With last week’s episode having established Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron) as interim CEO of Waystar Royco, this week the focus shifts away from Team Logan and towards Team Kendall. What does the most maltreated of the Roy siblings (Jeremy Strong) have up his sleeve as he plans to torch his father’s empire?
Succession‘s second episode begins with flustered calls about the whereabouts of Shiv (Sarah Snook). “I need to know where everyone is and what everyone’s thinking,” Logan (Brian Cox) booms as he feels the toy soldiers begin to topple off his battlefield. Greg (Nicholas Braun), meanwhile, needs reassurance from Kendall that he won’t be personally burned in the raging fire; Kendall gives him this but, to curry favour with Team Logan, Greg reports to Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) that Shiv, as we suspected, is going to see Kendall. Tom decides not to divulge this to the big man.
In an uneasy back-and-forth, with Shiv feeling stranded from either side of the family, Kendall tells his sister that he wants her to join him in the resistance against Logan. He did what Shiv could only dream of doing, he says. “You tell yourself you’re a good person,” he tells her, “but you’re not a good person.”
Logan, increasingly adrift in Sarajevo and unsure how to affect the situation, demands that his estranged wife Marcia (Hiam Abbass) be flown to him. In a brief call that underlines once again how duplicitous he is, he casually tells Connor (Alan Ruck) that he is “number one, kiddo”. Kendall’s lawyer Lisa (Sanaa Lathan) seems dangerously confident that Logan won’t be able to shut down the investigation into his affairs. Kendall, who knows him better than anyone, tells her she needs to assume he can. He leaves some important-looking papers in Shiv’s view; opening them in secret, she finds that they simply say “Fuck you.”
Tom and Shiv’s frosty relationship continues to get colder and colder: Shiv doesn’t admit to Tom that she is with Kendall, and, as he did in the first episode, Tom simply says, “Thank you” when Shiv tells him she loves him. This is a problem that is being buried so deep that it is bound to create an ulcer for the pair at some point. Soon, Roman (Kieran Culkin) and Connor arrive to join Shiv, and Kendall lays out his plan to include them in a new “omni-national” world domination scheme. “I want to offer you a ticket to the escape pod,” he says – not bothered that Roman openly confesses to only being there as a spy.
Ducking out with a white lie, Kendall courts Stewy (Arian Moayed) and father-daughter Sandy Furness and Sandi Furness (Larry Pine and Hope Davis): if they help push Logan out with him they can avoid a contested shareholder vote. When he goes back in, with both Roman having told Gerri about Kendall’s plan and Shiv having told Tom, a box of doughnuts courtesy of Logan seems to bring the siblings to their senses: all three tell Kendall they are out. He is distraught, all of his bluster knocked out of him.
Elsewhere, Greg secures the help of an anti-capitalist lawyer thanks to his uncle Ewan’s (James Cromwell) connections, and Marcia agrees to make happy families with Logan in return for a lot more money. Roman, demonstrating his loyalty to Shiv, lies to Logan that she was only meeting Kendall in secret in order to unsettle him, not side with him. This seems to prompt Logan to offer the position of president – his “eyes and ears” – to Shiv. The smile they share at the end of the episode is proof, as it were needed, that Logan holds all the cards…
Roy Oh Roy
- There is a laugh-out-loud moment less than 40 seconds into this episode, when we see that the photo for “Dad” on Shiv’s phone is of Saddam Hussein
- Kendall gives us a superlative mental picture as he asks a worried Greg: “You wondering if you tied your dick to a runaway train here?”
- Fans of unexpected adjective-noun combinations will enjoy the moment when Roman says, in a paranoid tone of voice: “These are relevant doughnuts”
- And finally, though everyone in Succession only cares about themselves, the beauty of a line like “I’m quite focused on my position and me in particular” is that you know it came from the mouth of the one, the only, Cousin Greg
‘Succession’ airs every Monday on Sky Atlantic at 2am in the UK – it is repeated at 9pm