Lots of vaginas and misery in this episode of Succession, as Kendall (Jeremy Strong) truly unravels while celebrating his 40th birthday. Any indication that he may have had the upper hand over Team Logan has gradually but consistently begun to disappear over the course of the seven episodes, and ‘Too Much Birthday’ sees him at his lowest ebb this season.
We begin with the man himself, singing ‘Honesty’ by Billy Joel – a song he is rehearsing because he intends to literally crucify it at his party by standing in front of a cross, making some kind of point to the masses. Even his girlfriend Naomi (Annabelle Dexter-Jones), someone careful not to upset him, is clearly unsure what the hell he’s doing.
Team Logan, meanwhile, have had “a vibration”, telling them that the DoJ think Kendall overpromised in his infamous press conference. Their conclusion looks likely to be that there was “nothing systemic” in the way that Waystar behaved. The company is likely to face a simple fine, and everyone will be able to avoid jail time. After Logan (Brian Cox) passes Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) and mutters, “I’ll remember,” referring to the fact that Tom was willing to sacrifice himself, Tom celebrates by smashing everything in Greg’s (Nicholas Braun) office, kissing him on the forehead before dancing out.
As a result of tech CEO Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård) refusing to meet Logan himself, Logan declares that the deal to buy his company may be jettisoned in favour of another dalliance with Pierce. But, aware that Matsson will be at Kendall’s party, Shiv (Sarah Snook) and Roman (Kieran Culkin) plan to make inroads.
At the party, Connor (Alan Ruck) refuses to take his coat off, despite the event being indoors. He explains, in an unrelated story, that he is wearing his arm in a sling because he slipped during an Irish jig prompted by his presidential poll numbers (“close to 1 per cent”, we learn later). The first attraction the guests encounter is a tunnel designed to look like a vagina. Roman and others are informed that they have just arrived at the birth of Kendall Roy. “I am repeatedly entering my own mother,” says Roman, popping in and out of the tunnel.
After Tom laughs at Greg’s plan to ask out Comfry (Dasha Nekrasova) – “It’s like a haunted scarecrow asking out Jackie Onassis” – Kendall opens a card from Logan to find an offer to buy Kendall’s shares in the company for more than $2billion. “CASH OUT AND FUCK OFF,” it says. Kendall’s misery is compounded by the realisation that his siblings are there only to court Matsson. Downing a shot, he begins to slide down an ugly hill.
After Kendall tries to sabotage the deal by telling Matsson that he should buy Waystar, not the other way around, his plan to stop the siblings reaching Matsson fails. Roman begins to charm him, despite Matsson telling him that the sooner Logan dies, the better. Egged on by Roman, Madsen pisses on Roman’s phone as it struggles to load Star Go, Waystar’s agonisingly slow streaming platform. This is so amusing to Madsen that he agrees to meet Logan face to face. Roman has won the day.
Back with the comparatively normal people, Comfry agrees to a date with Greg mainly because Kendall told Greg to stay away from her. Back to the siblings, and the Matsson news triggers an argument between Shiv and Roman: Shiv is beginning to feel increasingly frozen out of a boys’ club, and Roman – who sees her more clearly than anyone – notices that she is in an especially strange mood because she’s not all that overjoyed about her beloved Tom avoiding prison.
Finally, after breaking down while failing to find the present his daughters bought him, Kendall orders his siblings to get out. “You’re not a real person,” he tells Roman, while close to tears. Roman, not realising how fragile his brother is, accidentally pushes him to the floor. Kendall ends the episode and his party wrapped in a blanket, wishing the world would go away. Money can’t buy a good birthday.
Roy Oh Roy
- It’s not just a huge vagina at Kendall’s birthday party, there’s also a compliment tunnel in which staff pop out of the undergrowth to say things like: “You’re just fantastic.” Tom, who has taken some cocaine and is stressed out, hears “You’re the best” and says, “FUCK OFF”
- Kendall’s party is especially depressing because it is full of people he barely knows. (Comfry says earlier that “Elon” will be there – the inescapable implication being that she is talking about the richest man in the world.) “So – go on, tell us, who’s here?” Shiv asks Kendall. “Who isn’t?” he says. “Your dad,” says Roman. “Your mum,” says Shiv. “Your wife and kids,” says Connor
- Kendall gets his own back, however. The other gimmick at the party is a room full of massive mocked-up newspaper front pages, in which a headline about Roman reads ‘Failed sibling dies in tragic jerk-off accident’ and one references Connor shitting himself while camping. “THIS IS BULLSHIT!” Connor yells, paranoid that anything like this will jeopardise his chances of becoming president
‘Succession’ airs every Monday on Sky Atlantic at 2am in the UK – it is repeated at 9pm