Having binge-watched Mr. Robot on its initial release on Amazon Prime, probably the only thing I’ve ever felt compelled to watch episode after episode in such a manner, I have just revisited it and am left feeling just as troubled as after the first time of watching. The thing I’m struggling with is the question of just what is Sam Esmail’s show meant to convey? Does it foreshadow events that are happening currently, with the likes of Anonymous and its threat to take down the U.S. financial system in 2016? Is it another vehicle that exposes the possibilities that exist with respect to the emergence of technologies that can be accessed by “everyday” people, such as Elliot Alderson? Does this then speak of instances of injustice like Aaron Swartz and his family have faced, with tragic outcomes? Or is it raising awareness of conspiracy theories that are concerned with the ruling elite and their influence over the vast majority of the earth’s population?
Can any form of mainstream medium actually do anything other than just merely “entertain?” That’s the real issue I have. Much of the conflict I’m feeling stems from metaphors and references that are found within the show.
Metaphor 1. Tyrell Wellick paying some homeless dude to be beaten to a pulp. This speaks of the present capitalist system where most of the world’s population puts up with some form of exploitation on a day-to-day basis, no matter how minor, for the sake of money.
Metaphor 2. (NSFW) Terry Colby’s insistence that he won’t divulge anything meaningful about the circumstances surrounding the decision that ultimately leads to Angela’s mother’s death until she stuffs her mouth with his private parts before repeating the question back to him. Which works very much the same way as Met. 1.
Metaphor 3. Gideon’s conversation with his finance director. They discuss the fact that since the inception of Allsafe there has never been a moment where money has been viewed positively. Money is a constant worry. Things have to be done to ensure money keeps coming in. Again, similar to Met. 1. and Met. 2.
Reference 1. Mr. Robot carrying a copy of Tolstoy’s Resurrection. Is this bit of intertextuality necessary, or merely whimsical?
Reference 2. The repeated references to Pulp Fiction. Just why?
Can anything meaningful be taken from any of this? Or is it just throwaway pop-culture (keep consuming)?