Thursday, July 14, 2016

Domo Arigato, Rami Malek

Recently, Amazon had its now-annual Prime Day, where a bunch of stuff went on sale. While not as hyped as, say, a Steam sale, I heard enough buzz to check it out. Picked up the new Brandon Sanderson graphic novel and DOOM (PS4) for decent enough prices. But the real story is that as a Prime member, I learned that I had access to a handful of movies and TV shows I could stream for free. Included in this deal is Mr. Robot, the 2015 hacker drama from USA.

I'd heard a lot of good things about this show, and from a lot of different places. I knew Rami Malek from Until Dawn, where he plays the vengeful and mentally unbalanced Joshua Washington. He was great in that role, especially later on when he's allowed to kind of go off the rails for a few scenes. So I sat down and watched the first episode.

You may have noticed I didn't post yesterday. This is why. By the end of the first six minute scene of Malek in a coffee shop giving a monologue to a nervous child porn dealer, I was intrigued. By the end of the first episode, I was hooked. Not since Prison Break has a pilot gotten me so on board so quick. And for the most part, it's because of Rami Malek's literally award-winning performance. I watched the first season, ten forty-five minute episodes, over the course of two days. I just finished last night at work.

The first few episodes introduce the characters and subplots, of which there are several. Every character has more going on than you think (With the exception of the three other hackers within fsociety). But then there's a crux where everything goes south. The second half of the season is one swerve after another. The whole narrative starts to spin around and around, threatening to shake itself apart and fly into pieces, but holds together by threads until in the end, the strings snap and everything falls apart in a tremendous and tumultuous crash. It's a brilliant climax.

There were characters in this show that would have been terrible in other shows. Angela Moss could have been like Arrow's Laurel Lance or Daredevil's Karen Page, but instead she's played really well and has a pretty cool arc (even if she doesn't see it happening yet). The only presence that matches Malek's is the gruff, no-nonsense performance of Christian Slater as the titular Mr. Robot. His role in the show leads to one of the coolest reveals I've seen in TV shows lately. I knew absolutely nothing about this show going in, and the later episodes really took things in a direction that I didn't expect--and I absolutely loved it.

This show is a real "page-turner," and I look forward to the second season, which I believe has just premiered. Let's hope it keeps up with itself.

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