Unexpected news comes to one of the Roys as the family attempts to move forward.
It’s the day after the passing of Logan Roy, and the premise of this whole show truly begins. Who will get the keys to the kingdom of Waystar Royco? Will there be any empire left? Will Karl finally be able to cash out and buy that island with his brother?
The cold open gives each of the Roy siblings a moment to themselves. Kendall (Jeremy Strong) is sitting his bedroom floor in despair, Roman (Kieran Culkin) is brushing his teeth like a normal morning (he’s fine, he “pre-grieved”) and Shiv (Sarah Snook) sits in her bed on the brink of tears when she gets a phone call. It’s from her doctor, and even though the conversation is vague, I think it’s safe to assume Shiv is expecting!
There was a theory floating around from last week’s episode that Kerry (Zoe Winters) may be the pregnant one (with all that “Dad Goop” talk last season, it’s still a possibility) so this is a baby drama curveball. It also adds stakes for Shiv, especially since she gets slowly boxed out of power by the end of the episode.
I also don’t know what the timeline is, but based on Shiv’s knowing glares at Tom all episode, I think we can expect a little Wambsgans soon. Of course, Shiv hasn’t told Tom yet, so this will be a fascinating landmine waiting to be stepped on at some point in the final six episodes.
Kendall arrives at his dad’s New York City mansion for the wake. It’s an iconic location we’ve spent Thanksgivings at, as well as several tense birthday parties, but like Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron) says, it’s weird to be there without Logan. It feels like intruding on a haunted house, or, rather, a $63 million haunted house, since that’s how much Connor (Alan Ruck) agrees to pay for it.
Kendall walks through a crowd of powerful well-wishers there to pay their respects, including that Mein Kampf loving ATN anchor, Mark Ravenhead (Zack Robidas), who makes sure Kendall knows he’s praying for him. Ken gets past the crowd and meets up with Roman and Shiv.
They read from a stack of different newspaper obituaries for their dad when one of Matsson’s assistants calls Roman. They don’t seem too upset about Logan’s death, and clearly don’t care that the kids are grieving, demanding they come to Sweden immediately to negotiate.
Meanwhile, Logan’s team of Frank, Gerri and Karl get together to discuss a piece of paper Frank found. It’s Logan’s wishes for after his death, and it happens to mention he wants Kendall to be CEO. The catch? The document is un-dated and there are a few addendums in pencil, including an underline under Ken’s name that definitely looks like a scratchout.
Karl (David Rasche) and Gerri “jokingly” suggest they flush the paper down the toilet before the upcoming board meeting to decide the interim CEO, but then decide to show it to the Roys. This re-awakens Ken’s daddy issues. He now knows there was a moment of time when, however briefly, Logan wanted him to take over the company. It also re-awakens his desire for power, and he’s able to see himself as the number one boy he always wanted to be for his father.
Shiv leaves the meeting and runs into Tom (Matthew Macfadyen). They have their first real conversation since Logan’s death and it’s a surprisingly lovely talk. Shiv almost breaks down admitting how guilty she feels about her father. She was the one to push renegotiating the GoJo deal which resulted in her dad getting on that plane for Sweden. She also mentions how Logan will never be able to hold his grandchildren (hint hint Tom).
Tom gets nostalgic (and we finally get a little peek into their backstory) when he tells Shiv about the first time he flew to France to be with her and how he wrote her handwritten messages. Maybe these two crazy kids will make it, but they probably shouldn’t.
There’s also a devastating scene where Kerry shows up to the wake uninvited to pick up her things. Marcia (Hiam Abbass) has finally returned from that shopping trip in Milan and appears ready to destroy Kerry with a single look. When Kerry drops a bag and its contents spill everywhere, no one helps her except Roman, which again proves this sick little weirdo may have matured into a somewhat decent human.
The Roy kids reconvene and decide that they will push for Kendall and Roman to be interim CEO and COO again. This leaves Shiv out in the cold, but the brothers assure her she will get an equal share of the money when the company sells. Something tells me with six episodes to go this will not go as smoothly as they expect.
The board agrees with the arrangement and the Roy Bros. are officially in charge, for now. By the way, here’s another excellent example of the show using off-camera events. The whole episode makes us think we’re leading up to an explosive board meeting between all these major characters that show up like Stewy, Sandy, and Sandi with an “i.” But then it’s just announced and that’s it. Greg shouts a joyous, “Long live the king…and the other king!” as they step out of the board meeting, and then we’re onto the next scene.
Roman and Kendall find themselves in their dad’s office, staring at his empty desk, with his jacket draped over the chair. They look up at his throne, and know they’re not worthy. Karolina (Dagmara Domińczyk) and Hugo (Fisher Stevens) pitch an idea to the brothers that, in order to make the transition less bumpy, they should trash Logan’s legacy and unveil all of his skeletons so that his incompetent sons look better by comparison.
The siblings push back hard on this, but when Kendall takes another look at his name on that document again, that underline starts to look more and more like a scratchout to him. He tells Hugo to proceed with the “bad dad stuff.” Logan may be gone, but we’re stuck in his haunted house for now.
Boars on the Floor:
- This episode of Succession is skillfully directed by Hustlers director Lorene Scafaria. This is her second Succession directing gig after my favorite season 3 episode, “Too Much Birthday.”
- “You’re my number one (third) wife!”: We gotta celebrate the return of Marcia, who absolutely eviscerates Kerry like it’s nothing. I’ve always loved Hiam Abbass (watch her be just as good but a lot nicer in the great Hulu show Ramy) so I’m happy she’s back in the mix here. The way she sends Kerry home in a taxi and gleefully says “back to her little apartment,” is bone chilling.
- The cold open features a digital ATN billboard with the headline “Classified Docs Displayed on NBA Jumbotron”
- Greg tries to hug the kids while saying, “My lovely guys.” What is Greg doing these days? Like, what is his actual job?
- Another Succession episode, another world shattering J Smith-Cameron performance. Gerri goes on a bloodbath during the initial meeting with the rest of Logan’s team. She cuts down Karl with, “What you did in the 90s with cable…huge,” before obliterating Tom after he says how sad he is with, “Maybe put away the fish tacos. You’re getting your melancholy everywhere.”
- Willa (Justine Lupe) has a great tiny moment where she gives Marcia what she’s dishing out. Marcia congratulates her on the wedding before saying, “Look how far you’ve come,” to this former sex worker. Willa immediately replies with a biting “Look at us both, right?”
- Kendall’s in therapy! That’s at least something positive. He’s got a great grief guy.
- Hugo reveals to Kendall that his daughter sold a bunch of Waystar stock right before Logan’s death announcement. This seems random until it’s used as leverage later when Hugo wants other people to sign off on Operation Bad Dad but Ken forces him to take all the heat. Fisher Stevens is always great, but it’s one of the rare times a plot choice happens in this show that feels a little too convenient for the larger story.
- “He made me hate him, and then he died.”- Kendall in a great little scene between him and Frank.
- Colin (Scott Nicholson) is back and this scary human had a family this whole time. And he’s wearing jeans now!? The moment Roman points out how Colin doesn’t know what to do with his arms anymore is great.
- We find out Logan died from a pulmonary embolism, and according to Tom, it happened while fishing out his iPhone from a clogged airplane toilet.