While Succession has never been short on drama, episode two of season four was when the show blew wide open. The episode was slick and hilarious as usual, but also seriously touching. This show has never been smarter or more confident.
Here’s our summary; of course, expect spoilers for seasons 1-4 below.
Homework: The Show
Episode two begins with Shiv, Kendall and Roman’s team watching some of their future channels on TV, which are currently still owned by Pierce. They are ruthless as usual: Roman says he can’t take his eyes off “the bald man talking about NATO”; Kendall begins thinking of ways to improve the news channel, saying they could have a segment dedicated to Africa that could be called “What’s Happening in Africa?”; Shiv says this sounds like “Homework: the show”.
Shiv tries to find a divorce lawyer
Shiv steps outside the brainstorming session (they are in the countryside somewhere) to hear from her assistant. Shiv is looking for a lawyer’s pit bull to defend her during her divorce from Tom, but every good lawyer in town has declared themselves “conflicted” and refused to represent her.
Shiv immediately recognizes it as a move by her father. It can only mean one thing: Logan has spoken to the lawyers in town and asked them not to represent Shiv in what may be the most important case of her life. Shiv’s mind is blown and you see something change in her – something becomes more steely. She makes no mention of the call to her siblings. Shiv calls Sandi (Sandy Furness’s daughter) and says that she was in fact thinking of Sandi’s “chat” and her “pitch” and that maybe Shiv was “a little hasty”. She wants to let Sandi know that this is a “live issue” for her. What is Shiv up to?
Logan is Jaws, if everyone in Jaws worked for Jaws
When Waystar Royco is sold, all of Logan’s attention will be on ATN, and it will be pretty brutal for everyone at the news organization. As it is, he circles the floor, panting over the shoulders of journalists. He watches as one of his terrified employees sends an email and half-roars, “Please don’t wear yourself out”. Greg, calling Tom to go straight back to the newsroom, describes Logan as “terrifyingly mozying” and “like Jaws, if everyone in Jaws worked for Jaws.”
Then Logan gives a rally speech and it’s absolutely insane. He says he wants his competitors to be “freeway jams” and that he wants what ATN says to be “so f***ing spicy” no one will be able to believe what they said. Greg and Tom look at each other. Logan says it’s not the end, he’s going to build something, “faster, lighter, meaner, wilder”. There’s something extreme about Wolf of Wall Street about it, ie unhinged and a bit scary.
Stewy and Sandi want more of the GoJo deal
The GoJo deal is literally seconds away from going through, but Stewy and Sandi want more money from the sale. It becomes clear that is why Shiv called Sandi earlier. Shiv is now more motivated than ever to give her father a hard time. But it seems that her anger may be clouding her judgment. After all, the GoJo deal must go through before the young Roys can buy PGM. Putting pressure on Matsson could cause them all to lose everything.
Stewy and Sandi, who are both on the board of Waystar Royco, stop Shiv, Kendall and Roman on their way to Connor and Willa’s rehearsal dinner (they are late due to their father canceling their classic helicopter). Stewy and Sandi say they want to push Matsson a little bit more; Kendall and Roman turn them down, but Shiv is more open to the idea (as we know).
The rehearsal dinner
As they go up the stairs, Shiv, Roman and Kendall see Willa. She swallows and acts strange, saying things that indicate she has second thoughts about the wedding. Roman is surprisingly caring: he wants to go upstairs to see Connor to see if he’s okay (Shiv would rather go somewhere else to have a chat about GoJo), and he also seems quite concerned about Willa before she wanders off . When they go upstairs, they discover Willa has been hiding in the bathroom for 40 minutes during dinner, saying she “can’t do this”. Connor seems emotional to say the least.
For those who have been advocating for Roman from the start, this might be your episode. At various times, he is remarkably considerate compared to his siblings. Some people have been saying it for a while, but episode two seemed to prove it: is Roman the most decent character on the show?
A delicate Kerry situation
While all the drama starts with the young Roys, there’s a delicate Kerry situation for Tom and Greg to sort out. Kerry, Logan’s assistant turned undefined lover slash girlfriend, would love to be an anchor on ATN. Her audition tape is doing the rounds – she’s not the worst ever, but she’s pretty rubbish – and the young Roys, who somehow get their hands on a copy, watch it over and over again, tearing her to shreds.
Logan realizes his girlfriend can’t handle the job, but doesn’t want any drama. He asks Tom to find out. So Tom has to handle this precarious situation with velvet gloves: he describes it as “like Israel-Palestine, Greg, but more difficult…and much more important.” He’s got to somehow get Kerry to agree to anchor a show that’s not on prime-time TV, or reverse the idea of anchoring completely. As spineless as ever, he gives the job to Greg, saying he’ll “march in and take the rage out”.
Tom suggests Greg talk to Kerry about how a focus group has said she can’t quite handle the job. Greg has the almost impossible job of making sure Kerry doesn’t think Logan is part of the decision-making here. Tom also suggests that Greg talk to Kerry about nepotism, and how difficult Greg finds it when people talk behind his back (not true at all).
Well, you can see it coming a mile away, but the conversation between Kerry and Greg isn’t going well. Kerry is tough as can be; she should be to be Logan’s assistant (or girlfriend for that matter). Whenever Greg tries to grumble pointlessly about the focus group or nepotism, Kerry asks for the facts. Who was in this focus group? What did they say? What did they not like about her? Greg is all bumbling denial – as usual, his eyes couldn’t be opened wider. Kerry says she will learn more about the focus group; it looks like Greg will soon be slaughtered by Logan.
Lukas calls Kendall
Matsson Facetimes Kendall – who has slipped away from his siblings – to say he’s not going to pay more for Waystar Royco, and if anyone pressures him, even a little bit, he’ll back off. It’s one of the few times on the show ever that the writers have created a scene that feels a bit false – like it was just made to make a storyline work: Even though Lukas showed up at Kendall’s disastrous birthday party, it would have been much more logical for Matsson to call Roman, or someone in the Logan camp.
Still, the result is epic. Kendall does not tell his siblings about the conversation. Instead, when he returns to the group – who are now hanging out in a pub after the rehearsal dinner – he begins to side with Shiv, saying that indeed they should go ahead and ask for more money from Matsson. Unlike Shiv, he knows such behavior will end the GoJo deal. Kendall has only had his eyes on inheriting Waystar Royco the whole time. And he’s going to destroy the deal for his family. Microphone cuts out.
Of course, sometimes things go wrong when there’s a billion dollars in a karaoke room
Shiv, Kendall, Roman and Connor have moved into a bougie style karaoke room. That’s what Connor wants, because he’s seen karaoke in movies (but never did). He tracks Willa’s movements on his phone; emotions are high.
Logan shows up: he wants to talk things over with his kids before the board meeting the next day. He says he’s sorry (jaw-drop), he says he loves them (jaw-drop) but then says, “You guys are such fucking morons… you’re not serious people.” He asks them not to push back on the GoJo deal. He says it will give them the chance to separate business and family for the first time – that they’ll have a chance to make a fresh start.
The conversation is starting to get sticky. Shiv brings up the lawyers, Kendall starts making accusations about how Connor was ignored by Logan all his life, and about how Logan used to beat Roman as a kid (Roman sadly says he deserved it, because he’s annoying). There is no real conclusion, but the children say they will not follow their father’s advice. It is too little and too late; they believe the emotional stuff is all bluff (which it almost certainly is) to get them to let the GoJo deal go through.
When Logan leaves, the kids talk about love. Connor says his superpower is that he doesn’t need one, he never has. That his younger siblings are puppy dogs clamoring for their father’s attention and adoration. They want to destroy him, but only to get his attention. They are obsessed with him. That could all be true, but when Connor goes home, Willa is waiting for him in bed. Look, romance isn’t dead.
At the end of the episode, Roman is at his father’s house for some reason. It was revealed earlier in the episode that Roman texted his father to wish him a happy birthday; Shiv and Kendall are half serious when they say it’s a betrayal. Crucially, though, it shows once again that Roman is less determined than his siblings to take down his father. At the end of the episode, Logan tries to persuade Roman to board the ship with him. He says to his youngest son, “I need you.” Could this be a turning point?
Episode two blew everything wide open. It showed Kendall’s true ambitions: he’s going to allow the destruction of the Pierce deal and the GoJo deal; he wants Waystar Royco for himself. The Karaoke Room was an unforgiving viewing, it was the world’s most dysfunctional therapy session, and it showed how the young Roys will still – and perhaps forever – be tormented by their conflicting feelings for their father. How much does Logan care?
Follow-up season four is now streaming on Sky and Now