That was intense.
It’s a testament not only to the incredible writing of Jonathan Glatzer and Jesse Armstrong but also the performances from each actor who dealt with tension so fierce it made viewers bristle.
Succession Season 2 Episode 7 noted Kendall’s return to England, Rhea’s continued involvement with Logan, and Tom ineffectively dealing with the fallout of the Parks and Cruises sexual allegations.
Let’s start with Tom’s inability to smoke out a couple of attorneys.
The rubber is meeting the road on the Parks and Cruises sex scandal, and attorneys are involved. Somehow, Shiv got the impression that they’d be throwing softballs, but Tom realized that even softballs hurt when you get hit in the face.
So no matter how soft the curves, Tom knew the implications for him would be huge. And if there’s one thing that Tom does well, it’s panic when he discovers himself in the hot seat.
If he knew how to lie as well as he knew how to bullshit, he might have been able to throw them off of his scent.
Running to Shiv after his claims of a weak bladder supposedly sent her to the room, but given her current situation, I wouldn’t hold out hope that she shut down the investigation into Tom.
And Tom’s handling of Greg was also off the mark. When someone has goods on you, kill them with kindness first. Tom almost immediately jumped to counter threats with a man who has already bested him once in the arena.
And what does it say when Greg is more worried about talking with Tom than the attorneys?
Greg is a very useful idiot. His cunning disguise of the documents in a receipts enveloped inside a folder marked “secret” proved he’s not espionage material. But Tom left him alone with the documents again in the firepit.
It’s starting to seem like Tom will be the fall guy, and I’m OK with that. He’s still with the family, and Shiv needs him like a security blanket and a personal cheer squad. She’s not cutting him loose no matter how the chips fall.
Speaking of Shiv, she was very easily moved by Rhea’s words, but that won’t happen again.
I suggested in my Succession Season 2 Episode 6 review that Rhea was manipulating Shiv, and I wasn’t wrong. She built a relationship with Shiv so that she could position herself better with Logan, and it worked like a charm.
As execs. OK. Well, Shiv thinks she’s smarter than she is. Roman could actually be good, but, um nowhere near right now. Kendall’s, I don’t know. It’s like you put him in a big diaper, and now he can shit himself whenever he likes. He has all the shots, but he doesn’t know when to play them. I, I don’t know.
It’s easy to see how Shiv fell prey to Rhea’s shenanigans, though.
Holly Hunter isn’t the only great actress in Rhea’s scenes, as Rhea Jurrell is acting her heart out to get closer to Logan. Logan is impressed enough to get her opinion on the business acumen of his children.
Once Rhea noted that it didn’t seem like any of his kids were currently up to the task of taking over Waystar Royco, Logan looked to Rhea to pull the noose away from his neck.
Shiv: I’ve managed to get myself into this situation where what does my dad think is my entire fucking universe.
Rhea: Well, I mean, maybe, maybe isn’t now the fucking time to just let him know, you know, that you have options?
Shiv: [chortles] Uh, yeah, sure, but I can’t bluff him.
Rhea: I happen to know there’s a media operation in need of a dynamic new CEO, and I happen to know Nan Pierce has a certain regard for you, and I happen to know she wouldn’t mind putting a sharp, burned stick in your dad’s cyclop’s eye.
To do that, Rhea ensnared Shiv in tia scheme that was downright evil, but it’s almost difficult to feel for Shiv since she was being so damned stupid. She had to think to herself what Rhea had to gain by dangling the Pierce carrot before her.
But she didn’t. She just grabbed it and ran. That’s how little she knows her father. Somehow, Rhea understood Logan’s feelings about family better than Shiv.
FAMILY Sihoban, if you don’t understand that, then fuck off.
In one swift move, Logan was free of Shiv as his successor, and Rhea was suddenly on the hunt to secure him a new shortlist of candidates outside the family.
Rhea: How’d it go with Shiv?
Logan: We had it out, yeah. With the ammunition, I think I got the noose from around my neck. Thank you.
Rhea: Pleased to help.
Logan: You know, I’ve been thinking. Maybe. Maybe look farther afield for the next me. Maybe a shortlist of two or three?
Rhea: I’d be pleased to help you look.
Rhea is going to stack the deck with just enough heft to get more firmly into Logan’s pocket. Hell, even Marcia better lookout. Rhea has designs on Logan from all angles, and it’s going to take a mountain to move her.
Roman was already on watch with Rhea, and if Kendall wasn’t because he was inundated with other issues, Shiv pointed him in the right direction.
Roman still says all the wrong things, but in that, he’s just like his father. Logan’s attempted apology to Roman was horrifying not only because he tried to brush it off as if he didn’t know Roman was there to receive the hit, but because Roman bobbed and weaved his way out of the conversation altogether.
With Gerri’s support, Roman is getting more confident, and counting them out of the running would be ill-advised. If it was that easy for the Stewy and Sandy show to reach in and touch the shareholders, Roman and Gerri could effectively do it, too.
With Rhea pandering to Logan, they’re going to have to decide to move on it quickly before more viable candidates are dragged before the board.
And we often wonder why watching corporations juggle takeovers seems so dramatic. Because it is that dramatic, and those who win probably had a better posturing tactic. Shareholders think with their pockets, and whoever sells them the highest return will get their vote.
Logan surely has a lot on his plate, but Sandy and Stewy gave him a heaping pile to deal with when their rag dragged the dead Englishman into the takeover.
With the sex scandal already on the table, bully-gate could have been a disaster. But this time, Logan addressed the issue head-on instead of letting it get to the press.
Unfortunately for Kendall, he was forced to reckon with his past behavior. If Logan was going to take any heat of the death of that man, he was ensuring Kendall’s feet were to the fire, too.
Kendall: OK. Well, uh, I think, I think Naomi wants me to take her to the Regents Park Zoo. Apparently, we’re in a fuckin’ Simon and Garfunkel song, so um, I’ll travel to mom’s…
Logan: I think we should do a bit of brainstorming.
Kendall: Uh huh.
Logan: Yeah. Will you come with me?
Kendall: As in?
Logan: Down to the boy’s family.
Kendall: Right. I mean. Yeah?
Kendall: Oh. OK.
Logan: We should stick together on this; don’t you agree?
The irony is that Kendall was just finding his footing again when he got knocked back down.
Dick pics with Naomi had him laughing for the first time since he got booted from the successor’s chair. He was opening up and allowing himself to taste joy again.
Then he found himself in the kitchen of the dead man’s parents. I’m unsure how stuffing money into the family mailbox will eventually bite Kendall in the ass, but it has to, right?
The whole experience did set up Kendall for a talk with his mother, Caroline, but she bailed when he needed her the most. Even Marcia was kinder to Kendall when he needed support than his own mother.
We don’t have the full story of Caroline’s divorce with Logan, but they’re more pitted against each other than they are committed to their kids, so they have that in common.
Caroline used them as pawns to annoy Logan. She wanted either the $150 million Summer Palace to keep her 3% shareholder’s vote with the family or the kids at Christmas and a mere $20 million.
It would be lovely to imagine she really wanted to spend time with her children and needed a maneuver to do it, but it was all about Logan and sticking it to him.
The Christmas arrangement sticks it to Logan because he cares more about their kids than Caroline, and she knows it. She proved it by bolting before eggs, the time she promised Kendall she’d allow him to get whatever weight he had off of his chest.
Even Logan created a barrier for Kendall so he wouldn’t take a fall. Caroline pulled the rug out from under Kendall, instead.
During their initial conversation about it, when Caroline stopped him from talking until morning, I thought the moment would be lost, and he’d have changed his mind by then. That Caroline did the about-face instead played very well.
If you read these reviews, you know I have a soft spot for Kendall. Jeremy Strong so effectively plays on my emotions with Kendall’s drawn face and rock bottom behavior. It’s gutwrenching to see someone so far down continue to get kicked over and over.
For whatever reason, Kendall doesn’t have the same tools in his bucket that Roman and Shiv received or developed. Shiv is crafty and capable, while Roman uses his deflective humor to ease his pain and grow closer to others.
Kendall feelings are too raw. He doesn’t know how to use his emotions for personal gain, so they weigh him down farther with every additional issue that gets draped around his shoulders.
So what about you? Did Rhea’s machinations surprise you?
Do you think Roman should tee up a partnership with Gerri and make a bold move?
Will either of her brother’s support Shiv now that Logan abandoned her?
Will Tim take a fall, and how will Greg come out as a result?
Is Rhea hoping to take over Logan Roy’s life from every direction, corporate and personal?
Hit the comments and share your thoughts/
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), enjoys mentoring writers, wine, and passionately discussing the nuances of television. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.