TV Show: Mr. Robot
Episode: init_1.asec (Season 2, episode 4)
Director: Sam Esmail
Writer: Sam Esmail
Someone knocks on Elliot’s door. Elliot takes his time but opens up eventually. It’s Darlene wearing what we know to be the Mr. Robot mask. She says she picked it up in Chinatown and it’s from a movie they saw as kids. Elliott immediately asked why she didn’t call first because he has plans. Darlene knows full well that her brother has no plans and she admits to not only needing a place to stay but needing his company as well. They watch the aforementioned movie together called The Careful Massacre of the Bourgeoisie. Elliot mentions that he has something to show Darlene. He takes out his father’s Mr. Robot jacket out of his closet. Darlene prompts him to wear it, which he does. She also asks Elliot to wear the mask, which he also does. While wearing the mask Elliot tells his sister of an idea he has. He is thinking of taking the job Angela is trying to get him and use the access he will have to hack and take down E Corp.
What makes it great
One of the things this show has continuously done well is to make the viewer unsure what is actually happening. With several great scenes you as the view don’t know for sure if it’s actually happening, if it’s all in Elliot’s head (or a combination of both) and even if it’s happening in the past or in the present. This brings a very interesting dynamic to the show and even though some might consider this show a bit slow, things like this make sure that it doesn’t get dull because you are alway trying to figure out what is happening.
When this scenes starts you assume it’s continuing where the previous episode left off thus it being the present but soon you find out that it’s actually taking place in the past. The way this is done makes for a perfect start of the scene. Rami Malek is masterful as always as Elliot, showing his reluctance and discomfort initially when his sister intrudes on his privacy and it is great to see how his demeanor changes into the familiarity of being with your sibling.
The scene truly takes of when Elliot puts on the mask. You realize that this is the first time he is ever wearing it so the moment has to be big. Seeing him stand there wearing the jacket and the mask is eerie and magical at the same time. And unexpectedly he talks about his plans to take down E Corp. Darlene isn’t sure he is being serious and if he has given it serious thought, but he has. It’s the birth of Mr. Robot and it is shown in the most perfect way possible. Accompanied by the brilliant music of Gustav Holst ( Neptune, the Mystic), the stellar acting of Rami Malek and the expert direction of Sam Esmail, this scene has everything it needs to become instantly iconic.
One of the other things this how has always done extremely well is working the title card into the episode in creative ways. In this episode it’s perfectly done as we zoom in on the mask and the title card appears with swelling music that would fit a 80’s horror movie just like the Careful Massacre of the Bourgeoisie. This was Mr. Robot at its best!