The Succession Report Card is a weekly recap feature where we attempt to assign grades to the important people, things, and themes from each episode of ‘Succession.’ The grades are entirely subjective and the criteria for scoring will change from week to week and occasionally mid-week. Someone might get detention. It’ll probably be Roman.
- Really cranky about her status and influence in the family taking a sudden flume ride down the toilet
- Kind of not super jazzed that her husband is not going to prison
- Moping around in chauffeured vehicles
- Dancing like a person who just grew limbs that morning in a frantic attempt to exorcise all these demons
It’s not great!
MUST IMPROVE: General body mechanics
This big goof. This self-important bozo. Polling at one percent in a presidential race he has no business tinkering with and so happy about it that he slipped and fell and shattered his entire arm (“ranch stuff”) and covered it up with a weird vibe-destroying trench coat that he refused to take off despite numerous requests from numerous parties. I kind of love him.
Also: Did anyone else think there was another reason he wouldn’t take the coat off? Like, I kept expecting him to whip it off at a dramatic moment to reveal a flashing CONNOR 4 PRES sign on his back. I’m going to go ahead and believe it was there anyway and that he just never found a good opportunity to show it off and went home without ever displaying it. That would be classic Connor.
MUST IMPROVE: Ranch stuff
Turning 40, generally
The thing about turning 40 is that it can get weird. I assume. I’m not there yet. I am very young and cool. But there’s something about that number that makes people lose their minds a little bit, in a whole “Who am I?”/“What have I done?”/“Is this all there is?” way. Most people deal with it by, like, buying a convertible or swearing they’ll finally write that novel they’ve been tinkering with in their heads for decades without putting a single word on a single page, but some, apparently, also throw massive ragers with multiple themed rooms and a huge performative vagina entrance and a plan to sing a song while strapped to a cross as a kind of ironic, nut-nut, anti-fragile art piece that all gets scrapped in a moment of self-reflective panic that may or may not have been induced by a huge pile of cocaine.
Two sides of the same coin, really.
MUST IMPROVE: Aging gracefully
See, here’s the thing about Roman: His schtick is adorable/harmless when he’s a loser with bad ideas who just wants to talk trash and hide on the periphery of the action. He’s just a snarky little boy with mommy issues and no real purpose. But once he starts finding any kind of success at anything, but especially something important, and especially something he can lord over the siblings who have for years treated him as a flighty little clown, it all becomes less fun. Now, these barbs have sharper edges. Now they sting and hurt and dig. Now he actually deserves the punch he’s been asking for his entire life, all because he can’t take his win with the Lukas Matsson thing with even a shred of dignity.
I’m mad about it. I wish Kendall had clobbered him. I hope he gets mugged walking home. I hope a seagull poops on his head and someone takes a picture of it and posts it online.
MUST IMPROVE: Winning gracefully
- Spying on his grandchildren
- Sending his son a birthday card that has a buyout agreement and a general vibe that cuts off relations
- Has potential business partners openly wondering how soon he’ll die
Could be better, even with the apparent good news about the investigation.
MUST IMPROVE: Like… fathering?
Naomi thought she was showing up for a big stupid but fun celebration for her boyfriend’s 40th and instead she ended up frantically looking for a gift his ex-wife brought from his children and getting her own gift demeaned and offering him the saddest sexual favors you’ve ever seen and stroking his head at the end of the night like he’s an 11-year-old whose dog died. This is not how Naomi thought this night was going to play out. She just wants to have a good time. She doesn’t want… all this.
MUST IMPROVE: Gift-giving
Good news and bad news here. Mostly bad. Let’s start there.
BAD: Big stupid birthday party went sideways in predictable ways. Had a full-on meltdown when he realized his siblings were only there for business and had no interest in him personally. Couldn’t find the gift his kids made for him in the room full of gifts from strangers who only use him for his money and status. Dad tried to buy him out with a card that literally had “Happy Birthday” crossed out. Built an actual treehouse at the party and used it as a VIP room. Chickened out of his show-stopping performance at the end, which is probably good news for him but it’s bad news for me because I wanted to see it. Generally just alone and sad and starting to realize it. Has now told two of his three siblings that they’re not real people, which is basically true but the way he delivered it made him look/sound pathetic/crazy.
GOOD: He did almost hit that high note in “Honesty” when he was warming up, which I did not expect.
MUST IMPROVE: So much
Various Karls, Franks, and Karolinas
I love Karl so much.
MUST IMPROVE: Getting their own standalone episode, because I need to see it, just like what Frank and Karl were up to this whole episode while Kendall’s party was going to hell.
Led a midday champagne toast and then was not heard from again. The best possible outcome for anyone on this show.
MUST IMPROVE: I feel like Gerri should run with this and start doing champagne toasts every day at lunch, in part for morale and in part to drink champagne at work
Hmm. Let’s go back to the bullet points for Tom…
- Appears to have avoided prison and celebrated by trashing Greg’s office
- Got a little boost from Logan saying “I’ll remember this” about Tom’s near-sacrifice, which was nice even though Logan absolutely will not remember it and has probably forgotten about it already
- Took the wrong drugs in the wrong order and found himself shouting at actors inside a compliment tunnel
- Is not happy even though he should be
Tom is a fascinating man. A therapist could make a career out of a case study of anyone on this show, but I feel like Tom might be the most troubled of all of them. That’s not a small feat, especially considering the thing where Roman just made like half a dozen jokes about his mother’s vagina. So… congrats?
MUST IMPROVE: Drug staggering, happiness
I guess my only real problem here with this computer-brained weirdo billionaire is that he’s played by Alexander Skarsgard and I simply cannot see that man on a screen without assuming he’s playing a murderer. I don’t know why I’m like this. It’s not his fault. I see him there talking about privacy and pussy and pasta and internet speed and my brain starts shouting “HE’S GOING TO MURDER SOMEONE.”
It doesn’t help that he went on and on about wanting Logan to die. Part of me is convinced the next episode will open with him standing over Logan’s body with a bloody ice pick in his hands. It’s fine. Don’t worry. I’m doing great
MUST IMPROVE: I mean, it doesn’t look like he got any of his three P’s this night unless he swung by Olive Garden on the way home.
Just a meteoric rise for Kerry, Logan’s much younger assistant who he’s probably sleeping with, at least according to his children. She went from nowhere to the background to giggling over memes on a private plane to drinking and cussing and offering input on important business matters, all in about three weeks. We will need to continue monitoring this situation. If she maintains this pace, she could be the new president by the finale.
MUST IMPROVE: Not burning too bright too fast
Billy Joel, generally
A lot of people bust on Billy Joel now because his biggest hits sound a little dated and he had that trouble with driving around the Hamptons after a few cocktails, but please consider: Billy Joel is a 5’6 dude from New York who had a piano and a cocky little attitude and turned that into about a quarter billion dollars and a brief marriage to America’s Sweetheart Christie Brinkley. He sold out Madison Square Garden dozens of times and was chauffeured there and back home via private helicopter. He wrote and performed the song “Why Should I Worry?” from the Oliver & Company cartoon, which is a good and fun song that I will not apologize for listening to still today.
That’s a pretty full life. Good for Billy Joel.
MUST IMPROVE: Leave Billy Joel alone
Connor is a dope and a putz and Willa could do better tomorrow before lunch if she wanted to, but still, good for her for standing up for him, just shouting down anyone who has a problem with his coat, getting all fired up and peppery about it even though the man she’s defending has the personality of a room temperature vanilla milkshake.
MUST IMPROVE: We gotta get Willa outta here, before it’s too late.
On one hand, I love them very much, sight unseen, both as a general concept (children performing cuss-laden rap songs that are sometimes about martial arts for some reason) and in this specific scenario (of course Kendall would hire them for this), and I wish them nothing but the whole entire world going forward.
On the other hand, I am more angry than you can possibly imagine that I did not get to see them perform. Like, I was vibrating with excitement about it when I first heard someone describe their act. I was giddy. It was, for a brief moment in time, the only thing I wanted in the whole entire world. So, this one stings. It was cruel. To me. I suspect it will be weeks, if not months or years, before I finally get over it.
MUST IMPROVE: LET THEM PLAY
Reece, Kendall’s mysterious drugs guy
I must know everything about Reece at once.
MUST IMPROVE: Pasta acquisition
Comfry the PR lady
It’s tempting to take her down a letter grade because her apartment is currently littered with He-Man lunch boxes that she doesn’t know what to do with and because she failed to get Springsteen to show up to improve the vibes (lol Kendall), but in an episode with no Jess Jordan, who was apparently not invited to the party, which was either extremely rude or an unintentional act of kindness on Kendall’s part, I have no choice but to bump her into the highest echelon.
We’ll discuss this more in a second.
MUST IMPROVE: I’m sorry but, based on nothing but my own misplaced rock-solid belief, I think Jess could have gotten Springsteen there.
- Showed up looking like a gangly version of Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, with a nice suit and slick hair
- Tried to ask out Comfry despite multiple people laughing in his face about the idea and his first attempt devolving into what appeared to be an old-timey Southern gentleman impression that he wouldn’t or couldn’t stop doing
- Kept touching/poking the picture of Kendall on the LCD screen in the saddest display of revenge you’ve ever seen after Kendall — kidding, but not kidding, but kidding, but serious — called him a parasite
- Got a date with Comfry after all, possibly only because of their mutual annoyance with Kendall in the moment, but still
- Is not going to jail, probably
He’s a sweet boy.
MUST IMPROVE: Upper body strength, just based on him trying to put his desk back after Tom flipped it over.