As a cyberpunk show that dared to plunge into a world of cyberpunk cynicism, Mr. Robot found sentimental glue in the form of various intra-character romances that helped keep audiences on their toes. However, as is the case with a considerable sector of relationships in reality, a pairing based on a rocky foundation could ofttimes lead to toxic fallout.
Allow the following to serve as examples of the best and worst Mr. Robot had to offer with in-universe relationships that either thrived or died trying.
10 Best: Elliot and Olivia
Reluctantly pursuing the seduction route that he could not be less confident in, Elliot finds himself distracted by the power of his own ruse when he woos Olivia, a Cypress Bank employee, in season four.
He does so to secure the clearance needed to hack into the ultra-malevolent Deus Group’s account. By bonding over their shared history with narcotics addiction, however, Elliot and Olivia combat their prior lust for numbness with the healthier alternative. Audiences knew it could not last, but wished the rare appearance of a non-self-destructively empathetic Elliot could, at the very least.
9 Worst: Darlene and Cisco
In spite of their endearing qualities, Cisco serving as the link between fsociety and the Dark Army ultimately laid the groundwork for him and Darlene’s courtship.
Moreover, “hindsight is 20/20” believers would retroactively christen Darlene and Cisco’s romance as something that needed to end for the former to grow into the person she would end up becoming. A bittersweet reality, given the fate of Cisco.
8 Best: Elliot and Angela
In a show that deployed fantasy, dream, and even parallel reality sequences, there were various allusions to the fact that somehow, somewhere, Elliot and his childhood best friend Angela could fight past the roadblocks and take their intimate bond to the next plateau.
Even when not apparent in the literal narrative, their romantic union existed as a looming factor for fans to rally behind, just as Mulder’s and Scully’s did in The X-Files two decades prior.
7 Worst: Philip Price and Angela’s Mother
In Darth Vader fashion, the reveal that the Evil Corp CEO happens to be Angela’s biological father instantaneously had fans everywhere completely reeling.
While Price longed to redeem himself, his image had already further dwindled at season four’s jump when he powerlessly avoided witnessing the execution by the hands of Whiterose that he could not talk Angela out of walking into.
6 Best: Leon and Three Days of the Condor
Just when Mr. Robot viewers thought he was out, a fan-favorite returned to plug a relevant Robert Redford caper.
Leon, who had waxed poetic on sitcoms prior, graduated onto pointing to this select work of 70s cinema that reflected their own circumstances. As a detached Dark Army agent in it more for himself from then on out, Leon and his love affair with Three Days of the Condor served as ample sage wisdom for Elliot and Darlene. To not live in regret about their high-stakes heisting, as the film would most definitely reiterate they really were the good guys all along.
5 Worst: Tyrell and Joanna Wellick
While the constant power plays and storms of dysfunction could provide for one compelling, House of Cards-reminiscent spinoff, The Wellicks as a couple were the opposite of what an audience would pull for to “make it.”
Prior to his reveal as the man-on-the-inside, fsociety accomplice to Elliot’s Mr. Robot personality, Tyrell reached American Psycho-like heights. Yet, Joanna did seem to be his screw-loose “agents of chaos” match. However, only a “worst” categorization could exist, for fighting fire with fire leads to nothing but destruction.
4 Best: Darlene and Dom
Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Run Away With Me” needle-drop said it all during creator Sam Esmail’s bold and ultimately successful attempt at tackling the “declaration of love at the airport” trope in a wholly unique way.
What Season four’s “410 Gone” spoke to was a truth Darlene and Dom had not known yet: that when they were not pursuing one other from opposite sides of the law, the chase could carry onward with nothing to stand in love’s way any longer. Ideally, the Dark Army did not rig the plane with bombs. Here’s hoping for a resolution if reboots are still in large demand.
3 Worst: Angela and Ollie
The clear weakest link of season one, Ollie’s very presence felt clear to audiences far and wide. He wreaked of someone who would succumb to his weaknesses at every corner, and therefore prove himself unworthy of someone with Angela’s strength, integrity, and dependability.
Ollie’s best trait ended up being his foolishness; it meant he was vulnerable to hackers and bound to inevitably severe the potential of relationship longevity with Angela. How (Angela) remained entangled with a cybersecurity firm co-worker whose password is ‘123456Seven’ was beyond Elliot’s—and fans’—comprehension.
2 Best: Elliot and Shayla
Elliot’s uncharacteristic visions of what happiness could look like early on in season one recurred with higher frequency as his friendship with his neighbor Shayla blossomed from “drug dealer and druggie” to “lover A and lover B.”
Though their union was tragically short-lived, those nostalgic for the series’ first season are instantly reminded upon revisitation why Elliot in a relationship is never a bad thing. When he puts himself out there, the world becomes a more beautiful place. He would come to credit Shayla for teaching him such, of course before eventually realizing Angela had all along, as well.
1 Worst: Elliot’s Parents
In an effort to avoid grand-scale spoilers, the wrap on Elliot’s parents is two-fold: their relationship as parents caused Elliot and Darlene significant scarring, and the damage they caused their children as individuals—independent of each other—messed them up even more so. Family Matters-style experimentally long-form sitcom fantasy sequences aside, the Alderson household was no picture-perfect portrait of an American Family for everyone involved.
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