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 6, “Argestes.”
Just as she’s bemoaning to Frank about being left out of the trip to Argestes and asked to shadow audit committee meetings, Shiv gets called up to the real big leagues, but under less than ideal circumstances. The skeletons in Cruises’ closet are starting to peak out at precisely the wrong time, and to keep the Pierce deal on track, Shiv is called out to the media and money conference to help coat the corporate response to the shitstorm with a layer of estrogen. This certainly isn’t Shiv’s mess to clean up, but if she wants to eventually sit at the head of the table, she’s going to have to suffer the slings and arrows with the rest of this merry band of buffoons. Shiv ends up reluctantly sitting in on a panel with her brothers at the conference, after having her arm twisted by Rhea Jarrell, and she proceeds to condemn the “old dinosaurs” at Waystar, which is perceived as a shot at her father. It definitely exasperates Logan’s situation with Pierce, but in the moment, Shiv looks like the forward-thinking, shiny new face of the company that Logan probably envisioned her as when he initially tapped her to take over.
Logan leans on Kendall hard to push the Pierce deal through, so subsequently, Kendall starts power tripping and taking his anger out on the staff working underneath him. When the cruise scandal breaks, Kendall is the first person to suggest a compassionate, real response, but when his sister gets involved in the strategy discussions, he stops thinking about the best way to deal with a bad situation and only seems to be trying to best his sister. It turns out family dysfunction takes precedent over corporate dysfunction. Kendall isn’t just getting embarrassed via association in magazine stories, as Argestes gets him back in the same room with Stewie. Kendall at first tries to offer an olive branch and warn Stewie that his takeover could be thwarted by a big incoming deal, but Stewie doesn’t trust his former friend. Later, when the cruise scandal is spreading like wildfire throughout Argestes, Stewie takes the opportunity to gloat and tell Kendall whatever mystery deal he was discussing must be dead, and he’s right; Nan Pierce not only kills the deal between Pierce and Waystar, but she also fires Rhea Jarrell. I guess it’s back to the drawing board for the Roys.
Sensing that the Pierce deal may go South, Logan looks to line up a White Knight, someone with deep pockets that could be brought in as a financial backer. At first he wants Tom to be the schmoozer, but Gerri convinces him that Roman is hungry for the task. Over a brief bathroom meeting and some good ol’ cocaine, Roman looks like he secures the backing, and the little team up between Gerri and Roman makes Roman believe that they should make their arrangement permanent. He suggests that he be the corporate face and she be the brains, or as he more eloquently puts it, they would be “rock star and the mole woman.” Later, in the fallout of Shiv’s line-crossing panel talk, Roman cracks wise and gets aggressively slapped by Logan. Kendall immediately goes into protection mode, even if he and his brother haven’t exactly been seeing eye to eye lately. The way Kendall reacts makes it seem like this wasn’t the first time that Roman’s been the victim of Logan’s misplaced anger, and perhaps that can help explain why he is the way that he is.
Not featured this week. Probably busy hyper-decanting.
Rounding Out the Family
Tom Wamsgans and Cousin Greg
We hear for you. This was honestly a slight episode of Succession, so we’re paring America’s Favorite Duo, Tom and Greg, together this week. Just some incredible comedy bits from these two as they discuss Tom’s upcoming panel and the new ATN slogan “We’re listening.” Well, as it turns out, Waystar is listening to its customers a little too closely, using voice-activated technology to spy on their users. Watching Tom process this news as live-action Morty from Rick and Morty, Greg, tries to explain the problem to him is priceless. Tom’s speech ends up being pretty terrible, but since there is no press at Argestes, it doesn’t much matter. Meanwhile, Greg is asking Roman for coke bumps. I’m worried about my sweet boy.
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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.