First and foremost, let’s be clear when we say that the cast of “Mr. Robot” deliver top notch performances all around. In fact, Sam Esmail may be considered a genius in certain circles and the multiple levels in which the show tells its story are ones analyzed on a weekly basis.
But while we may have a few theories of our own — seriously, is Tyrell Wellick real? — a bigger through-line has grabbed our attention that needs to be discussed: mental illness.
In recent years, mental illness has been explored on the small-screen to different results. “You’re the Worst” is a good example of a series that used a comedy platform to dive deep into what depression actually looks like. It’s not a common thing to see on television and Gretchen’s (Aya Cash) struggles were presented in a raw and honest light.
After it’s Season 2 finale, “UnREAL” has pretty much done the opposite. Rachel’s (Shiri Appleby) downward spiral continues pointing downward and instead of seeking help — she inflicted pain everywhere and consistently played the victim card — while never outwardly admitting it. This may be considered a valid representation of mental illness, as everyone deals with things differently … but there’s another summer series that does it better. Cue, “Mr. Robot” title card.
Since its series premiere, the USA network has taken an unflinching look at the underbelly of society while also exploring the demons that exist in the accompanying underbelly of our hero’s psyche. And while it’s a given that Elliot (Rami Malek) has emotional problems to work through — seriously, Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) may just be one of the many voices he hears — a hard look at the series shows that one main player in the ongoing story is fear.
Separation anxiety is one of the many culprits that brought Elliot to this place — hallucinating visions of his deceased father. And while that Tyler Durden-style story twist hasn’t gotten old yet, there are other examples of how anxiety is plaguing the show’s secondary characters.
Angela’s fear of success
Fake it till you make it. It’s a common phrase used by those aiming high within a profession they may not feel they’re worthy of. Viewing Angela’s (Portia Doubleday) transformation from Season 1 to where she is now at Evil Corp is one wrought with fear and uncertainty. Her use of daily affirmations further show audiences what helps drive her forward.
Darlene’s corporate distrust
Piggybacking off of Elliot’s fever dream pitch on taking down Evil Corp, Darlene (Carly Chaikin) has also leveled up in Season 2. But while she is now the one captaining the f society ship, she’s beginning to experience the ramifications of their damaging actions from last season.
People are dropping like flies and the only thing that seems to be guiding her forward is her lack of trust in the corporate system. Is it far-fetched to say that Darlene is like Heath Ledger’s Joker?
If anarchy is the end-goal, then her driving fear is one of the corporate world and how it feeds into the maltreatment of the common everyday American. Seriously, all this talk of corporations, greed and mistrust is making us expect Donald Trump to make a cameo any day now.
Agent DiPierro’s fear of intimacy
A relatively new character to the “Mr. Robot” world, it has been relayed rather quickly that Dominique DiPierro (Grace Gummer) doesn’t do well with personal relationships. Like Angela, she refers to her own self help audio for assistance in connecting with others. By all accounts, it may seem that her closest relationship is with her computer. And even that cybersex interaction we viewed in last week’s episode didn’t lead her anywhere helpful.
But like the common story trope: sometimes it’s best to hire a serial killer to catch a serial killer. And while DiPierro’s no psychotic murderer, her own mental deficiencies put her on even ground with Elliot and the rest of the f society crew.
Whiterose’s time limitations
Last week, Whiterose (BD Wong) gave an enlightening monologue regarding the importance of time. Alluding to multiple timelines and how they’d affect the outcome of f society’s 5/9 attack, it’s safe to say that Whiterose has a thing for punctuality.
We’re sure this personality trait will continue to unfold throughout the show’s story. While he’s not necessarily the Mad Hatter, one thing is for certain — if you make Whiterose late to anything, it may very well result in your untimely (or timely) death. Remember, The Dark Army is watching.
“Mr. Robot” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on USA.