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5 reasons you should watch USA's 'Mr. Robot'


July 12, 2016

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     On July 13, USA will debut the second season of Mr. Robot — a dark, cyberpunk thriller about corporate corruption, modern media and finding identity in a world of consumerism. The show has received multiple accolades and even was picked up for a second season before the pilot was aired on television. The first season, which consists of only 10 episodes, is available for streaming on Amazon Prime. 
We all know that your time is valuable and should be devoted solely to Game of Thrones (and maybe your family), but here are five reasons you should give this show a chance.

Christian Slater’s Comeback
    Christian Slater basked in 90s stardom but never really reached worldwide success; he has had a long string of film-flops, short-lived sitcoms and canceled television dramas. Luckily, Slater finally found the right role as the titular Mr. Robot, the charismatic leader of an insurgent hacker group known as fsociety. Mr. Robot shepherds the members of fsociety with a united mission of erasing all credit card debt and destroying the consumer-debt industry.
    Slater channels a sinister affability that is slightly reminiscent of his early role in the cult-movie Heathers. He’s a mentor who transitions back and forth from fatherly and caring to aggressive and combative, creating a very unhealthy relationship with his protégé, Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek). He may not have an alliterative name, but Slater’s portrayal of Mr. Robot is just as memorable as Mad Men’s Don Draper or Breaking Bad’s Walter White.  

The Hacker Hero
    Slater’s Mr. Robot may be where the show gets its namesake, but the main character is Malek’s Elliot Alderson, a cybersecurity engineer who moonlights as a hacker-vigilante after being recruited by the hacker leader.
    Unlike other onscreen iterations of hacker characters, dropping wisecracks, awkward sexual innuendos and pop-culture references isn’t Elliot’s thing. If you’re expecting someone like Arrow’s Felicity, you’re in for a surprise. Instead, Malek’s character suffers from clinical depression, severe social anxiety and paranoid delusions. It’s an eerie, edgy portrayal of a character archetype that’s often been depicted as comic relief. 
    Elliot regularly takes morphine to avoid being vulnerable to the pain and mental anguish he suffers from his overwhelming loneliness. It’s an interesting contrast of what he’s capable of and who he actually is. Elliot is connected to everyone: He can learn everything about anyone, yet he’s isolated from the world and the people around him. Malek’s captivating performance as Elliot anchors the series with a magnetic protagonist you’ve never seen before on TV.

Fourth Wall Breaks and Other Mind-trips 
    The majority of the show is viewed from Elliot’s perspective, and since he is prone to delusions and blackouts, he’s largely an unreliable narrator. Elliot often breaks the fourth wall by “talking” to the viewer, which he views as a side-effect of his deteriorating mental health. The company he aims to take down, E Corp, is perceived in his mind as Evil Corp, which causes every character to say “Evil Corp” instead of “E Corp” within the show. He also blacks out at one point and misses a significant event that affects multiple characters, leaving both Elliot and the viewer disoriented for a time. There’s a fun guessing game of what’s real and what’s not when watching the show. The number of theories this spawns is on par with Game of Thrones.  

Fight Club 2.0
Fight Club, the 1999 film starring Edward Norton and Brad Pitt as disillusioned young men, has had a clear influence on Mr. Robot. It’s basically a television version of the film: Just like Brad Pitt’s Tyler Durden, Mr. Robot’s goal is to have the consumer-debt industry erased. Both have a clear disdain for the rise of materialism and the chase of shallow wants. Mr. Robot just expands and molds these complaints to fit with the rise of new media. 

A Creepy American Psycho Subplot 
A character with a running subplot that we routinely check up on is Tyrell Wellick (Martin Wallström), a high-ranking employee of Evil Corp, a largely amoral corporation prone to shady dealings. Wellick’s character, with his cold, chameleon-like personality, is highly reminiscent of American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman. Wellick, a character who spends his leisure hours paying homeless people to let him beat them up, provides a number of spine-chilling scenes throughout the show.

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