Mr. Robot: “eps2.6_succ3ss0r.p12” Season 2 Episode 8 Review

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As Mr. Robot‘s second season chugs along, a noticeable divide has crept up within the fanbase. For some, season two is just as good or better than season one. For others, myself included, season two has thus far been a long slog of cheap tricks with no real substance behind them (take the “twist” from last week, for example). But my favorite thing about this season so far has been Darlene running fsociety. There’s some fun material with that in the season’s eighth episode, but the main thing I learned here is that Darlene can’t carry an episode by herself.

Sure, there was the minor subplot about Angela having a sad night out on the town by herself after her date turned out to be an FBI plant. But this was Darlene’s episode, her moment to prove that, like many of TV’s greatest supporting characters in the golden age, she could probably carry her own show. Sadly, for as much as Elliot’s absence from the rest of the cast has annoyed me, Darlene just isn’t written well enough to sustain what should have been the season’s best episode. That’s hardly a criticism on Carly Chaikin, who continues to be one of the show’s better performers.

The best bits of this entry were watching fsociety crumble. While the larger implications of what that means to the season’s overall plot are frustrating, the scenes themselves were executed well, particularly everything with Mobley and Trenton. As Darlene starts to lose it, these two begin to see just how things are going to go south. Getting them to that point where running or giving up were the best options was exciting.

It’s too bad that Darlene is forcing them there. With Susan unexpectedly returning home, which Darlene turned into their base back in the premiere, fsociety’s leader has an opportunity for revenge. She takes it and then lies about it. Susan is murdered, which Darlene chalks up to self-defense. No one really buys it, rightfully. But with fsociety in shambles and Elliot in prison, where does Mr. Robot even go?

The best answer we get is in the closing moments of the episode, when Darlene discovers that Cisco is an informant for the Dark Army. This other hacker group has been relatively quiet throughout the show’s run, but with the end of the season approaching, that’ll hopefully change.

Still, Mr. Robot feels like it’s going down a path it might not be able to get out of. In general, this second season has lacked energy, which only gets more difficult to build as the characters grow farther and farther apart. But that’s exactly what’s happening here, which hurts honest attempts at greatness, like an episode focusing almost entirely on a good character. It’s the type of episode that should have turned her into a great one, which just makes its failure all the more disappointing. Grade: C+

By Matt Dougherty

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