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.
Tom — See, it looked like a good week for Tom. He got a big promotion and everything. But there’s a catch: If Shiv does end up taking over for Logan one day (more on this later), Tom will never be CEO. He’ll top out as her number two. Can Tom handle that? Kind of a two steps forward, one step back situation. We will continue to monitor.
Gerri — The “it could be Gerri… it won’t be Gerri” thing at the end during the successor discussion was tough. Gerri is cool. Don’t be a jerk to Gerri, Logan.
Carl — Succession can be a very fun show as is, at face value, but it can be even more fun if you start picturing Carl as the Mr. Smithers to Logan’s Mr. Burns.
Napoleon’s dried-up old beef jerky dinger — Tough couple hundred years for Napoleon’s penis. Once attached to the most powerful man in this world, it’s now a shriveled-up piece of beef jerky that a billionaire failson is buying as a curio on the antiquities market and will probably end up on a shelf in a mansion that doesn’t even get used. Life comes at you fast. Or kinda slow, depending on whether you look at a few hundred years as multiple human generations or the cosmic blink of an eye. Either way, not ideal.
Willa — I don’t know. Selling would be pretty cool. Let’s hear her out.
Stewey and Sandy — Rug just yoinked right out from under these two and they have no clue why. Probably going to take a lot of guesses to get to “because Kendall left an employee at his sister’s wedding to die in an English pond and now his father has broken him and demanded fealty in exchange for covering it up.” Not the first thing I would jump to.
Kendall was pulled out of his relaxing retreat after less than 48 hours and shoved in front of television camera unshaven and looking like “Elvis on the toilet,” per Roman, so he could attempt to mitigate the harm his aborted takeover bid caused by repeatedly muttering “I saw their plan, my dad’s plan was better” over and over like he was a brainwashed hostage, which he kind of is, and then when he was done he spent the remaining 50 minutes of the episode getting absolutely roasted to a crisp by everyone he saw. I really hope someone makes a supercut of every insult leveled at him in this episode. There were so many. Roman called him a sex doll for Logan to ravage. Shiv called him an old beaten dog and “a pathetic little fucking narcissist.” Stewy called him “a pusillanimous piece of fucking fool’s gold.” All of these were said right to his poor waxy defeated face. Not a great week for Kendall.
Still, he cracks the top seven because he ended the episode on equal footing with Roman at the company, to the confusion of everyone there. He’s battered and bruised and fragile but still in the game. Has to count for something.
Three terrific Roman moments this week, presented in no particular order:
– The one depicted above, in which Roman attempted to cut the tension at the press conference about the rocket that exploded on his watch by joking, “I’m not a rocket scientist” as an image of the explosion played over his shoulder. Classic Roman.
– The one where Shiv was saying how Kendall’s fall from grace could be big for him but Roman is so used to the family mind games and manipulation that he immediately became suspicious of her motivations, culminating with her saying he’s a superstar and that she loves him and him replying with frustrated profanity.
– The one at the big family meeting near the end where he said “I do fucking love money but I’m scared of you” regarding the potential sale of Waystar Royco. That’s a good sentence and it sums up Roman’s entire life in under 10 words but it’s not why this moment made the list. The reason this moment made the list is because of the tiny high-pitched giggle/sigh he did at the end of that perfect little sentence. Go back and watch it again. Listen for the giggle/sigh, specifically. I ran it back three or four times. It’s like his body released it involuntarily as a potential defense in case he got yelled at.
I’m sorry. I love this awful broken little boy.
5. Colin the Security Guy
“Okay, Kendall. I can run through the specifics again if you want.”
“That’s really not necessa-“
“The kid is dead. All the way. Hundred percent dead. Drowned, which is an awful way to go. Tried to get out but couldn’t.”
“I really don’t want t-
“I mean, he didn’t get out of the car like you did. He was trapped. Only way he could have been saved is if someone had helped him get out, but there was no one else there. Besides you, of course.”
“I was panicked and-
“Poor kid. Whole life in front of him. Coulda been a doctor or something. Maybe he would have been the one to cure cancer. But then SPLOOSH, drowned in a lake. Last minutes of his life spent terrified and frantically gasping for air as water slowly surrounded him. Crazy how quick life can turn on you. Really makes you think, you know? About who gets to live and who gets to die. Deep stuff. Unsettling. And that’s just me talking. I wasn’t even there. But you… sheesh, right?”
“Anyway, looks like we’re all clear.”
“Couldn’t you have just told me that?”
“Hmm. Guess I could have. Have a good night, sir.”
3. A sack of live raccoons in the fireplace
Yes, yes, I hear you. The sack of live raccoons, if it was indeed payback by the contractor for Logan’s tough negotiating, appeared to backfire. Logan announced he’d only pay $100,000 on a $300,000 job, not even enough to cover supplies. That’s going to sting quite a bit when they look at the old balance sheet.
But, consider this: It is incredibly difficult to truly inconvenience a billionaire. Billionaires are so isolated and protected by layers of soft buffers and hard goons that ruining their day — even a little, even just enough to make them throw out hundreds of dollars worth of seafood — is no easy task. But they did it. With a sack of raccoons. Logan hit them in the wallets because that’s what Logan understands — money, power, etc. — but these contractors still came away with a story they can dine out on for decades. Every wedding reception, every Christmas party, every time the Roy family is mentioned by anyone within earshot. “Hey Hank, tell the story about the sack of raccoons again. You guys won’t believe this.”
Logan got the last word, sure. But the contractors got the last laugh. Is the last laugh worth $200,000? Tough call. I say yes. Also, “a sack of live raccoons” is a pretty decent way to describe the entire Roy family, so there’s also bonus credit for really nailing that metaphor, intentionally or not.
2. My Sweet Boy Cousin Greg
Sweet, naive Greg, hopping through the park like a gangly adorable forest animal, looking for cocaine instead of berries. How many people do you think he approached before he found an actual cocaine dealer? I’ve got to believe it was at least five.
COUSIN GREG: Um, excuse me. Hi. Do you have any cocaine for sale? It’s okay if you don’t. I just need to buy some and I need it kind of fast. Not that you look like someone that sells cocaine. You don’t look shady. I just thought maybe you might… be a drug dealer. You can just point me toward a drug dealer if you’re not one. I don’t know how to do this. I’m sorry. I’m not a cop, by the way.
A LITTLE BOY WITH A BALLOON IN HIS HAND: I’m seven.
COUSIN GREG: So… that’s a no? On… the cocaine?
The thing about the Roy family is that even happy moments — especially happy moments? — are viewed suspiciously. Logan offered Shiv the company. He had to, really. She’s the closest thing the Roy family has to a Michael Corleone. (In this analogy, Logan is Vito, Gerri is Tom Hagen, and Roman, Connor, and Kendall are all Fredo.) But she didn’t believe him until he said it something like a dozen times, in large part because everything with him is usually manipulation and subterfuge, and she’s been conditioned to point a googly eyeball at anything that looks too good.
And, like, that’s fair, right? Logan couldn’t even stop playing mind games while he was swearing he wasn’t playing mind games. “It’s up to you. Think about it. But if you don’t say yes right now I’ll tweet out my plan to sell and end it all. Or I’ll give the company to your sweaty drug-addicted brother. But no pressure. Five seconds. I’m hitting tweet. Ready. Here I go. Pressing it riiiiigggght n-… oh you’ll do it? How lovely. I’m so happy this worked out.”
What a disaster of a family. What a great television show. Let’s see how long this works out for Shiv before it gets taken away from her. The other shoe is always about to drop on Succession.