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TV Series Review

Elliot Alderson has a problem. Several, actually.

He has an anxiety disorder. He doesn't like to be touched. He takes morphine. He hallucinates. Oh, and he thinks an omnipotent corporate entity is out to get him. Elliot's biggest problem? He may be right about that last one. And the omnipotent corporate enemy is larger and darker than he ever imagined.

After building a brand on featherweight dramas and funny crime stories, USA Network pushed into prestige television with Mr. Robot, a subversive, creepy serial centered on the most unreliable of narrators: a dysfunctional, delusional, sometimes drug-addled hacker with a persecution complex.

Part Anti, Part Hero

Not that Mr. Robot's antihero is all anti and no hero. He has his good points, too. He loves his dog. He cares about the few people close to him (albeit so much so that he'll digitally spy on whoever's getting close to them). And he is, naturally, a veritable Merlin with a computer. He figures out a way to use those skills to become, he thinks, an information-age Robin Hood. Joining an organization called F Society—led by the enigmatic Mr. Robot—Elliot manages to cripple an organization he calls Evil Corp, wiping away the collective debt of millions of ordinary folks.

Good, right?

Well, maybe not so much. Plenty of ordinary folks were hurt by that cleansing of debt, too. Oh, and Mr. Robot? Turns out the guy was Elliot himself—a fragment of his personality that's growing more and occasionally more violent. Is it possible that Elliot, under the influence of Mr. Robot, might be a killer, too?

Clearly, this Robin Hood is on the crazy train to Nottingham, and Elliot wants to jump off the tracks. In an attempt to weaken Mr. Robot's hold on him, Elliot flees off the grid often to try and retain his sanity. But Mr. Robot is still there—threatening him, hurting him, egging him back into the game.

And the game is ever expanding. E Corp is no longer the threat. No, a much larger, darker corporation lurks around every corner. It’s called the Dark Army. Turns out it owns E Corp. And they might own everything else too.

Now, the only way Elliot, and those he occasionally cares for, has a chance of surviving is to team up with E Corp and send the Dark Army back to the hole from which they came.

But the world wide web isn’t easily untangled.

‘Everyone Steals’

Mr. Robot is a well-written dramatic thriller that received a bevy of critical praise after its first season. Indeed, the show was nominated for four Emmys in 2016, including Outstanding Drama, and won two of them—including Outstanding Actor for star Rami Malek.

But as is often the case with dramatic darlings these days, the series also comes with a litany of serious content concerns. In the very first episode, Elliot tells us that it's possible to take morphine without getting addicted. Sure, series creator Sam Esmail intends his antihero to be an unreliable narrator. But Elliot's anguished loner persona might still seem pretty attractive to some viewers who might be struggling with the same kinds of issues he struggles with. And there’s been plenty of drug use and drug references since then.

Elliot's been known to sleep with his dealers. Sex is a regular theme on the show—both heterosexual and homosexual—and onscreen trysts can be frank and lewd and downright disturbing. Also, as Elliot descends ever deeper into the murk that surrounds him, violence is a common theme. Those around him are sometimes terminated with lethal prejudice. Characters smoke and lie habitually, too. The language can be brutal. F-words (censored in the broadcast version, but unbleeped if you buy episodes off Amazon and Apple) make regular appearances. They're also referenced right in F Society's very name.

And then, of course, you've got the series' strong anti-capitalist thread. "Everyone steals," Mr. Robot tells Elliot. "That's how it works. Someone in the chain always gets bamboozled." And the show, unreliable narrator or not, sympathizes. Plucking themes in vogue around the time of the Occupy Wall Street movement, Mr. Robot suggests that big corporations are the real crooks today, asking us all to shovel money into their pockets while we stagger through the streets shackled to anvils of debt and darkness.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

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Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

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Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Oct. 27, 2019: “404 Not Found”
Mr. Robot: Aug. 30, 2016 "init_5.fve"
Mr. Robot: July 20, 2016 "unm4sk-pt1.tc"
Mr. Robot - July 29, 2015: "eps1.5_br4ve-trave1er.asf"
Mr. Robot - June 24, 2015: "eps1.0_hellofriend.mov"



Readability Age Range



Rami Malek as Elliot Alderson; Portia Doubleday as Angela Moss; Michel Gill as Gideon Goddard; Christian Slater as Mr. Robot; Carly Chaikin as Darlene; Martin Wallström as Tyrell Wellick; Michael Cristofer as Phillip Price; Grace Gummer as Dominique DiPierro; Stephanie Corneliussen as Joanna Wellick; BD Wong as Whiterose; Sunita Mani as Trenton; Azhar Khan as Mobley






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On Video

Year Published


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