So, the second season of Mr. Robot drops tonight and while obvz we all want to see what’s going to happen to Elliot’s sweet little puppydog face after the whole fsociety cliffhanger of season one, a slightly more important question in my mind is what will Darlene be wearing this year. Because somehow, in a show that is really not focused on fashion at all, she managed to nearly upstage the actual plotline with her craymazing array of shorts, boots, smeared eyeliner and indomitable sneers.
Don’t even try to tell me Darlene’s not an instant fashion icon when this is how she makes her first appearance, like a Millennial Carrie Bradshaw on meth in a leopard shrug, pink Beats by Dre, and an inscrutable expression that both intrigues and terrifies both Elliot and the viewing audience.
We next find her lounging in a different furry coat, looking for all the world like the 21st century version of Helena Bonham Carter in Fight Club which: foreshadowing. Just like HBC, Darlene instantly stands out from the rest of the cast with her chain smoking, don’t fuck with me attitude, and unexpected Angelina Jolie in Hackers-level skills at a keyboard.
At this point in the show, we still don’t 100% know who she is or why she so quickly barges into Elliot’s apartment and makes herself oddly at home, complete with throwing on one of his shirts with her high-waisted shorts before stomping out to the subway in an entirely improvised outfit that comes off like something the Olson twins would design and sell for several thousand dollars. The knee socks + shorts combo is clearly her signature lewk.
Nobody has the right to look this adorbs while eating fro yo on the subway while also being an enchantingly mysterious, foul-mouthed hacker. I mean, she is literally the girl with all the gifts here. And by gifts I mean all the noxious diseases she’s getting by going up close and personal with that subway pole.
Because this show is perfect, the hacker squad spend their time in an abandoned arcade, all the better for Darlene to lazily sprawl atop so many antique games of chance. She constantly wears these heart-shaped sunglasses, as though to demonstrate her ennui at the state of the world while also displaying an ironic whimsy.
But just when you think she’s an indestructible badass without a single flaw, we get reminded she’s a real girl, too. Her relationship with Elliot is perplexing, as she launches into an immediate rapport with him as though they’ve known one another for years (spoiler: they have) but he acts like he’s never met her before.
Still, she’s a total player when their nefarious schemes call for it, reuniting with her ex just long enough to hack some info off of his laptop. And yes, I’m using the word “hack” like the Smurfs use the word “smurf” because this show is great and I trust they know what they’re doing but my brain tunes out all of the programming talk in favor of just ogling her Amy Winehouse-adjacent liner, platform boots, signature shorts, and teddy bear pelt of a sweater.
Again, this show needs more Mindy Project/PLL loving h-to-t shots of everyone’s fashion, or really just Darlene’s fashion because I’d like to spend a lot longer than we got figuring out the brand of these boots. It’s pretty easy to dress like Darlene because she’s always reusing the same pieces in different combos but keeps a fairly standard uniform of shorts, tights, boots, and boyfriend jacket.
While she spends the majority of her time in the arcade or scowling around the grimier bits of NYC, we do get two scenes setting her opposite gleaming white modernism. First, she channels Riley Keough in The Girlfriend Experience, but without a hairbrush and even more bottled up rage as she takes a moment to chill on her mark’s balcony.
And then, in a sequence that sent all the message boards crazy with speculation, she co-stars in an unexpected ballet class scene with the series’ other female lead, constantly horrified by life/dressed in white fellow computer programmer Angela. Speculation ran rampant: were they really one person Elliot hallucinated as two? Is this Fight Club meets Black Swan with Darlene as Mila Kunis? IS DARLENE SERIOUSLY TAKING A BALLET CLASS???
As season one wraps up, we finally learn that Darlene is Elliot’s sister (but he’s cray and forgot), that Christian “Mr. Robot” Slater is Elliot’s Tyler Durden-esque alter ego, and Darlene and Angela are amazing besties. Like, these two are Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants level unlikely friends, the kind you make when you’re kids and even though you grow up to be totally different you’re still utterly loyal to each other.
So I hope you’re as psyched as I am to see what this super successful show will be bringing to the plate, style wise, with what I presume is an increased budget. Will Darlene get another pair of shorts to put into rotation? Will she finally be able to afford a comb and a deep conditionoing treatment? Will I ever understand what hacking really means? Can’t wait to find out!