Succession Season 3, Episode 2 Recap: Mass in Time of War
Because Succession is one of our favorite shows ever (and because it's good for SEO), we'll be recapping Season 3 here on our blog every week. Don't forget to check out our Never Trust a Narcissist collection to enjoy while you delve into the psychodrama of the Roy family this season!
Succession Season 3, Episode 2 Recap: Mass in Time of War
Here we are at Season 3, Royco fam! Pour yourself a big glass of wine (may we suggest a mug?) and get your therapist on speed dial, because the Roy family is back!
Episode 2 was a sibling-heavy episode. Logan is self-exiled in Sarajevo with Thing 1, Thing 2, Fisher Stevens, and Tom - the D list, shall we say. His children, who are all at different levels of pissed at him, all happen to be in New York, time zones away from dear old dad, and safe (or so it seems) from him getting in the way of their scheming.
Kendall is on the outs for obvious reasons. Shiv and Roman are both steaming at being passed over for CEO with nary a phone call from Logan - he let Gerri tell Roman, and didn't even tell Shiv himself, letting her find out from Roman or a CNN push notification or wherever she was going to hear it from first. Connor is annoyed because he had to fly back to the US on a commercial flight in first class instead of private (the horror!) and "hold down the fort," Logan-speak for "you are my least important child and kind of an embarrassment, I won't let you anywhere NEAR anything important to me, and we both know it."
So, episode 2 opens on Shiv in the SUV, same place we left her on last time. Logan calls her, and her pic for him on her phone is, hilariously, Saddam Hussein. When did she change it to this? Was it his photo ID all along? Wouldn't someone at Waystar see it pop up on her phone, raising eyebrows? Does she change the photo of her dad to a different dictator every time she gets mad at him, then change it back when he's in the same hemisphere?
Shiv sends his call to voicemail, and Logan is pissed. "I need to know where everyone is and what everyone is thinking," he barks. He has to know she's upset at being passed over without even a conversation or notification, but as we all know, no one is allowed to be angry at Logan, no matter how badly he treats them.
Unable to get Shiv on the phone, he tries Roman, and immediately starts triangulating him and Gerri. "It had to be Gerri for today," he says in a conspiratorial whisper, imploring that Rome "keep an eye" on Gerri for Logan. Logan needs to triangulate and drive a wedge through every relationship, sowing distrust between others and feigning secret affection - "You're my real choice," etc. We see in Roman's eyes that he might actually finally be realizing that his dad is full of shit and that he's just a pawn in the game.
Back to poor Rava's apartment. Hopefully she's taken the kids and gone to a hotel or their Hamptons house or something, because this is insane. There's like 15 staffers crawling throughout every room of her home, laptops and papers spread out on every surface.
Greg the egg is nervous. We see the juxtaposition of Logan's army of consultants and lawyers and Fisher Stevens and Karl and Frank and Tom and then there's Kendall with.... Greg. Well, there's the law associates littering Rava's dining table, but the only "inside" person he has on his side is Greg, and Greg is wavering fast.
An enormous wooden Trojan horse gets wheeled into the apartment from the elevator - who is it from? Seriously, Rava needs to kick these maniacs out.
Greg gets a call from Tom who tries to intimidate him, but Tom isn't very intimidating to anyone, no matter how hard he tries. Tom has no idea that Shiv just arrived to Kendall's. I give this marriage two more episodes.
We're at Waystar HQ, with Roman slinking through the halls to creep on Gerri. We find out that she has daughters?!??! We knew she was a widow, but this is the first time we've heard about kids. She curtly tells Roman to not speak of them - smart woman. A dumb person would use her kids to cozy up to the Roys - try to get them jobs at the company, try to have Logan write recommendation letters for prep schools and Ivy League schools and internships, maybe even try to finagle a romance, but Gerri knows to keep church and state very, very separate.
Gerri and Roman discuss a potential alliance now that Gerri is CEO, and she spins her words around, trying to placate Roman by pointing out his strengths which are...... that he's tuned into the "culture?" Seriously, what is Roman good at? Gerri struggles to come up with something, which, same. Gerri is refreshingly honest with Roman, though - she tells him that his idea to not cooperate with the feds and any investigation is a disaster, and she's kind to him by trying to pretend he has some value to the company. She knows that his value lies not in his skill, talent, or brains, but in being a Roy, but she can't come out and say that.
Logan is still ranting and raving back in Bosnia. "My family disappeared!!" Yes, fuckface, you treated them all like expendable resources and discarded them like used playthings when you no longer needed them, what did you expect? With Shiv at Kendall's and Roman with Gerri, he's stuck with Connor, who answers and complains about the cheese selection on his flight home.
Connor, much like Roman earlier in the episode, is hip to his father's game here. He knows his dad doesn't respect him and doesn't trust him with any responsibility, and also that Logan is only being nice to him now cause no one else will take his calls. The second Shiv or Roman picks up, Connor will be relegated to the backseat yet again.
We have a Greg interlude that starts off making us think, "Greg is the stupidest person on planet Earth," and ends with us realizing he's not quite that stupid. He's in his Kendall-sponsored apartment, the lights down low, a cute girl on the sofa. A date, Greg? Right now? No, it turns out that this is a friend in the first semester of 1L year and he's asking her for legal advice. Someone knocks on the door - it's a Waystar attorney, who tries to scare Greg by mentioning the Feds and also breezily trick him into agreeing to be represented by Waystar. Greg bumbles his way through this, but is smart enough to know that he shouldn't agree to it.
Lisa Arthur, Kendall's attorney, tries to get him to focus on the Federal subpoenas, and we get the idea that he's WAY more into the family drama than the boring staying-out-of-prison stuff. He's convinced that his father is so powerful that he can basically cause earthquakes and locust invasions, send the Feds after Kendall, destroy evidence, and swallow Kendall's penthouse whole into the earth, and Lisa Arthur is like, "Um, no, your dad is legally screwed, and he can't do all that stuff." Kendall is convinced that Logan is such an almighty, all-powerful, Wizard-of-Ozian figure that he can't imagine everyone else not being terrified of him too.
Shiv and Tom have a depressing phone call where Tom replies "Thank you," to Shiv's "I love you." Yikes.
Ewan!!! Greg's curmudgeonly grandfather is here in New York City. I've long seen Ewan as the show's Jiminy Cricket (though this is challenged later) - he's ruled by principle, not by greed. He agrees to fund Greg's legal counsel.
All four Roy kids squeeze into Kendall's daughter's bedroom, which makes a good visual - it's like they're back in childhood, fighting over who's going to be the king of the sandbox again. Roman and Shiv pretend they're there to spy for Logan and Connor knowingly says, "Sure honey, me too. We're all here 'for dad.'" Connor shockingly knows the game so well in this episode. Has he been going to therapy? We all know that they're there for themselves, but saying they're there for Logan for plausible deniability.
When they go after Gerri and Shiv makes a pointed remark about Roman's sex life, he storms out. Roman, who mocked Gerri for "showing her weak spots" by not wanting to talk about her daughters, makes his weak spots glaringly obvious.
*trumpets blare* MARCIA IS BACK, BABY!
Logan, increasingly desperate, reached out to estranged wife Marcia in a "Baby, come back" gesture. While he doesn't admit guilt in their Sarajevo-Holiday-Inn-Lobby reunion, it had to have been pretty humiliating for him to go back to her, hat in hand. Logan really did Marcia dirty, discarding her for a fling-that-went-nowhere (literally, we later find out) with Rhea. He has to have known that it would cost him dearly in prenup renegotiations, but I don't think he cares - it's easier for him to pay for loyalty and get Marcia back than to actually show loyalty with action like he'd have to do with his kids. When you're a narcissistic billionaire, writing a check is a lot easier than saying you're sorry.
He tells Marcia that he's had a lot going on - "Boy. Proxy battle." Note that he won't even say Kendall's name. Marcia says she has to have a little conversation with Hugo, first. This "conversation" is Hugo and Karolina, Waystar's PR person, negotiating Logan's apology to Marcia while Logan sits in another room watching TV. It's implied that Logan didn't actually have an affair with Rhea because "nothing happened" i.e. he couldn't finish. Marcia demands a huge increase in money in her prenup negotiations and leaves her lawyer to negotiate the particulars. I mean, if my husband cheated on me, I wouldn't want his corporate consultants to negotiate his apology while he watched Sunday Night Football from the living room, but maybe the rich do it differently.
Back to Kendall's daughter's claustrophobic bedroom. Kendall starts in with the corporate speak, but then things get real. This was the best scene of the night, and the realest we've seen Kendall be. He says that the four of them can overthrow their father and start Waystar off on a clean slate. He brings up the scandals - the sexual assault on the dancers, the abuse of the migrant workers, throwing them overboard, the coverups, the horrendous scandals in the cruise ships lines - and says that the four of them knew. Shiv feigns outrage, and Roman says that they didn't really know, ya know? Connor, who is tonight's best Roy child, points out that, uh yeah, they all knew. Their dad stacked the cruise division with his perviest, grossest friends and growing up, they all knew that cruises is where the pervs went, where the dirty jokes were told, that there was something going on.
"We knew. The jokes, the vibe to women, the fatasses who took the cruises, the blind eye, the hush hush about dad's pals. No, it wasn't our fault, but we knew what those guys in dad's study were laughing about." Now, none of these greedy jerks are even close to being feminists, Shiv's girlboss theatrics aside, and they're not good people either, but this is the closest we've come to seeing a conscience. Shiv continues to deny knowing a thing, but we can hear the wheels turning in all their heads. A new Waystar-Royco, a clean slate, a new generation - maybe it could happen?
Kendall gets called outside "to hug his kids," but it's really Stewy, who admits to sending the Trojan Horse. Stewy raises his eyebrows in bemusement as Kendall promises to deliver Logan's head on a platter yet again. We know he's not buying it.
Greg meets with his Grandpa's lawyer, who has his own agenda - taking down capitalist scum Logan Roy. This isn't quite what Greg had in mind either, but he needs to learn that you can't float forever in the middle: at some point, you need to choose a side, and you also need to take care of yourself. If you're relying on someone else to pay all your bills, you're beholden to their interests. You can't get a free apartment and sinecure job and free attorney without your sugar daddies (in Greg's case, Kendall, Waystar, and Ewan in that order) wanting something in return.
Shiv and Roman do the old dance of trying to get the other one to admit betrayal of Logan, but Roman's not giving up the gun and swears allegiance. Kendall reminds his siblings that Logan was about to send him to prison to save himself, and wouldn't hesitate to send any of them to jail or worse to save his own hide, except maybe Shiv. I don't know, Kendall, I wouldn't be so sure - I think he'd sacrifice her just as quickly as the rest of them if it really came down to it.
Roman sneaks out to call the only person he can trust, Gerri. Honestly, I don't blame him - even though Gerri is Waystar's CEO and Logan's right hand, she's not going to rat on Roman, at least not right now. The Roy children tattle on each other to gain favor with Logan, but Gerri doesn't have this childlike need for approval. She's more strategic in her loyalty. She gives him good, solid, honest advice, telling him that the four Roy children could overthrow Logan, but the board wouldn't allow any of them to take over - they'd pick another successor.
We go back inside to Kendall's apartment, and the short-lived alliance falls completely apart when Kendall proposes that he be CEO. They all start fighting like little kids on the playground, and then start shouting.
In the midst of this, a box of donuts gets delivered, ostensibly from Logan. The kids are spooked - how could he have known they were here?! They're terrified of the donuts, like they're possessed or have a camera or cyanide in them. In reality, this penthouse is a leaky ship and a number of people could've told Logan or his team that they're there together. Honestly, Gerri could've sent the donuts to fuck with them and put this coup to an end, knowing it would freak them out. The Roy children don't realize this, however, and are convinced that their omnipotent father, as he said in the beginning of the episode, "knows where everyone is and what everyone is thinking."
The episode ends with a photo op on the airport runway as Logan returns home from Sarajevo. Gerri and Roman are there to greet him as the paparazzi snap photos. He heads straight for Shiv's SUV - she showed up, but refused to get out and embrace him for the cameras.
"A hug would've been nice," Logan says as the SUV drives away. Shiv assures him that the photographers got enough photos, and Logan acts hurt, saying he wanted the hug for the hug, not for the cameras. "Oh yeah, Captain Cuddles," she snorts.
Logan treads carefully, and tells Shiv she can be President of Waystar. "Oh, a mascot?" She says. She's onto him, but lets him talk her into it, smiling as she realizes she's back in his favorite spot.... for now.
We saw Connor, Roman, and Shiv each realize that their father is lying to them, triangulating them, using them, and playing them, yet at the end of the episode, Roman and Shiv fell for it yet again and went back to be part of his photo op. Shiv even let herself be talked into another imaginary position at the company.
From the outside, we can see that it's a merry-go-round that'll keep going around and around until they jump off, but they either think they can outsmart Logan, somehow prove to him that they're "good enough" despite him changing the rules and goalposts, or have just settled into the shitty treatment since it's easier to accept it than exit the family altogether. There's an option for being half-in, half-out, but that's to be Connor - you still get the money, but you're a punchline, a laughingstock, the disappointment of the family who Logan only calls when no one else will answer.
We also see that they could have overthrown Logan - all the elements were in place, and it could have been a fine transition. The only caveat was that they either had to choose one of them to be the CEO, or accept that the board would choose none of them to be CEO. They're all so fixated on being the figurehead, on the name on the door, that they'll put that ahead of their own long-term self interest. I said it in the last recap, but who would want to be the captain of this shitshow anyway?!
- Last episode I was asking where Marcia was, and I can't imagine a better return.
- Ewan is not quite the moral compass I thought he was in Seasons 1 and 2 - he sees Greg as his way to topple his brother now that Logan is so vulnerable.
Best Quotes from Season 3, Episode 1 of Succession:
TOM: You can't just take my love, bank it, take it with you to the love market, and see if you want to invest in me.
-- Tom to Shiv after she says, "I love you" and he responds with "Thank you." I wonder if Shiv is regretting treating Tom like shit now - she really needs a friend, which she could have had in him, but now she has just another person who's playing head games with her.
KENDALL: He loves it. He'll be out there jerking off wearing my wife's panties.
-- After Shiv mocks Roman's erm... sexual proclivities and says he loves to show his peen to everyone but will have to fuck someone at some point. My question is, why do these three know so much about each other's sex lives?! Ew.
KENDALL: All three of us. And Connor.
-- Connor, always the forgotten one! He's the oldest son though, which is no small shakes in such a patrilineal, misogynistic family. What is it about Connor that makes him such an outcast in the Roy family? He should be the Kendall, but he's not. I'm dying to get more Connor backstory.
KENDALL: I love him, I hate him, I'm gonna outsource it to my therapist.
-- I doubt Kendall goes to therapy.