Succession Power Rankings: Little Lord Fuckleroy
Rabbits, Ravenhead, and Adrien Brody, oh my.
Welcome back Slime Puppies! Succession Power Rankings for episode 304: “Lion in the Meadow.”
I saw Spencer this week and the only thing I am willing to say about it at this time: great gowns, beautiful gowns. Literally and Aretha Franklin-ly. But there is a moment where the titular Spencer whispers the word “Succession” that took me totally out of the moment and I had to laugh. The profound urgency of that line reading: Yes! Succession! Let’s get into it:
Sorry, I’ll act right.
When Kendall and Logan can’t pause their game of Family Feud long enough to massage Josh Aaronson’s ego, the major shareholder defects to team Sandi and Stewy. Aaronson, plus the DOJ keeping the Roys in damage control mode, Kendall’s inevitable cornball self-destruction, gives Stewy the most power and control. So, yes: my man is on top!
Between the Justice Department investigation and Kendall’s continued clown show, one of Waystar’s whale shareholders is uneasy. Josh Aaronson invites Logan and Kendall to make a beachfront house call and assuage his anxieties. The meet goes from friendly to awkward to icy to disastrous; Aaronson was shaky at the entire proposition from the start, and Kendall and Logan struggle to fake a unified front because, well, they’re not unified at all.
But Aaronson gets some truth at his makeshift Red (beachwood?) Table; “There’s some healing that needs to happen,” he basically says. All the press, the galas, the “fire tweets” and DOJ investigation — what’s Kendall really after? The people’s chump is burying the company he still wants to run. (My favorite line was Kendall even deflecting when asked if he thinks his dad should go to jail.) Logan soothes things over with a tender, passionate defense of his son and his good heart but slow head. It’s enough to win the moment, but not the day. When Aaronson sees the utter rot at the center of this family – how Kendall is more concerned with winning his support than he is his dad’s heatstroke — he switches sides. Aaronson has the most influence to throw around, and he’s taken his weathered rich guy Patagonia to another party.
Team Logan is etching away at Kendall’s chorus of sycophants one by one. Tonight, Logan briefly woos Cousin Greg, and instructs Shiv to send Tom to finish the job. Tom — in a tender-tragic moment of romantic bullying — gets Greg to switch sides. A reference for my Veep-heads: I do feel like Greg is getting fluffed before he’s fucked, but I digress. Being in demand is not a bad place for Cousin Greg to be.
Frank — permanently getting fired, begrudgingly re-hired, and getting fired and re-hired again — is useful to both sides as a Kendall’s closest confidant in the Waystar C-suite. When Aaronson dangles the opportunity of a meet with both Kendall and Logan, Frank is the little bird in his here, whispering that our favorite girlboss should (for once!) behave. It’s a good meeting to take to keep the firm in the family’s control; it’s a better meeting to take if Kendall actually does become CEO and needs Aaronson’s support.
The camera pulls back to reveal that Logan is there for the call, orchestrating the ask. Frank is one of the longest running members of Logan’s inner circle — begrudgingly so, remember that Logan bristles at his erudite background — but is there a version of this where he’s skillfully and subtly playing both sides?
Karl, who canonically just wants a light bite for lunch (see: 302, “Secession”), has his favorite meal of the day interrupted by Shiv storming in and trying to girlboss him around. He’s not having it! He’s so genuinely appalled that she would try to put pressure on him — his expression is every syllable of “Actually this is exactly what we won’t be doing,” as he’s forced to put down his fork and and swipe crumbs off his papers. One call to Logan and Shiv gets a talking to from daddy. Sorry but that’s powerful to me!
Roman’s plot is thin this week, but consider it all a flex of his biggest asset: Gerri. She assigns him manageable tasks, and steers him away from his gleefully debaucherous instincts. The other kids volley for attention or offices, but none of them have her in their corner. Roman’s basic competence puts him ahead of all the other kids this week.
Connor is playing a longer game than the other siblings. He’s after a job that will eventually – inevitably, like, legally so — be abdicated. (The job of president — Lmao.) Looking forward to the next-next election, he needs to pad his résumé and asks Shiv to throw him a job. He doesn’t end up hired, but throwing his weight around was enough. (In his own meeting with Shiv, Ravenhead teased that he could embarrass the Roy family, but Connor’s the one that actually has the goods.)
Increasingly, he’s at the middle of this rankings — higher than Shiv and Kendall, because they don’t know how to act or what they want — and lower than Roman, who always has Gerri’s advice.
After an episode of uncomfortable silence between father and son, Kendall gives his dad a formal read: “You’ve lied so much, you don’t even fucking know anymore. Your brain’s scrambled egg. Look at you: you’re 600 years old and you’ve pissed off your fucking boyfriend the president, and he’s sending the feds on you, and you’re wriggling, but you’re in too deep. Everyone knows, and now you’re trying to counter, but you put Shiv in there and she’s a fucking dipshit,” he sneers. “I hear no one respects her, everyone’s digging her out, and you’re losing control and everyone hates you. [Josh] fucking hates you too. Your anti-Semitic fucking bagel and gold bullshit. You don’t even know what you’re saying half the time. Your fucking losing it, man.” (I can’t explain it but something about this monologue makes me think that Kendall is Most Likely to Be A Barb.)
Kendall’s approximation is mostly right, and Logan is feeling the squeeze from allies he’s either ignored, pushed too far, or pissed off. The president is icing him out; Shiv whines to him on the phone when her royal subjects don’t rise when she enters the room. Logan is losing moves to make, but he’s surviving — eeking out a win with Aaronson is good for the proxy battle, and it’s better for him to have Cousin Greg on his side.
Kendall watching his dad keel over and getting his little speech off:
Kendall watching Josh and Stewy hug, realizing fucking over his dad fucked them all:
*An alt joke here is this, bunny and all lmao.
At the beginning of the episode, Connor compares Shiv’s Global Domestic President of Blah Blah Blah Operations job to a playtime post office she’d set up in the Roy penthouse as a child. Shiv bristles at the comparison, probably because it’s not so far from the truth: she’s neutered inside the company, sent off by her dad to deal with this or that brother, this or that white nationalist cabler. When there’s real work to be done, she’s OOO: she walks in on Logan’s two Thumb Thumbs — Frank and Karl — taking a midday lunch break from strategizing the actual heavy lifting on the proxy battle.
She swings around her scepter, settling for girlbossing Tom and ATN anchor Mark Ravenhead. Tom, with a bit of gallows humor, falls into line; Ravenhead, in between jerking it to the Gadsden flag, does not. “Shiv, I have a perspective,” this wife guy for America begins. Not only has he given her an errand lists of impossible tasks and a fake corner office — now Shiv’s damn daddy has her being talked down to by this sniveling, walking-and-talking-and-putting clay pomade in his hair Harper’s Letter, Chris Pratt wannabe (or is this who Chris Pratt wants to be? Something to consider). He relents, and Logan gets a pissed off call from the president to prove it. But the series of Ls are all Shiv’s. She’s not hedging her bets, but she probably should be: What has siding with Logan actually given her other than a job she’s bad at and can’t do, and a husband en route to jail? And, of course, another brother talking down to her. It’s giving big dummy energy to me.
The optimism from whatever secret moves Tom made last week has dimmed. He’s choosing his prison, fretting about what time lights out will be and if they’ll have the right charging port for his Kindle, getting bullied by Shiv. Poor Tom!
Uncle Ewan wasn’t in this week’s episode so unfortunately I did not learn any new words. 😤
Iverson’s Pet Rabbit
I just finished watching the (excellent) I Hate Suzie, written by Succession EP Lucy Prebble. No spoilers but a pet rabbit did not fare well in that show.