Mr. Robot: Entertainment or Reflection

More stories from Joseph Birko


USA Network

Elliot (Rami Malek) becomes increasingly paranoid as he learns more about the weaknesses in cybersecurity.

Rarely is there a show that not only allows the audience to be entertained by its characters, plot and theme, but also allows them to think about how they interact with the community around them. One of these shows is USA Network’s “Mr. Robot,” created by Sam Esmail and stars Rami Malek and Christian Slater.


The show centers on Elliot Anderson (Rami Malek) who works for a cyber security company called Allsafe in New York City. What is so interesting about this character is that he hates everything about his job and what it represents. The pilot episode really delves into the idea of how companies such as Apple and Facebook abuse their powers and in a way, subdue the masses.


Another important aspect of this show is that we the audience play a role within the story because Elliot continually breaks the fourth wall and the relationship between him and us stems from mistrust and uncertainty. Elliot is the type of character that understands people as a whole more so than the individual.


This creates a sense of irony because while he is able to analyze the situations he is in, he can’t understand whether or not what he is seeing is real or a fantasy. This all stems from being introduced to the titular character, “Mr. Robot.”


Portrayed by Christian Slater, in his best performance in a long time, “Mr. Robot” can be calm and charming in one scene and in the next, try to bring down the status quo no matter the consequence. The interaction between Elliot and “Mr. Robot” and the relationship between Elliot and the audience bring “Fight Club” and “House of Cards” into the subconscious.


But what is so important about this show is the portrayal of society and how it can be easily manipulated. The antagonists of this show are not people but ideas and how it can affect those exposed to that idea. The company that Allsafe works for is E. Corp and they represent the multi-conglomerate that uses their power for their own needs.


Because of their abusive power, Mr. Robot and a very hesitant Elliot, find a way to stop this company from causing further damage. Through this objective we meet Mr. Robot’s group of hackers appropriately called “F-Society.”


This is where the show shines most. Not only do we see Malek play a character that is socially awkward and yet brilliant, but also try to be a team player. On the other hand, Slater does a magnificent job portraying his character as almost like a cult leader: Charismatic, but deep down he can be dangerous.


The audience will understand every character’s motivations, but also understand the flaws behind those motivations. Overall, “Mr. Robot” is one of those television shows that not only takes the audience in through its characters and plot, but makes them think about what their contribution to the world.