‘Mr. Robot’ Season 2 Review: The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get

July 25, 2016 at 4:32 PM | Posted in TV | Leave a comment
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The second season of Mr. Robot opened strong with an intriguing storyline and more insights into Elliot Alderson’s character and state of mind. What I love about this show is that it pulls the viewer into a world where imagination and reality are becoming more and more blurred in each episode. It forces you to think if what Elliot is seeing is actually real or not. And this couldn’t be truer in the first two episodes of season 2.

Photo credit: techradar.com

The first two episodes were mind-blowing and fantastic and provided viewers with a few revelations that gave more background to its characters and the story. Unfortunately, the viewers were only given a few hints about Tyrell Wallick and the origins of the fsociety name and its headquarters. So we still don’t know where Tyrell is or what exactly happened between him and Elliot during the 5/9 cyberattack.

The camera shots looked so cinematic that I felt I was watching a movie instead of a TV show. And the soundtrack of each episode was really on point. In “eps2.0_unm4sk-pt2.tc,” I particularly loved that part where the CTO of E Corp. was burning the pile of ransom money in the park while a Phil Collins song was playing in the background. Same with the second episode, “eps2.1_k3rnel-panic.ksd.” There was a sweeping camera shot of the city while “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” was playing in the background. It’s as if the song was about Mr. Robot himself telling Elliot that he’s not leaving his side no matter how he hates or ignores him.

GIF image credit: giphy.com

And this was what’s been happening to Elliot all this time after season 1 ended. He moved to his mother’s house and kept a very rigid schedule doing mundane activities like washing the dishes and doing laundry. He’s been off the grid for a while and looked to have sworn off hacking and tinkering with computers. Mr. Robot, on the other hand, kept hanging around Elliot trying to convince him to get back into the action and regroup with fsociety. But Elliot was determined to ignore him and chose to record his daily activities and illusions in a journal instead.

GIF image credit: giphy.com

The scene where Elliot lost it all together and started laughing all of a sudden was so creepy and disturbing. In the scene, we can see that he was in his bedroom with Mr. Robot. But we as the viewers know that Mr. Robot is just a figment of his imagination – an illusory representation of his dead father. When I was watching that scene, I thought that Elliot should already be institutionalized considering the severity of his mental illness.

And this brings us to that one theory that’s been going around regarding the first two episodes of Mr. Robot season 2. There’s this popular theory that Elliot is actually in a mental institution already and that everything that’s happening around him are just part of his hallucinations. Apparently, there are clues in the episodes that point to this, such as Elliot keeping a rigid schedule and mostly seen locked up in his tiny bedroom. Considering these clues, I’m more inclined to think that this theory could be true.

GIF image credit: giphy.com

And why not? I’m having doubts myself as to why Elliot would choose to live with his mother given his history of being abused under her care. And the routinary activities he’s been doing looked very much like he’s in an institution.

Whatever the real case is, I can’t wait to see how the rest of the second season would unfold.

Episode Highlights:

  • Gideon getting shot and killed. I was shocked and kind of disappointed about this since I liked Gideon. He was a good boss and his company was so unlike E Corp.
  • Elliot high on Adderall and super hyper about basketball, Seinfeld, washing the dishes, and his church group. I totally loved these scenes! The writing of these scenes and Rami Malek’s performance were just superb!
  • Elliot and his rant about God and organized religion during a church group meeting. That was epic!
  • Romero’s death. Who killed him? Who is after fsociety?
  • Ray befriending Elliot during basketball. Who is he and what’s his story? I really want to know.
  • Elliot glitching out and barfing all over the floor. Cinematography at its finest.
  • Angela’s dinner with Phillip Price. What does he really want with Angela? I’m still curious to know how he is connected with White Rose.


(NOTE: This article originally appeared on creators.co)

Money Talks

July 11, 2016 at 11:00 AM | Posted in Film Reviews, Movies | Leave a comment
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Kapit sa patalim.

This succinctly describes Rosa’s predicament in life in the indie film, Ma’ Rosa. In a world where you have to do everything to survive, there is little choice left except to take big risks regardless of whether it’s even legal or not.

Ma’ Rosa is yet another indie film by Brillante Mendoza that tackles the social ills of Philippine society, particularly poverty and corruption. It took the local cinema by storm when it won an award at the Cannes Film Festival early this year. Its lead star, Jaclyn Jose, bagged the Best Actress award at Cannes beating out veteran Hollywood actresses such as Charlize Theron, Marion Cotillard and Kristen Stewart.

Ma' Rosa movie poster

I was surprised and proud as well when Jaclyn Jose won the award. And it was thrilling to see that it was Mads Mikkelsen (a.k.a TV’s Hannibal Lecter) who announced the winner. The movie wasn’t even locally released yet at that time so the moviegoing public had no idea what it was about. Thankfully, the movie is now showing in local cinemas so I had the opportunity to check it out.

Ma’ Rosa is about a family living in a poor neighborhood somewhere in Manila. Rosa Reyes (played by Jaclyn Jose) and her husband Nestor run a small convenience store adjacent to their humble home with their four kids. However, many people in their neighborhood know that the couple is also selling drugs on the side and using their store as a front. It’s not long before their home is raided by corrupt policemen who take them to the police station. The corrupt cops then demanded a large sum of money from Rosa and her husband in exchange for their freedom. Most of the movie then tackles on how the family scramble to raise the money to pay the cops.

The tone of the entire film was bleak and dreary. There was a general feeling of jadedness among its characters, perhaps highlighting the hard life that they were into. Some camera shots were intentionally shaky. Other shots zoomed in for a closer look at scenes such as Nestor crossing out the name of one of his customers on a tattered notebook, reminding local viewers that this was not your typical mainstream Tagalog movie.

Jaclyn embodied the typical woman I see on the streets with her bare face, basic outfit and street language. Her deadpan facial expressions were refreshing to see. She barely evoked emotions. Only a couple of worrying frowns betrayed the inner turmoil she was feeling. That last scene where she finally let loose and silently cry was truly touching.

Julio Diaz, who played Nestor, looked like he was high on drugs the entire time with his slurred speech and swagger. Maria Isabel Lopez, on the other hand, only had one scene in the movie but she provided some light and amusing moments to the film with her hugot-filled one-liner, “O ayan, isaksak mo ‘yan sa bunganga ng nanay mo!

The script needed tightening, though. Some of the dialogues came out trite, thus resulting in shallow performance by the supporting characters.

Overall, the movie was okay. It was not that bad but it could have been better.

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