|Airdate|| May 27, 2015 (Online)|
June 24, 2015
|Written by||Sam Esmail|
|Directed by||Niels Arden Oplev|
|U.S. viewers||1.75 million|
|“||What I’m about to tell you is top secret, a conspiracy bigger than all of us.||”|
Series Premiere. “eps1.0_hellofriend.mov” is the first episode of Mr. Robot, created by Sam Esmail. The episode received an early release through online streaming services and iTunes on May 27, 2015, and premiered on June 24, 2015.
Before its online release, "Hello Friend" was screened at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival, where it won an Audience Award. It later was exhibited at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Origin of the Title
- Hello Friend (hellofriend.mov) refers to the video file left for Elliot by fsociety, which he finds when he tracks down the source of the E Corp DDoS hack. "Hello friend" are also the first words Elliot, in voice-over, says to the audience.
- The extension: .mov is a video file extension, native to QuickTime.
- Elliot's drug of choice is morphine, a highly addictive Schedule II opiate, legally dispensed by prescription as a powerful pain killer. It is also used to make illegal street opiates, including heroin and oxycodone. To avoid withdrawal symptoms, Elliot takes suboxone, a synthetic opiod used to treat opiate addiction. Suboxone can be used to replace morphine, preventing withdrawal, but without its pain killing and euphoric effects.
- Fsociety may be loosely based on the real-life hacker group Anonymous. A loose coalition of hackers, Anonymous is a leaderless group formed in 2003. They identify themselves by wearing Guy Fawkes masks, which have a similar appearance to fsociety's Monopoly Man mask. One of their primary targets has been the Church of Scientology, which has been subject to protests and hacks. Recent activity has focused on monitoring the activities of ISIS.
- Elliot refers to the downfall of the hacker group Omega. This was based on a real group, LulzSec. Best known for the 2011 Sony Pictures hack, its leader, Sabu, eventually helped the FBI locate other group members in exchange for a plea deal. Although the group broke up in June 2011, elements may still be active.
- The iconic ferris wheel scene, where Mr. Robot first proposes the hack to Elliot, was an homage to the Orson Welles film The Third Man. Hailed as one of the greatest films ever made, it features Joseph Cotten as an American writer newly arrived in Vienna in search of his friend, Harry Lime (Orson Welles), who he soon learns has just died. As the story progresses, the writer learns Lime is actually alive. Near the end of the film, they meet at a ferris wheel, where the final events play out.
- Elliot's use of CDRs to store the results of his hacks is similar to how real-life whistle blower Chelsea Manning (born Bradley Manning) stored the documents leaked to Wikileaks. Manning, a U.S. Army intelligence analyst, stored 91,000 sensitive military documents on a CDR labeled "Lady Gaga"; she was eventually convicted of espionage as a result of the theft and subsequent leak.
- Elliot describes the website on the Ron's Coffee network as using Tor networking. The onion router (Tor) maintains network anonymity by creating layers of encryption, like the layers of an onion.
- Elliot and Gideon fly to the Dulles server farm. The server farm is located on the Dulles Technology Corridor, located in Northern Virigina, near Washington-Dulles International Airport. the corridor is the location of telecomm, satellite, data storage and other technology companies that carry over half the traffic on the internet.
- The fsociety attack on E Corp was a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. In this type of attack, one or more servers are flooded with multiple connections at once, causing them to refuse any new connections. Consequently, the hackers take over most or all connections, denying users access to the server(s). A DDoS attack requires multiple devices accessing the server at once, making the attack harder to track and shut down. These attacks can result in a website crashing for a period of time.
- Darlene writes a rootkit as part of the DDoS attack. A rootkit is a piece of stealthy software designed to disguise unwanted or unauthorized programs or activities, preventing cyber-security from detecting them. The rootkit hides the activities of hackers while giving them continued access to their target.
- A RUDY (R U Dead Yet?) attack is an attack that slowly incapacitates a server via multiple attacks.
- A .dat file is a data file used by various programs.
- An IP (Internet Protocol) address is a numeric label used to identify each device on a network. Mr Robot instructs Elliott to modify the .dat file to include Colby's IP address. While technically possible to do so, the IP address given is an invalid IPv4 address: 188.8.131.523. The last dot segment (373) is outside the permitted range of 0-255; the sub-net is allocated to China. Although the show prides itself on its technical accuracy of the episode, it was not allowed to use a real IP address, thus the incorrect final group of number.
- Elliot says "I'll ask my IRC contacts about fsociety when I get home." IRC, or Internet Relay Chat Protocol (IRCP) is an application layer protocol that facilitates communication in the form of text.
- Elliot and Tyrell work with Linux operating systems, an open-code OS favored by hackers. Elliot uses the GNOME desktop interface, whereas Tyrell prefers KDE. Both are free, open-source software. These preferences remain consistent throughout the season.
- To get the information needed to hack Michael Hansen, Dr. Gordon's faithless lover, Elliot uses a social engineering technique known as pretexting. To gather the information he needs, Elliot uses the believable pretext that he works for the Bank of E, and needs information from Hansen to assure his credit card is secure. Marks are frequently trusting of callers who pretend to have legitimate business reasons for asking for this information, and will often reveal details about themselves that a hacker or other con artist can exploit.
- "If You Go Away" (Ne me quitte pas). Recorded by Neil Diamond (1971), written by Jacques Brel, with English lyrics by Rod McKuen. Plays as Elliot walks though a subway tunnel. The song tells the story of a man, facing the loss of his lover, who gives her reasons to stay, contrasted with what his life will be without her. The song is a romantic representation of Elliot's indecision about becoming involved with fsociety versus remaining isolated.
- "New Brave". Recorded by CTZNSHP (2015). Plays when Elliot remembers standing outside the bar and again during Elliot's session with his therapist, as he remembers going to Angela's birthday party.
- Writer/creator Sam Esmail makes a brief cameo appearance in the subway scene where Mr. Robot first appears, standing just above him.
- The ferris wheel scene where Mr. Robot proposes that Elliot join the hack was the first scene filmed. Rami Malek and Christian Slater spent most of a day on the ferris wheel, which both acknowledge gave them a chance to get to know one another.
- The hoodie Elliot wears in the episode comes from Rami Malek's own wardrobe.
- The roles of hackers Mobley and Romero were recast following the screening of the pilot at SXSW, and their scenes reshot. In the original pilot, Mobley was played by Jason Rees, and Romero was played by Michael Buscemi, the brother of actor Steve Buscemi. Rees can still be seen briefly in the final version.
- In the original version of the pilot, Elliot's opening monologue is longer. In it, he explains to the audience that he does not believe dinosaurs existed, but does believe in aliens. In addition, Roy's Coffee Shop was originally called Phil's and his dialogue included more of Roy's background, and Ollie was an Iranian character named Ali.
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