Thoughts on Mr. Robot (& Character Aesthetics)

Since season three is right around the corner, and I’ve managed to catch up with the first two seasons just in time, I thought I would share my thoughts on the popular Amazon Prime series, Mr. Robot. As always, I’ll try to keep this spoiler-free and be vague on details where I can.

Mr. Robot is an American drama-thriller series that follows cyber security engineer, Elliot Alderson (played by Rami Malek), after he’s drawn towards a group of hacktivists called “fsociety” who are planning to take down E Corp, a huge conglomerate whose security is provided by the company Elliot works for, and who he refers to throughout the series as “Evil Corp”.

Whilst this is happening, Elliot also struggles with social anxiety, associative identity disorder and clinical depression, which lead him to paranoia and delusions. Mental illness and delusions are a major theme of the series, along with politics, technology, and social themes. Alongside Elliot, we are introduced to a number of intriguing characters, including his childhood friend and colleague, Angela Moss, and the members of fsociety, including a young woman named Darlene, and their leader, Mr. Robot himself. Later, we are also introduced to a new main character, Dominique (Dom) DiPierro, an FBI agent.

This is one of those TV shows I heard a lot about before I finally gave in and bought Amazon Prime so that I could see what all the fuss is about, and as always, that meant I had some expectations. After watching a few episodes, I realised that there were a lot of differences between the series I had expected this to be, and the reality. This isn’t to say it didn’t live up to my expectations – it definitely did – but there were so many unexpected themes and ideas, and so many twists that I didn’t see coming.

This show is a lot more complex than I anticipated. Because of Elliot’s delusions and paranoia, he almost acts as an “unreliable narrator”, and there are times when we aren’t sure if we’re witnessing reality, or Elliot’s paranoia. The first two seasons are also filled with unusual twists and turns of events, and mysterious characters whose motives I still know little about.

This show feels completely different to anything I’ve ever seen before. For a start, there aren’t many TV series that can pull off a plot revolving around cyber security and hacktivism, and Mr. Robot does this well. There also aren’t many (if any) featuring a protagonist quite like Elliot. Elliot doesn’t fit a typical “nerd” stereotype the way a lot of intelligent and technical characters on TV seem to. He’s complex: he feels isolated because of his difficulties socialising, and instead connects with people through hacking, learning about them through trails he finds on the internet, sometimes using this information to become a kind of moral vigilante. He’s also a drug addict, something which we don’t often see juxtaposed with this kind of character.

It’s pretty obvious that I’m kind of amazed by this show. But that’s not to say that it’s perfect. Initially, it’s slow to build, and more than a little confusing. There’s a lot to take in, and it’s hard to get a feel for the characters and setting when you don’t even know what’s real and what isn’t. It’s convoluted and complicated, and if you leave too big a gap between episodes, you might be lost. It took me a while to get through this series, because there were a couple of moments when the plot didn’t totally grab me, so it just slipped off my radar. It’s also a series that takes a bit of brainpower, which isn’t always what you want at the end of a long day.

Despite being a little difficult at times, Mr. Robot is a great series: it’s unique, surprising, smart, and it has something special about it. I’m definitely looking forward to the third season.

To celebrate the release of the third season, I’ve also put together some aesthetics for three of my favourite characters.

1. Elliot

I’ve already said a lot bit about Elliot. He’s a really interesting and complex character.

Elliot.jpg

2. Angela

Angela’s storyline is interesting, because even though she’s on the sidelines for most of the story, she’s still hugely affected by what’s happening, and in a different way to Elliot. Her character undergoes some dramatic changes to cope.

Angela Moss.jpg

3. Dom DiPierro

Dom is an FBI agent who appears in season two. Her character is interesting to me, because one minute she’s chirpy, personable, and driven, and the next, she’s deflated, and lonely.

Dom.jpg

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