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Mr. Robot’s Angela Moss Is Every Woman Trying To Navigate The Corporate World

by Emerald Pellot

In season one of the Emmy-winning series, Mr. Robot, we’re introduced to Angela Moss por-
trayed by Portia Doubleday. Angela is positioned as a 20-something millennial seeking purpose,
validation, and respect but finding none of those things in her corporate job at AllSafe Cyberse-
curity.

What makes Angela one of the most compelling characters to watch on television is seeing her
pushback against the, often gender-based, obstacles used to thwart her progress.

Mr. Robot begins with Angela’s mentally unstable best friend, and the series’ protagonist, Elliot
Alderson secretly hacking E-Corp. The largest conglomerate in the world essentially ordered the
deaths of Angela and Elliot’s mother and father, respectively, for financial gain. While Elliot finds
identity and purpose by seeking to expose the corruption from outside of the system, we find
Angela shifting toward self-actualization by trying to take it down from within.

In the pilot, there is one pivotal moment where Angela is in a meeting with E-Corp CTO Terry
Colby. She makes a simple mistake. Angela refers to the time of a recent hacking as, “2:07 AM
Friday night,” instead of “2:07 AM Saturday morning” much to Colby’s chagrin. Elliot interrupts to
say Angela handled herself well during the hack, but it’s too late. Colby whispers into Tyrell
Wellick’s ear, Tyrell Wellick pulls her boss aside and whispers something else. Then Angela is
quietly escorted out of the meeting. The glass-walled room is then only occupied with men in
suits as Angela watches from the outside.

Angela is quickly dismissed by Colby whose default setting appears to be set on 1960s chauvin-
ism. Perhaps more importantly, she’s assigned the same incompetence by even her best friend

Elliot who doesn’t see her capable of fending for herself. She’s rendered voiceless in a single
moment by men who would rather talk about her capabilities while she’s in the room than talk to
her. She’s just a pawn, a means to assert their power and influence. A designation too often left
for the only woman in a room full of men.

Later Angela confronts Elliot for coddling her in the meeting, she instructs him to “let her lose.”
She wants autonomy even if it means looking stupid, at least it would be of her own making.
As the season continues as does Angela’s undermining. Her boyfriend Ollie is exposed as a
cheater after advising Angela she’s nice to a fault. She can’t get a raise at her job because she
isn’t respected. Angela is blackmailed by Dark Army hackers into installing some corrupt soft-
ware at AllSafe. Still, she quits her job, frames Ollie, and tells Elliot that she has an idea that
could change the world.

That idea is to file a class action lawsuit against E-corp for the death of her mom and presum-
ably many others. The kicker is she needs Terry Colby’s testimony to prove that the company
knowingly orders those deaths. After being framed by Elliot and his team of hackers for their
crimes against E-corp Colby has lost his job. Angela goes to Colby’s home where he tells her to
swallow his hairy balls with her pouty lips. Then he instructs her to “let the girl” see her out. No,
he can’t be bothered to learn the names of the women who work for him. Angela then gives a
convincing monologue where she tells him that if he doesn’t help he could a suffer a terrible
fate: he could end up like her.

“If you leave right now, you’ll become like me. Sure, maybe you’ll live in this house. Maybe you’ll
have money. But even if your expensive lawyers find a way to get you off, people will still think
you’re guilty. Losing everyone’s respect, the respect of people you know and the people you
don’t? It’s a shitty feeling, trust me,” Angela tells him.
What is a worse fate for a rich and powerful man than to end up like the powerless women he
so comfortably torments?

He agrees to help Angela to get his reputation back but he asks her why she is doing this, unwit-
ting to his culpability in her mother’s death. Colby details the night he made the decision to kill
dozens. A night where he and a few other wealthy, old men in suits ate shrimp cocktail and got
wasted. Angela tells him she is doing this “So people like you won’t keep sitting in rooms to-
gether.”

Colby offers Angela a job at E-corp and she takes it, hoping to change the company from within.
With more money, in season two, she sits in her beautiful apartment reciting self-help mantras.
“I am confident. I recognize myself as exceptional,” she repeats. “I will follow my dreams no
matter what.”

As Angela moves upward in the world, like many women, she is still riddled with Imposter Syn-
drome. She is hated by her colleagues for being difficult, although her performance is excellent.

When she asked to be transferred to a different department her new boss deflates her by accus-
ing her of sleeping with someone to get the position after she asks a question perceived as

overreaching during a meeting. Even with success Angela still remains a pawn. She deflects
sexual harassment from bosses and co-workers and gender-based insults from those who see
her as nothing more than an object to be toyed with.

Later on this perception of her as an empty-headed plaything is used to her advantage when
she uses an FBI agent’s inappropriate flirtation to deflect from her nefarious planting of spy
equipment.

Angela is a key player in the show’s arc. In season 3, the audience is led to believe that Angela
is a part of something huge that is yet to be revealed. Nevertheless, the show’s universe which
is parallel to our own never forgets that while Angela might be important to the series’ storyline,
in the real world she is a woman, and in the real world, no matter how competent, courageous,
or cunning, that is still designated as one of the worst things you can be.


Emerald Pellot studied cultural criticism at NYU. She has been blogging professionally for 6 years and founder of the accessories brand GRL TRBL. She is a self-taught illustrator, Libra, and shamelessly addicted to moody television dramas that subvert trope and norm.