The Succession Seven is a weekly power ranking of people and things on television’s most power-obsessed show. The rankings are not scientific, not even a little, and could fluctuate wildly from week to week. It’s all very subjective. And it’s my list. So, there.
Sandy — May or may not have syphilis, the MySpace of STDs. I find it hilarious that no one has proof or confirmation of this and yet the rumor has now spread from the Pierce’s dinner table to Argestes, a kind of ski chalet Davos where the most recognizable business figures in the world wear name tags and hike. He might as well just go get syphilis if he doesn’t have it. Everyone assumes it anyway.
Hugo — One of my favorite parts of this season of Succession has been how I’ll just be watching an episode and minding my business and then heeeyyyy it’s Fisher Stevens. Or like last week when the Roys met the Pierces and heeeyyyyy it’s Mark Linn-Baker. The show is almost showing off now, plopping recognizable faces in what appear to be throwaway roles just to prove it can. I respect it. I hope Jaleel White pops up as a senator next week and then we never hear from him again.
Roman — Tough week for Jagger Tarzan. Failed in his money hunt, almost got bumped off the panel, got assaulted by his dad. It hurts me to drop him out of the rankings. No way around it.
Rhea Jarrell — I look forward to Rhea’s upcoming post-resignation comeback book, It’s All Gravy, Baby.
There are not many hard and firm rules in these rankings. They work better when we keep things loose. That said, if, in a single episode, your big merger blows up over an unfortunately timed article about very bad and true things that happened in your cruise department, and you puke at breakfast in front of Mark Zuckerberg, and you end the episode in a futile high-altitude foot chase after a limousine while shouting “No! Wait,” well, you’re gonna slide pretty far.
Logan will never slide out of the listings proper. Even if he dies at the beginning of the next episode, his shadow will linger over everything long after he’s gone. This was a bad time for the empire, though.
It is worth noting here that, while Logan is heaving up his breakfast and high-speed shuffling through the thin air, and taking on more stress than any aging person with a history of health issues should, that it’s still The Mole Woman listed as the next in line on the paperwork. No one expects that to last, not even Gerri (especially not Gerri), but weeks and weeks are going by and there’s no Roy child emerging from the scrum. Logan could go at any minute. Gerri still has a shot.
Did you see it? Did you? Did you see that little flash of fire in Kendall’s eyes when Logan slapped Roman? Did you see Kendall leap to his brother’s defense — after weeks of the two of them trying to knock each other off the metaphorical mountain they were climbing — and shout at Logan? He shouted. At Logan! The Kendall of this season has been a lifeless blob, a killing machine, a techno Gatsby terminator whose sole mission was to seek and destroy at Logan’s bidding. Last week the armor cracked a little during the drug-fueled helicopter hijinks with Naomi Pierce. (Poor Naomi, by the way. With the sale falling through, her escape route is blocked yet again.) Things had settled back into their groove with Kendall running point on damage control and keeping an eye on his dad. Then Roman took a slap and Kendall leaped into action with passion and fury and something resembling humanity. I don’t know if it will last. This might have been a one-time thing, a bone-deep big-brother protective streak that shot out as a reflex more than an active choice. Still. It was nice to see.
Tom cracks into the middle of the rankings this week for three primary reasons:
– This was a battle of attrition. Just about everyone took damage, some more literally than others. Tom slides up in here simply by having a less bad week than most of his counterparts. He didn’t get burned by the cruise article, his presentation was a hilarious jumble of nothingwords punctuated by a nothing slogan that was misspelled and none of it mattered because everyone was focused on the article, and he actually made Shiv a little jealous. This adds up to a win, somehow.
– Tom had the best vest in an absolute sea of them.
– I’ve been doing this thing lately without even realizing it where I say his name over and over again, out loud, to myself, until the individual parts lose all their meaning. Tom Wamsgans. Tom Wamsgans. Tahmwahmgahn. Tob wab gob. Tobwabgob. Ta wa ga. Tawaga. Tawaga, tawaga tawaga. Again and again and again. The best is when someone catches me doing it. That’s fun to explain.
But again. The vest. Just magical.
Can I be honest with you guys? Like, really, truly honest? I’m going to assume you said yes. Here goes: I love Stewie. Love him. I light up whenever he’s on the screen. Whenever he’s not on the screen, I’m like “I wonder what Stewie is up to right now.” I would watch a full season of 10-minute webisodes that told the full story of this season from his perspective. I kind of hope his takeover bid works now, and buddy, it’s starting to look like it might. Give me Stewie and Kendall in some boardroom just shooting death lasers at each other through their amphetamine-fueled eyeballs. Let Stewie become the goddamn king of media, that slick weasely goon with his perfect beard lines lording over the news and deconstructing everything Logan worked his whole life to build. And then, once he has it all, once he’s sitting on a throne of power and money and ketamine, rip it all away from him again. Begin the cycle anew.
Stewie is Sisyphus. Give me this.
Wild week for Shiv. On one hand, she was left at home for the fancy one-percenter mingling and appeared to be on the outs after the disastrous performance at dinner with the Pierces. On the other hand, she was called in from the bullpen to attempt to put a fresh — female, outsider — face on a bad situation. She was needed. So let’s call that a wash.
In the moments that followed, she:
- Declined a spot on the panel to explain the scandal
- Met with Rhea and stole her “it’s all gravy, baby” line
- Went on the panel after all and appeared to make a power play by referring to her father as a dinosaur
- Caused a family crisis by doing so that led to a Roman getting a tooth slapped out of his mouth
It was hard to find an appropriate spot for Shiv in the rankings this week. Could have gone a bunch of ways. But I think this feels right.
2. Nan Pierce
Well, now you went and did it, Logan. You pushed and you pushed and you had your secret meetings and you tried to slide the paperwork in there while everyone had an empty stomach. You tried to rush things to beat a damning story about pervasive sexual assault on the open seas. You bullied and you shouted and you charmed but now you finally went too far and you made Nan Pierce swear at you. Kind of. Assuming “horse potatoes” is a swear word to her. I assume it’s the Pierces’ version of the Roys saying “fuck off.” I bet if another Pierce had been there they would have gasped.
I hope you’re happy.
1. My Sweet Burgeoning Cocaine Addict Cousin Gregory
Someone please give Greg some cocaine.
Just a little.
He’s a good boy.
He’s doing the best he can.
There’s just so much going on.
He touched Bill Gates.
There are cashews the size of boomerangs.
He just needs a toot.
You know, to take the edge off.
I know you have some, Kendall.
You too, Stewie.
Give some to Greg.
Let Greg have some of your cocaine.
Someone please give my sweet boy some cocaine.