Obscenely rich and richly obscene, the Roy family of HBO’s darkly comedic family drama Succession is back for Season 2, and more deplorable than ever. Why do we love watching awful people behave badly on television? If you encountered a family as awful as the Roys live in person, you’d be appalled by their sniping, vulgarity, and general lack of regard for anything other than their massive egos and bank accounts, but somehow this band of contemptable buffoons has us enthralled. It’s the guiltiest of TV pleasures, like bingeing on ortolan every Sunday night.
After a failed coup, a Chappaquiddick-like incident, and an ill-advised marriage, the Roys enter Succession Season 2 more strained, yet dependent on one another to stave off the slings and arrows of their many powerful adversaries. Follow along with Den of Geek this season as we chart who’s leading the line of succession, determine who’s behaving the worst, and sing the praises of the series’ one pure soul, Cousin Greg.
This is the Keeping Up With the Roys for Succession Season 2 Episode 8: Dundee.
Sometimes to take a step forward, you have to take a step backward. Shiv lost her battle for supremacy against Rhea Jarrell, but she sets the seeds to eventually win the war. In Logan’s native Dundee, Scotland for a masturbatory party to celebrate his 50 years in business, Shiv comes knives out ready to battle with Rhea. Rhea is suave; you can never trust that anything she says, even when she’s talking to Logan, and she probably would make a great CEO of Waystar. Still, Shiv is able to take subtle shots that will hurt Rhea further down the road. She seeds distrust in Marcia, who bluntly confronts Rhea about her affair with Logan, she points out to Logan that Rhea doesn’t drink and has a liberal mother, values that don’t exactly align with the Roy brand, and she even needles her siblings into getting them to suggest that Rhea mention Logan’s dead sister in her big speech, something that makes Logan visibly uncomfortable.
I thought that Rhea would be a threat that would band the Roy children together, but it actually seems like Kendall, Roman, and Connor prefer Rhea to Shiv at this point. It helps that Rhea pulls Kendall aside to tell him that once the dust settles, he’s still Logan’s Number One Boy, and though he sets Rhea up for the Rose mention, it still seems like he and the rest of the boys are on team Jarrell. It may not matter, the whistleblower scandal from the cruise department is going to pop off any minute. A disgruntled former account is ready to spill secrets about the departments many crimes and isn’t willing to play ball, even turning down $20 million. When the scandal comes out, whoever is sitting as CEO will be a sacrificial lamb to the media, and at the end of this episode, that appears to be Rhea. Shiv may go down as well since she declined to properly inform Logan about the threat, but as long as Rhea goes down too, Shiv doesn’t care at the moment.
Holy shit, I’ve never been more embarrassed for a fictional character in my life. I didn’t know it was possible to cringe that hard, but I think my body collapsed in on itself watching Kendall rap about his “OG” dad. This is somehow worse than when he accidently killed a guy. Besides committing a sin against music and common decency, Kendall has a whirlwind romance with an actress from Willa’s play, which ends unceremoniously after she uses the word “awesome” too many times in her meet and greet with Logan. He sends her home on a plane without even giving her a goodbye. What’s worse, getting dumped within 24 hours, or having to go back to Willa’s play?
In Dundee, Roman continues his pursuit of Azerbaijani Eduard, willing to serve as the man’s personal propaganda machine in exchange for large sums of money. At a pub, Roman tries to talk business, but all Eduard wants to talk about is buying a club in the Scottish Premiership, which he’s convinced he can turn into a money-making powerhouse. Roman will do whatever to appease him at the moment, and it’s a chance to buy what he thinks is his dad’s favorite club. What a 50th anniversary present that would be! Turns out Logan supports Hibernian (or “Hibs”) and not Hearts, so Roman looks like a doofus yet again.
In other news, the Roman-Gerri relationship remains strong and as weird as ever, with Roman proposing marriage “or the business equivalent.” ““You kill me, you chop my dick off, something. I’m kidding — you eat me, I eat you, like they do in Germany.” Wow, looks like Gerri has a lot to think about.
Willa’s play is bleeding money, all while Connor tells anyone that will listen that there’s still a lot of temporary dialogue in place. The sand used in the titular Sands costs $529 per bag alone, and it’s not even desert sand! It’s construction sand, the kind with mites! “I don’t know about that or bear legal responsibility,” Connor tells Greg, who unfortunately sat too close to the stage and is now convinced he’s harboring mites. The “first pancake” asks his dear old dad for more money, but Logan just brushes him off. Perhaps he should perform a rap. (Please don’t.)
We’re unfortunately light on Tom content this week. He tries unsuccessfully to cozy up to Rhea. He then proceeds to tell his wife that Rhea becoming CEO may be more beneficial for his career and situation than if Shiv were to be named successor. Not very supportive, pal!
This is the first bad week Greg has had in the history of this column. We all fall sometimes. Grandpa Ewing, Logan’s brother, turns back up in Dundee for the Logan celebration ready to burn his brother with hot fire. “In terms of the lives that will be lost by his whoring for the climate change deniers, there’s a very persuasive argument to be made that he’s worse than Hitler.” Ouch. Ewing gives Greg an ultimatum: either put in his resignation with Waystar, or forfeit his inheritance, which stands to amount to about $250 million. Greg waits till Logan is the bathroom at his celebration to deliver his “Gregxit” but Logan acts as the audience surrogate and says “I like you Greg.” He urges Greg stays on team Uncle Fun instead folding to Grandpa Grumps demands and even tells Greg that Ewing is too much of a coward to pull his inheritance. Greg has caught the family power hungry bug, so he likely will stay on board, but I have a feeling Ewing meant what he said.
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Nick Harley is a tortured Cleveland sports fan, thinks Douglas Sirk would have made a killer Batman movie, Spider-Man should be a big-budget HBO series, and Wes Anderson and Paul Thomas Anderson should direct a script written by one another. For more thoughts like these, read Nick’s work here at Den of Geek or follow him on Twitter.