What do vantablack and Mr. Robot have in common? Vantablack is the darkest material on Earth, absorbing 99.965 per cent of the visible spectrum. Mr. Robot, on the other hand, is on rapid course to become the darkest show on television by some stretch, tonally, aesthetically and metaphorically.
The hacktivist show with a psychological twist didn't start off fairytale and rainbows, with creator Sam Esmail providing a sombre yet undeniably apt view on modern society. Season 2, however, pushed things even further, with Elliot Alderson's (Rami Malek) already delicate psyche unravelling with disorientating and dangerous consequences.
Things won't seem be cheering up next season, either. At an FYC event in Los Angeles the cast were on a panel to discuss Season 3, and things will only continue in the dark direction, with each of the characters facing even more challenges. By far, the interaction between Elliot and Mr. Robot will be key. The nucleus of Season 2 centered around the clash between the pair and Elliot's resistance to his alter ego.
Mr. Robot And Elliot Will Continue To Clash
Christian Slater, who plays the titular character, identified that while #MrRobot Season 2 was a case of Elliot trying to place such restrictions and boundaries, Sam Esmail has provided him with only a single word to describe where things will go next season. He said:
"Every decision Elliot made created a combative situation between us, which was frustrating. We were trying to outsmart each other. I asked Sam what he felt was at the core of Season 3 between Elliot and Mr. Robot and the only word he was able to give me is 'disintegration.'"
This isn't a huge surprise. During Season 2, the growing animosity between the pair was so destructive, it was hard to watch at times. From scenes of feigned paternal support in the bizarre, trippy sitcom episode, to imagined gunshots to the head, it was impossible not to get drawn in to Elliot's sense of confusion, fear and isolation.
Perhaps due to the falling out, the lines between them were becoming more and more distinct; in one particular scene Elliot is locked in the bathroom, unable to prevent Mr. Robot from talking to Darlene. In another, they completely separate on the subway. Esmail's allusion to "disintegration" will no doubt be a result of the strong division between the two.
Along the road, Elliot has restrained Mr. Robot's sinister side, but if he fully loses control, he could become dangerous. Phase 2 included the plan to use firmware to cause a hydrogen gas explosion, destroying the E-Corp buildings containing backup from archives. It was a violent plan conceived by Mr. Robot but deplored by Elliot, who tried to reverse it, leading to Tyrell shooting him. Without Elliot's morality, who knows how far Mr. Robot will go?
The Future's Not Bright For Darlene And Angela
The rest of the characters aren't set to perform much better. Carly Chaikin, who plays Darlene, explained that her character will become "very militant." We've already seen her make questionable decisions, with the apparent murder of E Corp worker Susan Jacobs in her home.
Now the "love of her life" Cisco is dead, fatally shot by Dark Army gunmen, will she fully lose control? If so, it could have drastic consequences for fsociety, as well as Dom DiPierro's (Grace Gummer) FBI investigation.
Finally, actress Portia Doubleday revealed that things will continue to be tough for her character, Angela. She said:
"In Season 2, I was so interested in the positive affirmations and how you brainwash yourself: why you need that source of control comes from an incredibly dark place. It’s going to be the most difficult season for Angela by far."
That raises the question of what direction Esmail will take Angela. As Elliot's childhood friend, she has loyally stood by his side, but there are clear grey areas as she continues to climb the ladder at E-Corp. Although she hacks into their computer system, at times it appears she could turn her back on Elliot, and become a serious threat to the future of his fsociety plans.
So, all darkness indeed, but that's why we love the show. Its complexity, commentary and experimental shooting style all help to make Mr. Robot stand out as one of the best shows on television. Just don't watch it if you're after some light relief.
Are you a fan of the direction Esmail is taking Mr. Robot? Or do you think there is room for optimism?