Mr. Robot's second season will have a lot of pieces to pick up after the Season 1 truth bomb that Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) - Elliot's (Rami Malek) hacker mentor and thought-to-be-dead father - was actually a figment of Elliot's imagination.
Series creator Sam Esmail teased at the Television Critics Association winter previews on Thursday that the sophomore season will continue to focus on Elliot's emotional journey as he tries to figure out what's real and what isn't (because it's more than his alter ego). "It's going to be about Elliot negotiating with himself. It's about a guy who has become aware of this delusion that's been happening. That's a tough pill to swallow," he said. "We're really going to go into the mind of a person that is just becoming aware of [his delusion] and what is the next step to that. How do you reconcile that? Will twists organically derive out of that? Probably."
Playing an unreliable narrator has been challenging for Malek. "I go through kind of every direction of what possibly happened to someone like this because in his head you never know what has happened. Having to trace the truth and discover the truth ultimately makes him more complex to play, just trying to decipher what he's actually seen and where he's actually been," Malek said. "When I think about that, it kind of haunts me as a human being having to deal with that. That's the place he finds himself approaching this season."
Elliot isn't the only one that will have some soul-searching to do. The season finale left Angela (Portia Doubleday) in a precarious position as well. The actress said that many fans may have been too quick to assume that Angela has joined the dark side. "I don't think she's crossed over, Doubleday said. "I think she's more corrupted than she was in the beginning, but is she going to use that to aid her in the lion's den?" she said. "I think she's a little over her head, so it'll be interesting if she can keep herself above water."
Esmail is quick to say that the politics isn't the point of the Golden Globe-winning drama — it's Elliot's journey through the rabbit hole. "The whole show has been about Elliot's emotional journey. I really wanted to focus on that and make it less about the plot," he said. "The headline is 'How do [Elliot and Robot] reconcile?' How does Elliot reconcile that he's been seeing this fantasy? That's the struggle."
Mr. Robot returns this summer on USA.