TV

The ‘Succession’ Seven: A Snake Is Slithering In The Grass

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.

UNRANKED

Shiv — It feels strange to bump Shiv from the rankings proper. Wrong. Blasphemous even. She’s the smartest and most competent of the Roys, which isn’t saying much given the competition, but still. You only have to beat the other team on the field, you know? It’s not your fault if they’re an incompetent crew of diaper-filling goofuses. And yet, here we are. Her father spent most of the episode dodging her after the slip-ups of the last few weeks (dinner with the Pierces, various dinosaur debacles in front of other billionaires), and then she got blindsided by Rhea. This will come up again shortly. Shiv will come up again shortly too, in the rankings, one assumes. This is a temporary setback. It is a doozy, though. But Kendall attempted a mutiny and then did cocaine and killed a guy and he’s about to be number seven this week. Things change, is my point.

Tom — $50 says Tom ends up in prison before next season is over.

Naomi Pierce — Almost made the rankings just for her excellent display of peer pressure in the cold open and for the thing where I want her and Kendall to have a million little demon children as soon as possible.

Gerri — Slow week for Gerri. Still the best.

Sandy and Stewy — Not one single second of screen time between them and they still steered the action completely with a short video clip and an empty hot dog bun. They really almost made it. There just wasn’t room. There are wet-junked pilots to get to and Sandy and his syphilis just can’t compete.

7. Kendall (Last Week: 6)

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Has there ever, in the entire history of mankind, been a sadder combination than the somber, slowed down theme music and Kendall staring off into space with a look on his face that seemed to imply he had eaten spoiled mayonnaise with a spoon? I mean, yes, there has. Lots of stuff. You’ve seen the first 10 minutes of Up. Pretty sad, though. My poor broken boy, dragged along to meet the family of the kid he killed — manslaughtered, really — by a cruel father who was punishing him for… I don’t know, really. For hooking up with Naomi? For correctly implying that Rhea may be up to something slimy? For… just being one of Logan’s kids and in the old dinosaur’s line of sight at feeding time? A combination of the three?

That wasn’t even the worst part. Kendall knows Logan is a monster. Everyone does. The thing with his mom was the killer, though. Oof. Ooooooof. She straight-up blew him off as he tried to unburden himself. She did everything short of yawn in his face. And then she bailed on breakfast, too. Every time I think I hate these kids for being entitled brats, another thing like this happens and I remember how deeply, deeply ruined they are. They have everything and nothing at all.

Anyway, there may be no more pure distillation of Kendall as a person than the thing where he got wasted and slid money through the dead kid’s family’s mail slot in the middle of the night. Paying them off without the courage to say anything to their face. Dude is hollow inside and it breaks my heart.

6. Serge the Pilot (Last Week: Unranked)

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Please add Serge the Pilot to the long list of Succession side characters I would watch an entire episode about. All I can see when I picture him is like a human version of Launchpad McQuack. I love him.

5. Logan (Last Week: 7)

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4. Caroline (Last Week: Unranked)

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Yes, of course, the terrible parenting at the end with Kendall. And the sniping at Shiv. And serving pigeon with shrapnel and feather inside them. All of it… yeah, could be better. But you don’t see someone get one over on Logan very often — not so easily, at least — and credit needs to be given there. She played it perfectly, too. She saw the opening and made her move. She negotiated from a position of power and made the play she was gunning for all along only after setting it up with the Summer Palace okie-doke.

Was it kind of cruel? Well, yeah. She made Logan choose between his $150 million Hamptons compound and Christmas with his kids just to make a point to the kids that he would choose the house. I don’t even think she wanted it. And I don’t think anyone expected him to do anything else. That might have been the saddest part, the collective shrug at Logan essentially choosing to spend Christmas alone with his money like a more profane Ebenezer Scrooge.

Wait a second. Waaaaait a second. I just stumbled onto something here, didn’t I? A Christmas Carol with Logan Roy? Oh man. Oh man, oh man, I would watch that so hard. All 10 minutes of it, at least, because that’s about how long it would take Logan to tell the first ghost to “fuck off” and then hop in a helicopter to his beloved beach house. Bah humbug, indeed.

3. Roman (Last Week: Unranked)

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Roman should not be this high on the list. I know that. You know that. There were really only two positive things that happened to him this week and both of them were very much “good” with at least one set of sarcastic quotes around them. He good a “good job” from Logan for the negotiating with Caroline but he was treated like a little boy at the grown-up table by everyone. Rhea called him a reasonable future CEO candidate but then we learned she’s out here playing a sneaky game with Logan and that statement — all of her statements? — might be smoke and mirrors. He didn’t do any humiliation role play with Gerri, which I kind of can’t believe I’m now rooting for, but here we are, I suppose.

No, Roman should not be this high, if we’re considering things like “the merits” or “personal achievements” or “success and/or growth.” He is this high, though, solely because of the line in the screencap above, which was delivered in an awkward and heartbreaking moment — Logan basically gaslighting hit after the slapping and Roman meekly accepting his fate — and is still somehow making me laugh today. I hate everything Roman is and stands for and yet I still want to wrap him in a blanket and carry him away and protect him from this evil world.

Yeah. I don’t know either.

2. Rhea Jarrel (Last Week: Unranked)

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The Roy kids didn’t see it coming. They saw Rhea Jarrell hanging around, sure, but they got lulled to sleep by all the other people drifting in and out of their family’s orbit, your Pierces and Vaulters and Stewys and Sandys. They forgot that she was a shark, someone who had already risen to the position of CEO in another family-controlled company that she has no blood ties to. They forgot how good she is at this, this playing people against each other and making moves in her own self-interest. They forget she’s Rhea Freaking Jarrell.

I didn’t see it coming either. I saw Holly Hunter hanging around, sure, but I got lulled to sleep by all the other notable actors and actresses drifting in and out of the show’s orbit, your Mark Linn-Bakers and Alan Rucks and James Cromwells. I forgot that she’s a powerhouse, someone who has been taking and killing roles for decades now and is not about to pop up in some television series without a meaty part to sink her teeth into. I forgot how good she is at this, this playing characters with ulterior motives and owning the screen when she needs to. I forgot she’s Holly Freaking Hunter.

Also, something worth noting: In the next few weeks, we are likely going to be conditioned to root against Rhea Jarrell as she tries to slide her way into Waystar Royco and/or Logan’s estate, but please don’t forget that she is, so far, definitely the most qualified and probably the least awful of all the potential successor candidates. Besides Gerri. Who is also probably the only one with the skill and experience to match wits with her. I am extremely here for a Rhea v. Gerri showdown.

1. My Sweet Duplicitous Boy Cousin Greg (Last Week: 1)

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Look at that haircut!

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