Succession Power Rankings: Juice is Loose, Baby!
Back to ranking my favorite fuckleheads.
In lieu of The Friday Post this week, tonight you get the return of my Succession Power Rankings.
Succession is back and congratulations to the winning team! The “winning team” meaning: people who pronounce it “suck session” (funny — revelatory — sexy, etc) and not “secession,” as in “secede.” Succession is back with “Secession,” finally settling a debate — how to say the name of this show — that has been tearing our country apart:
At Vulture, I wrote Succession power rankings throughout season two. Now I’m writing them for you here on Hung Up; on Sunday nights the power rankings will go out to all [redacted because it makes me anxious] thousands of you. There’s a plane en route to Sarajevo (With! Aesop handsoap in the bathroom!), Rava Roy’s house belongs to the streets, Beyoncé biter Sanaa Lathan makes her entrance. Here’s where my favorite fuckleheads land after the dust settles.
There’s something hilariously unmoored about Kendall in this episode: the way he talks through every stop on his advisor-shopping spree/listening tour, this claim that he got back at his dad for, seemingly, everyone, uttering the phrase “TEDx” after the year 2014. He invites his girlfriend over to his ex-wife’s house. (Now that's what I call Scenes From a Marriage!) He agrees to hear out a publicist’s pitch before offering his own New York Times opinion headline: Fuck the weather, we’re changing the cultural climate.” (Please recall that no one even reads what runs on that page! It would probably get published!)
For all his hilarious self-promotion — the last thing we need is an extremely online Roy — he wins the week. He can no longer get into the Waystar building (is he, technically, still an employee? The fact that it’s still up in the air is hilarious), but he’s executing power moves. The fact that he has Logan so scared — of his son, of the DOJ, of potential defectors currently in the inner circle — is very telling.
Gerri Hive, we ride! When Shiv shits the bed, Gerri is installed as temporary CEO. Logan is in the background pulling the strings, and it’s understood this will be mostly for appearances and mostly because she’s a woman, but still! Gerri gets out of this episode the cleanest! “Cleanest” with a little asterisk next to it, like “cleanest but still managing a multinational corporation in the middle of a major sex scandal.”
“I think it should be me,” Roman, faking confidence, tells his dad over the phone once it’s decided a new CEO should take over for appearances. “It’s my time. I can do it. I want it, and I think I can do it.” (This line — this line reading — bliss.) His conviction lasts less than thirty seconds, and Logan dismisses his appeal almost immediately. But! For many moments before Roman opened his mouth, my Apple Watch was indicating that it was, indeed, “Romey time.” He’s brash and bull-headed, but in a way that works. He’s the only sibling that can actually speak Logan’s preferred language of strength. He shined in the morning’s strategy meeting; by the episode’s end, he might not be CEO but won’t he benefit from having Gerri in the top spot over Shiv?
I’d almost forgotten that Shiv and Tom ended last season with an awkwardly tender-tragic moment — Shiv’s game of emotional push and pull had Tom a little down. “I wonder,” he said, “if the sad I’d be without you would be less than the sad I’d be being with you.” Those issues haven’t resolved themselves; their interactions in the opening moments of the episode seems a little strained. He pitches her to recruit a lawyer for Logan, and she seems less than thrilled that he’s put her up for the job.
But when it’s time to pile into private jets, Tom has an enviable position: Logan’s plane, sandwiched between Frank and Karl. Did Tom just become officially inner circle? On the flight he’s able to push for Shiv to get the CEO job. The play doesn’t work out for either of them — he might not have Logan’s ear, but it’s significant that he’s being kept close. He could’ve been left behind on the tarmac with Willa and Conner.
Pro: The secession play has elevated Greg to right hand man status. Con: the hand belongs to Kendall, and it’s a white fist pumping the air. But pro: Kendall is at the top of the power rankings. But, again, con: having to inevitably return the NutriBullets his mom is panic buying. (I have this fantasy that somehow they all end up in his apartment.) Greg belongs at the middle of this list; his fortunes aren’t great, but they’re not bad either.
“He’s still in Europe, he’s scared, and it looks like my dad’s gone to Sarajevo,” Kendall recaps to his new attorney near the end of the episode. “What can I tell you? My dad’s the devil, and he runs a crime ring.” All technically true, but the most important part is the fear — Logan is flailing and second guessing every decision. In the immediate aftermath of Kendall’s press conference, he’s just trying to stop the bleeding. Should he return to New York, or extend his “family” “vacation” to a country without an extradition clause? Would it be a show of weakness or strength to cooperate with the government? And will a light deli sandwich from this Croatian airport lounge run right through him?
As Logan decides who will be interim CEO, Shiv is tasked with delivering her dad a powerful Gloria Allred-y attorney — Lisa Arthur, played by Beyoncé biter Sanaa Lathan — to rep him in the fallout from Kendall’s presser. But Shiv enters the meeting with a pitch of her own: Kendall and Logan are lawyering up, asshole, so shouldn’t be too? The plan backfires spectacularly: not only has Arthur already chosen Kendall over any other Roy, now Shiv returns to Logan empty-handed, leaving her passed over as CEO. Again. Like, again again.
(Also: I wonder if Shiv read the new Sally Rooney and thought the third act was rushed, as I did.)
I don’t know why it tickles me so much that Fisher Stevens is on this show. Here he is, booking those silly little conference rooms and chartering those silly little jets! OOMF in his travel agent era: “Great. Another plane.” It’s giving cinema!
I have seen a lot of upsetting things in this life — Cats, a flattened rat on the street outside of my apartment the other day, Beyoncé’s bangs that one time — but I cannot think of anything more personally upsetting than getting kicked out of a car in the middle of nowhere FiDi, and then being hounded by paparazzi.
Husbands — a liability! Even and especially (almost) exes! Letting Kendall crash at her house for a couple hours turned into a truly nightmarish situation for Rava — now she has to watch from the sidelines as her house gets ran through, her family heirloom bottle of wine is uncorked, and she’s interrogated about a men's razor in her bathroom. I’m pouring out a glass of moderately priced orange wine — that I am allowed to open, because it’s mine — for my sister in her time of need.