Hello, friend, you probably already watched Mr Robot – and if you didn’t, well, spoiler alert for you. I rarely indulge in binge-watching, and more often than not I quit a tv series before its final episode. It happens that slow
developments of the story, gaps in the plot, or even poor acting prevent me from getting to the end. Mr Robot has been an exception.
A friend told me for months that I should have watched Mr Robot, and I must say that she was right. It is true that at some point you might get lost in the show: the second of the four seasons, for instance, gave me the impression that the story was not really going anywhere, and that characters were just
wandering aimlessly in the midst of a financially crippled world. However, just be patient and wait for the story to unfold. Everything starts, at least initially, with a quite simple plot to grasp: there is a huge global corporation substantially controlling and directing everyone’s life, and there is a group of hackers whose goal is quite simple – they want to tear down the system. The whole problem lying behind their plan is that, in fact, there is a sort of conspiracy behind the conspiracy, and the hackers’ mysterious allies, the Dark
Army (a Chinese group of hackers) turn out to be their worst enemy, those actually responsible of every big sneaky machination taking place in the world.
When Mr Robot, Elliot Alderson and their group of hackers succeed in their cyber-attack against E-Corp, the big company they planned to badly hurt, everyone seems to be left momentarily purposeless (at least I was under that impression), while it is revealed that the big enemy is not really there. The
actual main villain, indeed, is Whiterose, a transgender character who also masquerades herself as the male minister of State Security of China. At the same time, Elliot’s psychological problems become more and more evident – in fact, one can say that there are two stories in Mr Robot: the fight against the world’s puppetmasters, and Elliot’s fight against his inner demons and his realisation that he is Mr Robot. Elliot suffers from a form of dissociative identity disorder, and this makes it more difficult and, at the same time, more
interesting for the viewer to follow the show in order to understand not just how the struggle against the big powerful villain is going to end, but also the reasons behind Elliot/Mr Robot’s complicated personality. It tells a lot, I think, the fact that the most intense episode, basically taking place in one single location, is the one that uncovers the disturbing origins of Elliot’s psychological issues.
On another level, one might use the show to reflect on the nature of revolutions. Some of the main characters happen to wonder whether anything actually changed and if at least it did change for the better. They occasionally
cast doubts on the usefulness of their anti-system actions. I am normally irritated by the simplistic approach taken by those who want to subvert society without thinking about the consequences, as frequently revolutions end in a very bad way when they succeed, or, when they fail, they are just described ex-post as disruptive and pointless riots, even when there are some good intentions behind them. Simplicity is not a feature I would attach to Mr Robot.
Some mysteries are left unsolved (I can think of at least a couple of them), but, overall, I enjoyed the show. Rami Malek deserves all the praise he received over the last years. I appreciated his interpretation of Freddy Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, and I think the way he has been able to reflect Elliot Alderson’s inner struggles has been almost next to perfect.