Veronica introduced me to this show and I LURVE it.
It's up for every award in existence, save Nobel (next year, yo, you got this), and that is partially due to the writing, but really because of the Malek Factor. Rami Malek and his otherworldly peepers
We open with Elliot Alderson (Malek) introducing himself: hello friend. Hi! I must further objectify Mr. Malek: I've seen him nekkid in Need for Speed (with Aaron Paul!!!) but his voice is still the best thing about him. Gravelly yet tentative, and I don't even know how that's possible. ANYWAY. Hi! He doesn't want to give us a name, we're imaginary and he gets all meta for a minute.
There is a conspiracy in the world, a group of people that secretly run the world. The invisible ones, the ones nobody knows about, not, you know:
He thinks this top 1% of the top 1% play God without permission and are now following him. To his credit, there are lots of suited men staring at him randomly, but I have to wonder if undiagnosed mental illness comes into play. I mean, who is worried about one skinny anonymous guy traveling a subway in a dirty hoodie?
He knows why, though, he should have gone to his friend Angela's birthday party, and instead he went to...Ron's Coffee shop. This is Ron
He owns a whole chain of coffee shops, and his Wi-Fi is just that good that Elliot needed to know why. This is a beautiful line and must be written down in all it's glory: Elliot says the awesome Wi-Fi speed "scratched the part of my mind, the part of my mind that doesn't allow good to exist without condition" - isn't that freaking gorgeous?? Speaks to a worldview in one sentence. ANYWAY, turns out the kiddie pron on Tor servers accounts for the awesome internet speed and Ron is not just the owner; he's also a client.
You can actually see Ron fall apart by degrees. Elliot pulls out an envelope with all the emails and *herk* pics and Ron tries and fails to play tough; he won't pay blackmail! I have no idea what he thinks his play is here; the information is all right there. With pics. Elliot was really hoping for some BDSM and we're all disappointed.
Elliot empathises with Ron, he also has problems fitting in (sans whacking it to well, anyway) and they have a moment where they discuss the loss of Elliot's father and this is why I like this show so much. Such a quiet scene; Ron desperate but also caught in the very human response to someone else's loss, and Elliot just not able to interact...normally. As a side note, we learn that Elliot's dad died from Leukemia caused by the company he worked for (which Elliot couldn't prove - and hey? Is that even possible? Can you get cancer from a company? I know you can get Asbestosis and all kinds of coal mining maladies, but Leukemia?)
Back to desperate Ron! He is morally OUTRAGED that Elliot would want money; he will not pay him, sir! Elliot, well, he's working on his social anxiety by doing this in person instead of over the computer and he isn't interested in money; the police have already been called and out he walks into the night in his black hoodie wearing a black backpack. Bai Ron. Elliot hath deleted you.
More suited men whisper portentously on the subway while Christian Slater hollers at our Anonymous hoodied hacker hero. These ARE exciting times, Christian!
Elliot is at work now; he is an anonymous internet security specialist working for AllSafe, who contracts to a giant company called E Corp, which shall be henceforth known as Evil Corp. As soon as he walks in, he's dragged into the office of Gideon his boss, where we also meet Angela.
Angela is Elliot's oldest friend and it was her birthday party Elliot missed to delete Ron . Imma go out on a limb and say she is Elliot's ONLY friend. There was a hack last night, exciting Elliot, which irritates Gideon. I know Gideon! He's Michael Gill but really President Garrett from House of Cards!
ANYWAY, there's a big meeting today with Evil Corp and Gideon is nervous AF. Angela is just pissed Elliot missed her party the night before and doesn't want to be lectured about smoking, thankyouverymuch. She calls him on his zoning, and just like that, I dig their friendship: it seems antagonistic enough to be real. He blows her off saying he was thinking about work; she figures that's why Gideon loves him so much. She also thinks that even though she brought him in and gets alllls the kudos for it, he hates it there. And she is not wrong. He hates corporations. Member his dad was killed by one!
Up walks smarmy boyfriend, and away walks Elliot. Insta-creep complains that it' killing his buzz and sure! Put more pressure on your GF to make her decades-long friendship less inconvenient for YOU. He can't have that negativity in his life, yo!
Hey! The music is just like in The Knick! Trippy beats. Elliot is now at his terropist's Krista's office, doing lots of inner monologuing but not saying much. He has hacked her, of course, he hacks everyone he knows, but likes her and what he found saddens him. She's divorced and working her way through a bunch of unfortunate situations on eHarmony. Elliot's stymied by her latest companion, the elusive Michael Hansen with the negligible online footprint. It's scratching that part of his brain...
She's stuck because he won't talk, but does a great speech to us which must be included in it's entirety because it is the Mission Statement of this show:
I'd be lying if I wasn't tickled that it started off trashing Steve Jobs and segued immediately to Bill Cosby. In a nutshell: we want to be sedated and we do that with consuming. Elliot really does have an affection for Krista, partially because of their shared loneliness and wanting to protect people from that and fear. He lies about going to Angela's party and getting a girl's number and too much embroidery on the lie Elliot! Should have stuck to saying you hugged a wall and lurked eerily from across the room. She immediately calls bullshit and asks if he's hiding again. Hiding and with that comes delusions. Eeeraooh? Elliot has delusions? Does that involve thinking a hobo-dressed Christian Slater is talking to him and that suited men are whispering about him while surveilling him on the subway? DOES IT ELLIOT?? Krista thinks it means exactly that, but he lies and says the meds she gave him are working. Oh Elliot. You know they can't help you if you don't tell them what's shaking, right?
Back at work and smarmy boyfriend approaches Elliot again for a bro-lunch: great line alert. Smarmy asks why it's awkward between them and Elliot says he's okay with it being awkward between them, LOL. We find out why E hates Smarmy so much: he's cheating on BestieAngela. Plus he likes George W. Bush's decision points, Transformers 2 AND the music (not Twitter account, which is amazeballs) of Josh Groban. Smarmy's been banging Stella B on the side for quite some time now but Elliot hasn't told on him yet just isn't ready to see what comes after for Ang; smarmy d-bags are not an anomaly for her.
Side note: DON'T TOUCH THE ELLIOT! And Smarmy's name is Ollie because of course it is
In walks E Corp! Re-christened as Evil Corp as above. We meet Terry Colby, the CTO (Elliot side-eyes his Blackberry), then Tyrell, an executive that runs Linux? Whereas TColby is just an arrogant moron, SVPTechnology is a techie and mebbe even a dangerous one. He sure wants Elliot to know who he is, anyway.
Elliot dreams of unshackling the world of the monetary ties that bind while walking home to his crap apartment in a bad neighbourhood. He has a fish named Qwerty! And is just so very lonely; he breaks down while we hear that he usually manages that with 30mg of morphine daily and we get a scary view of his childhood: his mom looks psychotic.
He gets this morphine from his neighbour Shayla who keeps trying to give him freebies and post on the Facebook page he doesn't have and I call BS. I've known a few drug dealers in my time, and yeah, it was a long time ago, but Facebook? Pfft. ANYWAY, she wants to do pure Molly together? Which means banging. And he grudgingly accepts.
He recommends not making decisions while on morphine and really, that's a life lesson I think we all could use. He gets a creeper alert: Krista the terropist has checked in with Michael Hansen on InstaGraham and off we go! It's not stalking if you care about the person, right?
It gets a little tight for space in front of where Krista is dining, what with Elliot lurking in a doorway and suited men whispering while staring at him, all we need is Christian Slater to pop in and the gang's all here! Michael Hansen is driven away by a cab that Elliot immediately calls to get the destination address: oh wily Mr. Hansen, your anonymous days at 306 Hawthorne are numbered. And hey, there's Christian Slater after all! He's harassing the suited men, who are finding it difficult to maintain the same amount of stink eye with a bum rattling spare change in a dirty cup in their faces. Elliot is confused. Whose side is CS on??
Off we go to Hawthorne Street where Michael is lifting a tiny dog by it's collar and PUT HIM DOWN!!! Elliot and I are very angry, but he maintains decorum and borrows Mike's phone to "call his mom" but really, it's to access something called BoE, and I don't get it. I am not a computer genius.
Angela calls. It's 3 am and she's at work because Evil Corp is under a massive hacking attack and she needs 300ccs of Elliot STAT. This attack warrants a middle of the night Elliot call because it is a DDOS (um...) and everyone is very excited. Except actually on-call Lloyd, who just is not equipped to handle.
Evil Corp loses 13m for every hour they are offline and I still can't think of a real-world example of what Evil Corp is supposed to stand for. Microsoft? Google? Apple?
I, well, I am not a computer tech genius as I may have mentioned above, so I'm going to make up my own names for whatever the hell they're talking about. Elliot asks Lloyd if he's made some chocolate-chip waffles and Lloyd says he already started re-mixing the batter but for whatever reason, the bowl won't stay still and he's almost out of chocolate chips. Can anyone tell I'm missing Top Chef? Back tonight!
Anyway, it's all very complicated and nobody has even seen a chocolate chip waffle with pecans before and Elliot gets ever more stare-y than normal. The real problem is that there is a malicious code that has taken over the whole network and every time AllSafe restarts the servers, the hackers actually get more access. It sounds bad, anyway, like someone swapped out the chocolate chips for raisins and raisins in waffles are BULLSHIT.
It sounds scary, but Elliot is alllll over it. Off he and Gideon fly in the corporate jet to where the servers are in Dallas. He literally is the only person who understands what to do and there is a bit of a chase sequence involving an infected server, that he wants to look at by himself. In this small room surrounded by servers he find the root. The root of fsociety, with a note that says "LEAVE ME HERE" and when he sees that...he pauses. He can't bring himself to delete it
We see him and Gideon flying back in the corporate jet, did you know Gideon is gay? Now we all do! Elliot and I are wondering what the point of that exactly was, but apparently Gideon's as yet unnamed partner doesn't wanna be a dirty little secret any more so Gid's trynna bring it up more. Elliot don't curr, so that's a pretty good place to start for coming out.
Gideon is really worried about losing Evil Corp as a client, these repeated successful and expensive hacks don't bode well for AllSafe, 80% of whose business is Evil Corp. Elliot promises to find the fsociety hackers, Gid doesn't look convinced that will make a difference.
Big contrast: hero Hacker-Attacker Elliot leaves the corporate jet to get on the subway to see who? Christian Slater! Who tells him to follow him if he didn't "delete it". Whuttt?? Says Elliot? He's a little slow for a genius and all, but he makes it off the train just in time.
Now they sit. As Elliot hurls questions as him, Christian lets him know they're headed to Brooklyn and that's about all Elliot and us get to find oot. Except this part, about his dad who was a thief. His dad figured that everyone steals in this world, big or small. Everyone gets paid over or under and he steals, that's his job. Society's job is to catch him and put him in jail and if they can't? He's earned the money. *MEANINGFUL MISSION STATEMENT MOMENT*
Christian, who I shall now refer to as Mr. Robot, given the patches on his hobo gear, has taken our Elliot to an abandoned arcade in Coney Island.
Elliot doesn't understand why the group would meet IRL (in real life for anyone out of the game) and Mr. Robot tells the tale of a hacker group called Omega that was only in contact through the Internet. They found one guy...and everyone went down. And not in a fun Coney Island roller coaster way. Meanwhile, Elliot makes eye contact with a moody-looking female hacker who already pisses me off.
Elliot is still pretty concerned about being caught in this massive viper's den of hackers, but Mr. Robot swears he's tested everyone and made sure they are fully down to work on Mysterious Project. Elliot figures his was the DDOS attack with its "LEAVE ME HERE". Hmmmm. I wonder if that really was the test. When Elliot asks about the Project, Mr. Robot shuts him down and I just bet the test is yet to come, y'all.
Elliot is heading home and he's wondering if he's losing his mind. If he's had delusions before, as Krista says, were they actually delusions, or were they just things like the suited men he swore he didn't see any more, and maybe hobos named Mr. Robot? As he ponders the existential nature of his existence, he comes home to Angela waiting on her doorstep. I swear to Bob, the writing on this show: when he tells her he fell asleep on the train in answer to her query as to why he wasn't home, she says "That sounds like such a lie" and it's so something that an old friend would say that I just want to bask innit and roll around for awhile. I have strange taste.
She's come over for a movie (Back to the Future 2!) night to celebrate Elliot saving Evil Corp's evil arse but bails when confronted by Shayla's adorable behind still sacked oot in his bed from their earlier Molly-fueled bounce. Has it really only been one night? That's gotta be some crazy jet lag. Let's ask Angela Lansbury!
Angela stammers through some totally not-awkward goodbye that reveals just how much she is also digging the Elliot - this unrequited shite goes both ways yo! Hmmm
Which leaves Elliot to start his research. Nobody's heard of Mr. Robot, but the property is searchable and he still can't find anything oot. He heads back the next day to the arcade and is confronted by Moody Hacker who wants to know when he's gonna "cut the bullshit and give them access to the root directory". Elliot had made himself the only one that can access that tidy little root, see. Leopard jacket with smeared lipstick is not happy. I dislike her on sight, which is odd, because I quite like Shayla the drug dealer.
She's Darlene (who's named Darlene any more?? Maybe I'd be a pissed off ahole if my name died out in a trailer park in 1974 too) and she wrote the root kit and she wants to know when she can throw in Colby's IP in the dat file. All of which sounds like it should mean something. Little help? Pecans in the waffles? I'll wait and see.
Mr. Robot shows up; he and Elliot have another Meaningful Chat, this time in the abandoned Ferris wheel, like you would. This probably goes without saying, but not only am I not cool enough to be an anarchist, I am definitely too safety-conscious. You would not catch me debating the potential dissolution of Evil Corp's financial base as a means to destabilize the world's reliance on consumer credit in that rusty bucket of bolts. I hear tetanus hurts like a motherhumper! Are there doctors in this new anarchy-driven world? Clinics?
ANYWAY, Mr. Robot wants to wipe out all the existing debt IN THE WORLD through EvilCorp. How they want to do that is by Elliot planting Terry Colby's IP address in the dat file (ahh!!! Darlene, I gotcha) when the Fibbies show up the next day to discuss the massive DDOS hack that Evil Corp just underwent. So that is the real test: put Terry Colby's IP address in the dat file to start taking down the corporation limb by limb. Once the ball is rolling, it will be the largest financial revolution in history.
Side note: I believe that is exactly why The Girl With The Dragon tattoo series was written; to highlight our dependence on consumer credit and air-money (non-gold-standard currencies). The violent arse-raping was just? For why exactly, Stieg Larsson?
Elliot is torn; he is not financially motivated himself, he has no need to consume to sedate as long as he has his 30mg of daily morphine mixed with withdrawal meds. However, bestie Angela has $200k in overdue student loans and some hefty credit card bills...Neil Diamond plays while he contemplates debt slavery and the nature of stealing itself. Can I just say? If you wipe out everyone's debt, but nothing else changes, people will just consume themselves back into debt. It's like two months after The Biggest Loser when Jillian Michaels is screaming at someone new...you revert. Like you would.
Elliot types up his nice little Terry Colby IP package in a blue envelope and hesitates. He walks meaningfully to work while suited men on phones stare at him and fabulous short men with moose knuckles in CHIPS glasses sashay towards us.
FBI meeting time! Angela looks nervous and Elliot pulls out a WHITE envelope, oh ho! He decided to not drink the Mr. Robot koolaid after all. Let's see how this goes. Terry Colby immediately singles Elliot out as the man who stopped the hack, and lest you think the "man" part of that sentence is unnecessary, you would be wrong, given that the "gals" in Analysis thought this was a super serious hack. Colby has no idea just how super serious just yet.
Gideon brings the attention around to account exec Angela, who nervously lays out the timeline of the hack, accidentally calling 2 am Friday when it's clearly SATURDAY, says Colby. Disfookinguy. He asks her why they waited half an hour to bring someone into the office instead of using remote access, which would have been immediate. Angela tries to answer, but is cut off by Elliot, who explains how using an outside laptop and "terminaling in" (not a verb) would have put the system at MOAR risk. Angela tries again to explain protocol but Colby is DUN hearing from this particular gal and sends Tyrell to get her oot of the room so the menz can talk like they need to without all these distracting ladies aboot. Out comes the blue envelope! Bai Colby!
19 days pass. No news, no revolution, no NOTHIN. Gone is fsociety and the Coney Island arcade is once again abandoned. Elliot needs a distraction so he checks his stalker file: Michael Hansen is just waiting to be plucked from the low hanging tree!
Elliot calls Michael under pretense of Fraud Prevention, asking him all kind of personal questions so he can get all the passwords for Michael's files. Nothing! And that means....Michael Hansen cannot be his real name. And no, it isn't. And I'm guessing the baby carriage he's pushing doesn't belong to his girlfriend terropist Krista either. Lurking in the doorway, Elliot pops out in time to scare NotHansen with a list of his transgressions. He's cheated on his wife with 7 different women, full, long-term relashies each, some through Ashley Madison, some escorts, fake Facebook pages and Elliot is going to the police unless NotHansen stops seeing Krista immediately. Police because Elliot lies and says that one of the escorts was only 15, which deflates ol NotHansen but he doesn't dispute either. Man.
Elliot demands thatNotHansen disclose fully what he's been up to, because Elliot wants her to be more wary. THAT is gonna be a rough talk. Also? Elliot's taking Flipper, you ahole, you don't deserve him, you bastage. All of MHansen's info goes onto a disc with ''Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here'' written on it and we see he has a LOT of those in CD sleeves. Now I want to listen to WYWH, damnit.
Elliot is with a devastated-looking Krista; he is stymied and actually needs help with something: Angela hasn't been talking to him since The Meeting and he misses her. He finally hunts her down in the floors of AllSafe and she confronts him about NOT HELPING ME, DAMNIT. He is confused and initiates physical contact! Yay! Then they have a moment where they stare at each other's lips and think everyone is staring at them until they see that no! Terry Colby has been arrested and the revolution is on!
Elliot is so excited that he goes outside and throws his arms up in a victorious double fist pump! Yay! That is exactly when one of the suited men make their move and ask him to get into the car, sir. I love this suit already, he's all Patrick Warburton. But where is he taking our Elliot?? And he has friends, more men in suits ready to make Elliot get in the car and off they go to...Evil Corp? It's very quiet...they walk down a hallway of destiny and it's: Tyrell! Ahhh the executive that runs Linux. What he want???
And we oot! Sorry for the novel, I really like this show!