The dust has settled. It’s been a week – or, in the Waystar Royco universe, just a day – since SuccessionThe big episode aired. We’re all looking forward to seeing the fallout. Well, here it is, and in real Succession mode, it’s a total clusterfuck.
(Warning: Spoilers ahead for Season 4 of Succession.)
The day after his death, Logan’s (Brian Cox) closest allies (if you can call them that) gather at his home for a sort of “celebration of life.” Marcia (Hiam Abbass) is resurrected to host. Although her relationship with the kids remains strained, at least she has made peace with Connor (Alan Ruck) and Willa (Justine Lupe). Upon entering, Connor immediately tries to buy Logan’s house. Never has the estate of a billionaire been so easily settled.
But there’s more to sort out when it comes to Waystar Royco, who is now orphaned following Logan’s passing. Stocks fall. Children fight. Nobody knows who is responsible. Although Tom (Matthew MacFadyen) and Kerry (Zoe Winters) have been closest to Logan, neither is in the running to replace him in any way. Tom laughs at him when he recommends himself as interim CEO, and poor Kerry is kicked out. from the house after a fight with Marcia. (Although Marcia is absent, she swears that she and Logan had “intimate phone calls” just about “every night”. Yuck.)
That leaves the remaining executives with two solid choices: Gerri (J. Smith Cameron), who was already running the company when Logan had his first health incident in Season 1, or Karl (David Rasche), who doesn’t. wasn’t just fired by Logane. Gerri is the pick, ultimately, because who even knew Logan had soured on her in her final hours? Besides, was he even lucid when he forced Roman to fire her? It is all good. Gerri will be the new CEO of Waystar Royco…
…until Frank (Peter Friedman) discovers a long-lost document with instructions left behind in the event of Logan’s death. Succession neglects to show us the damage to the document, instead letting us read the disgruntled faces of Frank, Gerri, and Karl as they read a specific line of text. We let ourselves guess for a few minutes. What could be so bad to justify these reactions? Will cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun) be the CEO? (That’s not it, but of course Logan left his name associated with a rogue question mark on the document. Possible COO? Greg would like to think so.)
“Kendall Logan Roy is expected to be named CEO of Waystar Royco,” the document read. Gerri, Frank, and Karl give the document to Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Shiv (Sarah Snook), and Roman (Kieran Culkin), who now see that the line has been edited with a pencil. There is no date. A line in pencil underlines or crosses out the statement. (I’d argue for the latter.) Although he runs Pierce with his siblings, Kendall wastes no time introducing himself as interim CEO. Shiv and Roman are appalled – until Roman takes over as COO, leaving poor Shiv on the sidelines.
Shiv has, by far, become the most fascinating character in Succession. She’s not as fun to watch as idiots like Roman and Connor, or as lovable as idiots Tom and Greg. But there’s something fascinating about Shiv’s silent struggle – even a day after her father’s death, she wanders the halls of what was once his home, begging anyone for emotional support while pushing them away. all.
Tom tries to win her back. She rejects him. Even Marcia, who has only faced Shiv’s cruelty, tries to reach out an olive branch. Shiv rejects her. Near the end of the episode, as Shiv has been kicked out of Waystar by her two closest allies, Shiv takes a big fall down two sets of stairs. The only person who comes to help her up is Tom, whom she immediately pushes away before shouting to the whole room.
Even more enticing, and my apologies for burying the lede: At the start of the episode, we learn that Shiv is pregnant. Unlike Tom (who, at the very least, has Greg), Kendall and Roman (who, to some degree, know each other), and Connor and Willa, Shiv is completely on his own. She has no stake in the company. She has no life partner. All eyes are on Shiv and Sarah Snook, who surely won an Emmy after a fallout that felt overwhelming both physically and emotionally.
Follow the Roys
Even though they may not feature in the main plot, we still want to highlight the most flamboyant burns and the most spicy moments of Succession. Here they are from this episode:
-Tom keeps throwing his hat in the ring for the CEO at all inopportune times. Tom, can’t you see you’re not welcome here? When he first attempts to enter Gerri and Frank’s business conversation, Tom says he is “sick with grief”. Of course. Gerri replies, “Oh, are you sick with grief? You might want to put that fish taco down, you get your melancholy all over the place.
-There is no shortage of Tom roasts in this episode. Karl is unhappy with his suggestion to become interim CEO. For what? “You’re a clumsy intruder and no one trusts you,” Karl tells Tom, who can barely look him in the eye. “The only guy shooting for you is dead. And now you’re married to the ex-boss’ daughter, and she doesn’t even love you! You are fair and downright screwed. Way to drop it easily, Karl.
-A subtle but brilliant roast from Willa: As she and Connor enter, Marcia congratulates the newlyweds. “Look how far you’ve come,” says Marcia, a dig into Willa’s callgirl background. But Willa seems to have been born with more Roy blood than Logan’s widow. “Look at us bothWilla retorts before walking away.
-Alas, Marcia has the last word when Kerry shows up uninvited. Kerry asks for her things in Logan’s room. “They’re in a bag,” Marcia said bluntly, before the bag arrived and Kerry was pushed away. Don’t fuck with Marcia! (Unless you’re Willa.)
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