Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.


Tear Jerker / Mr. Robot

Go To
"What do normal people do when they get this sad?"

Mr. Robot is not a feel-good show by any measure, with a thematic emphasis on control being exclusive, struggles for change being never-ending, and successes being short-lived, if they're even granted.

  • Elliot's life outside of Allsafe is miserable. He lives alone (apart from a pet beta fish and later a dog), frequently sobs in his apartment, turns to morphine to numb his emotional pain, and hacks other people as a means of connecting with them, admitting that he longs for their normalcy.
  • Shayla refuses to go to the police after Vera's attack merely because of a special deal he offers her during their drug transactions. In her words sounding utterly defeated she says: "It's not like I have a choice."
  • Elliot verbally destroying Bill Harper during his infiltration of Steel Mountain. The poor guy looks utterly heartbroken and on the verge of tears and even Elliot himself is remorseful about doing it. It doesn't help that we later see his Instagram, showing that he lives a pretty solitary life with his cat and that apart from an imagine spot in a later season he's not seen again.
  • Advertisement:
  • Shayla's fate is nothing sort of tragic. Just as she starts to bury her past as a drug dealer to go legit and become a waitress, she is brutally murdered by Vera. Elliot goes on to blame himself for this, and has a complete mental breakdown as a result.
  • The ending of the Virtual Reality Experience, in which we are shown Elliot's first date with Shayla. Knowing what happens to her in the show and the fact that Elliot is slowly forgetting about her despite his promise that he won't makes the scene of them together in bed all the more bitter. In the final moments of the webisode, Elliot is alone again, and goes back to his computer.
  • Darlene crying alone in Susan Jacobs' bathroom before going to make her rousing speech to fsociety. It's very clear that she is struggling to keep things together; not just for the revolution, but for herself.
  • Advertisement:
  • The massive downward turn Gideon's life takes as the series goes on. The 5/9 hack (which, unbeknownst to him, was orchestrated by one of his own employees) results in his company losing its biggest client, costing him a massive amount of money and forcing him to shut down Allsafe. Then his husband divorces him and, to top it all off, he gets senselessly murdered by a crazed conspiracy theorist who accuses him of being a crisis actor.
  • Darlene leaving the Polaroid picture of her family behind in Elliot's apartment.
  • When Dom is not working as an FBI agent, she is a socially anxious and depressed woman who spends her time at home conversing with her Amazon Echo to feel like she has a friend, masturbating to online sex chatrooms, watching cheap reality television, and crying. Truly an empty way of life.
    • It only gets worse for her throughout the season. She has to deal with a boss like Santiago, survives two Dark Army shootouts that kill almost all of her fellow colleagues and Cisco respectively, witnesses the deaths of Trenton and Mobley while also realizing that the actual mastermind behind the murders (Whiterose) will get away with everything, witnesses Darlene betray her when she finally considers her as a friend (or something more) and finally finds out that Santiago was the Dark Army mole for the FBI while being kidnapped by him no less. To top it off she witnesses Irving brutally kill Santiago with an axe while psychologically abusing her and is now forced to be recruited into Dark Army as their new FBI mole. By the end of the season she brutally shouts at an equally shattered Darlene that her life is now ruined. Her life just got more emptier.
  • When Elliot dreams of the future he wants to fight for, it is filled with friends, acceptance, and happiness, with E Corp crumbling to the ground as everyone cheers. It is sour, however, when you realize that such a future may never come to be because of Elliot's mental instability and escalating unrest in the world. It becomes worse when you realize that by the start of Season 4, most of these characters are either dead, don't appear at all or are either working for the Dark Army or are too crazy trying to destroy Dark Army and/or E Corp (really the Deus Group).
  • Elliot's near-death dream in "eps2.4_m4ster-s1ave.aes", while darkly humorous, shows just how dysfunctional the Alderson family really was. The "highlight" is Darlene being burned with a cigarette and punched in the face by her mother. Twice. Elliot goes into a brief episode of existential despair when he realizes the truth behind what he is experiencing, but Mr. Robot comforts him and explains that he has only temporarily taken over to protect Elliot from the pain of being beaten to a pulp by Ray's goons.
    • Elliot crying and thanking Mr. Robot for protecting him while the two share a very welcome hug. Doubles as heartwarming.
    • The ending flashback, in which Edward confesses his leukemia diagnosis to a young Elliot. The real gut punch is when he says this line: "I'm never gonna leave you. Promise."
  • "eps2.9_pyth0n-pt2.p7z" reveals that Scott Knowles is the mysterious individual behind the gifts Joanna receives. When she goes to confront him, he is a pitiful mess of a man who indulges in alcohol and breaks down in tears when he explains the reason for him gaslighting Joanna: his wife Sharon was pregnant at the time of her murder by Tyrell. He then sought to give Joanna the hope that Tyrell was still around, only to have that hope crushed, much like what he experienced. Joanna seems to display empathy for Scott, but then starts to berate him for his actions as well as his late wife and unborn child. Then, things get ugly. Fast.
  • Also in "eps2.9_pyth0n-pt2.p7z", Darlene is just broken. Elliot has gone AWOL on her once again, and she has just witnessed the brutal murder of her boyfriend Cisco, believing that the rest of Fsociety are either next or already dead. Dom tries to break her further by throwing the FBI's evidence against her on the table, but Darlene remains steadfast. In a last ditch effort to turn her, Dom shows Darlene a giant whiteboard plastered with the names of suspects and persons of interest in the Five/Nine hack investigation. Realizing just how screwed she and everyone else are, Darlene lets out a drained, "you've got to be fucking kidding me."
  • By the end of season two, Angela has lost all hope in defeating E Corp, and prepares to turn herself in to the FBI for her part in the Five/Nine hack before Whiterose has her kidnapped and taken to a Dark Army safehouse. There, Whiterose breaks down her character and motivations and uses her mother's death as impetus to accept an ultimatum, to which she does, with tears welling.
  • After shooting Elliot, Tyrell becomes hysterical, pleading with Irving to save his life and proclaiming his love for him to Angela.
  • A deleted scene from the season 3 premiere shows Angela’s reaction to finding out Elliot has been shot. She is clearly scared for him and immediately asks if she can see him once she finds out he’s going to survive, only to be told the man who shot her friend is about to call her and it’s her job to calm him down. Also counts as Nightmare Fuel.
  • While Joanna's death is shocking as no one saw it coming it's not sad in any way since she deserved it. However you will feel sad for Derek, her ex and the person who killed her. He genuinely loved her and what does he get? He's constantly manipulated by someone who never loved him back, presumably had his life ruined by her and probably had no idea about Tyrell and when he finally finds out who she really is and successfully takes revenge by killing her, he's shot dead by her bodyguard in return.
    • Even worse is the fate of her baby who is crying his eyes out while splattered in his mother's blood. And considering that Joanna is dead and that Tyrell has no idea where he is, he is currently now an orphan.
  • Angela rebuffing Elliot after he kisses her for the second time. He looks like an abused puppy.
  • Angela's abusive treatment towards Elliot for most of season 3 is this, especially for those who were in abusive relationships before. What makes it heartbreaking is that Elliot was one of the few people who was nice and kind towards her and loved her for who she was. Unfortunately, she stopped caring about him and anyone else and knowingly manipulates him to further Whiterose's agenda and starts to neglect him more often. Worst part is that she didn't feel a slight guilt for her behavior towards everyone. And then she emotionally abuses Elliot without hesitation when he finds out about her treachery and makes him feel guilty for her actions. Keep in mind that Elliot has dealt with loneliness and been treated like crap throughout the series and Angela is the latest in the line to abuse him.
  • The return of Elliot's loneliness in "eps3.1_undo.gz". He begins crying in his apartment again, and finds that being on Zoloft makes him feel emptier.
  • Elliot discovering that Darlene is cooperating with the FBI. As if the guy has enough trust issues.
  • In "", Elliot successfully talks down Mr. Robot and convinces him to pull a temporary Enemy Mine to stop Stage 2, and feels one of the most triumphant victories in his life... and then he sees a news report that 71 other attacks happened at the sites where he diverted the paper records. Not only was his struggle All for Nothing, he actively enabled more people to die and more damage to be done.
  • Paranoia Fuel aside, Elliot learning that Angela is not only working with Tyrell, but actively helping Mr. Robot. When Elliot later confronts her in "", he is seething and trying not to cry. Even Angela is holding back tears.
  • "Frederick & Tanya" is quite possibly the bleakest and most depressing episode in the show's history, mostly thanks to Trenton and Mobley's story. After disappearing since Season 2's stinger, they're traumatized and held hostage by Leon, driven out to the desert just so they can bury the friend he killed in front of them, almost manage to escape only to crash their car a short distance away, and finally get driven back home to find that they're to be killed and made scapegoats for the whole hacking spree to be pinned on. The looks of fear and anguish on Trenton and Mobley's faces as Dark Army men coldly force the former to stage his own suicide, and the police finding both of their corpses later, is enough to reduce anyone to tears.
    • It's not any better for anyone else, either. Mr. Robot is shown by Irving that his rebellion was always All for Nothing because the rich profited no matter what, reducing him to muted shock. Angela is shown to have descended into a delusion that all of the people she unwittingly helped kill will be brought back to life, terrifying Darlene. Dom, after Trenton and Mobley's Frame-Up is discovered and accepted as truth by the FBI, numbly realizes that the real masterminds are going to get away with everything. The whole episode is basically a Trauma Conga Line for every sympathetic character.
    • Tyrell learning of Joanna's death and his son's status. Santiago uses this information to keep Tyrell in line should he think about rebelling. Unable to accept the truth, Tyrell begins sobbing and wailing. It is hard to not feel sorry for him in this scene.
    • Not only do Mobley and Trenton die bawling and pleading for their lives, they are later positioned among ISIS paraphernalia, fsociety gear, and false plans for a second attack on both of "their" terminals just to cap off a false flag operation. In the end, their names are tarnished, and as observed on Dominique's white-board, they were at the bottom of the totem pole.
  • "eps3.7_dont-delete-me.ko" somehow manages to be even more heartbreaking than the last, with Elliot at his lowest point and having lost all hope that he can eliminate Mr. Robot. He visits the families of Mobley and Trenton to pay his respects; Mobley's brother however considers his late sibling a disgrace and slams the door in Elliot's face. Afterwards, Elliot goes to the Coney Island beach to overdose on morphine he had acquired earlier in the day. Trenton's brother Mohammed, who followed Elliot, thankfully interrupts him and the two slowly bond over movies and birthplaces and by the end of the day, become unlikely friends. In an otherwise depressing episode, the final moments show that Elliot is given a new-found drive from befriending Mohammed to stop Whiterose and Mr. Robot once and for all. Elliot blackmails Mobley's brother into giving him a proper funeral, and visits a broken Angela to share a heartfelt conversation about their childhood, implying that their relationship is salvageable.
    • Don't forget about the flashback to Edward's death in the beginning of the episode. Even though he's clearly trying to have some sort of reconciliation, a young Elliot just pushes this effort away. The sheer hurt in his eyes when he asks Elliot if he can ever forgive him and Elliot responds with a bitter "no" is heartbreaking. Edward most likely died thinking his son hated him. It even gets worse when you realise the reason that Elliot refused to forgive his father is because he molested him. So he had every right to say "no" to him.
  • Elliot and Angela's final conversation before her death in Season 4. Despite how much she hurt him throughout the season, Elliot still decided to help her and get her back to reality, but after seeing Leon in his apartment, Angela gets paranoid and emotionally abuses Elliot by blaming him for "tricking" her and ruining her life. Worst part is now another person in Elliot's life has abused and later abandoned him. Elliot even looks so heartbroken when Angela hurts him like that. Showing that no matter how much he tries, Angela still doesn't want anything to do with him or Darlene again.
  • The first preview for the fourth (and final) season sets an incredibly depressing tone for the series' swan song: Elliot, listless, sits in a dark room across from a woman who treats him to a devastating Breaking Speech about how many lives he has irrevocably ruined thanks to his engineering of 5/9. Elliot says not a word, and can only look up in silence as the woman finally asks him if the suffering was all worth it.
  • From the Season 4 premiere, Price breaking down after Angela is executed by the Dark Army from the orders of Whiterose.
    • The fact that Angela is killed before getting the chance to repair her relationships with Elliot & Darlene is heartbreaking in itself.
  • Elliot’s life flashing before his eyes as he succumbs to the heroin overdose. As he slowly loses consciousness, some of the few Heartwarming moments we’ve seen throughout the series are shown including Elliot’s first meetings with Mr. Robot & Tyrell, Darlene hugging him, his first kiss with Shayla, & Trenton’s brother giving him a lollipop. As if this scene couldn’t be any more heartbreaking, the very last thing Elliot sees before closing his eyes is the kiss he shared with Angela on the subway, which makes her death at the beginning of the episode all the more heartbreaking.
  • "Goodbye friend".
    • From a meta standpoint, the fact that Sam Esmail himself says it and not just to Elliot but also to the viewers just hurts.
  • The tape in Elliot's old Walkman is a Mother's Day message to Angela's mother, recorded by Elliot, Darlene, and Angela when they were children. Darlene begins to sob three seconds into playing the tape, and the moment itself is made properly depressing once Elliot actually listens to it.
  • "403 Forbidden" has its own page.
    • From "403 Forbidden" there's Elliot's romance with Olivia. While utterly heartwarming, it's also heartbreaking considering what happened to Shayla and the fear that it won't last which happens three episodes later.
  • From "404 Not Found", there's Tyrell's surprisingly tragic death.
  • Elliot's PTSD breakdown in "405 Method Not Allowed".
  • In "406 Not Acceptable", Elliot becomes desperate and drugs Olivia to blackmail her into giving proxy access. She delivers a scathing response to Elliot, pointing out how difficult it'll be for her (a recovering addict) to keep clean. Following that, she leaves to the bathroom and tries to takes her own life with a razor blade hidden inside a pill bottle, exactly like she said would happen if she ever fell into addiction again all while a horrified Elliot stops the bleeding.
    Olivia: I may work for monsters, but you are one and you're the worst kind because you don't even know it.
  • In "407 Proxy Authentication Required", Vera forces Krista to find the thing that will break Elliot. And she does: She pushes Elliot to confront the fact that his father - the man he idolizes and whose death he's spent his entire adult life avenging - sexually abused him. Even Vera is moved by Elliot's ensuing anguish.
    • Mr. Robot's (who is modeled after said father) final words in the episode after the truth is revealed: "I can't protect you anymore"
  • Elliot's breakdown at the end of "408 Request Timeout" as Mr. Robot comforts him.
  • Price getting shot to death by Whiterose at the end of "409 Conflict" all while Elliot and Mr. Robot helplessly watch it happen nearby.
  • The ending of "Gone", with a twist - Dom decides to leave Darlene, who tries to go off to Budapest on her own, but suffers a panic attack and runs away from the flight... just before Dom has a change of heart and runs to get on the plane after all. And just when it looks like there's still time for Darlene to get on the plane, she decides that she has to find her own way in life. The twist is that for the sake of both their sanities, they had to go on separate paths. Darlene to figure out how to function on her own and Dom to not have to deal with crushing responsibilities for a while.
  • Elliot killing his parallel self.
  • The ending of the series finale. The Elliot we've followed throughout the series is the third alter, and he has to be integrated with the "real" Elliot, which means his death in a way.
    • The last we see him before the real Elliot wakes up: him with tears in his eyes.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: