The layers of irony in episode 6 of Succession were richer than Karl will be once he pulls the ripcord on his golden parachute; that is, if Kendall doesn’t completely screw it up and land him in the middle of a potential investor fraud investigation first.
Living+, in both name and concept, is just about the last thing that we as the viewers would have expected the Roy family and its dead patriarch to launch while the kids are just minding the store. This has to be the strangest period of mourning I’ve ever seen. The opening scene was as eerie for us to watch as it was reviving for the Roy failsons. For the first time in the history of the show, Logan is the one being critiqued by someone else. He’s also shown being prodded with makeup brushes – a process that, interestingly, one would imagine his corpse would be simultaneously undergoing, if this family ever gets around to burying this guy.
Both Logan and Kendall describe the new Living+ brand as “safe and secure” (just like Waystar cruises!) and “FUN” (a top adjective for the Roys), and Kendall ends up juicing the numbers during an investor meeting where he was never even intended to be present. Karl was right about more than the bullshit projections – it was the strangest double act ever.
(-1) “Don’t criticize my jet interior, it hurts.” – I can’t help but feel like this is a nod to the audience and our collective disappointment with Shiv’s style.
(+1) The power dynamics of flying 3,000 miles… and then making Matsson get off his plane and come to her plane. “Yeah my flight’s leaving, start the engines.”
(+1) For calling Kendall and Roman’s bluff: “I know you. I fucking know you. Fucking hell, boys, you’re not good at this. ‘Dad, Shiv spilled chocolate milk in the Range Rover.’ Go on, lie to me. Lie to my face.”
(+1) For compartmentalizing her grief in scheduled conference rooms cry sessions, rather than, say, spontaneously firing numerous execs. Far less legal liability.
(+3) “You were the one after the one. The actual one and that’s always hard. But you, I mean, I’m the whole story for you. I just twisted your heart right up.” – Whatever is going on here, it’s working.
(+1) She saves Roman from being part of Kendall’s cringy presentation. “He could do anything, and you’re part of it. He has harebrained schemes. I love him but he cracks under pressure.”
(+1) “Hey Lukas, hey, Sweeeedey.” – You’ve got to respect Shiv using what usually counts against her (being a woman) to make her moves for the top spot.
(+1) Love the banter between Shiv and Roman during Kendall’s presentation. “Okay, now we’re leaving planet Earth – you glad you’re not strapped in?”
(+1) To Matsson during the Living+ pitch: “What, you don’t want to make prison camps for grannies?”
(+1) “Heil Kendall.” – And an extra point for any of you who caught that comment!
(+2) Shiv is definitely not the best at business, but she is the most effective at using manipulation to bolster Waystar. One point for getting Matsson to tweet a disruption to Kendall’s speech, and another for getting him to delete it – this moment reminded me of the time she convinced the SA victim not to testify in Congress.
(+1) He won Bitey… “Tom Wambsgams finally made me feel something.”
(+5) …and then he won Shiv’s heart. “If I try to say the truth, it’s that when I met you, all my life I’ve been thinking a little bit about money, and how to get money and how to keep money. And you didn’t ask me in, Shiv. You kept me out. And I always agreed to all the compartments but it seemed to me that I was always gonna be caught between you and your dad. And I really, really, really love my career and my money, and, you know, the suits and my watches and… sure I know, I like nice things, I do. And if you think that’s shallow, why don’t you throw out all that stuff for love? Throw out all your necklaces and your jewels for a date at a 3-star Italian. Come live with me in a trailer park. Yeah, are you coming?” – It’s during this moment that Shiv realizes her own husband could maybe be the replacement for her dad that she’s craving.
(+1) For being deserving of that spotlight: “Don’t talk to the teleprompter, amateur! … You don’t do that.”
(+1) And knowing he has quite the act to follow: “How am I supposed to follow this, he just promised them eternal life.”
(-1) Definitely not with this: “You’re an ATN citizen! And you’re an ATN citizen! And I am an ATN citizen.”
(+3) But big points for possibly having a chance at taking over the company. We see Shiv and Tom leaving LA together in agreement that they’re going to host Logan’s pre-election party, but keep it “strictly to party and strategy”… for now. Shiv has never been more into Tom.
(-1) “I have all the condolences I need. Tummy full.” – The pre-grieving seems to be going quite well!
(+1) For this roast of Hollywood: “Yeah I get it, I love the values. I mean, yeah, it’s an incredibly evolved, ruthlessly segregated city you’ve built on this geological fault here.”
(-5) Before he completely unravels. “I could just fire you. That’s a funny joke? I could. I’m not saying I am, I’m just saying I could. Although maybe I should. Oh no, now I said it, and now I feel like I gotta commit. Our tentpole is bullshit and out of control, and you’re not gonna fix it, so I’m calling it. I’m sorry, we’re done. What I mean to say is that the company wishes to terminate your employment. HR will be in touch to start the termination process.” – He seems like he starts to regret saying this even while he’s saying it.
(+1) “There’s gotta be ways around it. Death just feels very one-size-fits-all.” – Anyone know which brand is known for quiet luxury death?
(-1) “It means she’s not going to be on the fucking streets. We’ll kick her up to international, or she walks and takes a fat fucking producer deal.” – He really believes the rules of failing up apply to everyone, not just him and his siblings.
(-5) “Shall we get started on the paperwork? Do you want to do it yourself or shall we get somebody a bit sharper?” – The only thing experiencing hockey stick growth at Waystar is the list of employment retaliation claims against Roman. Really unwise to fire the lawyer to whom you sent pictures of your (micro?)dick – Roman himself warned a fired-up Logan about this back in season 3. Seems his logic chip has been buried alongside dear old dad.
(+2) At least after two legally precarious firings, he is smart enough to try to convince Kendall to postpone the Living+ announcement and, when that fails, doesn’t go on stage with him for the Ken & Rome Unplugged acoustic set. The difference between Kendall and Roman is that Roman examines his mistakes and Kendall goes all in on delusion.
(-1) Shiv: I don’t know if I can watch this. Roman: She said while watching the fuck out of it and getting turned on. I can hear how wet you are, it’s gross.
– Good point, but stop sexualizing your sister, it’s gross.
(+1) Same: “If I cringe any harder, I might become a fossil.”
(+1) Because it’s never a bad time to mock Hugo.
Roman: He deleted the tweet.
Hugo: Can I see?
Roman: Oh yeah sure, here you go man. See anything? Nothing to see dipshit, he deleted it moron.
(-2) “I want to make what I think is a fairly historic announcement: I’m convinced that Roman Roy has a microdick and always gets it wrong.” – Poor kid is so fucked up, he rewinds the edited Logan video at least four times. Is it just so he can hear the sound of his dad’s voice insulting him as he always did?
(-1) The only thing picking up velocity at Waystar is Kendall’s use of meaningless jargon. “Personalized longevity programs? Is that something? Can we see something. Get me the double click on longevity. So I can see everything. Infinite brain box… Break the logjam. Get the franchise pump pumping. Shoot it to the moon, Rome. New space cowboys in town.”
(-1) Even the CE-bros recognize that something about the Living+ pitch is depressing. “Do you think it’s the speech written specifically for our late father, or the fact that we’re planning to warehouse the elderly and keep them drunk on content while we suck ‘em dollar dry?”
(-1) For more potential foreshadowing.
Roman: I like it. I’m not crazy myself about dying.
Kendall: I know right? It’s bullshit.
(-2) “Could we build me a Living+ house? Small plywood basic brickwork, nothing crazy. I could walk through it. ATN here. Face aging here. Maybe clouds appear above the house?… Don’t say no, Denny, don’t say no. Here’s the new rule: no one can say no. Yes Kendall, thank you Kendall for the cool new rule.” – Kendall simply doesn’t understand that flexing power without a revenue-driving reason is where he falls totally flat compared to his father.
(-1) Because he then throws away the idea entirely after wasting everyone’s time and money. “Guys, that’s not the clouds. That’s not the clouds at all. I told you, I saw it in Berlin.”
(-2) For this astoundingly wrong reaction and read of Logan after Roman tells him about Joy and Gerri: “Fuck it bro, why not. Drop her in the end zone. Look at you, who you gonna fire next? You’re on fire. Put on the Dad goggles. It’s nothing. ‘Dynamic Duo shake up their senior leadership team. Grumble quote, grumble quote, caveat: some are saying these two young Turks just might have what it takes to turn things around.’” – What is the opposite of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts? Because that’s Kendall and Roman as co-CEOs.
(-1) For the flight jackets. Who had time to make those?! Don’t tell me it was Jess.
(-1) “The numbers get crazy good. Like, dude, it’s enough to make you lose your faith in capitalism, you could say anything.” – Hey, projections, right?
(-1) “Last time I was up at something like this, I was disrupting our annual meeting, and now I’m CEO… co-CEO.” – He clearly wishes he didn’t have to add the “co.”
(-3) “Maybe a director will stop in with a rough cut. Stars certainly will… Security plus entertainment is a pretty unbeatable offer, right? Well one more thing: How ‘bout if I told you it was all going to last forever?” – Substantial point loss here because this isn’t only a stupid idea in theory, it’s obviously a lie.
(-1) Still trying to understand what exactly is Living+’s version of hyperlocal news. Like, do they report on the events in your living room?
(+1) For handling the Matsson tweet ambush in an acceptable fashion.
Reporter: What’s your response to Matsson’s tweet?
Kendall: Well, I’m not gonna fave it. Apologies for any offense caused. He’s very European.
(-1) “It’s kind of like social media, but it’s better because it’s physical social media in the real world.”
(+3) Points because the general buzz after his speech was somehow really good… at least in the short dangerous interregnum, before anyone actually gets a close look at the “detailed financials that he’s leaving to Karl Muller, legendary CFO.” Playhouses and living forever, here we come.
(-3) Despite the reception, everything around Kendall’s moment on stage felt freakishly similar to the final performance in the movie Black Swan. And we all know what happens to Natalie Portman. She was perfect.
(+1) We’ll give him a point to go along with the “1” he drew in the sand. Enjoy your moment as number 1 boy, Ken.
(-1) Kendall floating in water has historically signaled a transitional period for him, and usually not a transition for the better.
(+2) For Karl stepping up to his fiduciary duty and attempting to stop Kendall from potentially committing investor fraud. “I took a lot of shit from your dad, because we’ve been through the mill, but I’ve been a CFO at major public companies for more than two decades and I know a thing or two about a thing or two. And if you fuck up his deal, or you try to stand up numbers that I’m not comfortable with… you’re gonna fire your Chief Financial Officer a week in? Your dad just gone? You’d be fuckin toast. You have my dick in your hand Ken but I’ve got yours in mine. So let’s get real. If you say anything that I don’t like up there, or make me look foolish, I’ll fucking squeal.”
(+3) Roman thinks he won the scene with Gerri, but he absolutely did not. “Jesus Christ, I didn’t fire her, I said that she was fired to her. That’s all.” The way Gerri responds, “The fuck does that mean?!” was one of my favorite lines of hers.
Gerri: You are a weak monarch in a dangerous interregnum, and I think you need to reconsider.
Roman: This is something dad would have done, and you know it.
Gerri: Well, maybe but you’re not your dad.
(-1) Because she walked back this very true comment just because she felt badly. Not very Roy family values.
(+1) Even as he’s about to fire her, Gerri knows she’s good at her job. And that’s why she’s survived at least two firings just in the past week alone.
Roman: I need you to believe that I’m as good as my dad.
Gerri: Say it or believe it?
– And that’s why she’s chief legal counsel.
(+1) “You cannot win against the money. The money is gonna wash you away. Your dad knew.”
(+1) “The thing is, numbers aren’t just numbers. They’re NUMBERS.” – The most meaningful meaningless comment.
(-1) Put on your fucking shoes. Who are you, Tom Schwartz?
(+1) But when he’s right, he’s right. “I don’t need it. It’s fucking Land Cruises. Hey, you know how shitty and heartbreaking it is being locked up on a cruise? How about that, but you also get to stay in the same fucking place the whole time?”
(+1) Another point, because he looked so good in this scene, I almost forgot he sent Ebba bricks of frozen blood.
(-5) For the Holocaust joke but (+2) for deleting it.
(+1) “I think it’s hard to make houses seem like tech, cause we’ve had houses for a while now.” – The Living+ pitch was straight Adam Neumann, so this really is more of a point for the writers than a point for Greg.
(-1) Pitch robot. So annoying. Beat it, scrub.
(+2) His waffling comments as Tom’s hype man are earning him points, but only because Tom is on the rise. Greg seems to have an internal honing device for who to leech onto. Points for all these:
“Hey, don’t even have to worry about your speech, just go on and mop up all the blood.”
“I think nothing will be behind you, the screen will just be black. But that’s good, cause then it’s all about YOU.” – Do we have some foreshadowing here?
“This is kind of good for you because your presentation is not great, and now no one will be watching.”
(-3) For his extreme complicity in fleecing the Waystar investors. “Just fucking make it happen or I get in trouble. And I don’t wanna get in trouble. I wanna get in the good books. So you help me get in the good books. Understand Mister Snippy Snip?”
(-1) “It’s really well edited.” – And you’re possibly going to get really well fucked by that.
(-1) He deserves to be rated because he was in the episode, and it was very un-dad of him to die in the first place.
You know you’ve screwed up badly when you have more negative points than the man who fired Gerri. The FUCK OFF of the week goes to K to the END ALL, because he’s really doing everything he can to make sure he does.
If you can’t get enough Succession convo from Betches, check out our weekly bonus recaps on the @BETCHES Podcast, which will be out every Monday afternoon of season 4 and can be found on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Featured image courtesy of HBO.