TV Recap: Mr. Robot, ‘EPS1.0_HELLOFRIEND.MOV’ (Series Premiere)


Mr. Robot Series Premiere Plot:

In MR. ROBOT, Elliot (Rami Malek), a cyber-security engineer by day and vigilante hacker by night, is recruited by a mysterious underground group to destroy the firm he’s paid to protect. Elliot must decide how far he’ll go to expose the forces he believes are running (and ruining) the world.

Hello friend.

Is the golden age of television over? Mad Men and Breaking Bad are finished. Game of Thrones seems to have gone off the deep end. True Detective may have been a one-trick pony. Is there any truly great television left? I would have a hard time saying it this early but the pilot is just that good. Watch Mr. Robot. It is excellent television.

Photo Credit: Sarah Shatz/USA Network
Photo Credit: Sarah Shatz/USA Network

The magic of the series can be summed up pretty well by the first scene. Elliot sits down with coffee shop owner Ron to discuss the results of his most recent hacking experiment. All it takes is five minutes and we learn exactly why Elliot is our hero. He doesn’t trust people. He takes down bad guys. He is pretty much Batman with a computer. We also get a look at some of Elliot’s flaws. He has social anxiety. He lies to everyone. He lies to himself.

Mr. Robot wouldn’t work if Elliot (Rami Malek) didn’t work and God does he work. You may have seen Rami before, most likely in the Night at the Museum films. Forget about that. This Rami is intense. He is complicated. He is able to be a hacker without looking like someone pretending to be a hacker. You don’t like him, but you agree with him. Sometimes. it’s complicated.

Beside’s Rami’s excellent performance, the tone of Mr. Robot is incredible. It feels like a David Fincher film. Everything is a very drab blue-ish green. The blending of internal monologue over web browsing is incredibly effective. I don’t think I’ve ever seen programming and hacking that looks this good.

Photo Credit: David Giesbrecht/USA Network
Photo Credit: David Giesbrecht/USA Network

As for the supporting cast, everybody exists to challenge Elliot. Some are more effective than others. Krista, played by Gloria Reuben, is Elliot’s psychiatrist who wants Elliot to start living in the real world. Gideon, played by Michael Gill, is Elliot’s boss who wants Elliot to start taking his job seriously. Angela, played by Portia Doubleday, is Elliot’s childhood friend who wants Elliot to start coming out of his shell and enjoying himself. Nothing seems to be a bigger challenge for Elliot than that.

Let’s talk about Mr. Robot himself, Christian Slater. He’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect. He is not incredibly convincing as a hacker and even less convincing as a hacker disguised as a homeless person. He does work when he is giving Elliot the big picture. He has just the right amount of crazy in his eyes to sell a plan that topples world financial institutions.

Elliot has many nemesis. Some come in the form of crappy boyfriends . Some are evil corporations. Some are even higher and more complicated than that. I’m not going to spoil the big reveal at the end of the episode for you but I promise, you will be begging for the show not to end. And that’s when it ends.

Thank you very much, Mr. Robot.


Matthew Nando Kelly is an incredibly cool and handsome staff writer for Pop-Break who was allowed to write his own bio. He focuses on film, television, music, and video games. Matthew also has a podcast called Mad Bracket Status where he discusses pop culture related brackets with fellow Pop-Break writer DJ Chapman. He loves U2, cats, and the New Orleans Saints. He can also occasionally be found writing lists on Topless Robot and his twitter handle is @NationofNando

Matthew Nando Kelly is the cool and tough Managing Editor of Pop Break who was allowed to write his own bio. Besides weekly Flash recaps, he has a podcast called Mad Bracket Status where he makes pop culture brackets with fellow writer DJ Chapman.