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I’m watching Mr. Robot. It’s been a long-term project since I mostly wait for the seasons to appear on streaming. These days, I’m slowly making my way through Season 3. I’ve just watched the episode (eps3.7_dont-delete-me.ko, fwiw) which takes place on Back to the Future day (October 20th, 2015) and then eps3.8_stage3.torrent.

Episode 3.7 originally played on cable the week after Thanksgiving in 2017, but its alternate reality timeline is even further in the past. For example, the Season 3 storyline features early activity from the 2016 election while we, the audience, already know the outcome. The scary thing, though, is that it does actually feel prescient regarding not the 2016 election, but events over the past few months. Mr. Robot‘s on-screen world is just a little to close to reality for comfort. Worse yet, it seems a plausible near-future from today.

It’s not that everything maps literally. Rather, I’m watching one obvious extension of today’s circumstances and it becomes hard to remember that this was filmed three years ago. The scenes of depopulated streets and riders on the subways wearing masks fit what I’d expect to see in New York City these days. Granted that martial law and soldiers in the streets isn’t quite reality, but it feels like an easy extrapolation.

In Episode 3.8, a character uses her Alexa to ask for the daily COVID-19 5/9 update and then follows up for a request for John Prine on shuffle play. Really, really eerie stuff.

And while I normally don’t find myself agreeing with Elliot, he was spot on that The Martian wasn’t all that great.

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