Sunday, July 31, 2016

Robot Reboot

The hottest new drama of last year was Mr. Robot, and it's got the Emmy nominations to prove it.  The second season has started and there's always the fear of the sophomore slump.  Three episodes in, it's looking okay, though some say it's a bit slow. Unfortunately, it's almost impossible for it to be as startling as it was the first time around.

However, the latest episode had the worst scene I've seen on the show.  The third episode starts with a flashback to Elliot and sister Darlene hanging out and, almost unknowingly, starting the plot that will take up all of season one.  Origin scenes can be fun--but just as often, they can be dangerous.  We've already accepted where we are, and showing how we got there isn't necessary, and may be disappointing compared to what we've imagined.  (I felt this disappointment a number of times on a show as fine as Breaking Bad.)

But that wasn't the problem.  The plot of the first season (spoilers) involves hackers destroying all recorded debt. But in this origin scene, when Elliot has the spirit of Mr. Robot take over and start to describe the plan, he almost dismisses what it would take to do this, and starts going on at length about how the actual hard part starts after it's done.

This is ridiculous.  No matter how fictional the hack is, it's a major deal--in fact, if it isn't a big deal, there's no reason to have a first season.  But because we're now in season 2, and have to move forward, we're going to pretend what lies ahead is even trickier.

This is fine if characters are saying it in the present of the show. You obviously want viewers to believe what's happening now is at least as big as anything that's happened yet.  But to go back to the beginning of the plan, and have characters say things that they would never say just because we're now past season 1, rings false, and cheapens the entire concept.


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