Succession: The Vaulter
August 18, 2019 11:24 PM - Season 2, Episode 2 - Subscribe

Roman and Kendall do a "routine health check" of new media brand Vaulter to determine the future of the company. Tom tasks Greg with sniffing out waste at ATN, as Greg wonders if the divisive media outlet is the right fit for him. Connor and Willa host a soiree to mark their return to New York. Shiv brings Tom into the loop about her future at Waystar and with Gil's campaign.
posted by JimBennett (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
My wife, who doesn't watch the show, watched this one with me. Just before Kendall stopped to steal the batteries, she asked me, "why do you laugh every time those two people ride by on the motorcycle?"
posted by Ragged Richard at 11:02 AM on August 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


Will Tracy, ex-EIC of the Onion, is apparently a writer and producer on this season of the show. which, you know, makes sense.
posted by JimBennett at 11:08 AM on August 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


I think that Kendell stealing the batteries and giving Greg a beautiful apartment just to make his life unbearable in it is Kendell behaving like a two-bit Logan -- he's "dominating" someone in "business" (the clerk) by stealing something from him just to throw it away, like Logan did with Vaulter (and Kendell), and he's drawing Greg in close and making him dependent on him to declaw him, like Logan is drawing Shiv in close and making her dependent on him to declaw her.

But even though those are asshole moves, and Kendell was vicious when it came to the Vaulter liquidation, my heart broke for him in this episode despite myself. That scene when Logan tells Ken he did a good job and to make himself at home, and Kendell goes to sit staring into space at the conference table? Shattering. It's difficult not to feel bad for an adult who is this terrified of his father, and whose spirit is this broken. Roman calling him a "broken robot" was so apt that it gave me a chill.

Spoilers for Game of Thrones S4 / Dance of Dragons (written in rot13):
Ybtna sbepvat Xraqryy gb thg Inhygre erzvaqf zr bs jura Enzfrl fraqf "Errx" gb Zbng Pnvyva, gb pbaivapr gur Terlwbl onaarezra gurer gung nf gurve cevapr, gurl fubhyq fheeraqre gb Enzfrl. Naq "Errx" tbrf gurer "cergraqvat" gb or Gurba, cynlf gur cneg, qenjf gur zra gb Enzfrl, naq jngpurf Enzfrl ohgpure gurz. Sbe juvpu ur trgf n crg ba gur urnq yvxr n tbbq qbt.
posted by rue72 at 9:27 AM on August 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


Also, there was absolutely no chance that Logan wasn't going to destroy Vaulter. That was Kendell's pride and joy, so Logan was going to tear it apart just on principle. The "stroke of genius" was in having Kendell do it himself, which proves to everyone -- Kendell most of all -- how utterly submissive he is to Logan now.

I think that Roman figured on Logan wanting to hear nothing but bad things about Vaulter, but he was going to let Kendell walk into that trap (just like he let him walk into the trap of the no confidence vote) because he thinks there's a zero-sum competition between himself and his brother, so he thinks that Kendell's loss is his gain. What Roman doesn't understand is that it's ALSO a zero-sum competition between the siblings and Logan. Logan thinks that his kid's gain (any kid) is his loss, and so he's always going to thwart and diminish them, to make himself more powerful and stronger. He's big because they're small.

So Roman can knock Kendell down all he wants, he can even knock Shiv and Conner down, too...until he can knock Logan down, all he's doing is painting a target on his back. Which he should know from seeing how things went down with Kendell in the bear hug debacle, but I don't think any of the siblings could really go for their father's throat with the ruthlessness that he's willing and able to go for theirs.
posted by rue72 at 9:48 AM on August 20, 2019


Shiv finally getting Tom to snap at that dinner party...even Tom has his limits. I’m not sure how Matthew Macfadyen gets me to feel sad and sorry for teary-eyed Tom watching his ridiculous dream of becoming CEO fall apart, but he does. That’s some fine work.
posted by sallybrown at 1:40 PM on August 20, 2019 [4 favorites]




Somehow the worst thing about the way they closed Vaulter was "harvesting" the ideas of all the people who offered them in the hope that they were going to be able to save their jobs. It's just such a glimpse of how these things work: the guys in charge know the talent isn't really worthless, but they also know they don't have to pay for it!

Tom is the most shameless person on the show for switching his behavior between bullying and toadying based on power dynamics. As such -- though I find Matthew Macfadyen to be incredibly funny in the role -- I can't ever muster an ounce of sympathy for him. Out of all the Waystar-Royco functionaries we've met, he's the only one where we've gotten a sense of his private life (romance through Shiv, parents through that clusterfuck of a wedding, and friends through that aborted nightmare of a bachelor party). Usually learning more about a character makes me sympathize with them more. Somehow everything I learn about Tom makes me loathe him more. I wasn't surprised that he was able to get over Shiv's disinterested offer to have an open marriage, but couldn't stomach Shiv getting the job he wanted, because he's been telegraphing ambition/desperation/delusion the whole time. This episode was where he finally realized that marrying into the family hadn't actually made him part of the power structure, and it utterly sapped his ability to push forward. (I still can't see his last episode as anything but horrible, kind-of-funny suicide.)

Shiv just shot her escape pod, so I assume things are going to get accordingly worse at Royco. Whew, the end of the episode was grim.

aaaaand I think Greg got an okay deal with the apartment. He can kick people out of his bedroom and wear earplugs to sleep, if he ever gets his courage up. That's a giant, free living space in Manhattan. He can suffer through it for a few months while he searches for a crappy-but-decent living arrangement in his price range. (And it was better than the "help" from the other Roys -- newly-penthoused Tom taunting him, Connor's wife sincerely offering up a place that was probably a health risk, and Connor blithely suggesting that he live at a hotel.)
posted by grandiloquiet at 11:14 AM on August 25, 2019 [6 favorites]


So I started watching this show because of Matthew Macfadyen (who as long been one of my favorite actors), and as much as it was jarring in S1 to see him being a) American, and b) so slimy, the perfectly delivered "Fuck off Shiv" reminded me just how great an actor he is. As much as I've watched him over the years in anything and everything he's ever been in, he's so completely dissolved into Tom in this series that sometimes I actually forget who plays him.

Kendall. Ouch. Such an exquisite performance.
posted by biscotti at 5:40 AM on August 31, 2019 [2 favorites]


Shiv and Tom talking about handjobs on the ghost train is the most British thing ever.
posted by betweenthebars at 4:34 PM on November 13, 2019


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