravel who Mr. Robot truly is at the concluding stages of the series his dead father. Mr. Robot was a close companion to Elliot and viewers often see him interact with other members of the hacker group Fsociety. The viewers where shown that Elliot was brought into Fsociety by Mr.Robot, when in reality Elliot started Fsociety himself, alongside his sister, who he hadn’t known (therefore we hadn’t known) was his sibling until the final stages of the show. How real were the events of the show, therefore, if Elliot was simply imagining the existence of Mr. Robot (who was shown to interact with people other than Elliot and was an essential piece in Elliot’s character development)? An answer which we will probably never be revealed. Although, the uncertainties of the show can be at times frustrating, they certainly make Mr. Robot very unique in the genre of drama television. I could go in to much more depth of the clever hindrance of reality in Mr. Robot but there are so many other layers to the show that deserve some discussion.
An interesting component of Mr. Robot is the monopolist conglomerate “Evil Corp” which is run by the top 1% of the top 1% of people on our planet. Evil Corp is the fictional business in Mr. Robot who’s mark (logo) is found on almost all products of the show’s society; from laptops, to phones, to television it’s all Evil Corp. The world in Mr. Robot and Evil Corp is an interesting representation of our present world where the human brain is constantly occupied through the digital landscapes created by major corporations such as Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, etc. The top 1% in Evil Corp is first introduced with an unfocused visual of about 12 business men with the New York City skyline in the backdrop. This unfocused shot is an intriguing representation of the business leaders of our present. Although we do not know faces behind the curtain of today’s biggest businesses, these people control the population on invisible strings as we walk with their products in our hands. Evil Corp is an interesting insight to how the corporations of the 21st century control the populace through the digital realities they devise. An increasingly disturbing insight as well after understanding how much power these businesses truly have. An overwhelming power supported by Mr. Robot’s director (Sam Esmail) throughout the series. An example found in the first episode, when Elliot walks at the footsteps of Evil Corp’s office building. In these seconds, the camera directs upwards revealing more and more floors of the building only cutting to the next shot never showing that there indeed was a finite amount of floors. Through this effective directing, it was indirectly established that Evil Corp was a cooperation that could not be stopped. Their power is endless. Infinite.
Although Evil Corp and its businessmen were quite cynical, I very much enjoyed development of this evil in Mr. Robot. As the show progressed, I grew increasingly frightened of the company’s immoralities. Such as when a business man of Evil Corp shoots himself in the face on live television. His colleagues, who were in the studio, seemed unfazed by the suicide (they witnessed) of a co-worker of theirs. Truly inhuman. What I found most disturbing was the immediate change of Angela when she surprisingly joined the company. Throughout the show, Angela was a character that constantly stood up for what was right, carried herself with pride and even tried to sue the company. She was one of the witnesses of the man who committed suicide on live television and even got some of his blood on her shoes. Terry Colby, who once was Angela’s enemy, told her to simply buy a new pair of shoes and return to the workplace. After an employee at a shoe store questions the “red stains” on her shoe, he figures out that it is the dry blood of the man that shot himself on television earlier that day. Angela is quick to respond to his astonishment and rudely asserts her authority over the man by questioning who he does he think he is talking to. Angela completely demoralized the man, indicating that she was more valuable human being than he was due to her new status at Evil Corp. A very un-Angela thing to do but a shocking transformation of her once sweet character after working a couple of days with Evil Corp.
The twist and turns, the non-transparent script and the unique representation of our hidden realities is why I strongly recommend the exceptional summer show of Mr. Robot. I loved how the viewer would have to question Elliot’s background as well as the realities of the world. What I loved most about this show was the level of uncertainty it concluded with in season 1 leaving much more space to build on Elliot’s character and the world’s saviors, Fsociety.