USA Network‘s Mr. Robot eps2.0_unm4sk-pt1.tc TV Show Review. Mr. Robot: Season 2, Episode 1: eps2.0_unm4sk-pt1.tc boldly challenges viewers to overlook it’s minimal sci-fi elements and recognize the world it creates as our own.
Although it is technically set in the past (2015, to be exact), the themes and issues the first part of the season premiere deals with are not only still relevant, but guaranteed to remain so well into the future. It can even be argued that the only difference between the problems the characters on the show face and the ones we face in the real world is the intensity at which they are felt, with the former, owing to narrative necessity, being much more severe. Coping with a hemorrhaging economy and an upper class indifferent to the suffering of everyone else, the people of Mr. Robot are on the brink of revolution, although each has their own methods and reservations governing how they go about it.
The primary example of these would-be rebels is Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek), a security engineer for cyber security firm Allsafe who doubles as a hacker in his time. Beset by crippling social anxiety and depression and abiding by a strict behavioral regimen to ease his mental issues, Elliot finds it beyond difficult to interact with others. He is annoyed by his companion Leon’s (Joey Bada$$) befuddlement at the alleged pointlessness of Seinfeld and derives no joy from the local basketball games played by his neighbors. He does, however, admit respect for the rules underlying the game, and later finds himself intrigued by Leon’s suggestion that maybe pointlessness is the point of the show. But anything useful he gleans from these observations is overshadowed by the presence of Mr. Robot (Christian Slater), a hallucination who takes the form of an irritable demagogue and urges Elliot to use his hacking skills to be the next “Che Guevara” and bring the system down. The young hacker journals daily to weaken Mr. Robot’s hold on him, but try as he might, he is unable to expunge the delusion from his life, as seen when blood from a gunshot fired by an angry Mr. Robot drips onto the paper that Elliot, as nonplussed as he is nonplussed, is writing on.
It might sound like a lot to process, especially for newcomers (a group which this reviewer belongs to), but the show does a superb job of bringing viewers up to speed as well maintaining their interest. Elliot’s monotone narration calmly informs watchers about not just the routines he and his fellow New Yorkers observe but also the growing instability of the country. The program even goes one step further when trying to sell it’s narrative of coming collapse, expertly manipulating footage and audio of President Obama and former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to make it appear as if they were addressing the schemes of the show’s revolutionary fsociety. The unconventionality of it all might be intimidating at first, but it definitely pays off to sit through Mr. Robot.
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