Student submission: TV review, “Mr. Robot”


Student Submission by: Dawson Oler

Wednesday’s season two finale of the tv show “Mr. Robot” was electric. After the shocking and riveting conclusion, I found myself out of my chair walking around outside — I’m not even sure how I got there. It was pouring rain and thundering, but I didn’t care. My mind was spinning.

“Wait… what? Who? Was that real?” I asked myself all the questions, and upon typing this up the next day, I still don’t have a clue. But what I know is that the finale of season two cemented “Mr. Robot” as one of the best shows currently on television.

If you haven’t already heard of it, “Mr. Robot” is a psychological drama airing on the USA Network. It follows around “hacktivist” Elliot Alderson (played by now Emmy-Award winner Rami Malek) as he tries to solve the world’s problems with his hacking skills. It gets a little complicated, though, as you introduce his shady mentor, known only by his alias “Mr. Robot” (portrayed by Christian Slater) and Tyrell Welleck (Martin Wallström), a powerful businessman with dubious motives who shows an interest in Elliot’s adventures. We as the audience also have a role to play, as we follow Elliot everywhere he goes as he narrates for us in real time and lets us know exactly what is in his head.

539096195_1280x720“Mr. Robot’s” creator, Sam Esmail, originally had the idea for a feature length film instead of a tv show. As he began to make pitches to producers, many people advised him to take it to TV networks, as they would allow him to fully flesh out his vision. He agreed, but only if he would be given full autonomy as creator of the show, and the results have been spectacular.

Esmail is clearly influenced by “Twin Peaks” creator David Lynch as well as award-winning director David Fincher. Every episode of “Robot” is written and directed by Esmail, which is simply unheard of in today’s culture (For reference, HBO’s “Game of Thrones” employed 6 directors in its last season and a writing staff of 13 writers). This allows him to have full control over the tone and image of the show, which is something very important about the show’s makeup. It is surreal and dreamlike, and the viewer is often questioning what is real and what is just in our unreliable narrator’s head.

Despite its immense criminal success, “Mr. Robot” has had a difficult time attaining a large viewership. It received heaps of praise and awards from the Golden Globes and the Emmy’s, but has only cracked a million viewers a handful of times and projects to be a “critical darling” and not a mainstream success. This has more to do with the time of year it airs and not the quality of the show — television ratings dip in the summertime on nearly every network.

I’m set to keep watching, though. Everything about the show is so carefully structured — Elliot’s unreliable narration, the musical cues, the deep monologues that critique our modern society. Watching “Mr. Robot” is a unique experience that time and time again finds a way to keep its audience guessing and wanting more and more.

Season two is now over, but it’s not too late for you to jump on the “Mr. Robot” bandwagon! The first season is currently streaming on Amazon Prime and is available on DVD. Start it today — you won’t be disappointed.

Summertime is a favorite time for us students at Utah State University. Many of us look forward to vacations, no homework and nice weather. Those things are nice and all, but the thing I look forward to the most in summer 2017 is an easy choice: season three of “Mr. Robot.”


(Dawson Oler is an English major here at USU.)


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