Of Mr. Robot’s entire cast of characters, Darlene is the most active participant in the show’s plot. Where Elliot hesitates, Mr. Robot is imaginary, and the FBI chases the wrong leads, only Darlene knows what the hell to do. In “eps2.6_succ3ss0r.p12” — where Rami Malek’s Elliot is absent for the entire hour — Darlene’s active philosophy brings her to the point of no return, committing two murders. (Or maybe it’s just one, given that the episode ends on a cliffhanger.)
Taking life isn’t a bizarre occurrence in the ruthless world of Mr. Robot, and yet the show sometimes plays murder for shock value. We’re meant to flip the fuck out that Elliot’s father pushed him out of a window. If Christian Slater’s nerd dad were less pleasant, Elliot’s childhood would be more gruesome. But that’s not how you build sympathetic characters, so Elliot’s troubled childhood is more of an instance of an absent father than a father who didn’t deserve to be one.
Mr. Robot tried to be a good father, but would he have killed for Elliot? Maybe. Who knows if it’s in the Alderson genes to kill, but it’s certainly a part of Darlene’s makeup. In charge of fsociety since Elliots imprisonment after 5/9, Darlene (Carly Chaikan) has kept a tight ship and affirmatively takes zero shit from any of fsociety’s hackers. Remember how she was a party pooper in this season’s first episode? That’s someone who places getting the job done above all. While it’s a far cry to conclude someone stopping a party to commit murder, this is Mr. Robot. Everyone takes giant leaps.
When Susan Jacobs (Sandrine Holt) returns to her house overrun by pizza-eating hackers, fsociety panics and keeps her prisoner. After some attempts to escape, including one head-first charge into the wall, Susan sits down with Darlene. The mercy Darlene shows is brief, and she tasers Susan into her lavish indoor swimming pool, drowning her. (In whatever bizarre definition of fairness, you have to admit: Who has an indoor swimming pool in a New York City apartment?)
As for the second murder, well, when it’s time to clean up, Cisco (Michael Drayer) — in cahoots with Whiterose — capitalized on Darlene’s vulnerability after hiding Susan’s body. Darlene waits for him with a baseball bat in hand. She could have bolted, which most people would have done. But Darlene isn’t most people, so she kills to survive.
The most telling moment of the episode comes halfway between the work with the bodies. After disposing Susan but before Cisco’s betrayal, Darlene confesses to Cisco that she feels nothing. No guilt, no remorse, as if she’s lost her ability to feel. It stuns her in the subway, but she shouldn’t be so shocked. Darlene’s slip into insanity has been a long time coming.