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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Mr. Robot Bhack with 2.0

Mr. Robot, the cyberpunk, age-of-Snowden masterpiece that debuted last summer, was back tonight with the start of its second season.  It was altogether surreal, cinematic, and superb - even more cinematic, in fact, than the first time.

Among my favorite "sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel" (William Gibson) scenes -

*Phil Collins' "Take Me Home" playing so faintly, almost indiscernibly in the background, and gradually getting louder, all as prelude, building up to the burning of a truckload of cash - 5.9 dollars to be exact - as our hackers get a moment in the sun, or at least the big flame of all that cash.  Hey, I love Phil Collins - he's second only to Paul McCartney and maybe some of Abba in soaring pop music - in fact, I'm listening to that song right now.

*The guy on the basketball park bench talking to Elliot, and saying that he (the guy) knows about as much about digital as his dog does about e. e. cummings.  Or maybe his dog was e. e. cummings compared to what he understood about computers - either way, his name is spelled with no caps, but you don't find a capital throwaway line like that on any other television show.

*Angela's in bed with the guy (different guy) who picked her up in the bar - reminding us that she belongs with Elliot - he's asleep, she's waking up, and throughout all this we see a skyscraper gleaming in the night through an open window.   It's a soft-spoken, almost poetic image of Big Brother out there in the heart of the cold, cold city.

*Elliot with the white bandage around his head for the bullet wound he didn't really have and the hoody looking like a nun or a sheik.

*Real speeches from Obama and Leon Panetta expertly cut to sound as if they're talking our fsociety hackers.  (I'd have found these clips even more eerily disconcerting, though, if Obama had said something about Trump.)

And there were lots more.  But as to the story, Elliott's bound-to-fail struggle against his father in his Fight Club head is nobly rendered, including the slight tinge at the end that maybe, just maybe, Mr. Robot isn't really dead?   No, he's dead, but  having him speak to Elliott remotely, via old-fashioned phone, instead of in-person as he usually does, is a very nice touch, because it shows that Elliott has both succeeded in getting his father out of face but never out of his life.

There's also an unexpected death - but on the slight chance that you haven't seen it, I won't tell you who.

And I''ll be back here with a review next week - though possibly not in quite so good a mood, since earlier this evening I was at the Mr. Robot season 2 launch party at Story, and the hors d'oeuvres were just scrumptious, though I wouldn't have minded a little Phil Collins music...

See also Mr. Robot: Cyberpunk Triumph


a different kind of cyber-esponiage

Story board at Mr. Robot launch party
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