Archetypes: Television: Review: ‘Mr. Robot,’ Prometheus and Stealing Fire from the Gods (2015)

USA Network

USA Network

An early episode in the first season of cyber-thriller series “Mr. Robot,” created and written by Sam Esmail, has Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek) pondering the college loans that hang like an albatross around the neck of his childhood friend and now work colleague Angela (Portia Doubleday). Wouldn’t it be a gift if the financial burdens that wreck the lives of most of humanity could be erased? All it would take is that proverbial match, unleashing the fire that mythic Prometheus stole from the gods to give humankind.

The core of “Mr. Robot” is freedom-generating Uranian revolution and upheaval. Specifically, it’s the daring eruption of have-nots, represented by fsociety, a group of mainly millennial hackers, whose cyber activities have finally taken down eCorp, mockingly known as Evil Corp., the world’s largest conglomerate representing society’s “haves” that control the global financial network.

The intrigue, slowly laid out over season 1, clearly points to cyber-security engineer, drug addict, hacker genius and mentally disturbed Elliot as the Prometheus figure. Initially seduced into becoming a vital part of fsociety by a middle-aged man – known as Mr. Robot – that he meets on the subway, Elliot is finally revealed to be the real Mr. Robot. The other guy turned out to be the ghost of his deceased father (Christian Slater) who, seeing that Elliot is getting a bit too clingy and reliant on Dad in the finale, tells his son, “I’m only supposed to be your prophet, you’re supposed to be my god.” Tyrell (Martin Wallström), an eCorp techie epitomizing pure evil, also told Elliot a few episodes back that he, likely through Elliot’s deeds, has, too, experienced god.

If Elliot is indeed the god Prometheus who champions the human race – Uranus is also associated with technology – he’s hardly been in the driver’s seat either physically or mentally. It’s also important to remember that Zeus, whom Prometheus crossed, punishes the upstart by chaining him to a rock to suffer a vulture’s never-ending destruction and regeneration. The Zeus figure here, revealed to be part of an Olympian-like, supra-government, is eCorp’s CEO Phillip Price (Michael Cristofer).

A television program is only as good as its archetypal dynamics, and “Mr. Robot” – with its Plutonic power mongers; Neptunian deceivers and self-deceivers, like Elliot who has blanked out on the events which have just transpired, and Angela, who’s now doing public relations for eCorp; and anarchists, like Darlene (Carly Chaiken) – is full of personifications of those primal energies.

At the end of the finale, Price, underplaying the ramifications of the massive hack, says, “People did this. They’re just people.” The reality, however, is that it’s the people who, awakened by Uranian boldness, now hold fire in their hands. Who ultimately holds the power – revolutionaries often become tyrants – is another question.

Archetypes: Revolutionary. Awakener. Freedom.

Astrology Archetype: Uranus.

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