Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined a satire-drama TV show raising my stress meter to the point where I felt like someone being hunted for sport. But such is HBO Originals’ infernal design. And if you’re not willing to be on tenterhooks, biting the ever-loving hell out of your nails, what are you doing watching “Succession”? Although the unholy Roy Trinity is showing ridiculously convincing signs of semi-functionality that have clearly resulted from some level of self-reflection, does this give you any hope? And yet the nihilism protruding from the hamster wheel of a blood feud that tosses all of their efforts into the waste bin doesn’t mind snatching that very hope away in the blink of an eye. There are only losers in “Succession,” making the daunting irony of the title irrefutably known every step of the way. And there doesn’t seem to be a lot of fire left in the vicious Roy patriarch either, who’s struggling to let himself sink in the quicksand of fate now that the sunset of his legacy is undeniably imminent.
A Birthday With Perhaps A Side Of Tomlette?
Here comes the birthday boy—a miserable Logan Roy—a sight for sore eyes, really. 48 hours until he formally hands over his life’s work to Mattson for a payout that could end world hunger. Yet there’s something eating away at Logan. Is it having no kids to bully, or is it the effect of his being surrounded by incompetent people that deserve little more than a boot up the seat of their pants but are treated to grubs? There’s no telling with the perpetually irritated big Roy. But have you seen his girlfriend, though? Playing the “honorary kid” card may or may not have given Greg an unimpeachable right to invite a plus one in the form of a date he hopes to bed later. But you know Greg. Man falls in and out of love almost in synchronicity with his rise in the family (I could’ve said “business” if the two words weren’t synonymous when it comes to the Roys).
Kerry testily chasing him around to warn him of the possibility of his date threatening the confidentiality of the hush-hush deals likely to go down does nothing to keep Greg from going to third base with Bridget in one of the guest rooms. Of course, that comes after Bridget has already made a couple of epoch-defining mistakes at the party, one of which was asking Logan Roy for a gosh darn selfie. Bless her soul. The only status quo left undisturbed is that of Greg and Tom, wherein the latter gets a wicked buzz out of tormenting the former for accidentally making an adult tape for Logan to relish at night with a glass of scotch in hand.
“The Disgusting Brothers” (dear God in heaven!) have more than likely been painting the town red. Although I doubt Tom plays an active part in “getting the action,” if you know what I mean. Fighting to win the “who’s the biggest chump” contest, Connor plays around with the idea of spending a fortune to hold on to the one percent vote he’s managed to bag in the presidential election, to avoid embarrassment, of course. And that looks to be too big a sum to dump down the drains. Connor proposes a hoopla for a wedding and begs Willa to let go of her dream wedding for the sake of getting his face on the news. Offering the anxious Tom an “if we’re good, we’re good” when the soon-to-be not-son-in-law fishes for reassurance is about as kind as Logan has ever gotten himself to be to anyone. Flighty even at his own birthday party, especially after a birthday song that sincerely missed Marilyn Monroe taking the lead, Logan finds it best to have a meal away from the bootlicking crowd. Bearing the bulk of the burn for his whim is his right-hand man, Colin, who would sooner eat a bullet than answer his boss’ existential curiosity about the enigma that is the afterlife. And if you’re wondering if Logan misses his kids, he most certainly does; granted, he’s too smug to reach out himself when they don’t bother giving their devil dad a call.
It’s Always Sunny in LA
Who would’ve thought that Roman would come off his lifelong daddy-pleasing hangover to actually lead the brainstorming session for their dicey new business venture, or as a visibly coked-up Kendall calls it, “a Substack meets Masterclass meets The Economist meets The New Yorker” type news network? For whatever it’s worth, just the fact that the three wounded brethren haven’t loosened their ties is more than you can ask of them. Sure, they neither possess the strain of ruthlessness nor the steady prudence that the foundation of a business calls for, but it’s a noble goal set by the wretched three, who seem to have come a long way since their last encounter with hellfire, courtesy of OG Roy.
Shiv is the picture of a battered private, double-crossed by her abused sergeant, with whom her marriage is likely to be concluded. The fallout from the last battle has given Tom more than enough space to venture out and do what was primarily suggested by Shiv herself: play the field. Yet when he calls to make Shiv aware of the business-casual meeting he’s just had with Ken’s ex, Naomi Pierce, jealous Shiv’s guilty conscience instantly thinks up a picture of her husband sleeping with her brother’s ex. Frowning almost immediately at the shady mention of a Pierce in the mix, Ken and Roman haven’t even begun diving deep enough into the murky waters of what is really going on.
Remember the consequential mistake made by Greg’s date that I mentioned earlier? Well yeah, she posted pictures from the party online and tagged another member of the Pierce family. One Pierce is a mistake, but two Pierces evidently indicate some covert foul play Logan Roy may be indulging in. And the miserable siblings aren’t wrong in assuming the worst, considering Logan really has placed his cards on the table to make his decades-long dream of acquiring the Nan-run PGM come true. “But how?” you may ask. As it turns out, the comrades aren’t necessarily as good at camaraderie as one would think, and the Left has left the Pierce news conglomerate behind to fend for itself and die if it can’t. And die it will unless Nan takes her monumental ego down a notch and entertains offers from bidders.
For now, the only one itching to have a go is Logan Roy. And the ones planning to stick it to the Royco mogul, albeit after getting a surprisingly squirmish Roman on board, are Logan’s very own exasperated kids. But is Nan even entertaining other offers? It appears to be so when a call from her favorite Roy kid cajoles the Pierce matriarch into agreeing to sit down with them. It sure is nice to have a jet in the backyard, no? Who knows when the circumstances would call for a complete renunciation of months of work for them to fly to the Pierce mansion?
Ending Explained – Who Wins The Bidding War? What Happens Between Shiv And Tom?
Logan’s war-cry alerts his inner circle to band together in the HQ to brainstorm against the enemies, the Roy kids, who’ve once again fallen into the same draining pattern that has always defined their very existence. Karl may be too jittery to break the news to an already fuming Logan that he’s about to land in another conflict orchestrated by his children. As he waits out the sweet time Nan is taking to give a definite yes or no, Logan wishes to be treated to a roast. In all probability, the instinctive bully in him misses having his kids around to torment to no end. Judging from the cringeworthy attempt at humor from Frank, I’m not dying to put his name up for a stand-up comedy gig. Greg is practically inserting his noggin into the mouth of the shark as he takes charge and gives Logan what he’s asking for. But the nervous whispers of his daring adventure in one of Logan’s rooms may just have earned him some respect from the big guy.
Ken handles the cumbersome encounter with his ex at her home with more tact than any of us could frankly expect him to possess. Like a princess fiddling about before making her mind up about the worthy suitor, Nan makes the three wait with the ruse of a headache. Before you give yourself a bald spot wondering how Ken, Shiv, and Roman would even rustle up a sum big enough to outbid Logan, let me help you out. Their entire game plan is underpropped by the payout that is supposed to bulk up their bank accounts once the GoJo sale goes through. And while that seems like too capricious a promise to base their gamble on, no war was ever won without risks. After a bit of back and forth with the financial advisor, about whom I have some serious concerns, he gives the Roy kids roughly $8 billion to put on the table and make their case. With an “aw, you shouldn’t have!” Nan relishes being swept off her feet by Shiv while Logan shortsightedly lowballs her with $6 billion. Vexed Logan’s plan of gauging the adversaries with a call from Tom only backfires when the trio decides to throw their hats over the fence with a whopping $10 billion that Nan has no other choice but to bow down to. Wait, let me savor this for a second. Did Shiv, Ken, and Roman just make their dad eat humble pie? Unlikelier things have absolutely never happened. It’s time to pop the champagne.
The beige abundance of her home wraps the loneliness around her as Shiv turns in for the night. Sitting at Nan’s and announcing her divorce to appease her was probably the very moment that Shiv made up her mind about ending the tug of war-that has bruised both parties alike. Tom is a shell of a person, as he wears his heart on his sleeve and tables the tallying of the ocean of pain that has brewed throughout their marriage. Shiv’s having a hard time keeping in the eruptive pain at the dawn of her acceptance that it’s time to sever the marital tie once and for all. They lie hand in hand, and in quiet desolation, they mourn the loving unit that neither of them was equipped to nurture. It’s not a rousing sight in Logan’s living room, either.
Logan, in all his monstrous glory that would put the very idea of evil to shame, isn’t beyond his mortal fragilities. When the sword has been wiped clean and placed back into its sheath, Logan is ultimately an everyman; he is every frail old chap who spends his sleep-deprived nights watching trashy news programs on TV. The only difference between Logan and a regular guy would be that the latter doesn’t own the news channel with a host whose face, Logan despises. Grunting at his own fallibility, Logan wakes up Cyd Peach, the head of ATN, in the middle of the night to hold her accountable for the state of the channel and, most importantly, to ask her a question he is too scared to ask himself. Are you losing it, Logan?