Mr Robot S02E08 “succ3ss0r.p12” REVIEW
Essential Plot Points
- Flashback to Thanksgiving, before the 5/9 hack: Mobley and Trenton are both waiting for somebody at Ron’s Coffee, they don’t know each other yet. Trenton hacks Mobley’s phone while they wait. Turns out they’re both waiting for Elliot, but Darlene shows up instead with a message from him.
- Thanksgiving back in the present, and the FBI hack has turned up some interesting information: a conference call to discuss Project Berenstain. Fsociety record the call and publish the information in a new video release. The call pertains to the amount of surveillance in place without warrants since the 5/9 hack, it also mentions sixteen “codename” cases currently under surveillance, one of which is now deceased.
- Mobley is getting even more paranoid.
- Susan Jacobs comes home to find fsociety have taken over her house – nobody was watching her GPS tracker so tool them by surprise.
- Angela is at a karaoke night in a bar. She’s on a date with Andre (the random guy she picked up in a previous episode), but she’s more interested in watching the new fsociety video.
- Cisco and Darlene tie up Jacobs in her pool room. She’s seen the fsociety set-up, including all the video gear, and can ID all of them.
- As the group discuss what to do with Jacobs, Trenton goes to see why she’s making so much noise; she needs the bathroom. Trenton unties her but Jacobs moves to escape and runs into a wall, hitting her head.
- Mobley is becoming increasingly paranoid.
- Jacobs is unconscious. She has a fairly bad head wound and should go to a hospital, but fsociety don’t want to release her without some back-up, so they decide to hack her to find something to blackmail her with. They find emails from a hospital telling her how to look after her pacemaker.
- At the karaoke night Angela performs a mournful rendition of “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”. Afterwards she meets an older man at the bar and proceeds to chat him up.
- DiPierro is interviewing the guy Darlene stole the gun from. The shell they found at the arcade is linked to his illegally held gun. She offers him immunity in exchange for a name.
- Darlene goes to talk to Jacobs, with a stun gun; fsociety found an email account she’s been using to get hot and heavy with some judges.
- Darlene tells Jacobs she remembers seeing her when she was four, in the courtroom when E Corp was cleared of all charges, including killing Darlene’s Father. Darlene remembers her laughing when the verdict was announced.
- Darlene shocks Jacobs with the stun gun, stopping her heart. She falls into the pool, dead.
- Darlene tells the others that it was an accident, that Jacobs flipped out so she tried to scare her with the stun gun, that she didn’t know about her heart condition.
- Trenton and Mobley leave Cisco and Darlene to deal with the body, and the house. Darlene decides to take Jacobs’ corpse to where they usually dispose of the evidence after a hack – the veterinary surgery with the incinerator.
- As Mobley’s paranoia escalates, he pays a pizza guy to check his apartment before he goes in
- Trenton is at home, hearing noises; she’s becoming just as paranoid as Mobley now.
- Seems Mobley was right to be paranoid, as the FBI pay him a visit.
- DiPierro has had Mobley in an interrogation room all night. She’s worked out that he’s DJ Mobley, from the end of the world party flyer she found at Romero’s house. She tells him she wants Tyrell, not Tyrell’s DJ.
- Agent Santiago tells DiPierro to let Mobley go; they’re in enough trouble with the leaked conference call without holding people overnight for no good reason.
- Mobley sends Trenton a message telling her they’re burned, to meet him at the place they first met. Trenton gets the message and packs.
- Angela’s date from the bar, Andre, was assigned to track her by DiPierro to find out if she has any links to fsociety. He didn’t get any information though, and lost her at the bar to the older guy.
- Darlene is waking up at Cisco’s place; he’s in the shower. She sees his laptop is on.
- Trenton is waiting at Ron’s Coffee for Mobley, but he’s a no-show.
- Darlene finds images of her sleeping on Cisco’s computer, and a Chinese chat transcript with the Dark Army: “The femtocell backdoor is in play, stage 2 is about to begin”.
- Cisco comes out of the shower to find his laptop in pieces on the floor, Darlene swings for his head with a baseball bat just before the credits roll.
Last week’s episode was going to take some following, and a bit of explaining too. Why was Elliot is prison? Who was Ray really? What was Whiteroses part in all of this? Instead of answering any of these questions, this week’s episode chooses to just ignore them. Completely. No Elliot, no Mr Robot, no Whiterose, no Tyrell. It’s all about Darlene and the remaining members of fsociety, with a couple of scenes of Angela thrown in just to break it up a bit. Maybe it’s the lack of Elliot, maybe the slightly under par writing, but this episode just doesn’t work.
For a group of careful, paranoid hackers, team fsociety make a lot of careless mistakes this episode. Starting with not keeping an eye on Susan Jacobs’ whereabouts. Although it serves to facilitate the plot this episode, it seems highly unlikely that nobody was keeping an eye on her location, or they they didn’t have some kind of early warning system to alert them to her proximity. Or, given that this is a smart home with a presumably keyless entry system, that they could have at least denied her access to buy some time.
We expected more from Jacobs as well; the dig at Trenton about Muslims and Isis may well reflect current climates, but it isn’t something we”d expect to hear from an educated woman of her position. Sandrine Holt plays the scenes well though, especially before being zapped by Darlene as she realises she’s pretty much done.
Considering Mobley’s increasing paranoia it seems unlikely that he’d actually go back to his apartment. Sure he gets a random pizza guy to check it out for him, but was he expecting? Some spook sitting in the dark waiting for him? Or maybe a Dark Army assassin hidden in the shower? Either way it’s no surprise – to us at least – that the FBi turn up and collar him. We were kind of expecting him to go to pieces a little more in the interrogation room, but he plays it cool. Like a lot of this episode it doesn’t really add up, acting more like filler than any great revelation or plot enhancement.
Cisco is also guilty of dropping the ball here, leaving all the incriminating evidence on his laptop screen for Darlene to find. Yes, it was locked with a password, but that isn’t going to prove much of a barrier to someone like Darlene. Although given Cisco’s previous track record, maybe this one is more believable. We’re also not sure Darlene can read Chinese; so as far as she’s concerned that chat transcript could have been him ordering a takeaway.
Angela’s continuing downward spiral into vapid corporate bitch continues, and continues to be completely incidental to anything else going on. Although we did quite enjoy her somewhat melancholic off kilter rendition of “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”.
Just before the credits role we see Darlene swinging for Cisco with a baseball bat. They do say that murder gets easier after the first time. So now both she and Elliot are (possibly) homicidal maniacs. Maybe watching “Careful Massacre Of The Bourgeoisie” all those times warped their fragile little minds.
Carly Chaikin as Darlene is the only constant this episode, reminding us what makes the series great, as she reveals more of her character. We’re getting to see that she’s just as damaged as Elliot is; maybe even more so, given her lack of moral compunction.
Unfortunately the episode just doesn’t hold up. It still looks great, but there’s not a lot going on here plot wise. The writing as well just isn’t up to snuff this time; for most shows it wouldn’t be a problem, but we’ve come to expect more from Mr Robot. Let’s hope that this is just a bump in the road, and next week we can return to Mr Robot proper.
- It still looks pretty; there are some great shots of Susan Jacobs’ pool room.
- No Elliot, no Mr Robot.
- Not a lot actually happens.
- Everybody gets a bit careless.
- We still don’t know who was at the door at the end of last season!!!
And The Random:
- Trenton and Mobley are in Ron’s Coffee, as seen in season one episode one when Elliot busts Ron.
- What the hell did The Dark Army put in Cisco’s finger?
- DiPierro really likes Romy And Michelle’s High School Reunion.
- The speed test Trenton gives to Mobley at the start of the episode is: http://hioctane.dat.sh/ – which you can go to to benchmark your system.