TV

The ‘Succession’ Seven: A Techno Gatsby Rises From The Ashes

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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

Gil – Lost his potential Chief of Staff and is now stuck with Doofus Nate, may or may not be compromising all of his values in exchange for use of a sick plane

Gerri – Overruled by Logan, who sided with Shiv, even though Gerri is the smartest person in most rooms she’s in

Fake Jim Cramer – I mean, this was just funny

7B. Tom

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Rough week for Tom, buddy. Just getting roasted from every angle. Sid absolutely cooked him in their brief meeting about his role with ATN, Roman mocked his suits, Roman’s girlfriend dropped an absolutely devastating “maybe you should swallow something” callback to their debaucherous bachelor party (“it’s a closed-loop system”), and, most painfully, Shiv got him good at dinner about the suits, too.

It wasn’t her yucks about the suits, though. That wasn’t the real problem. The real problem was that Shiv told Tom that she’s been tapped as successor, which means their plan — “their” “plan” — to launch him into Logan’s seat one day appears to have disappeared like Kendall from the scene of a crime. Watch the scene where she told him. Go pull it up now. Look at his face. His mouth is saying the right words, sometimes more than once (a classic tell), but it looks like he’s trying to prevent vomit from escaping out of every hole in his face. He knows what this means. He’ll never have his own space in the company. He’ll always be Shiv’s husband, a kept man, her loyal number two, the whipping boy of the family when Greg isn’t around. Tom has some issues to deal with. That’s my point.

7A. Roman

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The easiest way to understand Roman is to think of him as a little boy. A child. A world-class brat, holy hell, who has no self-esteem at all and, instead of trying to develop some of his own, uses words and actions to chop down the people around him until they’ve fallen to his level. Did he want to kill Vaulter? I don’t know. He doesn’t even know. He just knew it was Kendall’s baby and he could score some points with his dad by kneecapping Kendall so, thwap, there it went.

He also, the poor misguided boob, thinks he’s in the catbird seat to take over the company, in part because he doesn’t know about the arrangement between Logan and Shiv and in part because he can’t see that Logan would still rather give it to Kendall — drug addict, murderer, traitor — than trust a multibillion-dollar multimedia conglomerate to an 11-year-old boy. There’s a reckoning coming for Roman, soon, where he discovers all of this. He’s probably not going to handle it well. That’s not exactly me going out on a limb here. Roman doesn’t handle anything well. He’ll just handle this… worse. He might literally throw a tantrum. I kind of can’t wait?

6. Techno Gatsby

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There is nothing in Kendall’s eyes anymore. No fire, no spark, not even sadness about what’s become of his life. Just… nothing. There’s nothing in them when he’s serving as Logan’s Terminator robot in business settings, there’s nothing in them when he’s doing cocaine in bathroom stalls and announcing that he’s “looking for pussy like a fuckin’ techno Gatsby,” nothing anywhere, ever. It’s great for Logan because now there’s a mindless mercenary on staff who can and will carry out any number of ruthless actions without complaint. It’s great for the cocaine and/or real estate dealers in Manhattan. It’s not so great for Kendall, though, to whatever degree “Kendall” still exists.

But enough of that. I’m still not over “looking for pussy like I’m fuckin’ techno Gatsby.” I don’t know what it means. I’ve read it a dozen times just now and I’m not getting any closer. It appears to be one of the phrases that makes perfect sense when your mind is ravaged by chemicals but is utterly incomprehensible to anyone whose synapses are firing at even 40 percent capacity. Techno Gatsby. Techno Gatsby! I’m not sure those two words have ever been placed next to each other in the history of the English language and now the combination is all I can think about. I wonder what else you can do “like a fuckin’ techno Gatsby.” Like, can I go to Wawa for lunch like a fuckin’ techno Gatsby? Because I think I might like to?

I don’t know. I’ll keep thinking about it.

5. Sid

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I should not like Sid. Sid runs ATN and is an obvious stand-in for Roger Ailes and everything she is and stands for probably nauseates me even though she has yet to actually articulate most of it. Still, I can piece it together from context. Sid sucks.

And yet. And yet! In that meeting with Tom, when he was laying out his great big plans for ATN and she was brushing him away like a ladybug that landed on the sleeve of her $3000 blazer, she made a reference to “latte-sipping douchebags with $100 haircuts” and as she did it, this happened…

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Ahhhh dammit. Goddammit. I like Sid now. This is disquieting. I have much to consider, entire priorities in my life to reassess. Can I really be swung this easily that one solid burn will put me in the tank completely for an otherwise putrid human being? Hmm. Hmmmmm.

I guess so!

4. Logan

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3. The guy who spit on Kendall

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No. I will not do it. I refuse to take the bait I will not be the person who works in digital media who uses what happened to Vaulter this week — shut down, stripped bare, employees fired and hosed, all so Logan could score a teeny tiny win at an investor meeting — as an excuse to launch into a whole thing about The State Of The Industry. I’m sure you can find it elsewhere from anyone who works in digital media and watches Succession (read as: anyone who works in digital media). I won’t be the guy who worked at a newspaper who writes a 4000-word review of Spotlight that is basically a thinly-veiled list of my own grievances. Nope. Not me. I’ll just point out that the screens over Roman’s back that showed a selection of Vaulter headlines cracked me up. Selections include:

– Meet The World’s Richest People Trafficker (He’s A Surprisingly Nice Guy)

– Is Every Taylor Swift Song Secretly Marxist?

– 5 Reasons Why Drinking Milk On The Toilet Is Kind Of A Game-Changer

Perfect.

Anyway, to the spitting man, whose name, the show’s subtitles inform me, is Scott. Yes, Kendall did brush it off. He’s been through so much that he doesn’t feel humiliation anymore. A bird could crap on his head on the Met Gala red carpet and he’d just slump his shoulders and walk inside. This isn’t really about him, though. This is about the people. We discussed it last week with the sack of live raccoons. Did it have a long-term positive outcome? No. It cost the contractor six figures and might have cost him future work. But there’s something noble about inconveniencing an evil billionaire, if only for a second. It feels good.

Hence, the spitting. It did nothing. It solved nothing. It had no effect on the person who was spit on. But I bet it felt great in the moment. Just freeing and wonderful. And now he can turn it into content, the most useful prize of all.

My Billionaire Boss Sent His Idiot Son To Fire Me And I Spit In His Face

He’ll get a book deal out of it. You watch.

2. Shiv

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I am increasingly of the belief that this will end poorly for Shiv. I say that in part because she appears to actually, truly want it now and wanting things never works out for anyone on this show, and in part because of the conversation she had with Logan, the one with the brief interruption about unplugging the Alexa. Did you catch what happened there? Let’s run it down quick:

– She wanted to talk, he was happy to

– He laid out his plan, she pushed back

– He got cranky

– Suddenly he was too busy and didn’t want to talk

This is classic Logan. Shiv was the best candidate because she didn’t want it and that was alluring compared to her goofus brothers who want it so bad all the time. Now she does want it and she has ideas and it’s becoming real and he’s starting to hate it. He’ll probably push her away soon enough, too. It’s going to be ugly. Logan can’t help himself. He is who he is and what he is is kind of a monster.

1. My Sweet Boy Cousin Greg

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Yeah, he’s stuck at ATN, which is kind of like against his values, and he still has to go score drugs for Kendall, so things aren’t great on all fronts. But he does have that sweet apartment now. That’s all it takes this week. Good for Greg

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