A Spoiler Free “Mr. Robot” Review


Samantha Brant

By Nellie Shih ’19, News Editor

From Director Sam Esmail comes the Golden Globe Best Television Drama Series, Mr. Robot. The series follows Elliot Alderson (played by Rami Malek), a hacker who works at a cybersecurity company, Allsafe. Elliot meets the mysterious Mr. Robot (Christian Slater), and his team of hacktivists, who call themselves “fsociety.” The group plans on cancelling all debt by attacking one of the biggest corporations in the world, E Corp, and they need Elliot’s help. The series, says Esmail—who, along with Malek—is of Egyptian descent, was inspired by the Arab Spring, where young people, angry at society, wanted to change the world. Season 1 received a score of 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Season 2 received a score of 94%. The series has also received praise from actual hackers, who think well of the show’s accurate depictions of cyber-attacks.

Rami Malek captivates audiences with his performance as Elliot, who suffers from clinical depression and social anxiety. The series follows Elliot as he struggles with balancing his work life, Mr. Robot’s offer, and his friendships with Angela Moss (Portia Doubleday), Shayla Nico (Frankie Shaw), and even the audience. Inspired by the main character in Fight Club, Elliot is described by the Daily Telegraph’s Mark Hogan as an “alienated anti-hero,” and “a brilliant, boldly complex character.” Malek’s performance won him a much deserved Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.

The beautifully shot, well-acted, and brilliantly scored Season 1 set the bar high for Season 2. Season 1 displayed a remarkable ability to keep the audience on the edge of their seats with intense plot twists, but not too many as to confuse the audience. Season 2 takes on a darker tone, and “the viewer is lured into Elliot’s chaos and confusion”, according to Sonia Saraiya from Variety, in dealing with that plot twist at the end of Season 1.
Season 2’s finale, which premiered on September 21, ended in a completely unexpected cliffhanger that left audiences begging for more. The beginning and end of the season seemed very different in terms of plot. After one conflict in the season was revealed and resolved, Esmail led Elliot towards another conflict, the two contrasting greatly. It seemed as if after the first conflict was resolved, it really didn’t matter anymore. Some even thought the twist was obvious, and were not as impressed as they were with the twists in Season 1. The episodes left viewers confused, and the next episode that would air the following week didn’t always answer all of the questions. Although the finale did end with a satisfying cliffhanger and a bonus mid-credit scene, the overall direction of the season was unclear.

Although Season 2 might be better enjoyed if binged, the show is fantastic and deserves all of the praise it has received. Malek’s Elliot isn’t the only interesting character in the show: Darlene (Carly Chaikin), Tyrell and Joanna Wellick (Martin Wallström and Stephanie Corneliussen), and Dom DiPierro (Grace Gummer) are fan favorites as well. Even the supporting characters, such as Leslie Romero (Ron Cephas Jones), Gideon Goddard (Michel Gill), the mysterious Whiterose (BD Wong), Leon (Joey Bada$$) and the young hackers Trenton and Mobley (Sunita Mani and Azhar Khan) have complex stories waiting to be told.

I highly recommend Mr. Robot to anyone looking for a drama or psychological thriller, or someone looking for something different from the endless list of sitcoms. The show is fresh and unique, and may even lead you to question reality and the life, or lie, you’re living. Season 1 can be found on Amazon Prime, and hopefully Season 2 will be added soon as well. Mr. Robot has been renewed for a third season.