Did “Mr. Robot” air its best episode of the season last Wednesday, August 24? That’s the consensus of Riley Chow, Daniel Montgomery, and myself as we recap the USA Network series. This week’s episode, entitled “eps2.6_succ3ss0r.p12,” was written by first-time “Mr. Robot” scribe Courtney Looney, and directed by series creator Sam Esmail.
In this Elliot-free episode, Darlene (Carly Chaikin) asserts her role as the leader of fsociety, beginning by releasing a video exposing Operation Berenstain, an illegal FBI surveillance program. But their triumph is short-lived, especially after Susan Jacobs (Sandrine Holt), the E-Corps attorney whose hacked home has served as fsociety’s home base, returns unexpectedly and becomes the group’s prisoner.
When Darlene was a child she saw Susan laugh in the courtroom when E-Corp was cleared of any liability in the toxic waste leak that led to her father Edward Alderson’s (Christian Slater) death. Then in a shocking move, Darlene kills Susan, disposes of the body and returns home with Cisco (Michael Drayer). But while he’s in the shower Darlene looks at his computer and discovers that he has sold her out to the Dark Army. When he emerges from the shower, Darlene knocks him out with a baseball bat.
We all believe that this was the best episode of the season so far, with Chow commenting, “It was surprising that we could go a whole episode without Elliot.” We also agree that Chaikin gives an outstanding performance, with Montgomery arguing that this would be a great episode submission should Chaikin be nominated for Best Drama Supporting Actress next year at the Emmys.
We also praise the show for giving the supporting cast, particularly Mobley (Azhar Khan) and Trenton (Sunita Mani), additional layers of complexity after they spent most of the season lost in the background.
But with only three weeks left in the season, we anticipate what questions still remain to be answered: Why has Elliot been in prison to begin with? How will Elliot and Darlene keep themselves safe from the Dark Army? And when and how will Tyrell Wellick (Martin Wallstrom) return to the canvas?
We also take a moment to discuss the show’s chances at the Emmys this year now that the voting period (August 15-29) is coming to a close. I’m predicting the show will win Best Drama Writing and possibly Best Drama Actor (Rami Malek), though Montgomery and Chow are worried the TV academy will send it home empty-handed, especially in the midst of another possible “Game of Thrones” sweep.
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