The second episode in the possibly final season of HBO’s “Succession” aired this Sunday, and it’s yet another demonstration of how magnanimous Logan’s manipulation can be. Waystar Royco’s founder and CEO, Logan Roy (Brian Cox), is in a tough battle with his children over what becomes of his company because he’s a bull that doesn’t know when it’s time to step down. After his eldest son Connor’s wedding rehearsal, Logan is invited by Connor to a club where he tries talking ‘sense’ into his children but is apparently torn apart by the enraged children. However, in the end, Logan yet again wins because he manages to chip away at at least one of the soldiers on the opposing team. Here’s how Logan breaks down his rival team, composed of his own flesh and blood: Kendall, Siobhan, and Roman.
Logan Roy has been established as a master manipulator who used to treat his children like tools that could be used to help expand his empire as a media mogul, but by “Succession” Season 4, his children from the second marriage have become disillusioned with the tyranny of their father. In Episode 2, we see Kendall, Roman, and Siobhan in a club together with their half-brother Connor, who’s worried that his bride might’ve dumped him. The Waystar family is in the middle of a deal going down with Lukas Mattson, the CEO of a huge tech company, GoJo, and the siblings are trying to push the vote a few weeks back to squeeze out more money from Mattson. Logan realizes that if the children join forces with his rival Sandy Furness’s daughter, Sandi, and their partner Stewie Hosseini, Waystar may lose out on the deal. So he decides to drop by and personally gaslight his children into listening to him. Of course, he learned about his children’s location from his eldest son, Connor, who’s another train wreck altogether.
When Logan shows up in the private room where the next generation of Roys is being tortured by Connor’s utterly depressing karaoke, the mood in the room changes immediately. Roman’s expression changes upon looking at his father, although the other two siblings remain unfazed. Before the media mogul’s surprise visit happened, Ken and Shiv were accosting Roman for sending his dad a “happy birthday” and “take care” text, and even though Roman might’ve shied away from caring about his father, of all of Logan’s kids, Rome probably loved him the most. Or at least, that’s how he trauma-bonded to his emotionally and physically abusive father, who ruffled his hair and patted his back moments after gaslighting him. As Roman took the backseat in the conversation, Ken and Shiv went to town, tearing their father apart as he tried to find some ground to explain to his children that delaying would be a bad idea. The shark of a father seemingly abandons his lifelong dream of acquiring Pierce Media for his children and says he’ll be satisfied with ATN while the kids walk home with a significant amount of cash.
This is enough to rope in Connor, who has already been starved of money and has been asking Logan for handouts constantly. The eldest son shoots down his siblings, trying to attack their father by saying that at least Logan is trying to make things right as an octogenarian and totally forgives the decades of emotional trauma because he’s really concerned about his payday. When the boss’s girlfriend, Kerry, tries sweetening the deal, Shiv gaslights her father, asking if they can go back to their happy childhood, where they can be kids again and be singing road trip songs, knowing full well their father never made an effort to connect with any of them. As the older siblings Ken and Shiv begin ridiculing Kerry for butting in to provide her opinions, Logan does the unthinkable—he says he can apologize to his children.
While Ken and Shiv are guffawing at the possibility of their tyrant father talking about apologizing, Roman leans in with curiosity. While he wants his father to apologize to them for cutting them out of their voting rights, Logan is sorry that he took away their helicopter privileges. Clearly, the notion of feeling regret over one’s actions is foreign to Logan, who clearly states he doesn’t make apologies—probably because it’s beneath him. While the father remains silent because he can’t bring himself to apologize to his children for being a nightmare for the entirety of their lives, Kendall takes the step and reminds everyone of all the horrible things Logan has done. His sins include but aren’t limited to ignoring Connor for most of his life and having his first wife—Connor’s mom—locked up, as well as hitting Rome when they were young. So, the slap across Rome’s face in “Succession” Season 2 wasn’t a one-time thing, which explains Ken’s anger and his rushing to his brother’s defense. It’s pathetic that Connor, ever the hapless idiot, defends their father because he’s scared he won’t get another handout. Interestingly, the billionaire kids Ken and Shiv are lambasting their father not because they want to increase their net worth by holding out for a few more weeks but out of spite. Shiv hates her father even more because he has ensured she doesn’t get any good divorce lawyers for her upcoming divorce with Tom Wambsgans, while Ken hates him for treating his “number one boy” as a lapdog, only fit to be fed to the wolves when the time is right.
Logan blames his daughter, saying he’d have advised her the same as he did his son-in-law if only she hadn’t abandoned him, trying to guilt-trip her into thinking it’s her fault what happened to her. Siobhan, who learned the art all too well from her dad, calls him out on this very deed and adds what’s on everyone’s mind whenever Logan goes somewhere. People want to say a lot of things to him, to his face but are scared lest he ruins their lives. “Pinky,” his daughter finally says it out loud. He makes one more attempt at trying to get his children to play ball, but when he realizes they won’t budge, he calls them childish, adding they’re not “serious people.” Of course, he’s right. Ken and Shiv are doing it to irk their father and hurt him; if they really cared about the money, they wouldn’t push an already risky deal. This rant of Logan somehow appeals to Roman, and he ends up at his father’s office.
Logan welcomes Roman with open arms and shoos out Tom so that he can have some privacy with his newest favorite son—or rather, manipulate him to his liking. Roman arrives feeling bad for going against his father because, perhaps for the first time, he’s heard his father sound somewhat regretful, and he wants to give this a shot. Logan immediately hints at a high position in ATN for him, and when Roman isn’t convinced, he uses his ultimate weapon: “I need you.” That’s all it takes to break down love-starved Romulus, who’s being given a seat beside his father, whom he has secretly worshipped. This worship is rather messed up because he’s in a severely toxic relationship with his father, where he craves his attention and survives on the scraps Logan throws from time to time, kind of like how the marriage between Shiv and Tom worked. What’s interesting is that while Logan is asking Rome to accompany him to meet Mattson, the son reminds him that it’s Connor’s wedding, and Logan clarifies that he has bigger fish to fry. This is a testament to just how much Logan cares about his eldest son, who has a bleeding heart for his dad. While it’s left to the next week to see what Roman decides, it’s certain that his father still has a massive hold on him, almost as strong as the one that made Roman come back from the no-confidence vote in “Succession” Season 1.