A Review of Mr. Robot's Pilot

Pilot. The first episode. A lot hinges on it. If it doesn’t grab hold of the viewer and keep them watching, the entire series may be doomed. It is perhaps the most important episode of the entire series. Consider Person of Interest, a personal favourite of mine. It has a very interesting premise but the pilot episode wasn’t up to the mark. In fact, the entire first season was a bit lacklustre. That soon changed, but to this day, many people haven’t watched more than a few episodes and the series may end next year. So, is the Mr. Robot pilot episode gripping? Has it compelled me to watch every week? In a word, yes.

Mr Robot

Some background, if you haven’t watched the show yet. Mr. Robot is about Elliot Alderson, a security technician by day and a vigilante hacker by night. Elliot suffers from anxiety disorders and depression. He has issues communicating with other people and the only way he connects with someone is by hacking them. The series starts right before he is approached by the titular Mr. Robot, the leader of a hacker group called F Society.

Possible Spoilers Below

The episode starts off with Elliot in a coffee shop, confronting the owner, who secretly provides child pornography online. At first, the owner assumes he’s being blackmailed but Elliot declares that he doesn’t care for money and leaves, just as the police arrive to investigate Elliot’s anonymous tip.

We also learn that Elliot is in therapy, though it’s made clear that he didn’t choose to go into therapy. We learn of his frustration with the world and its materialism, though he never says anything out loud. We also learn just how much he despises one of the biggest companies, E Corp, or as he calls them, Evil Corp. Unfortunately, he works as a security technician at All Safe, whose biggest client is E Corp.

When E Corp is attacked by a massive DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service), Elliot is called to stop the attack. As he goes over the malicious code, he finds a message in the configuration file and he wonders if the message was for him. He leaves the message there, instead of deleting it like he should have, and makes it accessible only to him. On the subway home, he is approached by Mr. Robot, who tells him that the DDoS attack was a test and pitches the idea of taking E Corp down to Elliot.

I’m not going to say anymore, because I don’t want to ruin this amazing episode. Two things struck me. One, this is easily one of the best Pilots I’ve ever seen, with Rami Malek perfectly portraying the socially anxious and awkward hacker. The characters are spot on and so is the soundtrack. Two, no other TV shows portray the hacking aspects as accurately, whether it’s what is being said or what is on the computer monitors. So, to sum it up, should you watch this show? Hell yes.

Aditya Saky
July 10, 2015