Mr. Robot (2015) a (mildly) belated season 1 TV series review

Having just concluded a few days ago after a two week or so delay due to a violent scene that was perhaps a little too close to tragic real life events, I eagerly looked in on the 10th and final episode of the first season of Mr. Robot and found it, like most of the season before it, a fascinating watch.

Also, a bit of a troubling watch, which I’ll get into in a moment.

To begin, Mr. Robot concerns one Elliot Alderson (played incredibly well by Rami Malek).  Elliot is a genius level computer hacker who is also a social misfit.  He can barely talk to people, is addicted to morphine, sees (and lies) to his psychologist, and in his free time hacks into other people’s lives.  It is while doing this that Elliot fancies himself a do-gooder.  If his hacks reveal bad or illegal things people are doing, he will expose them.

Elliot works, ironically enough, at a computer security firm where it is his job to stop hackers.  One of his co-workers is Angela Moss (Portia Doubleday), a friend of his since childhood.  The two share a platonic relationship -though there are moments we get hints of Elliot’s longing for her- along with a shared tragic past: When they were children, Elliot lost his father and Angela lost her mother after being exposed to chemicals.

The chemical exposure was caused by Evil Corp., the show’s “big bad” company that, ironically enough (part deux), employs Elliot and Angela’s company for security.  Thus the two have to work –well!– for the very company they suspect caused their parents’ deaths.

Into Elliot’s life arrives a strange man who calls himself “Mr. Robot” (Christian Slater, also doing some fantastic acting here).  Mr. Robot gradually pulls Elliot into his “work”.  Mr. Robot, we find, is also a hacker who, along with a group of fellow hackers, has set a goal on something far greater than Elliot could imagine doing: Taking down Evil Corp and freeing everyone from any debt they may have to any corporation.

All they have to do is crack into Evil Corp and fry their data all at once and all over the entire planet.

To get into more details than this would bring us into SPOILERY territory and, since I intend to do so in a moment, I’ll keep quiet here.

Suffice to say that if you haven’t checked out Mr. Robot, I highly recommend you do.  The show isn’t perfect and there was at least one episode, eps1.3_da3m0ns.mp4 (episode 4 of the series) that appeared to be a time killer at best, but the show makes you think with each passing moment.

I highly recommend it.

Still with me?  Good.

What follows, however, is…


You have been warned!

Ok, so here we go: Up above I wrote the following regarding this show: “(Mr. Robot is) a bit of a troubling watch, which I’ll get into in a moment.”  That moment has arrived.

At the risk of sounding arrogant, there have been times I’ve found myself picking up on “hidden” or “surprising” things in movies or TV shows before they are revealed to the audience.  Perhaps it is because I’m a writer myself and spot some clues beforehand or perhaps it is just that I’ve an interest and affinity to see these types of details, but it happens now and again (not always by any stretch of the imagination) and sometimes a show/movie’s biggest “shocks” or “surprises” are not quite as surprising.

In the case of Mr. Robot, I figured out Mr. Robot’s identity a couple of episodes before we reached that reveal. Not only did I figure he was Elliot’s father (an easier guess), I knew he was a figment of Elliot’s imagination as well.  In this case what clued me in was the multiple times characters (particularly Elliot himself) noted Mr. Robot was “crazy”.  There was even one startling scene where Mr. Robot confronted one of his cohorts and, while waving a gun at his head, said the same thing about himself.

Regardless of my amazing (I kid, I kid) precognition, the reveal that Mr. Robot and Elliot are one and the same person instantly made me realize another thing: Mr. Robot is a cyberpunk version of Fight Club.

In Fight Club (the movie, I have not read the book it was based on) we follow the narrator (Edward Norton) and his eventual interactions with Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) who introduces him to a “Fight Club” where men beat each other up and, eventually, engage in societal anarchy.  They fight the “powers” that be and are disdainful of society and its mores.  Eventually it is revealed that Tyler Durden and the narrator are one and the same person, that Durden is the narrator’s id breaking out.

I hate to say it, but this is pretty much exactly what we’ve got going on in Mr. Robot.

Interestingly, I didn’t like Fight Club (the movie) all that much because the concept was a hard one for me to wrap my head around.  In Mr. Robot, however, I totally get the concept of cyber security and hacking and therefore find myself intrigued with the concepts presented.

Having said that, I repeat: Mr. Robot is, thematically, pretty much the same thing as Fight Club.  While Mr. Robot is extremely well done/acted, one can’t escape the fact that it is also very derivative of that concept.  So much so that it wouldn’t surprise me if Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk doesn’t one day sue the makers of Mr. Robot.  Hell, if Harlan Ellison had a case against James Cameron for The Terminator, Mr. Palahniuk certainly has one for Mr. Robot.

But just as James Cameron created a terrific piece of movie-making with The Terminator, so too do the makers of Mr. Robot create a must-see TV show.

Still recommended, despite this reservation.

Alternate Universe of Soviet Arcade Games

Fascinating article by Kristin Winet and found at concerning the above, Soviet Era arcade games!

What’s the most intriguing is the way the games play, without a sense of individual “winning”.  I have to say, seeing some of the pictures, I’m really curious to see some of these games, but to do so, I’d have to travel quite a way…

The Alternative Universe Of Soviet Arcade Games

This n’ that…

Found a few interesting things this morning.

First up, want to see what Lady Gaga’s “meat dress” looks like five years later?  Sure you do:

Apparently the dress is now on display at Cleveland’s Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame.  The video, presented in the above link, for those who don’t want to go to the website:


Next up, something that I suppose was bound to eventually happen:

Job Seeker Accidentally Sends Nude Selfies to HR Manager

No, the individual did not get the job.

Finally, a most eerie microscopic zoom…

A seemingly never ending microscopic zoom reveals the gross tiny germs

What the heck is this?  Why its a…

Microscopic zoom-in on a bacterium on a diatom on an amphipod

Now you know.


You learn something new everyday…

…even the very weird stuff.

Say you’re interested in figuring out the exact (or as near to exact as you can find) route taken by the Lewis and Clark Expedition when they famously ventured into the western frontier.  Given this was the very first exploration of said frontier, their maps were made on the fly and suspect.  Further, given the participants of this expedition are long dead, how would you go about finding the exact places they camped at?

Why, by digging up the many latrines along their general route, examining the deposits within them, and following the trail of Laxatives specific to the expedition, of course!

I kid you not.

Presented below is a link to an article by Esther Inglis-Arkell detailing that very fact and how Lewis & Clark’s expedition’s route was traced by their …um… droppings:

Fascinating, fascinating -albeit strange- stuff!

You know you have to see it…

From the folks at…

Totally Busted: The All-Time Best Celebrity Mugshots

Even more interesting, to me, than the mugshots themselves (although seeing a 13 year old Cher is quite something!) is the reason why the celebrities were arrested in the first place.

The reasons vary, with the most amusing (to me) being the Frank Sinatra one and the scariest, in terms of the sentence handed down -and later suspended- against a very young Nick Nolte.

Interesting stuff!

The cloud hits movies…

To say the least, I’m a big movie fan.  I quickly jumped on the laserdisc “revolution” when I was absolutely blown away with the images and letterboxed presentation of Blade Runner.  I amassed quite a collection of laserdiscs only to turn around and discard them all with the arrival and realization of how much better DVDs were.

Again, I amassed quite a large collection of DVDs but shifted over to BluRays and their promise of an even better picture and sound quality.  Since, I’ve yet again amassed a large collection of films, some of which I’ve bought multiple copies.

That ended a couple of weeks ago, for the most part.

As the topic of this blog entry notes, I’ve (finally) discovered the joys of UV copies of films and, even better, the VUDU services.

I know there must be many like me out there, hesitant to give up physical copies of your movies and doubtful regarding the UV/cloud services for the same.

Don’t be.

The switch came when I started investigating the whole “free Digital Copy” tag on several of the movies I’d purchased.  I had the Flixster app on my tablet/computer/smartphone but mostly used it to figure out theater movie times and ratings.  Then, out of curiosity, I took a recently purchased BluRay (True Detective Season One, for those interested) and checked the whole UV thing out.  After seeing what the service was like, I was hooked.

I went through all my recent BluRay purchases and found all the ones that offered UV copies and plopped the films onto my account.  The results were breathtaking: Instead of facing cluttered shelves worth of films, I could look up what I had easily and play it with the tap of a button.  Sure, the bonus material on many of the movies were absent, but I still had the physical copies and the movie itself was the important thing, right?

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I spotted the Digital Copy of Mad Max: Fury Road available at Costco a full three or so weeks before the physical BluRay/DVDs were to be released.  Frankly, I couldn’t wait.  I broke down and bought the Digital Copy, thinking all I’d get is the movie itself minus the bonus material.  I figured one day soon I’d buy the BluRay and see the material then.

I was wrong.

The Digital Copy included all the bonus material and that, my friends, was that.

I was a full convert to the Movies-On-The-Cloud ideal.

From that moment on, I decided whatever new feature I wanted to buy I’d first check out its Digital version.  The less clutter in my house, the better.

But then, purely by accident, I discovered VUDU.

While trying to see the Digital Copies of my films, I tried to see if my SmartTV had a Flixster app.  It didn’t.  But it did have VUDU, a service I was at that moment completely unfamiliar with.

I did some investigating and discovered what amounts to the Holy Grail of Digital Movie apps.  With VUDU, your computer becomes a Digital Movie making machine.  You take your physical copies of movies, be they BluRay or DVD, pop them into your player and the VUDU app will determine what the film is and offer to get you a Digital Copy of the same for the very minimal price of $2 for each BluRay and $5 to convert DVDs into HD Digital Copies.  You also pay less if you go with the Standard Definition images and 50% less if you convert 10 movies at a time.

So I spent the past weekend converting nearly 200 of my films to Digital and I couldn’t be happier.  Some of the films were only available in SD versions but for the most part they looked pretty nice with the one big exception being the Digital copy of Outland (until the HD version is available, I’d stay away).

There were a couple of other problems:  Some movies the VUDU app could not “read” and I’m not sure why (I have the Alfred Hitchcock boxed set and some of the movies were recognized while others were not).  Still other films the VUDU app recognizes but these films, unfortunately, are currently not available as UV copies.

Despite this, I managed to make a HUGE amount of my films available to me at the click of a button and across many different machines.  Yes, I can see these UV films from my Smartphone, Tablet, TV, or Computer instead of exclusively relying on my BluRay player.

I’m late to this particular party but its a glorious thing to now be a part of.

If you’re like me and you love your movies and haven’t thought about going the Digital route, do so.  You’ll thank me for it!