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Mr. Robot “eps1.9_zer0-day.avi” Review (1×10)

3 Sep

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“We live in a kingdom of bullshit!”

Mr. Robot’s big monologue near the end of the episode is essentially this show in a nutshell. Throughout these ten episodes, Sam Esmail and co. explore the idea of reality in both an individual and societal context, using unique visual cues to convey Elliot’s mindset as he navigates the world around him. It’s certainly an interesting ride, one filled with burning questions about who’s “real” and who isn’t, about who might just be a part of our main character’s mind. In the end, though, the finale monologue hits the nail on the head when it comes to reality in this show. “Is any of it real?” Mr. Robot asks. “I mean, look at this. Look at it! A world built on fantasy.”

This show plays like an infectious disease and a fantasy at the same time, slowly burrowing into our minds as we attempt to figure out what’s going on. Part of Mr. Robot’s bit in Times Square includes telling Elliot that they were all part of him this whole time, that they’re all in this together now. It’s extremely important that Elliot starts to understand his role in kicking all of this off; the audience suspected it from the beginning, but the show finds its strongest impact in the reveal to the character, not in the reveal to us. Elliot’s seeing the ramifications of fsociety’s actions all around him, and it’s like his influence has found its way into the collective mind of society. Darlene and Mr. Robot may use similar language–the former’s “this isn’t about what we’ll do tomorrow, but about what we did” and the latter’s “the world is a better place because of what we did”–but the truth of the matter is that the future is hanging in the balance now. Did Elliot really save the world? Are the people really free?

Based on the post-credits scene, it seems like things at the top are still the same, and that’s the ugly truth about change in this country: the richest will still have the control. Even Angela’s being drawn in and manipulated by Phillip Price, and whatever’s going on with Price and White Rose is sure to influence the events of season two. The episode deals with the ripple effect of sweeping change, but it also examines the seeming futility of certain efforts, the stagnancy that can result when certain people remain in power. And as Price tells Angela, “people did this…whoever’s behind this, they’re just people like you and me.” Mr. Robot is very much focused on the complexity of the human mind in this regard, and its fascination with and criticism of people is what helps it maintain its high quality. People have the power to change the world, but they also have the capability to bring it crashing down.

GRADE: B+

SEASON GRADE: B+

OTHER THOUGHTS:

– “I was only supposed to be your prophet. You were supposed to be my God.” Any thoughts on the meaning behind this line?

-The Joanna-Elliot scene is absolutely fantastic. Every second that Joanna is on the screen, I am incredibly terrified by and attracted to her. I’m looking forward to what the show has in store for her next year.

-Yeah, I understand why they postponed this episode. It’s certainly a powerful scene, and the lingering shot of the camera is probably the most powerful moment. Still, though, I keep wondering why this country allows networks to show graphic shooting scenes…while “fuck” is apparently so bad it has to be censored.

-Some fantastic music in this one, particularly Alabama Shakes’s “Sound & Color” being used to close out the episode. Also, brilliant title card, as always.

-Finally, one more shout out to this brilliant cast. Rami Malek delivered one of the best performances of the year for sure.

-That’s it for season one! I had no idea going in that I was going to enjoy this show as much as I did, but this will without a doubt make it onto my year end television list. If USA is willing to show this type of show on its network, then that will open up a whole new world of possibilities moving forward. See you all next year.

Photo credit: USA Network, Mr. Robot

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8 Responses to “Mr. Robot “eps1.9_zer0-day.avi” Review (1×10)”

  1. Justin September 3, 2015 at 6:45 am #

    I’m as surprised as you are by the level of enjoyment gained from this show. When I saw the promos, I had the feeling that this show had something special. But I had no idea how much of a special thing.

    The finale was great. That was such a twist opening the episode with the aftermath of the hack instead of having the episode focused the buildup to the hack. It gave the finale an apocalyptic vibe and made us the audience feel just as disoriented as Elliot. Like him, I was eager to know what happened to Tyrell. For most of the episode, I thought he was dead and Mr. Robot killed him to keep him from threatening the plan. But by the end of the episode, I found myself questioning that theory.

    I fear for Angela’s soul if she continues to work at Evil Corp, spending time with people like Price which will only harden her as a person. That scene when she was having her bloody shoes changed shown a glimpse of that dark possibility. I hope something keeps her from completely going over the edge. Maybe Elliot.

    • polarbears16 September 3, 2015 at 9:58 am #

      Yeah, it looked interesting, but I definitely still had USA’s track record in my mind going in; the show definitely changed that, and it also was allowed to go places the network had never gone before.

      “It gave the finale an apocalyptic vibe and made us the audience feel just as disoriented as Elliot. ”

      Yeah, exactly. The show is very much built on atmosphere, and they nailed it in this finale.

  2. AmnesiaDream September 3, 2015 at 1:02 pm #

    In a series that may be even more fascinated with existential identity crises than Mad Men was (which is saying something), I’m finding BD Wong’s genderfluid(?) Whiterose character the most interesting of all. Even after the post-credits scene, I’m fairly convinced s/he’s ultimately on fsociety’s side – especially given that final reference to Nero. As far as season 2 goes, Whiterose may turn out to be the biggest wildcard of all, moreso even than Tyrell or Krista’s ex Lenny.

    Speaking of which, I’d like to think that Lenny is the one knocking at Elliot’s door at the end. Probably to steal back his dog. Either way, Sam Esmail’s clearly springboarding into an intriguing season 2 arc involving that guy, so that’s one more thing to mull over during the break.

    Solid finale, great show, give me more episodes now!

  3. AmnesiaDream September 3, 2015 at 1:03 pm #

    In a series that may be even more fascinated with existential identity crises than Mad Men was (which is saying something), I’m finding BD Wong’s genderfluid(?) Whiterose character the most interesting of all. Even after the post-credits scene, I’m fairly convinced s/he’s ultimately on fsociety’s side – especially given that final reference to Nero. As far as season 2 goes, Whiterose may turn out to be the biggest wildcard of all, moreso even than Tyrell or Krista’s ex Lenny.

    Speaking of which, I’d like to think that Lenny is the one knocking at Elliot’s door at the end. Probably to steal back his dog. Either way, Sam Esmail’s clearly springboarding into an intriguing season 2 arc involving that guy, so that’s one more thing to mull over during the break.

    Solid finale, great show, give me more episodes now!

  4. MovieManJackson June 28, 2016 at 7:56 pm #

    Wonderful finale. I have no idea who’s at the door. Loved that they focused more on the aftermath as opposed to the act, as well.

  5. Hepburn3 July 11, 2016 at 7:52 pm #

    Hi PB!
    I know that I am late to the Mr. Robot party but I just watched the 1st season after borrowing it from my local library!
    i have to say that I enjoyed it and I decided to watch it because I have a crush on Rami Malek ( I have since I saw him in Night at the Museum, finally an Egyptian playing an Egyptian Pharaoh!).
    Like I said I liked the show especially the characters of Elliot, Shayla, Gideon, The F-Society collective and Mr. Robot.
    I do not care for Darlene as her voice has a Vocal Fry to it that I just cannot abide listening to. I also loathed and despised Tyrell and his vile wife they are reprehensible and represent everything about White Privilege, every time they spoke Swedish I wanted to punch them both in the throat! I really hope that Elliot killed Tyrell.
    Elliot is an intriguing character and I really like that we go down the path with him and his mental illness. I do like that aspect of this show and how they deal with Mental Illness,they show that it is nuanced, many layered and complicated. I feel that the audience suffers along with Elliot and it is not condescending.
    The one thing that I will say is that the show thinks that it is really very clever and that the audience is not aware that we are in a fake world. I think that we know it is just that it is hard when one has no recourse and so we go along to get along and buy Mocha Frappes from Starbucks. It is clever to a point but not as clever as POI was in terms of the idea of the underbelly corporate world and the world of hacking. I found it kind of insulting that the show thinks that we do not and did not know that Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were and are business men making a product and making toys for us so they can make money. Elliot’s revelations are not shocking and surprising but his journey and awe that they are is.
    I do like this show and I hope PB that you will be reviewing it as Season 2 starts this week! I look forward to your points of view! 🙂

    Oh and about this: – “I was only supposed to be your prophet. You were supposed to be my God.” Any thoughts on the meaning behind this line?

    It is rather Biblical in tone. It brings to mind John the Baptist who’s job was to pave the way for Jesus as the Saviour, God and Messiah. John said as much to Jesus when Jesus came to him to be baptised, that he was the one to be baptised by Jesus as John was just the prophet.
    Elliot thought that he was John the Baptist and that Mr. Robot was the Saviour/Messiah?God but Mr. Robot was John and Elliot is the Messiah and role that he does not seem comfortable with and especially now that he knows that he is both Prophet and Messiah.
    So when Mr. Robot says this to Elliot he is trying to make Elliot see his role in the grand scheme. Well at least that is what I think. 🙂

    • polarbears16 July 13, 2016 at 9:52 pm #

      Hey, glad to hear you are watching this show and enjoy it. The show definitely does a fantastic job with the mental illness aspect, and I do think the strongest part of the show is its focus on Elliot. But yeah, it can come across as thinking it’s more clever than it really is.

      I think that’s a fantastic interpretation, by the way. I’m not the most well-versed on Biblical stories, so I’ll defer to you on this one! 🙂

    • polarbears16 July 13, 2016 at 10:45 pm #

      Well, they just had a biblical recitation at the end of the premiere, so you seem to be spot on!

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