WARNING: Spoilers for the season premiere of Mr. Robot ahead
Mr. Robot returned with a strong third season premiere that saw the effect of Elliot’s plans taking hold and actually placing him at a point where he’s looking for someone to blame for everything — at least until he decides the only person to blame is himself. You can read our full rundown of the episode over here, but Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about the origins of this moment in the premiere and how it reflected our current status with Trump, Brexit, and more around the world.
For Esmail, the scene itself was a reflection of the real world and many felt following November’s election, crafting something that was driven more by emotion and feeling than fact:
“We always look for the emotional truth in every scene,” says Esmail. “We can’t help but include what we’re going through in what we write. In fact, I think it’s imperative that you do. That’s how you stay honest about what you’re trying to say in your work. Elliot’s our guiding force on Mr. Robot, and when he comes to this realization that in trying to save the world, he was actually at fault — that even though he had the best intentions, he hurt people, he didn’t help people, and all of the consequences were his to own — that paralleled and resonated so much with what we were going through in the room during the election last year, which was catastrophic and tragic, not just for the country, but for the world.”
“We felt responsibility for it,” he continues. “It had nothing to do with whether we voted against Trump or not. We felt responsible, whether it was avoiding the signs, or not voicing our side as much, or taking it for granted. We felt some sort of responsibility. It felt wrong not to include that really strong reaction and strong feeling into the show, because it so overlapped with what Elliot was experiencing in that montage. We just let that be our guiding force: what feels honest and true to us? It’s all a creative expression. It’s not meant to be about facts. It’s meant to be impressionistic at times. We felt like we could take the liberty here, because it resonated so strongly.”
The entire monologue by Elliot seemed to be both a bit of the young leftist screeds you can find on Twitter and elsewhere, a mix of something lifted from Jacobin but interlocked with images of protests, Trump, Theresa May, and Vladimir Putin. Not to mention the growing Russian hacking and digital strategy that seems to have sifted into our own daily lives without us even realizing it — with the full effect still yet to be determined, of course.
If anything, Esmail succeeded in creating something that was an expression of what he and the others on the show were feeling. It might break away from the plot of the show a bit, but it still fits. Check out the full text over at The Hollywood Reporter:
Elliot: This all started because I tried to hide from society. Remember? Fuck society. Well, I fucked society alright. I reset it to zero. If I don’t do anything about it, it will continue to grow in this malignant way. And that’s what I’m afraid of most: the future that I set into motion. Who knows what could come from this? What if instead of fighting back, we caved? Gave away our privacy for security? Exchanged dignity for safety? Traded in revolution for repression? What if we chose weakness over strength?
Trump: These are not the people who made our country great. These are the people who destroyed our country.
Elliot: They’ll even have us build our own prison. This is what they wanted all along: for us to buy in on our worst selves. I just made it easier for them. I didn’t start a revolution. I just made us docile enough for our slaughtering. I can stand here and blame Evil Corp and every conglomerate out there for taking advantage of us, and I can blame the FBI, NSA and CIA for letting them get away with it, blame all the world leaders for aiding and abetting them, and blame Adam Smith for inventing modern day capitalism in the first fucking place, and blame money for dividing us, and blame us for letting it — but none of that’s true. The truth is, I’m the one to blame. I’m the problem. This was my fault. All of it. I did this. Fuck me.
(Via The Hollywood Reporter)