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Thursday, 3 October 2019

REVIEW: Succession heads to Dundee for stunning episode.

Another viper barrows their way deeper inside Waystar Royco and Shiv (Sarah Snook) is on the defensive.  Marcia (Hiam Abbass) marks her territory.  Gregory (Nicholas Braun) is facing a Brexit style referendum and Kendall (Jeremy Strong) introduces the world to “L to the OG”.


An initial preview of Willa’s (Justine Lupe) play Sands draws an audience of potential financial backers including several immediate and extended members of the Roy family.  Presidential candidate and would be obstetrician Conner Roy (Alan Ruck) equates the production to “giving birth to a thousand people.”  Conner and Willa admit the play has some issues and the dialogue needs improvement.  Shiv becomes anxious when her one-night stand from episode 3 attempts to engage in some small talk.  Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) who appears to be feeling a bit more comfortable about their relationship teases Shiv a bit.  Kendall is in the midst of congratulating Willa when he immediately becomes distracted by Jennifer (Sydney Lemmon), an actress in the production.

Rhea (Holly Hunter) is organizing an anniversary celebration for Logan (Brian Cox), commemorating his accomplishments over the past 50 years.  She has cajoled the Roy siblings into recording congratulatory messages for their father.  Shiv, who is still recovering from Rhea’s shiv in episode 7, tries to lure Conner, Kendall, and Roman (Kieran Culkin) to her side with little success.  She is concerned that Rhea is amassing too much power within the company.  Shiv’s brothers appear to dismiss her concerns, but take pleasure in making crude remarks about Logan and Rhea’s possible sex life.  Roman’s recording session mimics a scene straight from Channel 4’s absurdist comedy Toast of London.  Roman who is channelling Steven Toast unloads a few rounds of sardonic remarks when the recording engineer attempts to do another take.  Unlike Roman, Conner takes delight in the session describing Logan as a stoic superhero with whom he would like to spend more time with.

While on a flight to Scotland for Logan’s celebration, Conner quickly discards the persona of the naive starstruck son when Gregory confronts him about the sand used in Sands.  Gregory is concerned that organisms like sand mites may be living in the gypsum white used in the play.  His claims are disregarded by Conner who continuously denies any responsibility for materials being used.  Like Conner, Logan is attempting to enjoy a brief respite but is being drawn back into the toxic scandal known as cruises courtesy of sheepish Karolina (Dagmara Dominczyk).  A former cruise employee in accounting is about to flip, and reveal everything he knows about the hush payments.  Logan explodes and orders Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron), Hugo (Fisher Stevens), and Karolina to use whatever resources at their disposal to resolve the problem.  In another section of the aeroplane, Shiv attempts to cosy up to Marcia and form an alliance against Rhea.  Marcia, who is well versed in the ways Logan Roy, quickly rejects Shiv’s offer.

A pensive Logan shares brief turds about his life in Scotland to Conner and Marcia during a car ride to the hotel.  Conner is hoping to connect with his father about something other than defecating in an outhouse.  Instead, Conner discovers that money has been and continues to motivate Logan.  Rhea greets the caravan but is immediately met with a barrage of insults and accusations by Shiv.  Gerri pulls Roman aside to share her and Frank’s (Peter Friedman) concerns about Logan’s infatuation with Rhea.  She also requests that Roman maintain communication with Eduard (Babak Tafti) in case the company needs funding in order to go private.  Marcia decides to assess the Rhea situation; she confronts Rhea about having sex with Logan.  Even though Marcia appears to accept Logan’s dalliances, she does not plan on being usurped.  Logan is not the only Roy with a new woman occupying their time, Kendall has become infatuated with Jennifer and has lured her away from the opening night of Sands, much to Willa’s consternation.


Shiv decides to deploy a new strategy in order to shake Logan’s confidence in Rhea; she convinces Tom to act as a honey trap and flirt with Rhea.  Roman puts forward another suggestion, trick Rhea into bringing up Logan’s sister Rose and his mother Helen.  Shiv nudges Kendall who stealthy executes this newest attack.  Rhea’s inclusion of Rose and Helen in her toast results in a large scowl on Logan’s face.  Conner’s bid to secure funding for the play from Logan but is quickly shut down. Tom demonstrates his ineptitude when it comes to espionage; his attempts at flirting devolves into an awkward conversation involving Rhea and Roman.  Rhea is able to course correct with her second toast which appears to go over slightly better with Logan.

Logan’s grand tour of Scotland continues with a photo op at his childhood home.  He is dismayed by the sight of it and decides to depart without getting out of the car.  Everyone is confused by Logan’s actions, however, Gerri takes this opportunity to update Shiv on the whistleblower.  The individual is not willing to back down so Gerri has decided to increase the payoff.  She promises to handle this discreetly so Logan is not rattled, can’t upset baby.  Logan appears to be slightly less of a curmudgeon while touring the Logan Roy School of Journalism, until his brother Ewan (James Cromwell) accompanied by his grandson Gregory arrives.  The elder Roy brothers spar until a ‘robocall’ about the Waystar Royco takeover causes the tête-à-tête to end.  Once Logan departs, Ewan quickly reminds his grandson that Logan is morally bankrupt and is single-handedly causing more harm to the planet’s environment.  Ewan presents Gregory with an ultimatum, leave Waystar Royco or forfeit a $250 million dollar inheritance.

Roman’s lack of knowledge about Scottish football teams comes in handy during his meeting with Eduard.  After verbally agreeing to continue financing talks on behalf of their fathers, Eduard convinces Roman to become co-owner of a Scottish football team.  Kendall and Jennifer’s sexual exploration of each other continues to cause problems for Conner who is haemorrhaging money.  Kendall is able to untangle himself long enough to participate in another sibling meeting about Rhea.  Shiv was hoping to form a coalition but is horrified to discover Rhea has gained a foothold on each of them, especially Conner who is happy to find someone who sympathizes with his financial plight.  Even Tom has started to warm up to Rhea; he believes that Rhea’s ascension could benefit him more professionally.

Logan’s anniversary reception initially gets off to an unpleasant start; he is thrown by the number of investors attending and briefly flees.  Ewan observes the festivities upon high and sits in judgement of Logan’s lifestyle.  Ewan also continues to pressure his grandson about a no-deal Gregxit, while attempting to enlighten him about the teachings of Roman historians.  Kendall who is high on life and any number of illicit substances decides to introduce Jennifer to Logan.  She is a bit hesitant and with good reason, continuously muttering the word ‘awesome’ does not earn you favour with the Roy patriarch.  Logan breaks away from the pair and connects with Shiv who gives him a peace offering, a book containing photos of his various properties.  Shiv also advises Logan that perhaps Rhea is the right successor for now.  Unfortunately for Roman, his gift does not land with Logan.  Purchasing the wrong football is not going to lead to many bonding moments with dear old dad.  Gregory encounters are slightly upbeat Logan in the bathroom and attempts to initiate Gregxit, but is dissuaded (for now) by ‘Uncle Fun’.


During the midst of the celebration, Gerri convenes a meeting of Waystar Royco’s WTF club (comprised of Frank, Hugo, Karolina, Sid (Jeannie Berlin), and Shiv) to discuss the rapidly devolving whistleblower crisis.  The weasel from cruises is unwilling to accept any deal or submit to threats.  Shiv convinces to the group to hold off telling Logan, which suits Gerri just fine.  She was afraid the evening could end with a round of ‘boar on the floor’.  Kendall is the evening’s featured entertainment, performing an original rap song dedicated to his father who is raking in the loot - “L to the OG”.  Not to be outdone by his son, Logan caps off the night by announcing Rhea as the new Chief Executive Officer.  This move does not sit well with Marcia who offers Logan some sharp criticism before departing, and Ewan who takes delight in telling Logan his kingdom is crumbling.

After the emotionally draining yet riveting seventh episode, Succession follows-up with a massively entertaining episode for rap and non-rap fans. The Roys cannot shake the stench that is cruises and the walls keep closing in.  Who is backing the latest snitch?  Perhaps it is someone close to the family.  Only two episodes remain in series 2!   

Contributed by Mo Walker.

Succession Continues Monday at 9.00pm on Sky Atlantic

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