You can argue that in some ways, “Mr. Robot” was three different shows over the course of Wednesday night.
First, it was “Full House” as Elliot hallucinated an existence where he was on a road trip with Mr. Robot, Darlene and others amidst a laugh track and a multi-camera setting. Also, THAT THEME SONG. This was brilliant, especially since it represented the peaceful existence that Elliot wanted but did not always allow himself to think about. Remember: There is a certain part of us that wants to live in those bright colors, where every problem can be resolved with a cutesy catchphrase and a wink at the camera.
The second story was the trials and torments of Elliot Alderson, who found himself recovering in the hospital from him beat-down, only to eventually be ushered away and left in the fetal position on the floor. Yet, he was leaving, and he could see through his mind’s eye Mr. Robot taking some of the pain and the punches for him. He showed his use, and in a way, this whole journey for Elliot represented him giving in to that voice in a different way than ever before. With that hug, he brought him close rather than shoving him away.
Through the flashback, we saw a better sense of the bond that was once there between Elliot and his father. Sure, maybe it was a tad literal with the whole “I’m never going to leave you” talk, but it was nice to see him as presumably a real human rather than a figment for a change. “Computers, everyone wants to have one” was such a 1990’s thing to say, and we almost love that he did. There was something so tender and innocent about what was there, and it makes the heartbreak and the dissociation all the more heartbreaking.
Now, let’s move to the final part of the story, where we have Angela Moss starring on “Ocean’s Eleven” all by herself, only that rather than a physical heist, she’s the infiltrator with Darlene at her ear. She flirted, she kept those positive affirmations going, and right when it seemed like she was seeing the horizon, in came sandwich-loving Dominique fresh off a chaos tour in China.
Ultimately, there is a part of us that worries that “Mr. Robot” is getting too much into art-for-art’s-sake territory with their form changes and overly-bombastic sound clues. Yet, we’re not going to deny that through the performances and the emotional resonance of Elliot’s past and present, we still find ourselves denying that the show is trying to hard to be edgy. It’s still brilliant, and it still getting to us.
Also, ALF. It’s a good thing there aren’t too many cats around with this show. Grade: A-.
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