This article will contain spoilers from Mr. Robot Season 1
Elliot Alderson isn’t well. He tells us that in episode 1 of Mr. Robot. He’s a neurotic introvert in that his way of thinking disallows him from mingling with the common masses of everyday society. He suffers from depression, repression, and as we find out in the last couple of episodes of season 1, multiple personality disorder. He copes by hacking people. By day he works as a information security tech, however by night he’s sitting at home peaking over the walls that people have built up around themselves. He understands his walls. At least he thinks he does. He’s trying, that much is certain. Something happens to him that creates the he that is Elliot Alderson, and the he that is his deceased father, dramatically killed by leukemia, aptly named “Mr. Robot” after a store he owned in his early life.
Going in I thought this show was about hacking computers. That’s what drew me. I work in IT, go figure. As I began to take note of it’s emphasis on the idiosyncratic quirks of the different characters and Elliot’s analysis of them through access to personal information, I started to think it was instead about hacking people. The last episode in season got me thinking that while it does spend a great deal on both of these things, I’ve concluded that on the larger scale, that this show is far more about hacking reality.
“F Society.” He says it episode 1. In the same episode during Allsafe’s hack he finds the .dat file named "fsociety". Of course he finds out that this was placed by his “Mr. Robot” personality that was lashing out at Terry Colby, who was responsible for the disregard of company safety practices that got his father killed. All of this was small scale compared to the real revenge he wanted. Terry Colby was just a puppet on a grand stage of players and the only way to fix the real problems in the world, the only way to truly reconcile what happened to his father, and so many others run under by giant corporations, was to dismantle the collective corporate conglomerate, entirely.
Elliot sees the world different from others. He isn’t tainted or pressured by social influences from the outside or the masks and walls people put up when they walk out of their safety of their private doorways in the morning. He doesn’t let people get closed to him. He hardly lets people even touch him. You’d think him aloof. Socially he is, but in reality... He sees reality every night. He looks over all those walls. He has a clear birds eye view of the slavery caused by society. He wants a new one.
See, reality is a grand fabrication and behind those masks and through those windows formed by monitors, filtered with social media, there is the real thing. Elliot Alderson hacks into that steganographic facade , and in the final episode of the season he hacks society as we know it, freeing the chains that it placed on people. It seems the question now is, will they (the people) walk away from it, or turn back and put them back on because their wrists feel bare without them.
I haven’t watched any of Season 2 yet, but I will in the next few days or so and get caught up with the rest of the free world, but season 1 was something refreshing to watch and is extremely thought provoking. Beyond the societal shackles the show unlocks, it reminds you that though they may seem to be, nobody is “normal.” Everyone has their issues. Everyone is trying to work through them. Most of them are just wearing masks. I give this show a 5/5.