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‘Succession’ Report Card: The Walls Are Closing In On Everyone

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.

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Logan

HBO

This week, Logan:

  • Continued to use his children as pawns and/or shields to try to wriggle out of the trouble he’s in for running a corrupt boys’ club of a company for decades now
  • Dropped an F-slur while talking to Roman
  • Tried to strongarm the investigation so hard that the government got mad and came to raid the offices with a search warrant and a whole team of FBI agents

The walls are closing in a bit here and his support system is wavering. Too soon to count the old dog out yet for a bunch of reasons, but things are not going great.

GRADE: F

MUST IMPROVE: Growing or otherwise acquiring a working heart to fill the empty black hole in his chest

Gerri

HBO

Gerri is the CEO the same way a kid who gets a paper crown with a Whopper Junior rules the entire Burger King, which is to say, not so much. Logan is overruling and undermining her to her face and behind her back, she’s getting nothing accomplished anywhere, and people are saying the quiet part out loud about her being “optics.” She’s not blood, which makes her an outsider even though she’s devoted her life to the company. She just kind of looks sad a lot.

I’ve got to believe Gerri lays awake at night wondering about a Sliding Doors situation where she takes a different path at a younger age. She could have been anything, probably. A founder of a non-profit, a senator, a helicopter pilot to the stars. This can’t be what she wanted, even if she’ll probably tell you it is.

GRADE: F

MUST IMPROVE: Life choices

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Shiv

HBO

Hoo boy.

  • Her big town hall got blown up by Kendall orchestrating a guerrilla speaker operation that ended with the song “Rape Me” by Nirvana blasting throughout the building as she tried to lower the temperature on the huge cruise ship sexual assault scandal
  • She is apparently signing off on her husband being the sacrificial lamb who takes the prison time in all of this
  • She released an ice-cold letter about Kendall and all of his issues with addiction and mania, referencing his “teets” blow-up from last week in a section about his misogyny, and while none of it was really incorrect, the fact that she couldn’t bully Roman and Connor — the two most submissive boys in the world — into signing it says a lot about how below-the-belt it was

Shiv is a wounded animal right now, just scratching and gnashing with teeth and claws.

GRADE: D+

MUST IMPROVE: Situational awareness, tendency to lash out

Various Franks, Karls, and Karolinas

HBO

Poor Karolina. She’s doing the best she can.

GRADE: D

MUST IMPROVE: Backbone strength and/or sniveling depending on the situation

Mondale the Dog

HBO

On one hand, eating and pooping out pantyhose does not sound like a fun time for anyone. On the other hand, he’s a good boy and I love him very much.

GRADE: D+

MUST IMPROVE: Recognizing food

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Tom

HBO

Tom should be getting a much worse grade by any objective standard, between playing doggie proctologist and facing a prison sentence and bullying my sweet gangly boy Cousin Greg. He had a terrible week. It could not have gone much worse, to be honest, short of Shiv having a torrid fling with Nate after bumping into him at the journalism gala, which I was pretty sure we were heading toward.

And yet. And yet! There was the thing where he was talking to Kendall and Kendall said he had no beef with him and actually said the hilariously perfect Kendall sentence, “Another life is possible, brother.” We are teetering toward a world where Kendall, Greg, and Tom try to take down Waystar together like the lion, tin man, and scarecrow going after the Wizard of Oz. I’m not sure who is who in the scenario, except that Logan is the wizard and Greg is definitely the scarecrow. Lisa Arthur might be Dorothy. Unless… is… is Kendall Dorothy?

I will think about this and get back to you.

GRADE: C-

MUST IMPROVE: Playing better with others

Kendall

HBO

Favorite Kendall moments this week, in no particular order:

  • The pathetic little “boooo” while playing Good Tweet, Bad Tweet
  • Screaming about the patriarchy on the way into the gala in the cringiest display of allyship anyone has ever seen
  • Claiming the AC in his office was hacked to make it “65, maybe 62” degrees
  • Barging into the writer’s room of the show to pitch ideas and talk about guys he knows at the Lampoon
  • Insisting he could secure Jay Z as a backup guest on 15 minutes notice
  • Sitting with a journalist for a profile and doing the whole “is this gonna be in there?” thing over a salad

All of which culminated in him hiding out in a back room of a television studio kind of having a panic attack when what he thought was a game became very real as Sophie Iwobi read Shiv’s letter on-air and mocked him for ghosting her and the show. Once again: Kendall is a little boy. That’s the way to look at him that makes the most sense. A little boy who got $100 for his birthday and thinks he’s rich because he doesn’t understand the concept of monthly bills yet. Just banging toy trucks together and thinking he understands the world.

He did end on a small win, though. The FBI raid gets him what he wants and will bump Shiv’s letter out of the news cycle. He’s on a high-wire still, but it’s not a total loss.

GRADE: C

MUST IMPROVE: Just, like, understanding anything

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Connor

HBO

Connor is an idiot and a pompous buffoon and no one respects him even a little, but I like that he refused to sign the letter and I’ve kind of started becoming curious about what he actually does all day, to the degree that I wouldn’t be all that mad if the show tossed a massive curveball next week and just gave us an entire episode that followed him around for 24 hours.

I don’t know why, but I feel like it would involve him trying to return a sweater without a receipt and having it ruin his entire day when they only offer him a store credit.

GRADE: B

MUST IMPROVE: I mean, everything, a little bit

Roman

HBO

It’s weird. I should hate Roman. He’s a little rich snotty shit. He has almost zero redeeming qualities. He could get hit by a bus in the cold open next week and it would have absolutely no effect on the world at large.

But between the fishing story and his refusal to sign the letter — which he did while doubled over, like standing up for himself caused him physical pain — and the thing where he mimicked puking during his pre-interview meeting with the ATN guy, I… I’m starting to love the little doofus?

I don’t know. I don’t know. I have much to consider.

GRADE: B

MUST IMPROVE: It’s not really relevant but I worry about his upper body strength, like, to the degree I wonder if he can lift a gallon of milk, so let’s go with that

Sophie Iwobi

HBO

I bet clips of her show go viral every week. Blogs all over the internet probably post them with words like “destroys” and “eviscerates” in the headline. Good for her.

GRADE: B+

MUST IMPROVE: Wrangling guests before the show starts

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This security guy

HBO

Love him.

GRADE: A-

MUST IMPROVE: Growing a mustache to be a little scarier

Jess Jordan

HBO

Please do me a favor: Watch Jess Jordan. Every time she’s on the screen. Watch the faces she makes whenever Kendall says or does some extremely Kendall stuff. It’s honestly becoming my favorite part of the show.

GRADE: A

MUST IMPROVE: Career planning

Cousin Greg

HBO

Sometimes it astounds me how well the writers on this show know their characters and “Cousin Greg being kind of bullied into paying $40k for a watch he thought would be a gift and doesn’t even work” is absolutely one of those times.

GRADE: A+

MUST IMPROVE: Nothing, leave him alone

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