After last week’s brilliant, chilling “Tern Haven,” Succession has served us another road trip. Welcome to “Argestes,” a business trip utopia where the super rich wear bad vests and lanyards, and argue over overpriced salads. Sure, it looks like a casual suburban steakhouse — table for six at Logan’s Roadhouse, anyone? — but it’s where our nation’s finest minds have gathered to solve all the world’s problems. Or to just get richer. Frankly, it’s a little unclear. Here’s where the Roy family, along with their friends and enemies, stand after “Argestes.” (Cousin Greg is unranked this week because he doesn’t have a lot to do, and also, Jesus Christ, let the guy get a little bump bump bump.)
Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter
Something you should know up front is that it is actually against my religion to rank anything that involves Beyoncé and not put her at the top of the list, where she rightfully belongs. Please respect my religious freedom. Kendall calling Shiv “Beyoncé” — as a diss — only shows who should be running the company and who shouldn’t be. Kendall: You might have to go straight to the airport. It’s better for you to go home. Somebody can send your luggage.
Honestly, I was largely nonplussed by this episode — New York Magazine exposé and all — until Nan Pierce rolled her eyes and exited her luxury sedan. Roman couldn’t leave well enough alone; he just had to try to push the deal through even faster! Nan starts this episode refusing to wear one of those dumb lanyards with badges (yes this did breathe life back into my decrepit body) and ends the episode calling off the deal, firing Rhea, and storming back to her white-lady fortress (Tern Haven). What was most notable, though, was the absolute glow on her face watching my daughter Shiv on that bullshit panel with her brothers. They talked in circles or not at all; Shiv at least said what people want to hear. Will Nan poach Shiv? Will Shiv defect? I’d like to see it.
The Roys showed up to show out at Tern Haven last week, and no one was more hurt by their performance than Shiv. She tried to force Logan’s hand, and where did that get her? In an office with Frank and his Ivy League degrees and dictionaries, or whatever. (Frank remains an extremely bougie mystery to me.)
But! Well, well, well, how the turntables have — you know. Suddenly Shiv is more in demand than Meryl Streep at an Oscar-nominees luncheon! Logan wants her to lead the PR on the cruise-ship stuff, Rhea and Fisher Stevens (fine: “Hugo”) want her on a panel with her brothers, and Nan glows whenever Shiv opens her mouth. Kendall and Roman commiserate over how she outperforms them, and Marcia chides her for vaguely talking badly about her father. What’s more: Kendall, attempting to shade her, calls her “Beyoncé”! Shiv is Beyoncé. That’s canon now.
New York Magazine
I mean, I work here. This is the magazine that declared Gossip Girl the best period show period ever — I’d like to see local clown Kendall Roy try to take us down! (I would not like to see this. Please don’t sue us.)
Attacks on all sides! Even from Logan’s body: He’s wearing the stress from the takeover bid and the PGM negotiations differently. Maybe it’s the altitude, or maybe it’s weighing on him more than ever before. This episode aligns a little too perfectly for my taste, but it certainly makes a point. An episode that shows Logan assuming everything is a plot to take him down — even abuse allegations on the cruises — and saying such vile sexist shit is the same one that has Shiv speaking a length about how the way forward is to get rid of the dinosaurs. Between Logan losing the PGM deal and not successfully spreading the rumor that Sandy Furness has syphilis (I absolutely believe this is just something he hatched with Rhea and decided to spread), he’s fucked up as much as Roman. Except he still has control of a company, and Roman has control of absolutely nothing.
Marcia, Marcia, Marcia! Marcia overplayed her hand last season, and Logan — intentionally or not — has been punishing her for it this season. Finally, though, she’s broken through. When the New York article is on the horizon, she’s the one Logan wants in his corner. Interesting.
There was no last-minute jockeying related to Tom’s sparsely attended panel, so I guess that’s a win. Or something. Shiv is horny for him, and so is that other woman he was talking to at the party. I want to see Tom have a little thot-umn! But it’s only a matter of time until ATN’s dealings get even dirtier, or until Cyd Peach decides to be done with it all and gut him like a fish.
Kendall telling his old pal-turned-new nemesis Stewy that he feels a sense of “regret” about how things have “panned out” between them is the next viral friendship essay. (Will it lead with “Dad’s plan is better”? It ought to.) Stewy is in an enviable position, mostly because I do think — and have always thought — he is the most attractive person on this show.
Kendall walks and talks and scans the room like a powerful CEO, but he doesn’t ever have the guts to do anything. He yells at underlings. He fusses with crisis PR. He sits on panels and promises that the company will have more oversight. Blegh! He remains Logan’s errand boy, but with a soft heart.
Banker Danny Huston
… Is back! Something I’ve learned between now and the last time he appeared in this power rankings: His name is Laird.
Thank you, J. Smith-Cameron! I love your work. Also can Gerri get an iPhone?
Fisher Stevens a.k.a. Hugo Baker
No, I don’t know what Fisher Stevens is doing here. But I just think attention must be paid to the fact that Fisher Stevens now exists in the Succession universe. And he’s sending links.
“There’s a time to accumulate capital, and there’s a time to spend it,” Rhea tells Shiv, convincing her to sit on that rich-person panel. I miss that moment, the Battle of the Long Bobs, when it seemed like Rhea was really playing all sides of everything. Rhea ends the episode unemployed, when Nan comes to the conclusion that Rhea has been greasing the wheels, but not in PGM’s favor.
Rhea likes Logan and Shiv, but she doesn’t seem particularly tickled by anyone else in the Roy family. She’s facing a Pierce lawsuit or safety (if we can call it that) with a family of barn animals. She’s not in a good spot. What’s worse than being between a rock and a hard place? Being between Cherry Jones and whatever Cherry Jones wants, I think.
I think Roman might actually be as big a moron as everyone believes. Does it hurt me to say that? Eh, not really. At every opportunity, he has mucked up anything available to be mucked up. Maybe I’m feeling temperamental, but I’ve kind of had it with his shit. He certainly has the majority of the episode’s best one-liners, but his endgame is getting murky. He wants to run Waystar not because he’s ambitious (Shiv) or because he’s desperate (Kendall), or even because he likes owning things and is afraid of his own mortality (Logan). But when Roman pitched his chair/CEO idea to Gerri, I kept wondering why he’s even still doing this dance. Everything seems lost on him: He couldn’t secure the foreign billionaire, he has no interest in or knowledge of news, he knows less about business than he does about crisis management. Logan slapped him out of anger, but not, I think, because Roman was doing his gleeful elf routine where he spews pithy observations; he slapped him because he knows he raised such a careless fuck-up.