Why is the 2.8.1 update taking so long to do the Manual Update?

I am having all kinds of difficulty upgrading to Subscribe by email in the 2.8.1. I tried a blog with only 20 subscribers and it basically just spun and spun and never really finished. Finally after banging on the refresh button and closing and opening the browser it said it was done and allowed me back to the dashboard. I am obviosly more patient than my users would be and I don't like this new update in the least. I suspect it is going to wreak havoc across my network as the users click on a "Manual Update".

So where do I even begin to go with troubleshooting this plugin? The manual upgrade process ends in a blank screen almost as it has timed out.

We has issues a year ago that were very significant and now this latest update is KILLING me. I am getting failed updates left and right. Out of the two I tried to update only one went properly and that was because there were only 2 subscribers!