Succession: The Summer Palace
August 14, 2019 2:26 PM - Season 2, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Kendall tries to make amends with his dad for his takeover attempt betrayal. Logan receives some unvarnished advice from his banker about the next best move for Waystar Royco. As Tom maneuvers for a new position in the company, Shiv tries to determine whether Logan is playing mind games regarding his successor.
posted by JimBennett (4 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The show is brutal when the viewer starts to fall in with one of the characters. They piled on Kendall's humiliations (pulled out of spa rehab to deliver a gibbering defense on his father on Icelandic Regional TV, escorted as a passenger on his bike, enduring cousin Greg's bad coke, etc) until the trick of watching a main character means the viewer can't help but sympathize. And then...we get his siblings' view, impossibly mean, relentless, utterly disgusted by weakness, until the viewer (me) can't help but agree that that manslaughtering little legacy case is utterly pathetic.

There was a similar trick with Logan, who had a pretty good episode. He was healthy, strong, and competent. You could almost see how he got where he got. And then...right when the viewer felt a glimmer of admiration, the sense that one could at least understand how he built his company...he Trumpishly fucked over his contractor and taunted him over the thought he could use the courts to get paid. Logan has teams of lawyers. Right. People get superrich by being too rich to follow the rules.

I'm very excited by the Shiv story. The first season suggested that Logan had a degree of respect for Shiv that he didn't have for his two idiot sons, and it's because she never worked for him. I mean, she does seem like less of a dope, but also she wasn't building her life around being the Legacy Hire Exec. That scene was so well done: Shiv's absolute refusal to believe that Logan would step away from the company, Logan's very believable insistence that she's the only one he'd pick to lead, and finally her tearful acceptance. Even the lighting was perfect! Her turtleneck looked very bland in every scene, until they her father shut themselves away in that sun-drenched room. All of the sudden, that turtleneck set her eyes and hair aglow. She was anointed and crowned as future king.

(neeeever gonna happen, there's a reason why she was so suspicious about Logan stepping down)

I listened to the Slate Succession podcast, and they said the business plot is ripped from the headlines from a past takeover attempt of Murdoch's News Corp.

Needs more Cousin Greg and Wamsgans next week!
posted by grandiloquiet at 8:48 PM on August 14, 2019 [12 favorites]

I fucking loved the Shiv part and I am so stoked for her in season two, she's my favorite character on the show.

This episode felt like a bit of a slow burn, but things got more exciting after like 20 minutes.
posted by KTamas at 6:11 AM on August 15, 2019

I kind of hate Shiv, but I'm looking forward to seeing how her perspective and relationships change now that she's her father's employee rather than his princess. Personally, I think saying yes to Logan was a self-destructive choice on her part. I get why becoming his protege is tempting, but she's going to destroy what little credibility she has by jumping directly from a Bernie Sanders-esue campaign to a job under her father. Also, doesn't she want to see how things pan out with her current boss? He might still become president. It seems like it would be to her benefit to keep playing him and her father off of each other for a while yet.

I think she's clipping her own wings, because once she does this, she is going to be too much of a joke to get hired anywhere besides the family business from here on out, just like her brothers are. And Logan will be sure to exploit that vulnerability, too, just like he does with his sons. I think that might actually be part of what Logan is thinking: keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. Kendell tried to destroy him, so now he's making Kendell follow him around like a whipped dog. Shiv is working against him by working for his enemy, so he's going to have her taking a job at his firm and running after him as His Girl Friday. Perfect scenario for Logan, not so great for Kendell or Shiv. It actually kind of boggles my mind that Shiv has the cautionary tale of Kendell sitting right in front of her yet doesn't seem to be thinking of ways to avoid his fate...but she buys her own hype, so of course she thinks things will be different for her.

I mean, her brothers are all shells of people, and the more time they spent as their father's underlings, the more zombified they seem. Shiv is only the best off because she's spent the least amount of time in that position, and because Logan doesn't try to compete with her directly (or dominate her in the same way) the way he does with his sons, and also she doesn't have any sisters or even a mother for her father to play her off of. I actually don't find Logan that bad, on a personal level (I mean, he's a Machiavellian asshole, but...), but apparently he's toxic to his children.

Kendell is a loser, but I can't really hate him because at least it seems like he's perpetually trying his very best. His very best is just kind, adolescent, I guess. Not terrible per se, but kind of clueless and half-formed and drenched with angst. None of the children seem to have really grown up. I think Logan was right when he was talking about Kendell being a hot house flower -- they all are. Not especially good problem solvers, really. But that was inevitable, given their circumstances.

Anyhow, I enjoyed the tone of this episode. The tone or atmosphere felt a little different from S1 somehow. A little sharper or grittier, maybe?
posted by rue72 at 9:52 AM on August 15, 2019 [10 favorites]

until the viewer (me) can't help but agree that that manslaughtering little legacy case is utterly pathetic.

Digging in very late to season two, I just want to say (as a non-UK lawyer, but someone who at least looked at the statutes) that IT IS FAR FROM CLEAR THAT KENDALL COMMITTED MANSLAUGHTER UNDER UK LAW!!! If he had already been drunk/high, yes, but he had been thwarted in getting his drugs, that's why he was in the car to begin with. There's a good case that this was just a stupid horrible accident that could've happened to anyone. (Now, driving without a license, failure to remain at the scene of an accident or whatever the UK equivalent is...sure...but unlikely to see prison time for any of that. A potentially unpleasant experience but not enough to make you your dad's bitch for the rest of your life, you know?)
posted by praemunire at 3:27 PM on November 27, 2023

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