Like a fucking hamburger in a dumbwaiter, a lot of drama went down on this week’s episode of Succession.
After the premiere of this season saw the Roy family figuring out how bad the damage was after Kendall threw his father under the bus, the second episode saw the family breaking down into teams and declaring their loyalties. With the majority of the show’s heaviest hitters — Roman, Shiv, Connor, and Gerri — all on team Logan, Kendall’s odds are looking increasingly bad. Sure, he has Naomi and Cousin Greg in his corner, but neither are remotely powerful or... coherent.
Kendall is desperately trying to rebrand after being cancelled with an “all press is good press” approach to every jab thrown his way, but the attempt ultimately fails when Shiv publishes an open letter detailing all his deepest and darkest problems. The letter is a response to The Disruption, the name of the episode and also the moment when Kendall set up speakers to blast Nirvana’s Rape Me during Shiv’s first address to Waystar Royco as acting president of domestic goings on (deeply unclear as to what this means).
The entire moment is extremely I’m-laughing-because-she’s-apologizing-for-sexual-misconduct-and-Rape-Me-is-playing-but-also-what-the-fuck-going-on energy. Such a humiliating experience would, of course, prompt a vicious letter where one goes for the jugular in a way that only a sibling can.
By the episode’s end, Logan is getting searched by the FBI, and Kendall, as he sulks to a slowed down version of the Succession theme song that is so haunting I want it to play every time I walk down the street, appears to realize something we the viewers have known all along: He can draw as much attention as he wants to the wrong-doings of his family, but he cannot escape his own, and no amount of success or power will undo them.
Jezebel discusses our winners and losers of the week:
Jenna’s Take: Ziwe Was The Clear Winner
Winner: Ziwe making a cameo this week was both instantly iconic and, as one person put it, the “cultural crossover of the century.” It’s unclear whether or not she had a say in her character being a mirror to her own public persona, but either way: It worked. However, do I want to hear anyone ever say “Oedipussy” again? Please dear god no.
Loser: There are definitely multiple losers this week, but Shiv was the biggest. Logan delivering the line, “Sorry, Pinkie” after her first press conference as a Person In Power essentially erupted in flames felt like a sucker punch. And before one could even fully process said punch, Shiv had already penned a scorched earth letter detailing her brother’s issues with addiction, mental health, and beyond for the entire world to read and salivate over. I’ve long rooted for Shiv and this entire season thus far has made me second guess my support. Yes, she’s got BDE and an ass that won’t quit, but does she have the business acumen?! Her instincts to plunge the dagger into her own flesh and blood felt rash and immature, though I imagine she felt they were on par with what her father would do. Regardless, Shiv... you’re girlbossing a bit too close to the sun, babes!!!
Ashley’s Take: Kendall Roy Lost, But Is His Luck Changing?
Winner: Honestly, not a single one of them won this episode. Tom is contemplating his most promising Club Fed options, Gerri is still being scolded by Logan, Shiv’s big speech was a bust and then her scathing letter was likely drowned out of the news cycle by the news that Waystar is getting raided by the FBI. And on top of that, Cousin Greg was stuck with a $40,000 watch he didn’t mean to pay for. Everybody taking L’s left and right.
Loser: Kendall, up until the last five minutes of the episode when the feds came knocking for a visit at Waystar Royco, leaving the rest of the family and most of all, Logan, scrambling. I think that the final shot of Kendall perhaps reading that news is enough indication that he realizes he got something of a reprieve from a disastrous news cycle about him being a misogynist and an addict. But does that make up for him making a fool out of himself for the entire episode? Nah, not really. But maybe this is a turning point for ol’ Ken. I could see his luck changing for the next few episodes. Begging him to cut the woke schtick though. Nobody buys it! It’s not 2014! That said… didn’t he suggest he had Jay Z on speed dial? I guess that’s a decent flex.
Emily’s Take: Please Let The FBI Take Down The Roy Family
Winner: This week’s clear winner for me was the FBI. It is not often I root for the federal government, but with the two worst Roy children firmly on their bullshit, I am mostly rooting for those boxes the G Men carried to contain piles of incriminating information.
Loser: While both of my colleagues are correct in that Shiv absolutely lost any last shred of what might have seemed like dignity this week stumping for her dad not being a monster and Kendall is clearly not well, it’s Tom who potentially has the most to lose for me this week. He believes that he and Shiv are on a team, and the look on her face when Tom volunteered to do jail time for her family made it pretty clear that this is likely the season that Tom finally realizes that his wife does not give a shit about him. If any of these terrible people evoked anything like sympathy from me it would once again be Tom moving through the Roys’ world never quite understanding how pathetic he is. Greg, his expensive broken watch, and that whole metaphor are a close second.
Jennifer’s Take: Shiv Loves To Be Played
Winner: Honestly, the only group that came out on top this week was the feds. A midnight raid during an advertising dinner is pretty stellar. This almost guaranteed their power play would make evening and morning news, completely taking control of the narrative.
Loser: Kendall reached a bottom this week. His game of good tweet, bad tweet was breathlessly desperate. He demands an audience but it’s only a matter of time before people get tired of the show. Also, Shiv’s open letter was cutting, but did she lie? It’s just unfortunate she didn’t do it in private.
Falling Rapidly: Shiv loves to be played, clearly. It’s hard to shake the feeling that her dad is holding some type of grudge against her. She’s always been the killer he needed but never gave Logan the time of day. Her biggest weakness is her inability to be strategic when she’s incensed. If she’s not careful there’s a scenario where neither she or Tom survive the fallout from the chaos.