The ATN election eve tailgate was unlike any tailgate we’ve ever attended, but what do we know? Kendall would consider us the type whose money you have to hold up to the light to see if it’s real. Does old money also buy you completely soundproof sliding doors? Because Shiv and Tom were yelling like the 40 most powerful people in America weren’t mere feet away, probably FaceTiming with a lip reader and their gossip editor. Fucking great, tip top.
The big balcony fight overshadowed the evening, so it’s entirely possible that the guests drank enough Germanic biodynamic wine to forget about Kendall and Matsson’s odd pissing contest over who loves the deal more, and that our characters are shouting “bang bang bang” a little too liberally for a country with daily mass shootings.
With the exception of Connor, the Roy siblings are down bad, but not quite as bad as Matsson, who will need to conjure a whole other India to save himself if he can’t acquire Waystar asap. That’s looking increasingly unlikely as Roman and Kendall are now trying to rope the US government into their plan to cancel the deal. And though Kendall starts the episode only intending to kill the deal, he’s added his own siblings to the kill list by the time it’s bedtime for Bonzo.
As always, if you can’t get enough of Betches x Succession, we go even deeper into the episode on our @betches podcast recap episodes. – Sami & Aleen
(+1) He quickly gets the hang of how American lobbying works. “So just don’t scream ‘people are data’ and stick my dick in the guac?” Not bad for a guy who can’t read people. “I thought these people would be very complicated, but they’re not. It’s basically just like money and gossip.”
(+1) “Someone’s gotta pick up the assets, right? So, who’s that gonna be? Is it gonna be, and no offense Shiv, but the failsons? Really, is that a good option? They will do what he did but they will do it stupider and uglier and less amenable.” – Actually a pretty good point.
(-1) At the same time, Matsson is basically a one-man movable hostile work environment. “So I have a number two who’s moon-beamed on edibles, and a communications officer who’s terrified of communicating.”
(+1) At least there’s some self awareness. “But I *am* a jerk-off coder from Gothenburg…right Ebba?!”
(+1) “Dude, I’m on a charm offensive here, can you be kind?”
(-10) Turns out that Matsson is a bit of a Scandinavian Adam Neumann. “Not bullshit, but a little bit bullshit. Maybe we discovered a metrics error that has overstated our subs in India by quite a… like, if there were two Indias, it would make sense. But there isn’t two Indias, there’s only one India.”
(+1) For this shout out to r/wallstreetbets. “I don’t want some forum monkeys shorting me.”
(-2) “By next quarter the numbers will be real, probably.” – Eh, probably not.
(-2) The whole “your numbers are gay” thing didn’t hit whatsoever, but also I think that was intentional.
(-2) For referring to himself as “Father Sexmas” as he brings Shiv warm polling data and an encased scorpion as a little party prezzie, and then for suggesting they tell people at the party that they’re back together. “It’s just silly, honey. It’s like, I love you, but you kill me, and I kill you.”
(-1) He’s so tired that he’s pre-tired. “If I drink a coffee, I won’t be able to sleep later. Think, Greg!” Seriously Tom, you’re gonna need to be able to stay up later than your pregnant wife and handle something stronger than Starbucks if you have any chance of taking Logan’s place.
(-1) Tom fixating on wine again + the presence of Nate Sofrelli = potential human chernobyl. “Hello, Nathaniel. I’ve missed you… you gobble my gravadlax pal. It’s light and fruity, and it’s the kinda wine that separates the connoisseurs from the weekend Malbec morons.”
Matsson: Are you hands-on or more of an overview guy?
Tom: Interesting… Well, let me ask you this: what would you value more highly? Because I like to think that I can do both. I get my hands dirty, and a clean noggin’, and you know, multi-tasker.
Matsson: Okay, you’re kissing my ass.
Tom: No, I’m not kissing your ass, Lukas. You’re too smart. You’d spot it a mile off.
Matsson to Shiv: Hey, I’m about to take a shit in your husband’s mouth, and I’m pretty sure he’s gonna tell me it tastes like coq-au-vin.
(-1) He should’ve figured out by now that Matsson has clocked his kiss-ass act.
Tom: I think that you can be a very selfish person, and I think that you find it very hard to think about me, and I think that you shouldn’t have even married me, actually.
Shiv: What the fuck… you proposed to me at my lowest fucking ebb. My dad was dying, what was I supposed to say?
Tom: Perhaps “NO.”
(-1) Because we never got to deduct points for his proposal, which was a major ick.
Shiv: You were only with me to get to power. Well, you got it now, Tom.
Tom: I’m with you, because I love you!
Shiv: Bullshit, you’re fucking me for my DNA, you’re fucking me for a fucking ladder, because your whole family is striving and parochial.
(0) Zero points here because two things can be true!
Shiv: You wanna actually clear the air, fine. You betrayed me.
Tom: You were going to see me get sent to fucking PRISON! And then you fobbed me off with that fucking undrinkable wine, and you won’t have my baby because you never even thought honestly that you’d be with me for more than four fucking years.
(+1) When he’s right, he’s right.
(+1) Because he really does nail Shiv’s issue here:
Tom: You are incapable of thinking about anybody other than yourself, ‘cause your sense of who you are, Shiv, is that fucking thin.
Shiv: You read that in a book, Tom?
Tom: You’re too fucking transparent to find in a book.
(-2) For the deepest cuts of the fight. “I think you are incapable of love, and I think you are maybe not a good person to have children.”
Shiv: You took away the last 6 months I could’ve had with my dad. You sucked up to him and you cut me out.
Tom: It’s not my fault that you didn’t get his approval. I have given you endless approval and it doesn’t fill you up, because you’re broken.
(+2) “Bedtime for Bonzo! Off you go, go to bed, enjoy your beds, go home, cry. Don’t forget your coats!” – The best party exit since the Von Trapp children sang So Long, Farewell.
(+1) Seeing Tom off in the morning after receiving her epoxied scorpion: “You gotta get to work… gotta contribute to the great toxification.”
(-1) Somehow she manages to gather all her male interests, past and present, into one room so they can overhear her and Tom having a marriage-defining rout.
(+1) Shiv finally making use of her DC work experience. “You’re doing great, eminently plausible, nice wordings. You hit the A-team, so now we should build your profile with the op-ed narcissists and the beltway psychos.”
(-3) But it looks like Shivy is using her particular set of skills to bet on the wrong Nordic horse. After making all the intros she promised, she asks Matsson to make sure she’ll be high up in the new company. “At this point, I think I would like to ask the question – not that I don’t love heaving you around like a great lump of pine and making you shine – but what have you done for me lately?” After Matsson first says she can have whatever she wants, he won’t commit to putting her in a 3-very significant role.
(+1) “You’re doing good out there. You’re like a self-teaching AI.”
(-1) Because where is she gonna get another India?
(+1) “I guess you can’t be across everything, can you? Hey, tired boy?” – She gets a point simply because I have become fond of the usage of being “across” things.
(-2) “At this party here, there are 40 of the most important people in America, and you walked all around all evening telling them I was going to get fired.” – Shiv might think this is a tactical joke or a power play, but it actually doesn’t reflect well on her to make her own husband look like a fool, even if they’re getting a divorce.
(+1) For this solid analogy: “Here’s a dead snake to wear as a necktie, Tom. Why aren’t you laughing?”
(-1) “You don’t deserve me, and you never did, and everything came out of that.” – Just absolutely brutal, and not even necessarily true. But Shiv needs to believe that it is.
(-1) What’s with this strange “yuk yuk” tic? Is it a side effect of the pre-grieving?
(+1) Mencken calls Roman and asks him to convince Connor to drop out of the election tomorrow. How he approaches Connor to pull him aside to float the idea of diverting the Conhead stream to the Mencken river was the episode’s best millisecond. “Can I steal you for a sec?”
(-1) Even though he was physically present, Roman gets no credit for persuading Ebba to spill about the subscriber numbers. “India… I feel like I know this, but what are the details here with that?” He would’ve had to completely rely on the ratfucker if not for Kendall’s ability to connect with people whose last name isn’t Roy.
(+1) Because at least he has the sense to employ the ratfucker. “There’s due diligence, but this is undue diligence. And get that dirt on Matsson, anything could be useful; apparently insignificant details could be very useful to me – to us. You’re a fucking deputy ratfucker, don’t object to being a ratfucker, Tomás. It’s unbecoming.”
(-1) “I’ll stand in a cupboard and jerk off while you explain to me what the SEC is. Dad fired people all the time, I was just feeling kind of fire-ish.” – Stop adding to your list of potential employment violations Roman!
(-2) I felt a real gut punch when Gerri says that she could’ve gotten him there, because we all know it’s true.
(-2) For anyone worried about foreign election interference, perhaps the real threat is coming from inside this Park Avenue triplex. “Con! Man! Eat the fucking carrot, okay? Everyone in this room thinks you’re a fucking joke, so tell your “wife” to shut the fuck up, cover her shoulders, and pack a fucking bag for Oman!”
(+2) He grabs the big-energy spot to give Logan’s eulogy, since nobody else wanted it. Happy, happy headbangers.
(-3) For his ridiculous interaction with Rava. She tells him that Sophie doesn’t want to go to school because she’s freaked out about the election, and that someone wearing a Ravenhead shirt bumped her on the street.
Kendall: Why was she out on the street… you’re telling me someone pushed our daughter… like, where were you?
Rava: I was raising our daughter while you were running a racist news organization
(-2) Rava just wants him to call his daughter and he comes back with: “Jesus Rava, Jesus! What kind of parent do you think I am? You have no idea the things I’m working on. Six continents. I’m breaking my back, and it’s all for them. To make the world safe.” – Sounds like everything he’s done in life, he’s done for his children. More points off, because where have we heard that before? Sophie dgaf how many continents he’s on if he’s not in her life, has Kendall learned nothing in therapy??
(+2) The idea to make a regulatory play if they couldn’t get Matsson out of the deal on price was pretty savvy. “These assholes in here, OUR assholes.”
Kendall: Okay, you guys ready to spread some regulatory anxieties?
Shiv: Yeah, spread those surveillance capitalism heebie-jeebies. Just don’t let me get stuck with the Journal op-ed ogres.
Kendall: Come on, they’re not all crypto fascists and right wing nutjobs. We also have some venture capital Dems and centrist ghouls. Dad’s ideological range was wide.
(-1) At first Kendall says “fuck that guy” about Mencken, because he’s kind of a fascist, and then immediately changes his mind when Roman says it would be helpful to have him in their pocket in case he wins. Which Kendall should’ve immediately realized was unlikely to happen, unless they personally convince Connor to drop out. Nevertheless, “I’ll hit the libtards, and you go help the Nazis.” Does this kid ever think more than like six hours ahead?
(+2) Kendall actually handles Matsson’s presence at the party pretty well and seems to have control, despite not technically even being the host. Special points for his defense of New York City, a pretty happening town, famously. (Look, it may be a shitty fucking town, but it’s OUR shitty fucking town.) More importantly, he gets a really meaningful acquisition-related dig in there. “You should get that written on a cup. Like, wouldn’t that look so cool? You could sell that in a head shop in Rotterdam. Could be a good business for you, ‘cause I hear you might need some new revenue streams.”
(-1) Kendall is always way too eager to get laid at a party. Nate rebuffs his offer to trade good Jimenez press on ATN in exchange for regulatory interference on the Gojo acquisition. Nate says, “I don’t know what you think this is, but I’m not Gil, and you’re not Logan. And that’s a good thing.” Subtraction of points for all that clumsy shit, and also because Kendall doesn’t appreciate that it is a good thing.
(+3) Kendall was clearly the one who got Ebba to spill the India information. He notices that she fights with Matsson and tells her he’s sorry (like, on a human level). Then after she rebuffs Roman asking for more details on India, Kendall asks to bum a cigarette, which we know kicked off a more revealing conversation with her.
(-3) Really Kendall, you’re gonna try to kill your only remaining family members? “Roman and Shiv, I love them, but I’m not in love with them. One head, one crown.”
(-1) This “butcher with a smile” thinks he’s amazing at firing people when he didn’t even quite read the script correctly.
(+2) It’s pretty big that there’s another moment with Kendall trusting Greg to make moves on his behalf.
Kendall: Can you lend a hand, look after Matsson?
Greg: Yeah, I guess he has occasionally expressed a distaste in the past for my particular flavor of… me.
Kendall: Just find him a blunt, or something stronger. Point his dick in the direction of some fissile material.
(+1) Mr. Nephew wins over Matsson by claiming 100 scalps in three days. Not such backwash at the bottom of the gene pool after all. “You underestimated me, and that’s exactly how I wanted it to be, Lukas.”
Lukas: How do you do it?
Greg: Uh, I don’t know. I just do it, just jacknife right in there and slit their throats.
Lukas: It must be, like, afterwards a little shitty, right?
Greg: Honestly, not really. HR says I’m the right guy because it looks like I care, but I don’t.
(-2) Because it’s a very bad sign when blood-mason Matsson is more empathetic than you.
(+5) For only a 3-minute appearance, she does pretty well in today’s ranking. “Look, I have some requirements you should know about, several of which have been officially communicated, and some that I thought I should say in person. First of all, I want money… eye-watering sums, hundreds of millions. So I have retained personal reputation management… and if I ever get a whiff of anything undermining my narrative any time in the next five years, I will sue and I will go public with the many, many pictures of your genitalia that I have in my possession. Have I made myself clear?”
(+1) He’s up in the polls without even being on the campaign trail. It’s the day before the election and Connor is meeting his siblings at famed breakfast spot of the everyman, Jean-Georges, to discuss Logan’s funeral. He’s concerned that it’s going to turn into a three-day grief-a-thon and wants to figure out which of them is going to speak. Then he gets a call a minute later and that’s the end of the Funeral Management Committee. Way to take the reins, Connor. Are we still doing Reagan’s with tweaks?
(+1) Connor is also the only sibling thinking about Logan in any manner that could be considered grief-adjacent. “He’s lookin’ good. Woke up on the right side of the coffin today, boy. The weird thing is how much he’s not there. I find that consoling.”
(+3) Connor finds himself in the position to bargain for a middling (at best) ambassadorship if he drops out of the election so that his voters will switch to Mencken.
Connor: And after all the sweat and treasure that I’ve expended, why would I want to do that?
Roman: They said, for the good of the republic.
Connor: Hahah, yeah?
Roman: Yeah… so, no? Well, I have been authorized to make a followup offer. How familiar are you with Mogadishu?
Connor: In Somalia?
Roman: Because they are very impressed with your talents, and they think you’d be a good fit for an ambassadorial appointment.
Connor: A little bit car bomb-y. Tell them UN, that’s more my vibration, yeah?
(+2) It hits Connor that he might actually have some leverage for once.
Connor: So, Mogadishu is a no-go. It’s a death sentence. But I would like to roll through all the options, so, as a brother, what’s the top option? I would love to get to Europe. Can I creep up through the underbelly? Come up through the Balkans? A couple of senior departures, Berlin by Christmas?
Kendall: They may be able to talk Slovenia or Slovakia.
Connor: Mmmm yeah, I think I’m a no on the Slos.
Connor: North Korea… I could open it up like Nixon did to China.
Roman: Con, they’re not gonna put you anywhere with nukes.
Connor: Well that’s insulting, I don’t want to go anywhere without nukes.
(-1) Okay maybe scale it back a bit, Con.
(+1) “Oman, poor man’s Saudi Arabia or rich man’s Yemen. I have to check, see what my wo-man thinks about O-man.” For checking in with his wife. You know no one else would.
Willa: And so where would we live exactly in Oman?
Connor: In Muscat, I should think, in a compound.
Willa: Will it be above ground?
Connor: Of course above ground, Willa. The Pearl of Arabia.
Willa: “The sultan’s word has the force of the law.” Great.
Connor: At the airport, we’d walk right through.
Willa: And this is for Mencken… all of my family and friends hate Mencken.
Connor: Diplomatic plates. We can park anywhere. We can basically drive on the sidewalk, the police can’t touch you.
Willa: Running people over is not a selling point.
(+5) Roman tells Connor everyone in this room thinks he’s a joke when he refuses to drop out of the race, but he says that he has to listen to Willa, the one person there who doesn’t think he’s a joke. Lots of points because he actually has that person, unlike everyone else in this sad ensemble.
(+1) He got Matsson’s vote, a hundred percent.
HONORABLE RANKING: EBBA
(+1) For coming back at Oskar when he taunts her and asks if she was bored: “I’ve seen him cut your balls 100 times. Yeah, it’s a little bit boring.”
(+2) Ebba basically confirms that the blood thing is true, but that it’s the least of Matsson’s problems, because there’s this little inflated subscriber problem in India.
(+3) She spills the truth about Matsson to Kendall, that they built his reputation, he’s not even a real coder and the India numbers are completely inflated. Who does this remind me of?
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.
Images courtesy of HBO.