Hello Friend, Darlene Here

Re-Introducing Darlene Alderson before the Season 3 premiere of Mr. Robot

Ms. Darlene Alderson Incognito? (USA Network)

It is less than two weeks until the season three premiere of Mr. Robot so, I figured I would take a few minutes to reintroduce some of the main characters and today I am breaking Darlene down.

<If you haven’t watched the first two seasons of Mr. Robot *Spoiler Alert*>

When we first met Darlene, we knew her only as a mysterious hacker and member of fsociety who seemed to be strangely familiar with new member Elliot Alderson. So, since we have learned a great deal of information about Darlene since her introduction, it seems an appropriate time to ask:

Who is Darlene?

2. Darlene is Elliot Alderson’s sister

3. Darlene was the leader of F-Society

4. Darlene is a Murderer

5. Darlene Is In FBI Custody

Darlene Is an Accomplished Hacker

Darlene Is Nobody To Mess With (USA Network)

From almost the beginning of the show Darlene has been central to most of the fsociety hacks and several other important attacks. She:

If Darlene lacks anything, it is vision not guts. Mr. Robot himself mentions many times during the companion book Red Wheelbarrow that he wishes that Elliot was more like Darlene.

Darlene Is Elliot Alderson’s Sister

An Alderson Family Christmas (USA Network)

The big Season One twists were:

The way we discovered this last truth was a bit unsettling (as Mr. Robot is not Game of Thrones), Darlene tells Elliot she “loves him” after he disables the ‘Honeypot’ protecting Allsafe’s data which causes Elliot to attempt to kiss her at which point Darlene stops him and then informs him that he has forgotten that she is his sister “again.”

Darlene is Elliot’s younger sister, she was born on November 5, 1990 (Elliot was born on September 17, 1986 and Sam Esmail’s birthday was September 17, 1977).

Darlene and Elliot’s mother Magda was often abusive towards Darlene. Magda was abusive enough that Darlene refuses to join Elliot when he goes to visit her during Season 2 despite the fact that she appears to be catatonic and all-alone at the time (Magda appears to be living in a managed-care facility).

During the Word Up Wednesday sequence (Season 2 Episode 6) Magda hits Darlene several times and there are other suggestions that abuse was a constant part of her childhood.

There is a story in the Mr. Robot companion book Red Wheelbarrow in which Elliot shares that Darlene ran away as a child after Magda insisted that she drown the kitten that she had smuggled in to the house.

During Season 2, Darlene shares that she kidnapped at an amusement park when she was 5 years old. She wistfully suggests that, at the time, she wanted to stay with the mentally ill woman who kidnapped her instead of being forced to return home to her mother’s care. Darlene suggests that the only thing that made it survivable was Elliot’s love. Darlene and Elliot would often stay out all day together and go to movies in order to avoid having to be at home.

Angela Moss and Darlene were childhood friends and there is a suggestion that sexual abuse or sexually inappropriate contact may have connected the two of them in their past as well. Darlene’s IRC screen name in Season 2 is Dolores Haze and Angela has the book ‘Lolita’ on her childhood desk during the “password whiterose” scene during that same season (Dolores Haze is the underage object of Humbert Humbert’s affections).

One interesting aside here, when Darlene tells the story about being abducted she acts as if her father was still alive (he had actually already died from leukemia at this point) and when she concludes the story, she says the following:

“My parents never asked me what I wanted… ever. It was the first time I ever really felt special. We started driving to her house, and… I definitely remember thinking that something wasn’t right, but I just looked at her and her lipstick and let it happen. And then we got to her house, and she showed me my room, and it had one of those beds with the curtains around it. And I did feel like a princess. I remember thinking that this was my new home and my new life, and I didn’t have to see my parents ever again. It was like a wish I had that all of a sudden came true.”

This indicates to me both that being kidnapped made her feel special in a way that her parents never did and also that she didn’t love her parents (plural).

I am not saying it means that her father was abusive too but it remains a possibility and we know that he threw Elliot out a window as a child.

Darlene Was the Leader of Fsociety

Everyone Wears A Mask Sometimes (USA Network)

When Elliot decided that he should get himself thrown in jail in order to hide from the consequences of the 5/9 blowback he left Darlene in charge of fsociety. As you may remember, however, the stress of trying to keep things running was getting to her from the very beginning (often, when she is alone, she breaks down and cries etc.).

Darlene was there at the creation of fsociety.

The blueprint was created one Halloween, several years prior to the main timeline of the show, while Elliot and Darlene smoked dope and watched the Careful Massacre of the Bourgeoisie. She was critical to its founding, very involved in most of its important hacks, and at times a mildly effective leader.

But, near the end of the season (during the hidden process episode), Darlene explains the problem she faced being thrust into the leadership of fsociety:

“I’m not special. It’s Elliot. He’s the one with the plan… the one they’re taking seriously. I thought there was something special about me that made it happen. But it wasn’t me, Mobley, Trenton, or Romero. It was him.”

The experience of leadership taught her that she wasn’t cut out for being in charge, that she didn’t have enough vision to run an organization, and she didn’t really enjoy it.

The experience of leadership also taught her that while it seemed like everyone in fsociety was working together as a team to mutually accomplish unified goals, the truth was that Elliot was always the one making everything happen.

When she told the story of being kidnapped she suggested that being abducted made her feel special in a way her family never did. You could read this to mean that while she loves Elliot she also resents him (“I’m not special it’s Elliot”) but I suspect what she was really saying is that she learned her lesson and doesn’t want to be that kind of special again.

Darlene Is A Murderer

Susan Jacobs Watery Grave (USA Network)

Okay, there is really no sugar coating this one, Darlene straight up murdered Susan Jacobs with a stun gun (there is a decent amount of circumstantial evidence supporting Darlene’s knowledge of Jacob’s heart condition and Darlene had the motive, means, and clearly took the opportunity).

There has been a TON of mischief and misery that have been caused by the members of fsociety but this is one of the few outright, first-hand, murders.

I am one of the last people to say that people defined entirely by their crimes so I intend no judgment at all.

I have no larger point here, but it seemed worth mentioning.

Darlene Is In FBI Custody

You Can’t Crack Me Copper (USA Network)

At the end of Season 2 Darlene was in FBI custody, had been threatened with prosecution under the Patriot Act by a Senior Agent, and had been shown the “Big Board” of suspects (including but not limited to her). Here is that board:

Not a Board You Want To Be On (USA Network)

<FYI, if you write to any of the email addresses of the people on the Big Board you will get a response>

My personal guess is that Darlene is going to be stuck trying to play the dangerous game of working with the FBI as an informant while she is also trying to protect Elliot from the FBI and the many other forces aligned against him.

I think that Darlene will not entirely be faking her assistance to Dom and the FBI because she has a HUGE personal reason to take down the Dark Army. In case you forgot, the Dark Army assassinated her boyfriend (who I am pretty sure she loved) Cisco.

Too Late Dom (USA Network)

So, she has a motive to work with Dom in good faith unless and until that work puts Elliot directly at risk.

Okay, that’s all I have for today, please feel free to let me hear your theories in the comment section or on Twitter.

Josh is a 100% reader-funded blogger and freelance writer. Please consider adding him here, following him on Twitter, throwing a tip into his hat on Patreon, or adding his blog OnPirateSatellite to your feeds.

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Josh H

Author, Criminal Justice Reform Advocate, Co-Host of the "Decarceration Nation" Podcast, Television critic and Movie Reviewer, OnPirateSatellite.com