The American series Mr. Robot is a psychological thriller that focusses on the controlling and stifling aspect of society. Hackers group FSociety wants to do something about it and decide to tackle one of the world’s largest conglomerate. One of those members is Elliot Alderson. By day he works as a programmer for an Internet security company, but by night Elliot hacks everyone and everything he comes in contact with. In the beginning he has good motives to do so, but when he is approached by the mysterious leader of FSociety, his conscience takes control. The further Elliot is sucked into the plan of the hackers, the more he gets mentally unstable. Should Elliot take the opportunity to stop the CEOs of major multinationals who ‘own’ the world?
The creator of the series is Sam Esmail, who also directed and wrote a few episodes. Esmail is a new name in the world of series, but that doesn’t mean that his first series Mr. Robot is anything but good. The series is very well organized, thanks to the performances of Rami Malek. Malek plays Elliot Alderson, the protagonist. His thoughts give the character an extra dimension and we get to know him even better. Elliot is a confused man who is addicted to hacking, talks to himself, is socially a bit unstable, has feelings of paranoia and is also a drug addict. Enough reasons for Elliot to meet with psychologist Krista. Maleks opponent is Christian Slater, who takes on the role of the mysterious Mr. Robot. He approaches Elliot with the question if he wants to join his hacker group FSociety, but it remains unclear who long he is and what he wants from Elliot. The most important supporting roles are played by Carly Chaikin, co hacker Darlene, Portia Doubleday as Elliot’s childhood friend Angela – who also works at the same company – and Martin Wallström. The latter plays the dangerous Swedish businessman Tyrell Wellick, whose company is secured by the company where Elliot and Angela work. At first Wellick seems a very charismatic and intriguing man, but once you’ve seen more of him you learns he is in fact a self-centered man with a very clear goal.
Elliot and Angela work at the Internet security company ALLSAFE, with E Corp. as their largest client. E Corp. has the whole society in its power and that is why Elliot calles them Evil Corp. It is a multinational that needs to be shot down according to Elliot. FSociety gets helped by a very mysterious hacking group called Dark Army. This group has its own plans, but the thoughts behind this is vague. For some reason, Angela is used as a pon in their plan which puts her to the test. At the head of E Corp. is Terry Colby, who is getting framed at the start of the series. Tyrell Wellick hopes to take his place as CEO, which leads to some exciting moments. Together with his wife Wellick plots plans, which shows Wellick actually has an obscure character.
The series also makes you think about who is right and who is wrong, and does Social Media has too much power? Hacking with the purpose to make the world a better place, might be a good method. However is the way it is used the good one? Elliot has his doubts as well, but got sucked in Mr. Robot’s web and there’s nothing he can do about it. With his hacking skills, Elliot tries to help people in the first place, but it also challenges him. The tasks Elliot is given are one by one very interesting, and a lot of technical words are being used. If you are not familiar with that – like me – there’s no harm in that. The series is also very good to follow without having that kind of knowledge. One critical note is that the series gets too personal. At the start you think the hackers group is doing what they do to make the world better, but eventually more personal affairs take the upper hand. The goal is changing, which is however a good thing regarding the psychical aspect of the series. To which end does people go to reach their goal?
The series has a very strong intro, but an even more impressive ending. The end leaves the door open for a next season – which is about to start in a week – and leaves you hanging with a couple of questions. What’s next is the most important one. Everything between the intro and the end is very well put together, also because of the strong performances of the three most important characters. The series follows the path you might expect and it never gets boring. The actors know how to keep their characters interesting, the camera work is sometimes even fascinating in combination with the background music.
Mr. Robot confronts the viewer with the poor state of affairs in society. Social Media and large multinationals are gaining more power everyday. Hackers groups go to great lengths to do something about it, and vicious business men go to extremes to get higher up on the social ladder. Rami Malek, Christian Slater and Martin Wallström all give an excellent performance which evokes different emotions. Season two starts in one week, and I’m ready to find out what will happen next!