What starts out as a generic TV show eventually turns into epic TV.
Elliot is a skilled Computer Security Technician, working a standard job, nothing special. Outside of this he takes drugs, in a very specific and controlled way, and hacks people to make other people’s lives better. Kind of like a digital Robin Hood, he hacks the Rich to give to the Poor. Or at least to try and level the playing field once again.
The entirety of the first season revolves around an elaborate hack of E Corp (or Evil Corp as Elliot has named them), the worlds largest conglomerate, to wipe out a large amount of debt. The idea and the plan for this comes from the elusive Mr Robot, a seeming stranger who keeps appearing in Elliot’s life and attempts to persuade Elliot to follow through with the big plan. Mr Robot puts together the plan and the team and sets the wheels in motion. And so fSociety is created!
The moment of realisation, the awesome twist, comes when we find out that Mr Robot is actually Elliot’s deceased father and a figment of his broken mind. All of the actions that have been attributed to Mr Robot has actually been Elliot’s subconscious taking over when Elliot is asleep/incapacitated.
Throughout this an eager and determined Technology professional from E Corp has been keeping tabs on Elliot and has been trying to position himself in the best place to get the CTO position for E Corp and when this didn’t happen again he teamed up with Elliot to bring about the downfall of E Corp.
The season finishes with the fallout from the hack, Elliot has a period of amnesia and isn’t aware what precisely went down, Tyrell is missing
And so to Season 2…..
Elliot is obviously a talented hacker but is so damaged and has so much mental baggage following him around that it is hard for him to let go, he needs that routine, that system for coping, for keeping himself in check otherwise there is no way to stop him doing the things that he is so very capable of. And we see this routine in all it’s glory at the start of the season. Elliot in his full, extremely controlled routine. Doing everything he can to stay away from the digital world. He is safe.
But then something interrupts this routine, some chink in the armour that lets in doubt, which lets in paranoia, which lets in Mr Robot again and everything starts to unravel…..
Rami Malek as Elliot and Christian Slater as Mr Robot are wonderful facing off against each other. Mr Robot is wild and impulsive, forceful and violent compared to Elliot’s calm, methodical, hesitant and retiring. In a wonderful scene to get us back into the swing of things, Mr Robot threatens to shoot Elliot in the head, believing that this threat will be enough to make Elliot to his bidding, but it isn’t so Elliot gets shot. But then normal life returns, Elliot goes back to writing in his journal, with a bullet hole in his head, a forceful reminder that this is all in Elliot’s head. Excellent TV!
Darlene, Elliot’s sister, is still trying to push forward with the attacks on E Corp, without the leadership of Elliot. She is achieving some success, but others in the group have lost sight of the objective of this mission. Darlene manages to bring them back to the moment, back to the mission. She manages to set off a second hack of E Corp, in their banking sector, which threatens to encrypt their records unless they pay a ransom.
In a meeting between E Corp’s General Counsel, the CTO and the CEO they decide that they need to pay this ransom ($5.9 million), a simple calculation of numbers against their potential banking losses. The CTO agrees to be the “Chief” who will deliver the ransom. It appears that fSociety have a hold over them, but this only appears to be a minor inconvenience to the rich, they even suggest that they can stump up the cash themselves. Obnoxious!
As the opening scene to Episode 2, the CTO is in the park for the drop off of the ransom. Through the mass of people in the park a cycle messenger makes his way towards the CTO and delivers a package. A bag. From the bag the CTO pulls a phone and an fSociety mask. A call on the phone tells him to put the mask on, empty out the money from the two large satchels he was carrying, douse it in lighter fluid and set it aflame. Quite spectacular and quickly draws a crowd. A wonderful opening scene.
We’re introduced to a new character, a seemingly dizzy redhead who turns out to be FBI agent and is interviewing Gideon, Elliot’s old boss and patsy for the E Corp hack. Something tells me that she isn’t as hopeless as she plays up to!
We also meet Ray, a friendly guy who starts talking to Elliot whilst they are watching a local basketball game in the park. Ray attempts to get Elliot to do some work for him, he knows who Elliot is and what he can do. I have a feeling this story line is going to be important. A second meeting with Ray later in the episode hints at Elliot having met Ray between these meetings to agree to something, which Elliot has no recollection about. He is losing control, seeing Mr Robot, losing time, losing consciousness. Not good signs. Well, not good signs for Elliot, great signs for us watching!
Angela, Elliot’s best friend from the first season, sold herself out when agreeing to accept a job at E Corp for dropping her law suit against them. She’s now a PR Manager at E Corp, and is doing exceedingly well in this new post. She is totally invested in her own life and career, doing whatever it takes to better herself, including listening to self help videos and spouting mantras.
In an interesting twist to the twisted psyche inside his brain, Elliot needs to know what the meeting with Ray entailed and get Mr Robot to tell him what went down. So part of Elliot’s brain knows something that he doesn’t and won’t let him in on it until he agrees to get back in front of a terminal. Complicated situation to be in.
Poor old Gideon, made a patsy for the largest hack in history and then chatted up in a bar and shot in the neck. A sad end to someone who was entirely innocent in this whole thing. Shame.
The episode ends with Elliot losing time before finding himself on the phone to a caller who is Tyrell.
There is so much going on in this show, it makes it so interesting but the real interest is the fact that you don’t ever know what is real and what is imaginary. Is Elliot doing these things at all? Is he meeting these people?