*Takes one long, dramatic puff of an expensive cigar* Excuse me while I slip into something more appropriate: a silk scarf, a down jacket, a newsboy cap, a lot of khaki, maybe a pair of chaps? Episode three of Succession, “Hunting,” which finds our favorite family on a field trip, might as well be called “Liars and takeovers and boars, oh my!” The executive brain trust heads to an absolutely nuts corporate retreat, and while Logan is away, his dementor children will play.
In this week’s episode, Logan announces his intention to buy the most awarded, lauded, respected news organization in the country from the Pierce family. No one thinks this is a good idea; not Gerri, not Kendall, not Shiv, not even Tom — and it becomes a worse idea when someone leaks this information to the Pierce family. Here’s the latest on who’s up and who’s down post-“Hunting.” (Also — if a very rich person could tell me if “hyper-decanting” is or isn’t real, that would be much appreciated.)
1. The untitled Logan Roy biography
Will it be an immediate best seller? Yes. Will it result in Logan killing every member of his family? Yes — but in this industry I guess we’d call that a sequel. The biography, at this juncture, seems like a bigger threat than any of Logan’s other drama: the biography could fuck the Pierce acquisition, but the Pierce acquisition wouldn’t have any bearing on this book.
2. Connor Roy
Connor has been a mystery to me for too long, but now we’re getting something to work with. His burgeoning political career might actually be the wildest part of this whole season. His kitchen-taped missive calling for a flat tax “that will be down to zero within the decade” is the strangest self-made video this side of Kevin Spacey recording his short film “Let Me Be Frank.” And it comes with real consequences: Between the Looney Toons and their devil mistress Cyd Peach (I mean this lovingly, for, as we know, Cyd Peach is my favorite character) at ATN and Connor Roy’s cashmere libertarian bullshit, how can any other deal-making possibly be done? I think there’s a good chance Connor Roy eventually shits the family bed and its 1,500 thread-count sheets. (Yes I did just Google “nice sheet thread count.” A little thing called research.)
3. The Pierces
Here is what we know about the mysterious “Pierce family.” They are blue-bloods and “pointy-heads,” according to Logan, They hate the Roys, according to Gerri. They are very delicate, according to Banker Danny Huston. (Does Danny Huston’s character have a name here? And if he does, would you know it? Exactly. Banker Danny Huston it is.)
4. Shiv Roy
Shiv not being invited to the Waystar Royco corporate retreat doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in Logan’s supposed intention to name my daughter — our daughter? — to the throne. Instead she’s asked to babysit an adult man with a collared shirt, Wi-Fi, zero political knowledge, and a lot of political ambitions. (Hopes and prayers to the Republic!) But then, in the episode’s final moments, she gets a call from Logan that secures her status.
(And also, just for posterity: “I’m not crazy to hear the next thing you’re going to say, so I’m just going to kiss you,” Shiv tells her very hot new paramour, after he says that “news” comes from “comedians.” There’s not really anything else to say here. I just really like that line.)
5. Cyd Peach
In the single greatest piece of dialogue ever written for this show, Logan asks Miss Devil herself Cyd Peach if she’s the rat who tipped off the Pierce family. “No,” she says, the mix of revulsion and irritation palpable. Cyd Peach — she is the mother I never had, the sister everybody would want, the friend everybody deserves. I don’t know a better Peach. I don’t know a better Peach!
6. “Ratfucker” Sam
Sam is on this list simply because he has that patented Hot HBO Bit Player Energy: in other lives, he might have been a fangbanger at Fangtasia or an incompetent intern on Veep, or a guy who goes out with Charlotte on Sex and the City. He’s not CW hot — ultra tall, ultra glamorous — but that very specific brand of hotness that says, “Yes I do collect a moderate check from a premium cable network.”
7. An Indecent Proposal, like the movie
Robert Redford, Demi Moore, and Woody Harrellson’s back-end residuals say thank you, Connor Roy! Streaming now on Hulu.
8. Kendall Roy
Snooze. Kendall remains a glorified errand boy for his father. All he knows how to do is lie, cheat, and spy, which would usually excite me, but none of the moves he’s making are his own.
9. The rat from The Departed
“Fucking rats,” Logan grumbles on the private jet, when he learns that someone from his inner circle has spoken to his biographer. And then a guttural groan: “RaaaAaAaAaAaTs!” To many, Logan is just naming an animal, calling out his foes. To me, though, he is giving a shout out to one of cinema’s greatest actresses: the rat from the final scene of The Departed. Is a cameo in our future??
10. Cousin Greg
Poor Cousin Greg! He’s like a magnet for trouble! In the span of one episode he accidentally gave an on-the-record interview about Logan to his biographer and he gave several half-hearted oinks while playing “Boar on the Floor.”
Who or what is Mo? And how does Mo know Michelle Pencel? And why would Mo want to fuck the Pierce deal?
12. The Logan Roy biographer
“Do you want to present your side, or are you happy for everyone else to tell their version?” BRB USING THIS IN EVERY INTERVIEW FROM NOW ON! I learned more with this one line than I did in half my journalism courses. What a way to convince someone to talk to you! It doesn’t work on Cousin Greg, but still it is a moment most pleasing to me in my career.
13. Logan Roy
It’s bad news to worse news for Logan this episode: someone has tipped off Pierce, a biographer is digging into his past, and Shiv keeps needling him about the keys to the kingdom. In the “Boar on the Floor” climax, Logan goes around the table, bullying and teasing his brain trust one by one. It’s a little thrilling, but mostly seems defeatist: this a man we’ve seen level his children with a single one-liner. Here, he’s poking at so many scabs, needling so many weak spots, that it feels ineffectual. For the first time this season, he looks desperate.
14. Tom Wamsgans
Tom doesn’t have any options here: Being pro-Pierce buy is stupid and also a move against Shiv. Being anti-Pierce buy pits him against Logan. What will Tom do, other than continue to be tortured by Cyd Peach? Even his new intel — that Cousin Greg blabbed to the biographer — isn’t that good, because, I mean, of course Cousin Greg blabbed. What’s more, Tom is just taking orders from Shiv, and she slept with someone else again. Poor Tom’s feelings!
15. “Fuck off!”
Was there a storied Roy “Fuck off!” in this episode? I don’t think so! And that is really a shame. When will my favorite Roy exclamation come back from the war?
16. Roman Roy
Oh, he’s fucked. His hair flip, however, has never been better.