BY JORDAN PAUL
What’s that? You haven’t been watching USA Network’s Mr. Robot? What are you waiting for? The summer’s biggest mind trip is winding down this week and it’s definitely worth your while to give it a look before the big finale. If you need further swaying, check out our five reasons you should be watching Mr. Robot.
5. Christian Slater Succeeds at TV – In the late 2000s, Christian Slater made the jump from film to TV, but one-by-one his series seemed to struggle along. The spy series My Own Worst Enemy was highly hyped at NBC but failed to connect. The Forgotten, with Slater as the head of a volunteer group attempting to solve the mysteries of John and Jane Doe murders, showed promise, but at the end of the year the plug was pulled. The security expert comedy Breaking In was canceled, then brought back, then canceled again at FOX. And the psychological investigation series Mind Games failed to get through a full season. But with Mr. Robot, Slater is in a supporting role. However, it’s a very key role within the story arc of the series, as the identity of Slater’s “Mr. Robot” remains a mystery until season one’s penultimate episode (and no, Mr. Robot is not Hard Harry from Pump Up the Volume).
Slater excels in this role, showing a mixture of caring and crazy and viewers are never quite sure about his true motivations about Elliot (Rami Malek). Once the big reveal comes to fruition, it’s one of the summer season’s biggest “a-ha” moments.
****In the vid below, Slater talks about knowing the overall arc behind “Mr. Robot.”
4. From Dalia to Darlene – From the moment her voice is heard, you can pin it to actress Carly Chaikin. She consistently stole scenes as plastic suburban mean girl Dalia on Suburgatory, but reinvents herself here as the driven, overly chatty fsociety conspirator Darlene, who shows no sign of boundaries when it comes to Elliot. As the season continues, Darlene becomes more of a key player in the ultimate scheme to take down Evil Corp and she inhabits Elliot’s life at times both wanted and unwanted.
3. Big Brother Is Upon Us – Creator Sam Esmail paints Evil Corp as the big bad in this futuristic culture, but one not too hard to imagine coming true in this rapidly evolving technological culture. The story, often told from the somewhat scattered brain of Elliot, brings up plenty of questions about privacy in a cyber driven world, corporate greed, the class system, loyalty, justice and paranoia. Is the series taking things to extremes in this futuristic society or is the world where Evil Corp rules more realistic than we may imagine? At the heart of Elliot’s quest is his desire to change the world, but as we see there are many land mines along the way.
2. The most dysfunctionally cold couple on TV – Think House of Cards‘ Francis and Claire Underwood have cornered the market as TV’s iciest couple? Let me introduce you to Tyrell (Martin Wallstrom) and Joanna Wellick (Stephanie Corneliussen). We’re introduced to Tyrell late in the pilot as a tech savvy underling of the soon-to-be ousted Terry Colby and he appears to be the only one who’s onto Elliot’s capabilities. As the season continues, we see Tyrell as a schemer, a fighter, a social climber and one of the biggest threats to Elliot and his fsociety pals. But we also see Tyrell as a cuckolded husband and a desperate man capable of very violent things if he doesn’t get his way. The Tyrell / Joanna dynamic is one of the more compelling ones on this show and it’s hard to look away when either character is on the screen. Tyrell’s arc is one of the season’s most interesting and his status as we head toward the finale offers plenty of interesting potential as the series continues. Simply put, they’re the characters you love to hate but secretly love.
1. Rami Malek – After years of toiling in supporting roles in films like Night at the Museum, Larry Crowne, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, The Master and Short Term 12, Malek is an intriguing lead and his unique look works well with the innocence and confusion about the events around him that Elliot must consistently reassess. His Elliot is infinitely watchable, sometimes aloof and socially awkward, but frequently the smartest guy in the room despite having his obvious demons. The season’s penultimate episode suggests big changes are in order for Elliot as he continues to cope with Mr. Robot’s plan.
***Also – don’t worry about Mr. Robot running out of stories within its paranoid, self-contained universe. In the vid below, Rami Malek and Christian Slater talk about the “twisted” map of Mr. Robot that stretches beyond season two:
Bonus Reason: The show’s opening stanzas are often cinematic in look with the viewer not exactly sure what’s going on and some sort of inherent uneasiness to what you’re viewing onscreen. By the time the credits come up, it looks and feels more like a movie than it does TV and the look of the credits adds to that vibe. You get the feel that this is something other than the standard TV you’re used to seeing, and, well, it is.
Be sure to catch up and then check in for the season finale of Mr. Robot, airing this Wednesday, Aug. 26 at 10PM ET/9PM CT on USA Network.