The thing about HBO satire dramedy is that the very essence of anything good you want to fuse your faith to is basically wishful thinking. And that’s the abusive textbook dynamic the entirety of the Roy foundation is meant to withstand when the all-powerful abuser refuses to bow out. All I can do is advise you against getting your pom poms out of the backpack for the Roy kids, who are practically helpless bugs stuck in the glue trap laid out by their dad, who’s more an emotional devastation mogul than a media one. Episode 2 of “Succession” Season 4 is all OG Roy, exhibiting yet again the petrifying maze of his mind that can’t possibly be outmaneuvered by people whose battle schemes are those of a scorned 12-year-old. Not to mention the crestfallen Greg in all his hilarious, pitiable glory that makes me love this ginormous, tortured underdog/conniving yes-man/irreplaceably perfect mouthpiece of the uproarious one-liners, oh so much!
A Viciously Mommed Shiv
It doesn’t really come off as a shock that the Roy kids hadn’t the faintest idea about what they were getting into when they promised a gigantic amount; they didn’t even have to thwart their dad’s lifelong dream. Amusingly mirroring his dad’s senile aggravations, Roman can’t help but whine at the sight of the unaesthetic bald guy on PGN’s day program. It sure is fun to watch the three haphazardly grasp at straws to come up with ideas to overhaul the ancient media conglomerate, which is only made even more hilarious by Kendall’s contribution that suggests that PGN should pivot the day-to-day happenings in Africa. Before she can even try to add her two cents in, Shiv is deflected by a call letting her know that the divorce lawyer she has been eyeing has “conflicted out.” I’m sure you’re thinking, “that shouldn’t be a problem for a billionaire.” But wait. There’s more to come. It’s not just the one lawyer who’s turned their back on Shiv.
All five divorce attorneys that have made names big enough to represent Siobhan Roy have trashed her offer and have chosen to side with Tom instead. It isn’t that Tom wouldn’t break the pettiness scale trying to settle the score with his soon-to-be ex-wife, but as Shiv aptly concludes right away, Tom just doesn’t have the oomph of strategy to come up with something this vicious. “So, who was it?” You ask. Well, of course, it was big Roy himself, getting even with his beloved daughter for the stunt she pulled the other night. This isn’t the first time Shiv is seeing this move either, as she fumingly exclaims that she’s being “mommed,” suggesting that this is exactly how Logan had defeated her mom when his previous marriage was coming to an end. And there it is: another laser dot for the cat to chase as it gets distracted from the matter at hand and forsakes it entirely. There’s just about a day left before the GoJo sale goes through, and Shiv reaches out to the only two with enough board-implied weapons at their disposal to stick a knife in the deal’s back: Sandi and Stewy. Shiv doesn’t necessarily need to be lured in with the promise that Matsson can be squeezed some more to yield a bigger payoff. All she wants is to exact retribution for her father sticking his malicious nose into her private business.
Everyone in ‘Succession’ Works For Or Against Jaws, I Guess
Logan is not the boss you would want traipsing about in the bullpen and scrutinizing every move you’re making, or as Greg describes it, “terrifyingly moseying.” The ATN office has seen better days, and now that it is like “Jaws if everybody worked for Jaws,” Tom is made to horn in and save his poor flock from Logan’s printer paper blocks-propped pow-wow speech that humiliates and intimidates more than it inspires. But I guess it takes only the best employees to be roused into applauding as Logan commands his soon-to-be colleagues with his roars about saying things no other channel is saying. They’re in the business to make news, not just broadcast what’s already there, apparently. It’s just like “bring your grumpy dad to work” day as Logan moans and groans at the AC-blasting, old pizza with “a sog factor”-wasting expenditures that he means to cut down on. But when has Logan ever been to a place with just one errand to run? It’s not just about hawk-eyed-ly scanning out the office he’s likely to make his home in soon; it’s also about giving his sugar assistant the perk of being by his side.
Does anyone remember that “Succession” episode on ‘The Office’ when Robert California brought in his wife, who wanted a job, and Andy was in a pickle trying to appease his volatile unpredictability? Well, it’s like that, if Andy was Tom and Robert California was infinitely more explosive, terrifying, and opaque (no shade at James Spader. He’s got my heart in the palm of his hand). Kerry, as it turns out, wants to take a shot at anchoring, something that Logan seems to back but he actually means to shoot down at its root—clearly, this is too overwhelming for Tom to grasp at first. All it does is produce an audition-type tape that has everyone rolling on the floor (I can’t unsee that smile on her face as she was talking about the abducted children). The poor chaps needed a good laugh at the expense of Logan’s menacing assistant/girlfriend’s awkward hands, which are just a tad better than most of us not knowing what to do with our hands when posing for pictures.
Caught up in a gum tree, Tom is understandably having a hard time choosing between saving ATN from broadcasting that “good but not there yet,” i.e., an absolute trash news clip, and keeping his head attached to his neck. But he gets a green light from Logan, who would like to see the tape burn as long as he’s not implicated. And, of course, Tom wouldn’t want to be the bearer of bad news, especially when the receiver is as formidable as Kerry. Enter Greg, the Gabe to Tom’s Dunder Mifflin HQ, who royally misdelivers the bad tidings with a rickety lie about a fictitious “focus group” and is rewarded with a threat of being torn apart like string cheese. Jeesus! Pop a Xanax, Kerry!
Why Does Kendall Get On Board With Sandi And Stewy’s Plan?
How dare the dad play the king of pettiness, take away the jet, and reduce the poor rich kids down to the likes of commoners? Of lowbrow commuters that take a car to NYC, of all things? Pshaw! Well, at least the blame isn’t on them for being late to Connor’s cursed rehearsal dinner. Not that his half-siblings being late is the primary thing plaguing the groom, considering a dazedly drunk Willa has just left the premises after mumbling a few words they can’t make heads or tails of. The doctor’s verdict? A nasty case of cold feet. Succumbing to the dread of being dumped has just enlivened the bourgeoisie in the oldest Roy prince, whose whim now is to visit a proletarian pub for a few drinks and for his siblings to ride the wave. There it is, the snobbish nose scrunch from Roman, who is unsure if the bartender can rustle up a glass of vodka and tonic, and from Shiv, whose life’s wildest adventure would be to try the house red. Coddling him with just enough sympathy so as not to push him over the edge is, of course, something Roman keeps in check with his quasi-bully hijinks. Seeing him busy on his phone tracking every detail of Willa’s live location with an app (standard in a relationship, no?), Shiv gets a bit of room to pitch what Sandi and Stewy have put on the table.
Joining strengths and backing out from the board vote tomorrow is likely to give Matsson a push to sweeten the deal a bit more. But it also comes with the risk of the mostly checked-out Lukas Matsson backing out and leaving the Roys with no gains and a failing business. Roman and Ken see right through what has driven Shiv to get on board with the risky alliance with their dad’s mortal enemies. And while Ken is only squirmish about the possible massive loss, there’s something else that’s keeping little Roy from wanting to pull a fast one on his dad. Rome has been keeping in a “so, how’s it going?” kind of touch with Logan. Guess that’s one string Logan is still able to pull if the need doth arise. Ken leaves the pity party to receive a call that basically turns the tables yet again, as is how things usually go with the fickle Roys. Matsson has gotten a whiff of what the siblings have been up to with the board backing out of the GoJo sale to wring some more money out of him and has called Ken to remind him that he’ll walk out if things don’t go his way. It may just be that Ken discerns the fear in Matsson, or it may even be that he has just been triggered by another powerful fella attempting to walk all over him, but something shifts in Ken, and he walks in, ready to say yes to Shiv’s proposal. Consequential calls are how everything changes in the show, I swear!
Ending Explained – Will Roman Betray His Siblings?
Say what you want about the Roy kids, but there’s a certain strain of selflessness running through their veins that even most of us don’t have. I mean, would you take Connor to a karaoke bar to sing his broken heart out? Because I know I wouldn’t. The nauseating pink neon of the room can do its best, but it can’t possibly hope to eclipse the queasiness pouring out of Connor’s embarrassing rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Famous Blue Raincoat.” But I guess suffering through the signature freaky escapades of the Roy family has rendered Shiv, Ken, and Rome somewhat immune to the less harmful versions of it. Babying their eldest sibling’s obnoxious, albeit wretched, emotions isn’t nearly as bad for the three as Roman getting a call from Logan, asking to sit down and have a chat with his kids.
The first and massively impressive win is to get Logan Roy to come down to this dive in the first place. Sure, he comes anchored to the hot-under-the-collar Kerry, but Logan is surprisingly soft for a man who has come bearing a flag that would remind him not to get too up close and personal. The look of defeat on Kerry’s face somewhat makes Logan look weaker than he would’ve wanted to come off. You would think that baring his heart about the dejection he felt when none of them went to his birthday party is the closest that Logan will ever come to offering an apology. But the man, who Greg aptly describes as “if Santa was a hitman,” has more shocks for you in his sack than you could ever imagine. Logan doesn’t just “say a feeling”; he also tables an actual apology, albeit over the most measly, recent screw-ups, and for hungry Ken and Shiv to lap it up in a second. It’s wretched to see Ken vexedly compelling Logan to hold himself accountable for ignoring Connor and for abusing Roman as a kid. It’s even more discouraging to hear Roman justifying being hit with a glum, self-deprecating joke as the “human gaslight” keeps mum about the lifelong terrorizing he has carried out.
Shiv makes good of the opportunity to call him out on raining over her parade—something Logan again gaslights her for. If only one could grab them by their shoulders and talk some sense into them! There’s no talking things out with an abuser, no getting him to admit the horror he’s inflicted on people, and certainly no expectation of seeing sincere remorse that doesn’t come bearing some amount of manipulation. And when the abuser is Logan Roy, the smartest course of action is to abort the mission and get as far away from him as possible. And that is clearly not a note anybody has passed on to Roman, who’s a sell-out for dad’s love and approval, even more so at times than Ken Doll himself. The three have gotten it good from Connor, who is hopelessly caught up in the cycle of seeking love from all the wrong sources. We’ve never expected to see this side of Connor denouncing the allure of love by comparing its likeness to that of harnessing a superpower.
But at the end of the day, though Ken goes home with a fool’s smile on his face, thinking he’s finally beaten his dad, and Shiv hopelessly stares at Tom’s number on her phone, it is Connor who gets in bed to be welcomed by love’s warm embrace. It would be simpler to assume that Willa has found it hard to throw in the towel and has come back to life which, when all is said and done, has its perks. But it would be even more titillating to wonder if the whole broken wedding thing wasn’t Logan’s evil brainchild, manipulating the kids into a vulnerable position once again with the use of Connor and Willa’s convincingly dysfunctional dynamic. After all, he’s gotten his claws into the one kid he needed. Practically a chump whenever he believes that he has a shot at proving his business tactics to his dad, Roman is dangerously close to giving in to the trap Logan has laid out. Cyd is being sacked for sure, with Roman next in line to steer the ATN boat on his dad’s command. If Roman does accept the position and Ken and Shiv stick to their plan of withdrawing their votes for the GoJo sale, it will only be history repeating itself. And Ken will once again learn better than putting any of his eggs in his younger brother’s basket.