Anticipation is building for Mr. Robot season 3, one of television's darkest, most complex shows, and now the cast has offered some early details on what to expect. Telling the story of hacker Elliot Alderson, the show pushes the boundaries of Elliot's reality, as well the basic boundaries of narrative storytelling, in shocking, often riveting ways. Following a critically acclaimed first season, the USA Network drama's second season was longer, weirder, and much more polarizing with both audiences and critics, as the show took some creative swings, with varying degrees of success.
Expectations are understandably high for season 3, with many hoping for a creative course correction. As the new season approaches, the cast and crew have begun offering some vague hints of what's to come, promising this year will be the toughest yet for Elliot, Darlene, Angela, and season 2 newcomer FBI agent Dominique DiPierro.
Gathered at an FYC event in Los Angeles, cast members, including Emmy winner Rami Malek, Christian Slater, Carly Chakin, Portia Doubleday, and Grace Gummer ruminated on what's to come, with many of them reiterating on the challenges that await them when the series returns this fall.
For starters, Christian Slater promised more chaos between his titular character and Malek's Elliot, as season 2 really brought their relationship to a tipping point. Slater said series creator Sam Esmail summed up the basic idea of the Elliot/Mr. Robot relationship in season 3 with a single word:
“Season 2 was, for me, as a character, the boundary season, with Elliot trying to place these boundaries and restrictions on the direction Mr. Robot wants things to go. 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.”
Chaikin, meanwhile, hinted that Elliot's hacker sister Darlene would continue to change, meaning fans can likely look forward to the character being even further removed from where she started in season 1:
"Season 1 was about plot, Season 2 was about character, and Season 3 is both. For Season 2, Sam told me Darlene is very militant. In Season 3, Darlene is changing and I have to learn how to change with her."
For her part, Doubleday seemed to confirm Angela will continue down the dark path she was on in season 2. Once the show's most morally pure character, Angela found herself at the heart of Evil Corp's plot in season 2, questioning her own motives and moral compass along the way:
“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.”
Unsurprisingly for one of the most mysterious shows on television, few specific plot details were shared. It was reaffirmed that Esmail will return to direct every episode of season 3, just as he did last season. That news should puts fans at ease to a certain degree, as although season 2 failed to reach the critical heights the first season did, having Esmail behind the lens of every episode made for a more visually and tonally consistent series. With any luck, Esmail will be able to combine that with the kind of storytelling audiences liked so much about season 1.
Season 3 of Mr. Robot debuts on USA Network this fall.