So who is Mr. Robot? I won’t say (spoilers!). I will say it could be Elliot (Rami Malek), a socially awkward, clinically depressed computer hacker. It could be the strange man in a computer shop jacket (Christian Slater) who confronts Elliot on the subway about his plan to destroy E(vil) Corp. It could be any one of the “fsociety” hackers who start a spiral of attacks on Evil Corp and every person’s account in debt to the company. Mr. Robot could be anybody we meet in the first season of Mr. Robot.
Mr. Robot tells the story of Elliot Anderson and his infinite quest to survive life. Already clinically depressed after disastrous events in his past, he finds himself more comfortable alone with his computer, researching people rather than talking with them in person. If he finds dirt on a person he can use, it gets downloaded to a disc and hidden away until it becomes useful. Elliot works at Allsafe, a computer security firm whose main client is Evil Corp, the company that covered up the toxic waste spill that caused his father’s cancer. Yet Elliot takes the subway to work every day, fixing holes in the network that would destroy their clients. Then one day Elliot meets a stranger on the subway who insists his group hacked Allsafe, creating problems even for Elliot. The group, fsociety, wants to take down Evil Corp and save the world from corporate takeover. When Elliot agrees to join, his life takes an even darker turn as he becomes more paranoid of those around him and scared he will be caught. But has Elliot been with fsociety longer than he knows about?
The problem with following the story Sam Esmail presents is that Elliot has been through a lot in his life and is addicted to several drugs he regularly drops. This, added to his already paranoid and reclusive mind, prevents the audience from being sure what is really going on in Elliot’s mind. He constantly talks in his head to a mysterious friend with no name (the audience), while other times he is unsure of the events happening right in front of him. Any time you think that you’ve figured out how the story will go at any point in the series, it takes an 85 degree turn and throws everything you thought you knew out the window. Characters are not who they seem, and those who may have been red herrings are sometimes the most important people to the plot. This is what makes Mr. Robot additive and keeps audiences watching episodes over again to piece together clues to the ever-expanding mystery of Mr. Robot, Elliot and the people in their lives.
The first two seasons are currently on DVD. While the third season should start in July based on its past schedule, rumors have arisen that it will be postponed in order to make the script better. In the meantime, after watching the first two seasons, read The Red Wheelbarrow, Sam Esmail’s handwritten book featuring clues to the second season’s boomerang of a mystery.