After the pilot, I had this idea that it would take a couple episodes to really feel like the show is moving and building on itself. I was wrong.
I try to be cautious about these things especially when it’s a new show, it’s hard to judge something off of one episode and now having watched two I can say that yes I am invested in this. This episode starts with a glimpse of the future and that glimpse continues throughout. It’s a story that does a great job of mirroring and also hinting and teasing things in the main story.
This is a show about family and I really like that they spent the pilot going hard at the plot but then peeled back the more important layers in the followup. This has a lot of heart and emotion. Throughout the episode I kept finding myself surprised and hooked by the level of compassion and emotion present.
I love the aerial transition scenes. For some reason I feel really sucked in at those moments. They do a good job of making it all seem real.
I’m not saying this is the best show on TV currently but for a small show that I’m sure won’t last beyond a second season— if it gets a renewal at all. These kinds of things tend not to last, especially on ABC. But it’s one of those things that you have to know going in.
The last ten minutes of the episode were great because I kept thinking the show would end and it would keep going. There were so many moments that would have worked as great cliffhangers and yet they didn’t use any of the ones I expected. It wasn’t just one time that I was surprised that the show kept going and showed what came next.
It’s really impressive how the show is able to keep a pretty brisk pace and also allow for time to feel the emotions of it all.
Then I watched the third episode…
I fucking love this show. The first season has a great, focused narrative and that’s what I think everyone missed about the second season but also there was too much deferring of gratification in the sophomore year. There’s a big question that isn’t exactly answered until the third season and I can see how that’s a problem. However, this show is clearly written on the multi-season scale. Each season isn’t meant to tell a complete story like say The Leftovers or any of the many anthology series’s that exist today. This is a long form narrative, like Lost.
I enjoyed the second season, a lot. The second half of the season opener is gorgeous. That first scene with Freedom Tower firm in the background, the music and the oddness of it all. That scene is season 2 for me. It encompasses everything that would follow, a little off kilter, a little smooth but all captivating. My favorite thing about season 2 is Dom, who is portrayed by Grace Gummer. There is so much depth to her, it’s entrancing. I love her strength and her weakness and how each are played against each other and in unison. With season 3, the most striking change to the show from season 2 to 3 is how it seems like everyone is given so much more to work with. Dom’s journey through the season is memorable, I’m equally terrified and excited to see what the future holds for her.
Season 3 is a sort of return to form, in that we find ourselves facing down the barrel of another nail-biting narrative, filled with juicy reversals and chewy revelations. Just when you think they aren’t ever going to tell us anything about Whiterose, a handful of scraps falls from the high table. It’s not much but it’s enough. At least for the moment, I think we’ll get more next season. Especially since it’ll probably be about the extremely fascinating and weird mystery that came up this season.
The scene in which Angela is sitting on the floor in front of the TV is haunting. And when she “explains” to Darlene is even more so. That’s going to stick in my brain for a long time.
At the start of this season, I was convinced that answers were a lifetime away and that the show just wouldn’t be understandable because everyone is constantly mysterious and after completing it, I feel the opposite. This season feels like the midpoint of the story. The faucet of answers has been turned on, ever so slightly and answers are trickling out or at least a semblance of understanding.
The main driving force behind me wanting to write about Mr Robot is what happens in 8th episode of the season, it’s a reprieve. It’s one of the “standalone” episodes of the season, which is a really great addition to the storytelling bag on the show. In keeping to my mild spoilers promise, I’ll only tell you that there’s some Back to the Future here. Elliot goes to see the movie (no not via time travel). I loved how characters within the show explain the movie, in different ways because it means something different to them. That’s the goal. To reach people on a level where it means something different to each person. The way it’s portrayed in the show is beautiful, I got a little choked up.
Sam Esmail, creator of the show, is a huge fan and it seems to me he wears his fan hat more than he wears his director or writer hat. There are so many hints and nods and references throughout Mr Robot to other shows and films and not in the typical pop culture reference manner. This isn’t like Buffy where people crack jokes that are both for the show and for the audience. This is communion with the audience. Scenes callback to classic scenes in classic films, there’s a scene in season 3 that made me think of the beginning of The Matrix when they come for Neo at work and Morpheus guides him out of the building. It’s never done in a way that is distracting or meant to steal or rip-off other things, it’s a subtle nod to the audience. Hey, have you seen _? It’s more like discussing your favorite films with a stranger or a best friend than anything else. I could list all the ones I’ve found within the show but that takes the fun out of it. It’s more fun if you find Waldo for yourself. I’m sure I’ve missed more than I’ve found, seeing as I didn’t realize there was a Blade Runner nod in the second season until it was pointed out for me.
In this digital age, where everyone wants to partake in a community on Kickstarter or Patreon, it’s really refreshing to have this kinship with a creator. It’s more meaningful. I feel like I’m watching it with someone even when I’m alone. And it makes re-watching the show every year a deeply rewarding experience.
I came across this show via a fifteen second Youtube ad, that doesn’t sound like a lot but it was more than enough. The logo is intriguing and the ad was an extension of this. And it said “FROM THE NETWORK THAT BROUGHT YOU LOST” and I am a sucker, hook line and sucker. However that does come with baggage because I am a LOST nerd and I’ve been burned by clones a few times (that’s not a complaint, I’ve enjoyed tearing apart some clones). Though it has been some time. Promptly, I purchased the season from Amazon primarily because of its bargain price. Six bucks tells me that it is a short season so even if it’s no good I haven’t sunk much time into it.
THE CROSSING is about a group of refugees that mysteriously wash up ashore but there is not a ship, somehow they have traveled from the future escaping a mysterious war.
The opening shot of the pilot is underwater, bodies rising. It’s a really great tease. There are links to TWIN PEAKS because of the setting and the first main plot point takes place on a beach.
This show could easily fall into mystery for the sake of mystery and to be honest I think I would be okay with that. I do love LOST after all. I did really enjoy how one of my first questions was “Why is Steve Zahn the lead here?” and the first episode does a decent job of at least giving me some idea as to why he was chosen. I’m already invested because he is not just the typical small town sheriff that we’ve all seen a hundred times over. At first glance, you will underestimate him and that’s something the character and the show has already used to great effect.
Overall, it’s not something that I would call “must-watch” but based on the pilot alone, I’m very into it. I just hope they lean more towards TWIN PEAKS than the other obvious comparison of X-MEN. Though if it can straddle that line for a couple seasons I’d be happy and satisfied with that.
One of my goals for my reading year of 2017 was to read more new releases and I read 6 books that were released in 2017. It was a big year of content consumption. I read 35 books and here are five that I really loved.
A Life In Parts by Bryan Cranston
A truly lovely book, it grew my respect and admiration for the man and provided quite a bit of inspiration. It was really valuable to get a look inside an actor’s process. A quick read that is absolutely something I plan to revisit eventually. I highly recommend it.
Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes
This is a captivating novel. It really blurs genres in a way that I haven’t seen before just thinking about it a little bit makes me want to read it all again. I’m looking forward to reading more by her, I have Shining Girls in my next up pile.
Cibola Burn by James SA Corey
This is the fourth in the long running Expanse series, for which the TV show is based, and it’s my absolute favorite besides the first installment. The stakes are higher, or at least they seem to be. I felt like there wasn’t a character or section that I was dreading unlike in previous books. It held me tighter than the second or third books did and that’s what I want. Hold me by the fucking throat and don’t let go. This series is really special to me because I can and do fall right into this mammoth novels which is quite the feat since I don’t really read a lot of longer works.
An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard
READ THIS BOOK. The book is as great and as lovely as the cover is. It’s violent and shocking but in just the right way. It’s unforgettable and brilliant. Kat Howard deserves all of the success. She’s great. You should preorder her new book too! Unless you don’t like things that are great.
Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen
This book blew my mind, truly and completely. I’ve never been one that was ever drawn to Westerns and I thought this was more fantasy than Western, I guess it is but it really doesn’t matter because it’s a perfect book. I can’t wait to read the sequel and the rest of the series.
Three out of the five here are by women which sort of lead me to the idea I have for my 2018 reading. I’m not buying any books by straight white men this year. Okay that’s sort of a lie because I have one preordered but that’s it. If I want to be a stronger writer I have to read more than just the straight white male perspective.
This is the final of my reflective pieces on media consumption for 2017. Thank you for reading and following along.