This post obviously discusses plot points of Mr. Robot’s “succ3ss0r.p12.” Stay away if you’re inclined to get offended by that.
There have been a bunch of murders on Mr. Robot this season, and after last night’s episode there’s yet another body. But in this case, there is no mysterious killer at work. In fact, the perpetrator is someone we know intimately: Darlene (Carly Chaikin) zaps Susan Jacobs (Sandrine Holt) with a stun gun after the E Corp general counsel unexpectedly returns to the home Fsociety had been using as its headquarters. Jacobs suffers from a heart condition, and she’s left floating dead in her swanky, indoor pool. Darlene’s motives are personal: When she was 4, she noticed Jacobs laughing after E Corp was absolved of wrongdoing in the case that resulted in her father’s death.
So was this part of Darlene’s plan all along? And where does Darlene go from here? We hopped on the phone with Chaikin to get some answers.
The A.V. Club: Are we supposed to infer that this was something Darlene always wanted to happen? Did she always want this face time with Susan? Or was it always in the back of her head that murder was going to be on the table?
Carly Chaikin: I think it was one of those situations where you’re like, “If I ever saw that person I’d kill them,” but not actually thinking you would, in the same way that most of us have thought that same thing. I actually don’t know if—and I probably should know this, too—I think ultimately part of the plan was to take down her company, like she says, and take over her home. I don’t think she was expecting to have her, though. That improvisation of her coming home, of having this moment of Darlene being like, now I have her. Exactly what [Darlene] said about it: “Everyone else is pissed, but this is actually kind of a great thing that you came home.”
AVC: There’s a suspicion that maybe Darlene was lax for a reason, or allowed the team to be lax in terms of watching whether Susan was coming home, either consciously or subconsciously. Did that ever cross your mind?
CC: I think that totally could be a possibility of subconsciously not watching, but at the same time I think there were just so many other things going on. That wasn’t on the forefront of her mind. I don’t think it was her job to be the one monitoring that. It is the worst case scenario, because I think that if she wanted her to come home at some point it definitely wasn’t that point that she wanted her to come home. She would have had something else figured out, a ruse or something. Originally this is definitely not what she wanted or planned, and obviously caused so much so much chaos and just created way more shit than was already there if that was even possible.
AVC: On the train after she incinerates Susan’s body, Darlene says, “I always knew there was a part of me that wanted to do this to her for what she did, but I figured that when the time came something would stop me.” How do you think committing a murder changes her and changes her objectives?
CC: It’s hard for me as Carly. Everybody has these amazing questions that I have tried to think about, but because I’m thinking about it in Darlene’s point of view, she has no fucking idea. It’s all these things just kind of happening and coming and dealing with them. And trying to figure out then the fact that she’s not reacting to this when she thinks that she should be. All of this is something that she never in a million years would think would happen. She’s literally trying to dealing with it one step at a time, and every step just happens to be a huge stumble or fall. In her ideal world none of this would be happening, none of this would be working out the way that it is. I think one of the things that is affecting her so much is the fact that she’s not as affected as she would want to be or thinks that she should be. It’s a testament to the place she’s in right now, of on one hand having everything to lose, but on the other hand nothing to lose at this point, and just getting deeper and deeper into this hole she’s dug herself into.
AVC: When you say she has “no fucking idea,” is that how to process what she’s done? Or just in general, in terms of what she’s doing and how to handle all this?
CC: I think both. I don’t think that even if Elliot [Rami Malek] was in this situation—or anybody in the entire world—would know how to handle this or know what the right thing to do is or what the next step should be. Especially someone like her, who is a young girl and wanted to start this revolution thinking it would save the world, and it ended up doing what it did. She had no idea this would happen, no idea how to get out of it, no idea what to do without her brother, no idea how to process any of this, which I think is real because I don’t know how anybody would.
AVC: Yeah, totally. It’s a crazy situation.
CC: Yeah, she needs to start going to see Krista [Gloria Reuben].
AVC: We’ve seen Darlene have badass take-charge moments, but we’ve also seen her starting to fall apart. Do you think that she was good at being the leader of this revolution? Do you think she needs Elliot and Robot [Christian Slater] to be the voice of it?
CC: I think she’s doing the best that she can. If Elliot and Robot were there, I don’t know what they would do. If Robot was there—because of their connections with Whiterose, and other things—as crazy as it is to say that they have more of a rational mindset, they do, because they are coming at it from Elliot’s knowledge and from Mr. Robot’s knowledge instead of this young girl’s mind of trying to scramble her way and trying to figure this out. It’s hard to say if she’s a good leader or not. But ultimately she’s led them to this, and she’s led herself to this. I guess it’s safe to say no.
AVC: Robot has told Elliot that they killed Tyrell [Martin Wallström]. Elliot sees himself as a murderer at this point. Darlene knows that she is capable of this. What do you think it means at this point in the season that we have these siblings who either believe or know that they can commit murder?
CC: They’re two peas in a pod. It speaks to the damage of both of them have suffered together. I think it shows what happens when you get into such a desperate place. For Elliot, he doesn’t remember, so that would have been a place of Mr. Robot taking over, but this show is really everyone at their worst, and really stripped down and being in these situations that 99.999 percent of the world will never and have never experienced. What would you do? Those times in an instant when you have to make a decision, and the decision is irreversible. It’s not like they’ve been grown up and raised to make healthy good choices. I think left to their own devices, this is what happens.
AVC: A bit of the episode was scored by Angela’s [Portia Doubleday] karaoke performance of Tears For Fears’ “Everybody Wants To Rule The World.” What would be Darlene’s karaoke song be for her worst moment?
CC: Oh my God. That is a very hard question. On one hand, I want to say it would be the same song. That could be everybody’s song that they would sing. I think that’s why it’s so powerful. But on the other hand I wish I was good enough to come up with something off the top of my head.