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.
SEASON 4, EPISODE 2 – “Rehearsal”
- Is singing Leonard Cohen songs at karaoke after his fiancée left the rehearsal dinner in a kind of weird panic
- Gave just the saddest and most heartbreaking speech you’ve ever heard about not needing love or family
- Watched his big payout evaporate because his siblings are dipshits who are somehow more broken than he is
It’s not great.
MUST IMPROVE: Giving and/or receiving love
Shiv is tanking the whole deal with Matsson. Just blowing it up. She’s the one who got this ball rolling, too, even if Kendall went ahead and kicked it forward in a weird and pathetic way that we are going to talk about in a minute. She did all of this for two reasons, neither of which are good but both of which are understandable given the disastrous family dynamics at play.
REASON NUMBER ONE: She spent years listening to Logan tell her she’s the smart one and went ahead and believed it and now is running around with a mountain of unearned confidence about business and life things that causes her to torpedo things sometimes out of nowhere.
REASON NUMBER TWO: She just wants to screw Logan for any number of reasons, including but not limited to Logan being a manipulative monster and Logan advising Tom on the impending divorce.
This is not great either.
MUST IMPROVE: Situational awareness
When did you realize Kendall was going to tank the deal with Matsson? Was it when he took that phone call in the subway? Was it when we saw Matsson’s unshaven face and realized things were generally just not going great for either of these guys? Or was it just after that when we saw the weird broken little boy smile on his face as he wrapped up the call and saw his opportunity to throw a wrench into things because, if you can count on Kendall Roy for anything, it’s to just do the dumbest possible thing at any given moment?
Just take the money.
JUST TAKE THE MONEY.
LIVE YOUR LIFE.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO THIS.
TAKE THE MONEY.
MUST IMPROVE: Pretty much everything
The tricky thing here is that Logan is kind of right about the deal with Matsson. He did get a good number and everyone is going to get very rich and pushing is the wrong play, probably, for reasons we saw on that call with Kendall. The man has done deals his entire life and it’s the one thing he does well and it’s got to be infuriating to watch his entitled bozo kids mess it all up in a desperate cry for attention.
He’s also a manipulative old creep who cannot be believed for one second, ever, especially when he’s talking about love or relationships, and he appears to be filling the post-sale crater in his soul with a new and much more active role in the day-to-day operations of ATN. This is so deeply sad. The man cannot stop. He’s just incapable of it because if he does he’ll have too many quiet moments alone to ruminate on things and realize he has no one and nothing after a life spent handling every personal relationship in his life like a zero-sum business transaction.
Other than that, pretty good.
MUST IMPROVE: Maybe don’t do petty helicopter revenge maneuvers when the only endgame of it all is making three of your children late for the wedding-related festivities of your fourth (and often neglected!) child
Oh my god.
The meeting with Kerry about the tape was a shipwreck. You knew it was going to be one, too. The second Tom passed that bomb down the ladder from Logan — “I’m not involved” got a legit lol outta me by about the third or fourth time he muttered it like a coward — Greg was doomed. You can tell it was bad because I’ve typed two sentences in this paragraph and compared Greg’s night to a maritime disaster and a man holding a ticking bomb. Maybe the bomb is on the boat? I don’t even think I know at this point.
Greg never had a chance. I want to feel bad for him but he’s so far off-course that I don’t know if he can be saved.
MUST IMPROVE: Confidence, backbone
- Getting mocked behind her back by basically everyone she knows because of her atrocious audition tape
- Trying to insert herself into the Roy family dynamic as some sort of Logan-to-English translator
- Maybe starting to realize this was all not a great idea
She can still bully Greg, though. He provides a service like that. Just a constant gangly reminder that no one is lower on the totem pole.
MUST IMPROVE: Inappropriate smiling
The thing about Tom is that he has mastered the art of being in the middle of the food chain. He evades the predators — Logan always, sometimes Shiv, Kerry this week — while making a meal of anyone even a little weaker than he is. It’s fascinating to watch him work. I am coming to appreciate this weasel a little bit, even if he still is constantly on the verge of failing.
MUST IMPROVE: Giving speeches to the troops
Various low-level employees of ATN
Logan taking a more active role in the news division is going to be disastrous for these poor saps. Looking over their shoulders while they tap out emails, shouting numbers at them, just a mess. I would feel worse for any of them if they weren’t working for a soulless enterprise that exists to tear the nation into little divided shreds.
MUST IMPROVE: General life choices
Hoo buddy. Did you see his face during that call with Kendall? That is not the face of a guy who is doing great. I make this point every week but everyone on this show is broken in such weird and specific ways and, while I have yet to figure Matsson out in the way I have figured out most of the Roy family, I would happily watch a weird standalone episode about his backstory that takes place as he is starting his career as a young little eccentric maniac.
I kind of love him a little.
MUST IMPROVE: Getting even a little sun
Gerri slides into the middle of the proceedings this week mostly because she continues to do an impressive job of sidestepping explosive situations. Logan is losing confidence in her a little, which is actually fine seeing as spending less time with or around Logan has never been a bad thing for anyone. I remain convinced she could hit 7 out of 10 free throws at any given moment, even in a business suit and sensible heels.
MUST IMPROVE: Getting busted giggling at her embarrassing video tapes
Sandi and Stewy
ON ONE HAND: Awful little finance vultures. I hate them and everything they stand for. The world would be a better place if both of them had fallen down an open manhole cover while they were popping up for that “surprise” visit outside Connor’s rehearsal dinner.
ON THE OTHER HAND: I kind of missed Stewy? I don’t know. I have a lot to consider here
MUST IMPROVE: Not conflicting me so much
Various Karls, Franks, and Karolinas
Maybe my favorite moment of the whole episode: Karolina hanging Hugo out to dry in the conference room with the Kerry tape and then making a little face about it afterward. I could watch all of these people shank each other for the full hour every week.
MUST IMPROVE: I’m tempted to say “playing nice with others” but I’m enjoying it all too much, so… let’s just move on
It remains the position of this report card that Roman is both the smartest and most human of all the Roy children under all of his childish behaviors. He was the one who wanted to stay in the deal because he’s not constantly waging a hopeless war with Logan. He’s the one who was, like, actually kind of concerned about ruining Connor’s day, even if he couldn’t help himself with the insults. He’s a decent guy under… you know. All of… that.
Which is what made that ending such a bummer. The kid is just getting yoinked and yo-yo-ed around by whichever family member is in front of his face in any given moment. Shiv and Kendall are bullying him and demanding to look at his phone because he had the gall to say happy birthday to their dad. Logan is looking him in the eye and telling him he’s a smart and special boy, which is all he’s ever wanted from anyone, even if it’s being used against him in bad faith here. I honestly don’t even think he cares. If someone gave him a single, real, lengthy hug, I think he would fight it with sarcasm and crude jokes for a while and then melt into a little wet puddle on the ground.
MUST IMPROVE: Getting pulled in every damn direction by anyone with a little authority in their voice
What is your go-to karaoke song? Don’t say you don’t have one. Don’t try to give me that. Karaoke is a blast. Get in there. Do it if you haven’t. Or even if you haven’t recently. Don’t be self-conscious about it. Have some fun. You deserve it. Pick an easy song. My favorite is “Suspicious Minds” by Elvis Presley because you don’t even have to be a good singer to do it well. You just have to do like a B- Elvis impression and point at the crowd and maybe egg them into singing the backup parts a little bit. Easy way to fake both talent and charisma, which, in the long run, is juuuust about as good as having talent and charisma in the first place.
That’s a little tip from me to you.
MUST IMPROVE: Some people try to show off too much like it’s American Idol or something and they need to chill out
Sergio the Driver
- Got out of driving Tom around after Tom leaped out of the car in the tunnel
- Probably turned the music up real loud and drove around the city at night after that, which is actually a decent way to make a living
- Is named Sergio
We like him very much.
MUST IMPROVE: We need to get Sergio a faster car, like maybe a little Lamborghini, which would not be as functional for chauffeuring purposes as the big black SUV but would be substantially more fun for him and me
I very much wanted Willa to just disappear into the night and run off and live a happier life somewhere in the suburbs while Connor keeps monitoring the dot on his phone like a hopeless little cyberstalker. “She’s going to Target again.” Yeah, dude. She is. And she is thriving. Leave her alone.
MUST IMPROVE: Escaping
Jess Jordan remains my favorite character on this entire show, mostly for the faces she makes in the background while everything around her is going to hell. I would absolutely watch a spinoff about her life outside of work. Or maybe the rest of this final season could just focus on her instead of these other goons. That would be fine, too. Jess Jordan rules.
MUST IMPROVE: Nothing
Good for them.
MUST IMPROVE: LEAVE THEM ALONE, LOGAN