‘Succession’ Recap: Shiv Pulls a Power Play on Sickly Logan That Will Backfire

‘Succession’ Recap: Shiv Pulls a Power Play on Sickly Logan That Will Backfire 1

It takes a heaping dose of hubris for a person to presume they’re above the laws of science, but if there’s one thing we know about Kendall Roy it’s that he’s never been one to underestimate his own grandeur. And so, this week’s Succession begins with our deluded prince insisting to a skeptical babysitter that despite what Google says, his children actually can feed the pet rabbit a piece of bagel. Those rules, he says, are for those dummies who would leave the bunny at home with a Big Gulp.

The rabbit, a gift Kendall bestowed on the children he rarely sees, does not seem long for this world; as one might predict, the babysitter later calls to let Kendall know that the bunny is sick. But that’s probably the least of his worries, as the dreaded shareholder meeting finally draws near and Logan’s condition continues to deteriorate.

This week, a roomful of Roys and Waystar Royco executives fail to notice they’re taking orders from a clearly incapacitated leader—and while Shiv seizes an opportunity to finally secure some real power in her father’s company, the move seems bound to backfire.

Logan seems a little off from the start of Shareholder Meeting Day. He’s trying to figure out how to turn the “temperature down” at the Department of Justice—despite Frank’s quiet observation that it’s a “bit late in the day.” Kendall, meanwhile, takes on the role of Charitable Prodigal Son—or, as he delights in calling himself, “Puppet Master”—and convinces Stewy to offer the family a possible deal.

Rather than “tap dance” for Stewy and his fellow investor Sandy Furness, Logan sends Shiv, Roman, Gerri, and Karl in his stead. (Given Logan’s usual distaste for delegation when it means ceding control, that feels like it should have been yet one more sign that something’s amiss.) Sandy, whose own health is declining in his old age, relies on his daughter (named Sandi) to communicate for him.

The deal sounds promising until the investors add one more stipulation—veto power over any Roy family member replacing Logan as CEO.

Gerri and Karl seem fine with that idea. Roman and Shiv? Not so much. In the words of the slime puppy himself: “With all due respect, get bent, Gerri.”

Logan also doesn’t go for the idea, so the argument becomes moot. In the meantime, however, someone else is coming for a piece of his pie. Connor, the oldest and perhaps most confounding of the Roy children, is still working on his presidential credentials. What if, for instance, Logan were to put Connor in charge of cable for all of Europe?

If we needed one more sign of just how sick the Roy patriarch was—or how oblivious his progeny seem to be about his health—look no further than Connor interpreting his father’s (worrisome) unresponsiveness as a “yes.”

And where is Cousin Greg in all this? Lost as ever. One minute, Kendall warns him that despite prior promises, he might just need to burn him. In a genuinely ruthless move, Kendall tells Greg he’ll probably have to throw him to the sharks so they can “fuck and chuck” him to get to the bigger fish—unless he drops from Waystar’s joint defense.

Another person who’s not thrilled Greg joined Team Logan? His grandfather (James Cromwell), who previously set him up with his own lawyer, Mr. Pugh. When Greg asks for money (again) to help him “retain his neutrality,” gramps rains down some tough love: He’s donating his entire fortune to charity. (“Even my part?” a stunned Greg asks. “That was the first part.”)

And so, as Greg returns to the shareholder meeting to wolf down free pastries and run messages for various stressed-out executives, he begins work on a new plan: What if he sued Greenpeace for stealing his inheritance?

For once, pretty much everyone in the family could probably (almost) relate to Greg in this moment. After all, they’re all on the precipice of losing the Roys’ control of Waystar and, by extension, a huge chunk of the family fortune. If only they hadn’t spent so many years indulging Logan’s arbitrary rule and communicative dysfunction, perhaps someone would have noticed that their brave leader has gone piss mad—literally.

After extensive back-and-forth over whether or not the family is willing to sacrifice their “PJs” (private jets), Logan requests that his son-in-law escort him to the bathroom. Asked whether or not he wants to go through with the deal, he offers a less than helpful response: “Fuck ’em.”

Cue the frantic questions, as everyone does their best to act as oracle to Logan’s vague, seemingly destructive demand.

“Do you know something?” Shiv asks.

“He’s gambling the company because he’s a badass!” Roman insists.

Gerri, meanwhile, just wishes she knew “the thinking.” Wouldn’t we all!

Cue the frantic questions, as everyone does their best to act as oracle to Logan’s vague, seemingly destructive demand.

Eventually, the group decides to back Logan despite having no idea why he’d suggest such a reckless move over some private jets. Shiv delivers the news to Sandy’s daughter. When asked why they’re blowing the deal, Shiv repeats the same thing Sandi told her earlier: “I just do what my dad tells me.”

Tensions rise, however, as it becomes increasingly clear that Logan is not himself. He asks Tom to bring him to the bathroom again, and this time he shouts in pain from the stall. It seems somewhat strange that Logan would pick Tom, whom he’s always treated as an outsider, to assist him in this moment of need—until one remembers that it was the son-in-law who offered to take the blame for Waystar’s cruises mess. Nothing pleases Logan Roy more than a blood sacrifice.

When the two return, Logan’s condition becomes undeniable. He mistakes Shiv for his estranged wife, Marcia. When Kendall bursts into the room to yell at his family for screwing up a deal he’d “fought and bled for” behind the scenes, Logan thinks he’s Frank. A quick call to Logan’s assistant, Carrie, reveals that he’s got a UTI—which, when left untreated, can lead to some pretty irrational decision-making.

What’s particularly interesting, however, is a hallucination Logan seems to experience involving a dead cat under his chair. At one point, he insists that no one allow Rose—whom we know from last season is a sister whose death he does not like speaking about—to see the animal.

With Daddy out of commission, the entire Waystar operation begins reeling. Deliberations begin over whether (and how quickly) it might still behoove the company to get “the body” on stage. Roman takes an angry phone call from the president informing Logan that he’ll no longer run for re-election. (And good luck getting the same access from the next administration.)

Shiv, however, spots an opportunity.

J. Smith Cameron as Gerri in Succession

Macall Polay/HBO

Once everyone decides to overrule Logan’s clearly compromised decision to terminate the deal with Sandy and Stewy, Shiv gets the go-ahead to reopen the deal. She makes an offer to young Sandi—whom she’s noticed seems to live on the sidelines of her father’s business just like she does. What if they each took a board seat for themselves, and convinced their fathers they’d wrangled the concessions out of one another?

Sandi bites, much to the joy of every coherent person in the room. Tom, still in a panic over his impending prison stay, is particularly over the moon. After a brief hallway make-up session, however, he makes it awkward when he lets slip that he’s been tracking his wife’s ovulation cycle. (“I’m just vibing to your sexy window,” he insists. “It’s not creepy!”)

But Kendall can’t abide this win for his family. He wants to be “out there” and in the spotlight, in spite of his PR team’s advice to perhaps try lying low. So he does what anyone would do and crashes his family’s shareholder meeting to read out the names of victims harmed by their company—and to announce his new foundation to help them.

Once again, Logan watches as the one he used to consider his most broken son betrays him. Someone, he says, “should have chopped him down.” But it doesn’t take long for him to find a closer target—Shiv.

For the past two seasons, Shiv has been fighting for a real seat at her father’s table. Even now, as president, her power is largely nominal; older executives like Karl don’t respect her and Logan, she’s discovered, would rather cut her down at every turn than back her up. With Logan out of commission this week, Shiv decided to make one of his likely empty promises to her—a board seat—come true.

Despite her father’s obvious bristling at her mention of possibly taking a seat on the board, Shiv tries to rally him into a champagne toast for her victory. Rather than celebrate an obvious win, Logan knocks the glass from her hand and barks at her to stop “buzzing” in his ear. Before long, Roman is at his father’s side to ask, “Was Shiv being a bitch?”

Shiv might like her position in the short-term, but Logan’s suspicion toward her seems bound to bite back in the long-run. Logan treats Kendall with the most brutality when he seems closest to actually taking over, and it’s hard to believe he wouldn’t knife Shiv with similar zeal should she ever get close. If Shiv doesn’t watch out, it might be the husband she seems to hate who actually becomes her father’s favorite. After all, Logan did utter some strange words when Tom came to his aid in the bathroom: “Thank you, son.”