The following contains spoilers for Mr. Robot season 4.
Angela Moss has always been one of Mr. Robot’s most fascinating characters. Granted, she doesn’t have multiple personalities, isn’t a world-class computer expert, and makes more than her fair share of mistakes. She’s perhaps the most normal person on the show and probably the one most viewers relate to the easiest, at least in its initial episodes.
As Elliot Alderson’s childhood best friend, Angela has been part of Mr. Robot from the very start, and knows him better than anyone who isn’t his sister, Darlene. Each had a parent die young, victims of a shady and mysterious project at the Washington Township nuclear power plant. Both have spent most of their lives grappling with this unimaginable loss. Elliot retreats into the online world to seek justice, but Angela throws herself into the real one, determined to get answers by inserting herself directly into the world of the aptly named villainous company Evil Corp.
Over the course of the series, Angela’s dedication takes her to some strange places. She endures sexual harassment and blackmail, gets fired, is cheated on, goes to work for the same company that killed her mother, watches her boss commit suicide on live TV, learns to hack in her own right, catches the interest of Dark Army leader Whiterose, casually helps coordinate a massive terrorist attack that kills thousands of people, goes a little bit mad in the aftermath and ends up wandering New York like a homeless person.
And that’s not even close to everything. In short: This girl has been through it. Which is why her character deserves so much more than to wind up as a buzzy shock death in the opening moments of Mr. Robot’s final season.
Throughout the series’ run, we’ve all been led to believe that Angela is a key to its endgame, and would likely have a significant role to play in its final story. Given her history with Elliot, her connection to Whiterose’s organization and her status as Philip Price’s daughter, Angela is a linchpin that connects many of Mr. Robot’s various plotlines together. Her story feels largely unfinished precisely because she still has so much to do in this narrative.
At one point or other, Mr. Robot’s world underestimates Angela – it’s such a shame that, in the end, the show itself does so as well.
When the series begins, Angela is a relentlessly normal person, with regular concerns and everyday problems. But she’s no shrinking violet. Sure, she may not necessarily have the flashy computer skills of Elliot or Darlene, but she’s smart, brave and devoted to the things she believes in, for better or for worse. Rightly or wrongly, she’s willing to risk everything to achieve some form of justice for her family, and that dedication leads her to make some dark, difficult and not altogether wise choices.
We still don’t know precisely what Whiterose shows Angela in season 2 that inspires such immediate devotion to her mysterious Congo project. Sure, Price tells Angela later on that whatever she saw or was told, it’s all just so much manipulation and the Dark Army leader was only interested in her insomuch as her involvement bothered him as her father. It’s disheartening to think that Mr. Robot intends Angela’s entire season 3 arc to be little more than a mean prank, a revenge plot that essentially robs her of much of her own agency within the story. Surely, this show intends better for its female protagonists than this??
But even Angela herself seems to think she was brainwashed, tricked into believing that something could bring her mother back to her. However, it’s not exactly like any of these people are particularly reliable narrators, particularly when we’re still not sure what Whiterose’s secret project is, what Angela may or may not have seen before she signed on for Dark Army duty, or how exactly she felt about becoming an accomplice to murder and betraying her best friend.
Most viewers likely expected these answers to come during this final run of episodes. Now… not so much. Angela’s dead, and so is our chance to find out the true motivations behind her actions. Her character, who has been part of both fsociety and the Dark Army, is someone who should have played a significant role in bringing the final pieces of Mr. Robot’s story together, as a bridge between many of the show’s main themes. After all, other than maybe Elliot himself, who needs redemption, purpose and the chance to right her wrongs more than Angela does?
Instead, she dies in the opening moments of the Mr. Robot season 4 premiere, tragically ending her story before her journey got any sort of real resolution. What’s worse, her death isn’t even really about her. Instead, Mr. Robot seems much more interested in how Angela’s murder impacts the men around her than in whether it serves as an actual (or fitting) end to her story.
In a move that feels perilously close to “fridging,” the show treats Angela’s actual death as something of an afterthought. We don’t see Elliot or Darlene learn the news onscreen, and we watch the Alderson siblings grapple more with the death of their estranged mother than their best friend. Instead, the loss of Angela is largely used to provide emotional motivation for various male characters, such as Price and Elliot, who suddenly have much more personal reason to see Whiterose defeated.
To add insult to injury, Angela’s death isn’t even a major moment of the episode in which it takes place. She is killed in the premiere’s opening moments, during a blurry long shot over Price’s shoulder, in which his face is the scene’s primary focus. In some ways, this is a mercy for those of us who loved the character. We don’t actually have to see her brain matter splatter our television screens. But it also makes her death feel like something unimportant, that’s happening in the background of other, bigger stories.
Moments before her demise, Angela is given the chance to choose her own fate and watches her approaching death with a calm dignity that her character hasn’t always been granted in the past. At the end of her life, she at least gets the chance to reclaim control of her own story, to some degree. But that doesn’t change the fact that her death isn’t a particularly satisfying – or even complete – narrative end to her character arc, leaving many plot points dangling in the narrative wind.
We’ll never see Angela achieve any sort of meaningful closure about her mother’s death. She won’t get answers about what happened, or make Whiterose pay for the things she did to Mrs. Moss, the other Washington Township families and Angela herself. She won’t get the chance to truly atone for her involvement in the deaths of thousands during the Dark Army’s Stage Two attacks. And perhaps most importantly, we won’t get to see her repair her relationship with Elliot, which was largely left in tatters at the end of last season. These are all not just important character beats that require resolution, but stories and emotional payoffs that viewers should get the chance to see.
Unfortunately, at the end of the day, Angela’s death is almost entirely about other people. Her murder doesn’t just drive more story for Price, but for Elliot too. Both are now more determined than ever to strike back at Whiterose, and their shared grief over Angela’s death has brought the two men together in a way that little else likely could have done. As a result, it feels almost impossible to see what happened to Angela as anything more than an act in service of other character’s stories. She – and we, as viewers – deserved something more than that. Her story wasn’t finished.