BUSTLE – If you’ve ever added an unnecessary “sorry!” to soften a work email or gotten the third degree from your nosy aunt about putting career over starting a family, you know how it feels to be trapped in traditional expectations of womanhood. In USA’s hacker drama Mr. Robot, Portia Doubleday plays Angela Moss, someone who rejects those standards, becoming one of television’s most compelling characters in the process. But because she puts her own motivations first, the cool and collected Angela has been labeled by some with the dreaded, gendered b-word: b*tch. Because she’s a woman living in the world, Doubleday is bitterly aware of the double standard.
Warning: contains spoilers from the finale of Mr. Robot.
Mr. Robot‘s Angela Moss talks season two, fan theories, and that cryptic final scene.
Elliot may be the character at the center of Mr. Robot’s narrative, but over the course of the show’s second season, no one has had a more fascinating arc than Angela Moss. Over the past 12 episodes, we’ve seen her rise through the ranks at E Corp, carry out a daring hack on the FBI, and endure one seriously strange conversation with a precocious little girl. And though Angela hardly appears in the season finale, her single scene sets her up to be one of the most intriguing and powerful characters in Mr. Robot‘s third season.
What’s it like to be at the heart of TV’s most cryptic drama? On the heels of that insane finale, GQ talked to Portia Doubleday about Angela’s arc over the course of the season, and where she thinks the story might go from here.
Spoilers ahead for tonight’s episode of Mr. Robot.
Poor Angela Moss. Things have been rough for Mr. Robot’s fastest-rising junior executive: She was coerced into a wildly dangerous hack of the FBI; she poisoned her relationship with her father; she endured an extremely anxious journey through E Corp’s bureaucracy; she felt she had no choice but to turn herself into the authorities and abandon her childhood friend Elliot; and in tonight’s episode, she was kidnapped and forced to play mind games with a prepubescent girl before getting read within an inch of her life by White Rose. What’s a gal to do? We caught up with the actor who bears Angela’s stress-molting ponytail, Portia Doubleday, to talk about hearing a child ask her if she’s ever cried during sex, how she learned to stop worrying and love self-help tapes, and reading Mr. Robot fan theories on Reddit.
Let’s talk about Angela’s big scene in tonight’s episode, the one where she’s in the weird room with the strange, ponytailed child, played by Mabel Tyler. Was she a challenge to work with?
She was amazing. Super-pro. Way too sophisticated. She was way calmer than I was. That was such an interesting scene. You expect a certain dynamic from a child, but I didn’t know what this was gonna be. I didn’t know how she was gonna play it or what I was getting into. But that works for the scene, because it’s incredibly ambiguous. I loved the moment where I’m walking around the room and discovering it. That was the day that I thought, Wow, I’m just grateful to be on this show. To be in this room with a weird fish tank and this copy of Lolita and all these weird clues, it was just such a departure and so imaginative and creative.
And then to have this girl come in and start asking these questions, it wasn’t as hard as I expected it to be because the environment and the dialogue aided my uncertainty. It was incredibly fun. I didn’t know if I was gonna relate to her or think of her as a child, but when she started to have this weird, deadpan sophistication, it was really startling. Especially when she lifts her shirt and Angela has no idea what’s going on. That was one of my favorite days of shooting.