Mr. Robot takes a big risk in ‘Successor’, making it the first episode in which Elliot does not appear at all, and giving us the chance to get to know the members of fsociety better.
Leaving Elliot out of an episode also means Mr. Robot is gone, as well as the narration and some of the overall craziness that usually comes with our main character. However, while coming off as a bit slow at times, ‘Succession’ still works for one main reason: Darlene.
Many people often forget that, as siblings, Darlene and Elliot share the same backstory, and even though Darlene might not be mentally ill, she does have her vulnerabilities and is not 100% mentally stable either. What ECorp did to their father still lingers over the two of them and continues to condition every single decision they make throughout the series. What Darlene does in ‘Succession’ is easily one of the darkest twists the series has had so far, and one that changes things drastically. Leaving Darlene alone with Susan Jacobs was probably not the smartest idea and, considering she had seen too much, the fact that she would be dead by the end of the episode was very likely. Given that Darlene was the ideal candidate to do it, Trenton’s accident with Susan felt quite forced and out of place. Regardless of that, what Darlene has done scares the other members, who have trouble believing it was just an accident. Furthermore, Darlene later confesses that she doesn’t feel guilty about what she’s done because she always knew she was capable of doing it at some point. Unfortunately, Cisco’s emotional support is short-lived, as she later discovers that he was actually talking to the Dark Army behind their backs.
I have previously talked about how Elliot’s absence affects Darlene, but it also does have an effect on fsociety as a whole, given that he’s their leader. In that aspect, ‘Successor’ achieves something that the first season failed to do, which is giving some characterization to the members of fsociety, mainly Mobley and Trenton. It was not much, but seeing more from the group’s interacttions certainly helps in raising the stakes whenever they’re in trouble (which is basically every episode).
Outside of the group, Angela continues being a key character this season, even if her storyline did not advance much in this episode. Her whole scene in that bar, from paying a beautiful rendition of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” to flirting with old men is painful to watch, as she continues trying to convince herself that what she’s doing is somehow worth it. She also continues being monitored by the Dom and the FBI.
‘Successor’ focuses on fsociety and how they handle things when their leader is absent, with a special focus on Darlene, who ends up doing something drastic. The lack of Elliot in this episode also means that we will probably have to wait another week to get some answers on Elliot’s prison stay. Here’s to hoping Darlene won’t be joining him anytime soon.