Though mentioned in passing, the spoilers are present.
Since the very beginning, we as people, start playing games. First because of our parents, who guide us to learn through games, like books that make animal noises and organized play dates with other kids so we would learn to play with each other. As we grow up, we discover new games, more ways to expand our minds, to develop our brains through the fun of playing and the games never stop. When our mind has understood which shape goes with which hole, or when we are too aware that a stick is no longer a sword, we turn to bigger games, to more advanced ways to play. Then we are encouraged by others, to play a game of sports or to act on a stage. At some point we will also be manipulated to play by corporations, who force us towards video games and slot machines, and by peer pressure, which pushes us to play dangerously with our lives, or makes us play the game of pretending instead of being who we really are. But what if the games we play finally catch up with us? What if the games turn into reality? And what if, at some point, when we don’t even realize it, we stop playing the game, and the game starts playing with us?
This will sound mad, or it might sound logical, either way, there is definitely a lack of sanity in my mind right now. The reason is simple, since I last wrote about Mr. Robot, things started to spiral and before I knew it, Elliot Anderson’s (Rami Male) life went through some drastic changes. I won’t bore you with details, though no content about Mr. Robot could ever constitute as boring, but it’s a saying and I seem to be attached to those overly used statements these days. And I won’t explain the style of this post either, because clearly, it has ventured into strange territories but in case you have seen, watched and consumed all 10 episodes of Mr. Robot, you would understand my strange ways of saying things right now. So, are you seeing this too?
I am not awake. All my body functions would tell you the opposite to that fact because for one, I am typing and since I’m not aware of my sleep walking habits, I assume these words are written while being conscious. But no, in a way, I’m not awake. In a world, where everything is linked, liked and commented, and everything is manufactured towards needing more things, more useless information and more friend requests, we are all sleeping. Mr. Robot wants us to know that, it challenges us with the idea of it and though Fight Club said it perfectly already, we are each others copies stacked upon an idea created by the top 1% of the top 1% men who own everything there is to own. And if you think about it, if you really start to wonder and strip away from all those layers Mr. Robot disguises itself with, then it is a pretty scary way of telling us that we are simply pawns in somebody’s chess game.
It also seems that not a lot of TV shows have those kinds of balls to show us something layered in meaning. Mr. Robot, though a story about a hacker who decides to cause a world wide economical crisis by deleting everybody’s dept, is also a story about how society and people have somehow fallen asleep. We numb our minds with reality TV like The Real Housewives of Atlanta, or follow all the Kardashians like religion, we dumb ourselves by reading Fifty Shades of Grey and gossip magazines, we kill ourselves by eating food that is probably not even real food and we grab for our phones, laptops and iPads even while among friends. And even though Mr. Robot showed us the possibility to be finally woken up by something as grand as the ultimate hack, the irony of it all is that with all those masks, and with all that “fsociety for President”, we would again feed our minds with an idea that is not ours. Which means that there is something scarier than the top 1% of men and the fact that Elliot is as crazy as it comes – and it’s the fact that we are never going to stop playing games because we really are living inside of one right now.
By now you can tell that this post is not all about the show, not really, because there is so much more to this show. Then again, every form of art or self-expression can me interpreted endlessly, discussed through similarities and contradictions, so I’m not saying Mr. Robot is a rare piece of television. But I would say that it is among the greater ones, and it demands me not just to watch, but to think and imagine about the world we live in. There is this especially interesting segment in the last episode of the season, where the aftermath of the hack is shown with clips of riots and troubled leaders who we voted for. That’s when the reality hit me, that’s when I realized that Mr. Robot is not playing with the idea of what if and that its fiction is already our reality. The reason might not be just a huge economical crisis, but there are already groups taking a stand against such social issues like racial injustice, sexual harassment and gender equality. Groups who might not say it but who are all thinking the same thing about the current situation – fsociety !
In other words, and hopefully with a more lighter tone, I loved the first season of Mr. Robot a lot. Through its well constructed story, smart writing, excellent cinematography, hidden and yet important details, and thanks to many sophisticated music choices, Mr. Robot delivers a season that leaves you wondering. And it doesn’t just leave a cliffhanger, it leaves cliffhangers which are all hanging over my head like an annoying bug torturing me with its endless buzzing. Worst of all, it leaves me aching for Rami Malek and his beautiful performance, and the kind of beauty that has not been tweaked to perfection, but the kind that is raw and full of ugliness. And though everybody else seems to fall short next to his, and I’m not saying this lightly, breathtaking performance, Malek seemingly holds the show alone on his shoulders high above most of the shows I’ve seen lately. Which, I know, sounds way too good to be true but then again, Mr. Robot is a gift wrapped in fine presentation that just keeps on giving. And I hope it will delight us for a long time because the show is playing a sophisticated line between real and fiction, and I love that I have to use my damn brain entirely to simply try to decipher all its meanings and messages.