When you have as good a show as Succession, you often have people you constantly chat with about the show. Typically on Monday’s my friend and MCDI writer Katherine and I spend time picking apart the episode and it is always a blast. So, we got together and decided to share our thoughts on each episode of Succession moving forward.
It’s festivity. People are supposed to be festive.
It’s official. I cannot deny the truth anymore. Kendall is insufferable this season.
Kendall’s always been an acquired taste, one that I’ve liked more than not over the seasons, but the writing for him this season makes me rarely want to see him onscreen. Kendall opens up the episode with a rehearsal of ‘Honesty’ by Billy Joel for his own birthday party and it’s so blatantly on-the-nose that it’s eyeroll inducing. This season Kendall is all about posturing for his reputation, so as he’s listening to the confirmed guest list for his 40th birthday party, it’s fueling his ego’s fire. Kendall thinks that he’s the one who deserves to be at the head of the table, so he fittingly throws himself a severely over-thought party to prove his status to everyone else. Filled to the brim with esoteric, irrelevant references, dreary aesthetics, and a disturbing blend of moods from room to room, the party may be for Kendall in theory, but, as he walks through the rooms unnoticed, it’s evident that no one cares that he’s there at all.
Kendall’s the guy who thinks he’s bursting with cool energy. In reality, Kendall’s the one who dresses like a stereotype of someone ten years younger than himself, talks like a TikTok trend from months ago, and just overtly tries way too hard for anyone to take him seriously. It’s painful watching how Kendall lights up when his siblings show up to the party only for them to brutally roast him. I’ve never seen someone more isolated in a crowded room than Kendall at his own birthday party.
When Gerri announces that they tentatively believe there will be no jailtime for any of their team, the camera rightfully focuses on Tom, who’s in severe, genuine disbelief. It feels almost too good to be true at this point for both Tom and the audience. It’s so telling that the first thing Tom does, after he’s told he’s unlikely to go to jail, is he goes to Greg’s office. Tom proceeds to show the extent of his true feelings of relief, flipping a desk, kicking everything in sight, and hopping up on some filing cabinets, gorilla smacking his chest, yelling. This wild reaction juxtaposed with the reserved reaction he gave in front of the rest of the Waystar family is one of my favorite creative choices to happen all season. The polar opposites of Tom’s personality are what have ultimately always fascinated me about him. Besides the obviously appreciated jubilation in the moment, for once, the entire scene is essential just for the moment of Greg trying to fix his desk after Tom leaves.
Later, Tom is genuinely mystified about why no one is happy or having fun at the party, when the party is genuinely lit like a morgue and soundtracked like a cheap action movie. He’s on uppers, but, unfortunately, his projections about other people’s moods reflect his own disbelief about himself. Tom’s potentially a free man now, but he cannot understand why he’s still so miserable.
Lastly, This is 100% not a knock on the sparkling gemstone that is Alexander Skarsgard, but the way that Lukas looks so bored the entire party, playing games on his phone, is me during most of this season. It’s flits of intrigue amidst slow moving narrative filled with loads of circular talking. The depressing breakdown that Kendall has in the final quiet moments of the episode hints towards his truth and I hope that we get to see more of his authentic mental state as the season finishes out.
The Verdict: B
I’m repeatedly entering my mom’s vagina.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year in the eyes of Kendall Roy, his birthday and his party. But, on the other hand, Roy’s family is excited because the news came in that Kendall overshot his promises and apparently, it will only be a hefty fine heading their way and Tom is a free man.
Tom walking around on cloud-nine is quite hilarious, introducing himself to everyone saying, Tom Wambsgans (Not going to jail). The back and forth between Tom and Greg here is remarkable, these two have been on fire this season, more so over the last couple of episodes, but Greg responding to Tom’s I fuck like a bullet train and claiming to have a big dick with ‘Prove it’ was comedic gold.
When Shiv and Roman break down who isn’t at Kendall’s party, my heart breaks for Kendall. However, I remember that Kendall has been terrible this season and remember that he deserves it. I seriously am tired of his writing, and I get maybe they are going for Kendall’s idea that he would be able to take down Logan and the family. He is overconfident now, but this is not the route I would’ve taken after his insane stunt at the end of season two.
I am also fed up with Shiv because her writing has been awful. How many times does she have to get run over until we see her blow this thing up? Honestly, I get she has this love for her dad and this idea she needs his love, but I hate that she is destroyed repeatedly and does nothing. MAKE A MOVE. Her character deserves better.
Towards the latter half of the episode, we see Kendall treat Greg like crap which honestly isn’t surprising to me and maybe somewhat just? Greg handed the papers, WHICH WE STILL HAVEN’T TALKED ENOUGH ABOUT and turned his back on Kendall with a snap of the fingers. The entire thing has made ZERO sense and it has made me so angry. Again, I know everyone is scared of Logan, but why would Greg hand over the papers so easily but turn around and screw Kendall? PLEASE EXPLAIN IT TO ME LIKE I AM FIVE. Also, Greg has the balls to ask the girl out Fuck Greg. He can’t be happy either.
Kendall finally realizes his parties are full of shit and decides not to throw on the performance he does yearly. Sad Kendall, DON’T CARE. The ending of the episode sees a battle of Kendall vs. Roman and Shiv, but Shiv is slowly seeing Roman take things over the top. I love Roman, seriously he may be my favorite character on this show but seeing him be the worm within this entire thing was tremendous. They finally let Roman be Roman for the first time all season and it paid off.
I don’t know how I feel about this episode, Kendall after seven episodes, finally sees he is acting like garbage and I don’t care because he has been trash this entire season. Has Shiv maybe seen the light? Doubt it because we’ve written her into a continuous disappointment. Greg, who is useless anymore, finds happiness and everyone is enjoying themselves, but Tom, apparently a free man? Maybe?