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.
You think I want you dead? I’ll be broken when you die. – Kendall
The anticipation of the show has felt slightly forced every week. My friend Kenzie gave me a different perspective of Kendall from the entire season, which made me feel marginally better, but I am still unsure if this season has been on par with years past or expectations.
I have struggled all season with Kendall and how he has been a massive letdown after the big finale. In this episode, we see him arrive at his Mom’s wedding, where he was basically told to fuck off because Logan wanted no part of him. He demands a sit down with Logan and this is where I again struggled with his character.
I get it from the perspective that maybe he bit off more than he could chew in the grand scheme of things and is having second thoughts. However, this is not how I expected and maybe even wanted things to unfold. I expected more fireworks in the beginning that if that happened, perhaps I would be okay with him caving in because he isn’t like his father. The big reveal is Kendall doesn’t believe he can stoop to the level to take on Logan and wants out. Logan gently reminded him of everything he covered up for him in the past to know that he wasn’t perfect. I loved this a lot because it finally reveals what we’ve learned, but the build has been rough.
Moving on to Shiv, who I finally felt like turned the corner and maybe, just maybe, she will be the one that has the guts to take down papa in the long run. I hate to admit this, but Shiv is a bad person (I am sorry, Shiv). Shiv is downright awful to Tom in this episode, slightly getting his hopes up for a baby, her terrible and I mean the horrendous idea of dirty talk, which leads to Tom almost having a breakdown. But, I believe that if anyone will stoop low to take on Logan, Shiv is that person. I am excited to see her turn and I am sure we won’t see the entire thing unfold for us until next season, but we should see what’s slightly ahead during the finale.
Roman, Roman, Roman who has been on a hell of a tear the last few episodes, putting his big boy pants on and getting deals done, or has he? Lukas sends a tweet out and the storm that hovers over the Roy family at Momma’s wedding is not good. Logan’s trust in Roman has grown because Roman has been stepping up to the plate and showing he might be the man he needs to run the ship. Towards the end of the episode, we see Roman take command at the grownup’s table and Gerri gives him a little encouragement. In return, Roman accidentally sends a dick pic to his father of all people.
Logan begins to remember that Roman is who Roman is, an over-the-top annoying womanizer who has significant issues with keeping things above the belt. But, unfortunately, the rise and fall of Roman has come and gone faster than those papers Greg turned in that were supposed to be a big deal.
So what did we learn in this episode? Connor wants to marry Willa, so he doesn’t reveal her past. Roman is who we thought he was. Shiv might have been dealt the last straw as the family punching bag. Tom uses Greg as a punching bag to make up for being Shiv’s and everyone else’s. Kendall wants out. Logan still sucks and Gerri is getting shafted.
How do I feel about all this? I don’t know, but I am excited about the finale.
The Verdict: B
The man dying of thirst is suddenly a mineral water critic?
What a refreshing return to the Succession I know and love this episode was! An episode without any narrative filler and instead bursting with tension, agony, frustrating double talk and scathing insults.
While at Caroline’s bachelorette party, Shiv and her mom talk about the origins of their tense, heartless relationship. The conversation shifts to how Caroline admires her acceptance that she’d be a bad mother and her decision to not have kids after all. The idea of becoming a mother has been a through line for Shiv’s narrative all season, whether she broaches the topic herself or not. While it has been acknowledged how messed up Tom’s family-growing intentions were in previous episodes, Shiv’s opinion on her own motherhood has always been reactionary instead of direct. When she’s finally upfront with Tom about wanting to have kids, it’s, once again, as a direct result of Caroline implying that Shiv would be a terrible mother. Shiv has never backed down from a challenge, whenever someone tells her that she can’t do something, and parenthood is no different. Even though Shiv later backtracks on this a bit, the entire situation reaffirms her off kilter, one-sided loving relationship with Tom. “I may not love you, but I do love you.” Shattering.
Of course, Lukas is automatically an intriguing character, because he’s played by the ever-electric Alexander Skarsgard, but besides that, Lukas is upfront about how riddled with insecurities and anxiety he is. It’s energizing to have that type of vulnerability on a show where everyone always wants to showcase their rigidity before any softness appears. Lukas is curious to know Roman’s biggest failures, because he’s tired of the false show of the business and of being let down by those he invests himself in. For a man who has so much business and monetary power, his relatable sad boy energy has made Lukas one of the best guest characters on the show. Tongues out, Lukas in.
After being pushed aside for Logan at Caroline’s wedding festivities, Kendall has finally had enough and plans a meet with his dad to resolve things. It’s evident that Kendall’s new no-frills haircut isn’t a PR move; it is in fact exhaustion in a manscaping form, unfortunately, a peek at the deeper internal issues brewing in Kendall. Logan shows up as calculating as ever and once the meal comes out, Logan thinks that Kendall is trying to poison him. The fact that Logan insinuates that Kendall would poison him is such a gut punch. You think back to how Kendall was always Logan’s number one boy to now where he could not care less about Kendall other than to continuously manipulate a man who’s clearly been torn apart as it is—it’s disturbing on so many levels. It’s so apparent how much Kendall simultaneously has wanted to destroy Logan professionally (a flame that’s definitely burnt out at this point) and also cares for him so intensely as his son. It’s blatant that Kendall’s reached his emotional breaking point in their battling, his burning hatred could have only taken him so far. He cannot mentally and emotionally handle any more of the brutality and it’s a relief to see Kendall secede and admit he’s done. With admitting defeat, Kendall shows his defenseless hand to Logan, which only encourages Logan to bring up the all-consuming guilt Kendall still deals with as a nice treat for himself. Logan’s pleasure in Kendall’s spirals every time they encounter each other sets a fury ablaze in me, even after Kendall’s been so insufferable the majority of the season. Logan bails and Kendall’s wrung out with only the untouched bread basket and his glass of wine to keep him company. I haven’t seen someone as sad as Kendall in the beautiful Italian countryside since watching Normal People.
Those air bubbles in the pool are going to haunt me for the next week.