BY LIZ SHANNON MILLER
USA Network has rolled out an exciting puzzle-based activation that could reveal more than we realize about the show's upcoming new season.
There’s not a lot we can tell you about what “Mr. Robot” is doing at Comic-Con, if only because we fear what creator Sam Esmail and USA Network would do to our computers. But at San Diego Comic-Con this year, the USA series has put together a really fun experience for fans of the hacking drama, one which embodies the show’s challenging storytelling (and love of puzzles).
The short version is this: It all starts with Ecoin, and if you’re in San Diego this week, you should sign up for an account. At the very least, this is because over 20 local San Diego vendors are “accepting Ecoin,” which means that when you sign up, you get $20 — sorry, “20 E” — worth of redeemable offers, mostly free food. (Who doesn’t want a free hot fudge sundae?)
You can sign up online or you can go to the Bank of E (327 4th Avenue, between J and Island Ave) to sign up physically — there, you can get your Bank of E card as well as other giveaways.
And you’ll also be right next door to Red Wheelbarrow BBQ, where not only can you get a free pulled pork sandwich, but you can try to infiltrate the world of “Mr. Robot” yourself.
The USA publicity team has created an intricate series of puzzles that take you on a literal journey up and down the streets of San Diego, and they are not easy. But the reward is an intense and unique experience that truly immerses participants in the world of the show.
During the press preview night, IndieWire only completed the journey in about an hour with a lot of hints from helpful USA Network employees, but in this age of crowd-sourcing, it’s likely that various online communities, from Reddit to Twitter, will be sharing secrets and spoilers. We will not share any such information, but we can suggest that you should search everywhere for clues, not just to solve the puzzle but to perhaps decode details about what we might expect from Season 3. According to one USA representative we spoke with, “everything has a meaning.”
Ultimately, the experience is a must-do for anyone craving information about what’s coming next from “Mr. Robot.” USA worked closely with Sam Esmail and his team to ensure that the Comic-Con experience tied into the upcoming season — in ways that we may not understand now but could be mind-blowing come October — when the season premieres. And visually, the integration with the show is seamless: Even the logos look just right, thanks to assistance from the show’s art department.
The world of “Mr. Robot,” which depicts a society thrust into chaos following a massive economic meltdown, isn’t a place we’d want to live, but it sure is fun to visit. And that’s what Comic-Con is all about.