To what extent can you really plan out your life? Has there been anyone, ever, for whom things go exactly the way they expected?
Television characters with an elaborate plan is a well-trod device by now, think of Frank Underwood’s grand scheme, or whatever it was the Cylons were supposed to be doing. This week, Mr Robot continues its trend of subverting prestige tropes by exploiting one of the classics – “This was my plan All Along.”
After last week’s big reveal, Elliot is absent from this week’s proceedings- and what remains is much more structurally simple. The A story, where Susan Jacobs finally comes back to check on her house, is interesting for what it doesn’t say. When you have characters who are supposed to be the best at what they do, it can be difficult to continue finding new challenges for them to overcome. Make it too easy, and your story quickly drains of energy as your heroes effortlessly overcome their foes. Make it too hard, and the audience will question why anyone thinks they’re good at their jobs in the first place (a.k.a The Torchwood effect). Which is why, at face value, Darlene decides to kill Susan in the moment.
And the others seem convinced, Mobley at least, that she wouldn’t willingly plan a murder. But, as we learned last week, the Alderson family is better at murder than they give themselves credit. Let’s say Darlene is at worst an opportunist, that she chose that house because she felt pretty certain she’d get the opportunity to confront Susan eventually. Darlene and Cisco manage to get rid of the body without much trouble, but she should probably be more worried about the vhs tape that got left behind in Susan’s house.
Project Berenstain (which auto-correct doesn’t recognise, by the way) has been revealed as a massive surveillance operation with 16 prime suspects, one deceased. Two and two are quickly put together and Trenton and Mobley make the potentially wise decision to make themselves scarce. While Darlene looks for answers she discovers Cisco has been keeping tabs on her for the Dark Army, so she presents him with the business end of a baseball bat. With several groups trying to bring them down, it begs the question why they haven’t been caught yet.
Mobley’s brief incarceration offers some answers. Dom, and to a far lesser extent the rest of the FBI, know these suspects are involved *somehow*, but don’t have enough to put them away. Each week there’s a growing sense that the 5/9 attacks have destabilised the economy beyond the point of repair, and this is another consequence of that action. The hacks continue to make it harder for the people who want the hacking to stop to do their jobs, and there may come a time where that will be a problem.
This week’s title wants us to think about who could replace Elliot- and neither Darlene nor Angela seem up for the job. They both have too much to lose, people who need to be accounted for and vengeance to enact. Angela slips even further into corporate espionage as its revealed that her last date was working for Dom, and from the look in her eyes you can tell she’s barely holding on. Angela wants Evil Corp to pay, practically everyone does, but because she wants, no, needs something specific the people at the top are going to still have that against her. And that’s going to get her into trouble sooner rather than later.