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Mr. Robot “eps1.1_ones-and-zer0es.mpeg” Review (1×02)

1 Jul

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“You either do something or you don’t.”

The second episode of Mr. Robot is about choice, about the push and pull between E Corp and Fsociety, about the idea of an “illusion of control” in regards to that choice. The hour may not be as intriguing as the pilot is, but it’s still able to strike a balance between character study and thematic umbrella, taking us into Elliot’s mind and asking us: “How much of this is real?”

And that’s definitely one of the more interesting aspects of the show right now. It’s reasonable to assume that Mr. Robot is a hallucination of sorts, that the ending of this episode is essentially a suicide attempt by Elliot. Many of the show’s stylistic elements–including the unreliable narrator and the possible hallucinations–have been done well before by other shows, but the Mr. Robot writers are able to keep them feeling fresh. It’s an impressive balancing act, but they’re pulling it off nicely here.

They’re also doing well by the themes of the series, and though these grand, thematic statements can certainly feel on-the-nose at times, there’s still a subtlety weaved throughout the show’s universe by way of the Elliot character exploration. Here’s a guy who talks about the “invisible hand” controlling us, who mentions the “illusion of control” that governs our products, corporations, and consumers. Yet, there’s also a sense that he’s not going to be living in any type of gray area for very long; sooner or later, he’s going to have to decide whether he’s a one or a zero. As Mr. Robot tells him during their meeting at the arcade, “sure, there are grays, but at its core, you’re either a one or a zero.” Elliot walks away from two offers in this episode, but what happens when this is all stripped down to its core? What happens to Elliot when action is necessary to move forward?

After all, “the world is dangerous because of people who look on and do nothing.”

GRADE: B

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Voiceover: “What did he just say?” Elliot, immediately after: “What did he just say?”

I’m getting Dexter vibes here…

-Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7. In A Major, Op. 92 II Allegreto is the main theme.

-I’m surprised with the amount of stuff a TV-14 show is getting away with, most notably saying “cum stains” in this episode. In addition, several censored f-bombs, a censored “shitty” (which is interesting because they use “shit” quite a bit in this show), “eatadick6969”, an n-word, and a rape.

Photo credit: Mr. Robot, USA

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3 Responses to “Mr. Robot “eps1.1_ones-and-zer0es.mpeg” Review (1×02)”

  1. Andy July 9, 2015 at 1:41 am #

    I found your review after searching for “Mr Robot censored.” I’m glad to see you mentioned in your ‘other thoughts’ section about censoring f-bombs and “shitty” while not censoring “shit,” because I noticed this discrepancy in the censoring as well.

    I don’t recall all the details, but when I saw the first episode I was surprised to hear “shit” uncensored on the USA network. I know a lot of different channels have loosened their restrictions on swear words, particularly after a certain time at night, but I could swear the series premier episode was more or less uncensored, and now in the second and third episodes, those same swear words seem to be blanked out. What gives?

    Did USA get cold feet following a barrage of viewer complaints from prude parents, or was it the fact that I saw the first episode at a friend’s house after he had torrented it apparently weeks before it ‘officially’ aired on TV — RottenTomatoes has the Mr Robot season premier as Jun 24, but we watched the first episode way back at the end of May.

    Perhaps the torrented episode was a promotional episode, released to various networks for screening prior to the actual air date (similar to how the first 4 episodes of this last season of Game of Thrones got leaked online the first week of the season), and USA simply hadn’t made their final cuts yet. I don’t know.

    It’s not a huge deal, certainly not enough to turn me away from the show. Still, it’s rather weak that they produce a series which has a script containing the aforementioned swear words, they gave the script a green light, and then they censor it once it actually airs.

    They ought to take a lesson from networks like Comedy Central and allow uncensored dialogue after, say, 9pm. I hadn’t noticed prior to seeing this review that the show has a TV-14 rating, but that’s rather curious. I guess I’m not sure what rating I thought it had. Other than the occasional swear word the show’s content isn’t necessarily worthy of a TV-MA rating — although Elliot does maintain an opiate habit, going into great detail about how he prepares his morphine for insufflation, how he uses according to a strict routine to try and avoid physical dependence, and how he keeps suboxone on the side to help overcome potential withdrawals.

    With all of that in mind, dare I say that uncensoring the swear words, throwing in the occasional scene of gratuitous violence or partial nudity, and slapping a TV-MA rating on there might make it an even better show?

    • Andy July 9, 2015 at 5:18 am #

      Since I’m unable to edit and add-on to my first comment, I’m an idiot. lol… I spaced that the pilot was distributed a month early online, and obviously no censor is needed online.

      I also had paused the DVR to leave my previous comment after hearing a few swear words censored at the start of episode 3. Now that I’ve seen the whole thing, I’m also a bit surprised with the TV-14 rating.

      !*********** (SPOILERS sort of, but not really) One scene included gay sex without nudity, followed by both men’s ass unedited afterwards, thereby nullifying parts of my previous comment; and on a side-note, the more important character of the two guys involved in that scene is starting to take on a very interesting arc in the show, imo.******************!

      Anyway, television censor officials, whoever they are, are curious creatures. I’m almost fascinated – if not a bit frustrated – by what is determined within the margins of acceptability, how those margins are determined, and really, how those margins have evolved.

    • polarbears16 July 9, 2015 at 8:58 am #

      Thanks for the comment! Yeah, USA’s been allowing the use of “shit” for quite some time, but I’ve never known them to allow for anything more than that, even censored. This seems to be a special case for the network, but yeah, it really should just get the TV MA rating (like how Walking Dead got one halfway through its run). Of course, they can’t actually uncensor stuff and show gratuitous sex/violence because that’d definitely cause problems for the network. Right now, it’s already pushing boundaries.

      But Comedy Central does well by that for sure. FX also allowed a few uncensored words for Louie this season.

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