Warning: Spoilers for Mr. Robot Season 2 below.
While Tyrell may have been absent for all of Season 2 thus far, we've seen Joanna take a much more active role in the madness that is #MrRobot. It became clear midway through Season 1 that while Tyrell may be the successful head of the family, it is Joanna who dominates the relationship. Underneath her calm and collected exterior, Joanna is a cold-blooded and manipulative agent who refuses to let anything or anyone hinder her agenda.
She's already demonstrated her indifference by killing the parking attendant who could no longer remain silent about Tyrell's car being abandoned for the three days following 5/9, and according to one Reddit theory, Joanna may be plotting something far more sinister for her beau Derek.
Evidence surrounding her relationship with her new lover throughout Season 2 suggests that Joanna is planning to frame Derek for the murder of Sharon Knowles to clear Tyrell's name.
While Joanna's true motivations are a mystery, the evidence we've seen so far in Season 2 makes a strong argument that this theory could very well come into play, making Derek an unwitting participant in Joanna's insidious game — a role that goes as far back as their first meeting.
The E-Corp Party
Early in Season 2 during a conversation where Derek tries to convince Joanna that the two of them should plan a tryst to Madrid, he mentions that they met at a "stuck-up E-Corp party." This description could very well match the same #ECorp party we saw back in Season 1 where Tyrell murders Sharon Knowles on the roof of the E-Corp building. By placing Derek at E-Corp the night of the murder, Joanna may be establishing Derek's culpability while also destroying his alibi should the police begin to investigate him.
However, simply placing Derek at the scene isn't enough to convince investigators that he is guilty, so Joanna resorts to more physical methods to establish Derek's patterns of violent behavior.
Joanna's Bedroom Behavior
We've already witnessed Joanna's proclivities for bedroom bondage back in Season 1 with Tyrell. In Season 2, she continues to push the limits of her sexual fetishes by having Derek cut her thigh with a knife and erotically choke her while demanding that he squeeze down harder and harder on her throat:
You'll recall that Sharon Knowles was asphyxiated the night of the E-Corp party. Could Joanna use evidence of her sexual encounters with Derek to suggest that he choked Sharon Knowles? The force with which Derek is choking Joanna is surely enough to leave bruises, and would give Joanna hard evidence to present to the police that suggests Derek has physically abused her.
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So far, Joanna has been able to operate without drawing suspicion from Derek. However, her insistence that the two of them are never seen in public starts to upset him, forcing Joanna's hand in order to draw Derek in even closer.
The Divorce Papers
Derek warned Joanna that he would break up with her should she refuse to attend his 30th birthday party. As a way to make up for her absence and win her way back into Derek's good graces, Joanna presents him with a gift: her divorce papers from Tyrell.
While on the surface this may appear to be a sign of Joanna requiting Derek's affection, the divorce papers could also be used as a way to keep Derek from leaving her. Were Derek to leave Joanna, she would ultimately lose her perfect scapegoat and her plot would unravel.
Joanna's proved that she will go to extreme lengths to push her agenda, and presenting Derek with these divorce papers has been her strongest move in ensuring that he will remain loyal and by her side until she's ready to execute her plot.
Joanna's True Motives Remain Closely Guarded
Joanna has proven to be one of the most complex and calculated characters we've seen so far, and her ability to keep her motivations a secret makes her a powerful manipulator.
With only two episodes left, we'll have to see if and when Joanna makes her move before the season ends.
What do you think Joanna has planned for Derek?
Nod to Reddit user danhsmith_ and other Redditors for fleshing out this theory in the comments.