The penultimate episode of Mr. Robot‘s bounce-back third season finds allegiances shifting, relationships evolving, and a murder conspiracy in motion.
“You can fix everything,” Darlene (Carly Chaikin) declares to Dom (Grace Gummer).
Elliot (Rami Malek) and Darlene’s mission to undo the Five/Nine hack has many consequences, including his war on the Dark Army, and in turn, their decision that like his father, “It’s time he die for us, too.” For Darlene, her task was to find a way into Sentinel, the FBI’s storage system, which contains key information to their plan. This leads the fsociety alum to successfully seduce Dom, her former FBI handler, only to get caught trying to steal the agent’s badge.
EW talked to Gummer about Dom’s drunken night with Darlene, why she was “pleasantly surprised” by the development, and what she can tease about the season finale.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How surprised were you by the direction that the Dom and Darlene relationship went in?
GRACE GUMMER: There was a version of that scene written last season, but we cut it out. I actually think it made more of an impact seeing Dom with Darlene, because they’ve had this bond the whole season and I know Dom sees a lot of herself in Darlene. And she really opened up to her and became super vulnerable, then Darlene betrayed her and stole from her — sort of opened the metaphorical safe to Dom’s true self, which the show hasn’t really explored and Dom hasn’t revealed to herself. So I think it hit really hard when that actually went down.
Did it seem out of character to you for Dom to be seduced like that? Or was it more the result of their perceived connection being mixed with a few too many drinks?
I think it was the combination of everything. Again, she just sees a lot of herself in Darlene, and in opening up to her, working with her, confiding and trusting her, she really let her guard down. I was surprised that someone so professional and by the book with her job would do something like that, but she’s also human, as all these characters are. There’s this really raw emotional self behind all these masks they have on. So I was surprised, but pleasantly surprised, because I think it says a lot about who she is and who they both are and what lengths they’re willing to go to for what they want, especially Darlene. And Dom was seduced by that and then embarrassed. The next day when she brings her into the FBI, obviously, she didn’t want to tell Santiago [Omar Metwally], but she knows that she has to.
Was it a nice change of pace for you to get to play a much more relaxed version of Dom?
Yeah, it was. And again, last season we did a version of that scene that didn’t make it into the show, so I had explored that and I was so excited for it to come back in a different and much more effective form this season. So when I was doing it last year, I felt like this is who she really is. And then, when it wasn’t in the show, I felt like we wouldn’t fully understand her. She is sort of an enigma, but now we get to dig deeper into who she is. And it was really fun playing a much more relaxed and very sort of awkward and earnest and sad, but not pathetic person that wants love.
Also, it was probably good to get her another friend that wasn’t Alexa!
Totally, to have a human friend that isn’t Alexa, reality TV, or cyber sex [laughs]. I think she was dying for that human connection and took it when it came. But she learned her lesson, I guess.
In light of Darlene’s betrayal, do you think there can be any more to that relationship?
I always say that Elliot and fsociety and Dom are both wanting the same thing, but coming at it from a very different perspective; they both want to bring justice to the world. I don’t see either one as good or bad or black or white. The show lives in such a gray area that these unlikely bonds and friendships and weird connections form between two people inexplicably, and they happen to be these two women. I think it just makes it more interesting, it makes for more well-rounded characters and more well-rounded women.
Now looking ahead to next week’s finale, what, if anything, can you tease?
There’s so much crazy s— that happens. It’s really annoying to have to keep so many secrets, especially from people I love that love Mr. Robot, for this long. But I can tell you that I went to pretty dark places in my mind. And the episode is pretty dark. And you see different sides to everyone and unexpected… I don’t even know what to say, I don’t want to ruin anything [laughs]. I did work the longest, most grueling hours that I’ve worked on the show on that episode, so everyone is in for a treat.
The Mr. Robot season finale airs Wednesday, Dec. 13 at 10 p.m. ET.