Who Is Craig Robinson Playing on 'Mr. Robot'? Is He Real?

Is Maxine real?!

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The Season 2 premiere of Mr. Robot already made good on its promise to be darker than the first season. We got a few shocking moments and a lot of bleak portraits of personal despair, ruin (RIP Gideon), and madness.

It also introduced viewers to a number of new characters that are sure to be major players (more Leon!), and we should probably be most suspicious of the only cheerful, talkative one in the bunch. Just who is Craig Robinson’s new character, Ray?

After everything Mr. Robot has already put us through, we should probably think twice about any new characters that seem to only interact with Elliot. So let’s take a closer look at the evidence on Ray. Is he real, or another hallucination?

Ray the cheerful sage. 

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The facts

Ray arrives while Elliot is watching a basketball game with his new friend Leon. He has a dog named Maxine. He tries to make friendly small talk and seems to already know a few things about Elliot. He wants Elliot to help him with something computer-y. Elliot shuts him down, but Mr. Robot is in the background, goading him into doing it. In a later scene, Ray reveals that he and Elliot spoke the night before. Elliot had no recollection of the conversation and soon realizes that Mr. Robot was in control of him at the time. He then agrees to help Ray with whatever it is he’s seeking.

The evidence

Ray has a dog. Unless this alter-Elliot stole a dog, which in fairness, would not be unprecedented, he’s probably not imagining Maxine. One point to Real.

Ray makes some cynical existential comments about truth and basketball. It sounds like the kind of thing Elliot would say about basketball if he were wordier. One to Not real.

Ray comments that he envies Maxine: “All she gives a shit about is eating and sleeping.” This sounds like a comment on Elliot’s new “analog” routine. Not real.

Ray and Leon exchange very brief words. Leon looks surprised to see him appear, but probably not as surprised as he would be if his new silent friend Elliot suddenly stood up to him. Real.

Ray is kind of socially awkward. He says he usually fake laughs when he doesn’t understand what someone says. It’s something a more verbal alter-Elliot might do. Not real.

Ray listens to Adele. Real.

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Mr. Robot is a show that’s fairly futile to speculate about, but that just makes us want to speculate more. So far, we’ll tentatively say that Ray is real, mostly because the show seems too smart to pull that stunt a second time. However, there are enough little hints that Ray is like a chattier, more optimistic version of Elliot, that we should remain suspicious and proceed with caution.

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