BY RICKY DERISZ
*Warning: I don't want to lie to you, so I must tell you this article contains spoilers for Mr. Robot Season 2.*
The article you're reading now, in its most basic form, consists of simple 0s and 1s. Those 0s and 1s form binary code, which is then encoded and translated into character sets, each character helping to form HTML code — the basic DNA structure of a webpage — which is then translated by your web browser into the page you see.
Fitting for a TV show centering around computer hacking, Mr. Robot, like this webpage, has a lot going on under the surface. There are layers upon layers of 0s and 1s that all add together to form the bigger .jpeg. Deciphering those codes takes some work, a task made all the more difficult by Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek), the paranoid, psychotic storytelling protagonist.
Show creator Sam Esmail has gone to great lengths to engage with the shows' audience, producing an interactive network rich with complex puzzles and enigmatic Easter Eggs. Also known as an alternate reality game (ARG), even months after Season 2's completion, a thriving online community is still attempting to unlock the biggest secrets.
Is There More To Fsociety Than Meets The Eye?
But while it's fun to dive into the dark depths of Elliot's world, even the seemingly obvious facets of the show can have deeper meaning. Take fsociety, for example. They're the hacker group backed by the Dark Army that Elliot formed unwittingly through his alter ego, Mr. Robot. The cyber-revolutionaries carried out the 9/5 hack and changed the world, for better or for worse.
The origin seems fairly straightforward. Elliot's outstanding, illusion shattering monologue in the opening episode of Season 1 is one of the most memorable moments of the show; when his therapist Krista asks what disappoints Elliot about society, he gives a jarring speech on the state of the world, concluding with two words: "Fuck society."
That's a pretty significant moment, so when fsociety enter the scene, it makes sense that they may be modelling their group name on the same anarchistic motto (as well as making a subtle early hint from Esmail that Elliot formed the group, not Mr. Robot.)
Later, we see that the group's location, the Fun Society Arcade, gives another meaning to the name. The letters 'u' and 'n' have disappeared from the sign, the letters now displaying F-- Society — the cavalier, mask-wearing hackers were hiding in plain sight all along.
By the time FBI agent Dom DiPierro (Grace Gummer) tracks their former location after finding an invite to a party in Romero's mother's house, we feel way ahead of the game, long before Dom's lightbulb moment.
Fsociety is a clever play on words, alluding to the group's antiestablishment attitude and forming an audacious link to the scene of the crime. But what if there's also a third, deeper, badass metaphorical meaning?
Is Fsociety A Metaphor For The 5/9 Hack?
Reddit user 1ntellektuelle believes so. He draws the compelling comparison between the hacking group's name, and a command prompt: fdisk. On the majority of operating systems, the fdisk command will format a disk, deleting data so a new format can be written. The theory claims that, by deleting the world's debt and attempt to "reformat" society, the term fsociety is a symbolic link to this command.
Travelling down the rabbit hole of technicalities shows an even more intricate link: The fdisk command itself doesn't wipe data from a storage device, instead it creates, deletes or resizes partitions (these are different "regions" of a hard drive designated for different uses.)
Apply this to the overarching metaphor, and this still rings true. As witnessed by the post-credit scene at the end of Season 2, fsociety's 5/9 hack didn't wipe out E Corp's data for good. The process can be reversed by those with the encryption key, which is what Trenton and Mobley were discussing shortly before Leon arrives.
That leaves the interesting question for Mr. Robot Season 3: If fsociety is a metaphor for the hacking of democracy, could the encryption key give Trenton and Mobley the option of pressing Ctrl + Z on the whole thing? Or will Leon stop them from doing so?
Do you think Sam Esmail intentionally made this fsociety link?