Succession: Mass in Time of War
October 25, 2021 10:03 AM - Season 3, Episode 2 - Subscribe

After trying to persuade Shiv, Roman, and Connor to join him in detoxifying the company, Kendall attempts to win Sandi and Stewy’s support. After a shady visit from a Waystar attorney, a suddenly fearful Greg seeks to obtain a lawyer with help from his grandfather Ewan. Marcia arrives in Sarajevo at Logan’s request – with conditions.
posted by j.r (30 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'll start. I thought it was a strong episode. I really enjoyed the scene with the four siblings. Has that happened before? All the Roy kids, and no one else? They have such great chemistry together. It's also a great touch to have that conversation happen in a child's bedroom.

Kendall seemed more even-keeled with his siblings around, until of course the rejections started and the insults flowed. I think Shiv had been gettable, but his first fatal flaw was trying to appeal to her morals. (She has no morals! She wants to look like she does but she really doesn't!) His second fatal flaw is a lack of plans beyond him in charge. The rest is just business buzzwords. Connor actually came across better than he ever has in this episode, but with a few lines thrown in to show he's still just a spoiled rich kid who's living in a different reality than the rest of us. And then there's Roman, who will never betray Gerri and is certainly better positioned if he sticks with Logan than getting lost in the siblings-fray.

I also loved the excruciating awkwardness of Tom and Shiv's conversations. "I love you." "Thanks." "Do you love me too?" "Why?" Oh my god! Almost topped by Greg asking his first-year law school friend(?) for advice!
posted by j.r at 10:15 AM on October 25, 2021 [5 favorites]

The kids all had a very believably friendly and chill time together in the time before Logan arrived at the yacht at the end of last season. It was a noted contrast to how the show has portrayed them, any other time. Here, again, I really like all the failkids in a room together. (In a child's room, naturally!) I love that they joke about the donuts being poisoned, but then pointedly do not eat the donuts. (I like that there's a bit of alignment in that Roman brought pastries and Logan sent donuts.) But. For the record. THEY CALLED HIM UNCLE MO, BUT HIS NAME WASN'T MO. SO EVERYONE KNEW.

For B-List family drama, I'm very excited by the reappearance of Greg's curmudgeonly grandpa and introduction of his lefty activist lawyer. But obviously, I think Greg should hire his own lawyer. Does the 1L hate him? Because I have never been to law school and I know this, so surely a 1L should be able to advise him that much.

Tom and Shiv have such a nightmare relationship. Even the "pro-Shiv" things Tom has done, like keeping her in the loop on the succession discussions, are kind of anti-Shiv because he wanders away from the room where decisions are being made to update her instead of advocating for her. (Not that she particularly deserves him as an advocate! It's just interesting that even the "functional" ambition part of the relationship is misfiring.)

I'm fascinated by how much Gerri's office sucks. I guess it's a lot larger than your average Manhattan office-worker could hope for, but it's nothing compared to Roman's office in previous seasons. Before this episode, I would've said that Gerri doesn't care and she's succeeded at Waystar-Royco be not getting distracted by pointless dick-measuring contests. After this episode....I don't know. Maybe she's spent her career internalizing "That's what the money's for," but she's excited enough about leading the company to take a picture of her name on a news scroll screen. Who leaked the Gerri-as-CEO news? I thought Shiv, but maybe it was Gerri. And the way that the episode ended...with Logan rebuffing her attempted handshake...that was interesting. Chekhov's snub?
posted by grandiloquiet at 11:20 AM on October 25, 2021 [3 favorites]

I almost spat out my hyper-decanted wine at that scene. Love Gerri photographing her name in the scroll of the news coverage to send to her daughters. Loved the curt "dont' talk about my daughters" and how Roman seemed to pick up that this was non-negotiable.

What was Logan saying at the end of the episode? That he needs to keep an eye on Gerri?
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 11:24 AM on October 25, 2021

What was Logan saying at the end of the episode? That he needs to keep an eye on Gerri?

I was also confused by that line... what I settled on as an interpretation is that he doesn't have doubts about Gerri per se, it's more just a setup for his latest manipulation of Shiv. Logan has shown contempt for Gerri in the sense that he doesn't really take her seriously (all the mentions in previous seasons about being the "successor on paper" had a contemptuous tone to them), but he doesn't seem to actively mistrust her in that way that he mistrusts, e.g., Frank.

Maybe I'm wrong, though, and he does mistrust her and something she does in the episodes to come will bear that out. I don't know; my read of Gerri is that she's very competent, she knows how to survive in the environment she finds herself in, and she does that by being, essentially, a loyal soldier.

I do think her advice to Roman on the phone, while self-serving, was probably correct. Hard to imagine the shareholders would take the failkids seriously unless they seriously had their shit together with a good plan and presented a genuine united front, which we know they never will.
posted by Kosh at 11:34 AM on October 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

I took it to mean that Logan wants Shiv at the top of the company as his eyes and ears, but Gerri is her protection for fallout from any scandals.
posted by Pendragon at 12:12 PM on October 25, 2021 [5 favorites]

Logan's line about Gerri confused me too. Like Pendragon says, I think he's hinting to Shiv that he gave Gerri the CEO job so she could take the fall and then Shiv can eventually have it...later, after being "president" for a while. I don't think he really believes that, but he's trying to keep her on his side. (There's truth to what Kendall rudely stated, that Shiv is the most valuable person to have on your side for the optics alone.) Gerri is capable of way more damage than Logan gives her credit for, though.

Btw, who sent the donuts? I don't know if Logan was actually in the headspace to do that.
posted by j.r at 1:15 PM on October 25, 2021 [2 favorites]

Btw, who sent the donuts? I don't know if Logan was actually in the headspace to do that.

When Roman says something to the effect of "thanks for the donuts" he doesn't really react, and seemed, to me at least, to just be going along with it.
posted by Ragged Richard at 2:33 PM on October 25, 2021

Shiv also says something to Logan about photographers getting shots of her at Kendall's place. I assume Logan is having them all followed. Or maybe just watching wherever Kendall is.

The image of Shiv arriving at the same time at the Trojan horse gift from Stewy made for a great shot with the two of them in frame at the same time. Not that I specifically think Shiv is a Trojan horse, but just a fantastic visual joke.

I can't believe the show gave us all four Roy kids in a room declaring loyalties this quickly. I thought we'd have to wait for that for a while.
posted by gladly at 6:27 PM on October 25, 2021

Btw, who sent the donuts? I don't know if Logan was actually in the headspace to do that.

My vote's on Gerri.
posted by ishmael at 6:30 PM on October 25, 2021 [2 favorites]

Btw, who sent the donuts? I don't know if Logan was actually in the headspace to do that.

My vote's on Gerri.

I hope you’re right, that would be fun. In that world Gerri has seen enough of the family dynamics to know that she can prevent the kids from working together (and preserve her power position, such as it is) by messing with their heads. I would love to see someone who is not a Roy beat this family at their own power-grubbing game.
posted by slmorri at 7:55 PM on October 25, 2021 [7 favorites]

That Trojan Horse though…

But really, that siblings scene is so great.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:05 PM on October 25, 2021

I would love to see someone who is not a Roy beat this family at their own power-grubbing game.

We were projecting out from the breadcrumbs in this episode: Logan trying to set Gerri up to be the scapegoat> Roman turning on Logan to protect Gerri> Shiv undermining Roman/Gerri in order to seize power.

Or maybe Logan throwing Tom under the bus if a bid against Gerri doesn't work out> leads to Shiv...also throwing Tom under the bus and losing a part of her soul in the process?

Also Greg continuing to breathlessly sneak/shuffle his way around the Roys, being a free radical catalyst.
posted by ishmael at 11:50 PM on October 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

Am I reading into things or is there a glimmer of I want this and I will fight for this in Gerri's attitude? She seems perfectly poised for a rebellion, knows where the bodies are buried, seemingly has a good relationship with the shareholders, is seen as neutral (although not necessarily ineffective).

Even Logan seems aware of her potential power if she decides to mutiny by telling both Roman and Shiv to watch her (although I know it's also to pull them both in closer into his loyalty loop).

I would love to watch a season of a three way war between Gerri/Roman, Logan's lackeys, and Ken/Shiv, then a couple of remaining seasons of Gerri's transition into Logan 2.0, including fighting off the inevitable power grab attempt from Roman when things in that relationship go south.
posted by newpotato at 2:09 AM on October 26, 2021 [3 favorites]

Can anyone explain the significance of the Trojan horse? I did not get the joke - what's being hidden inside something else to get in here?
posted by simonw at 9:24 AM on October 26, 2021

I think the Trojan horse is meant to multiply Kendall's paranoia-- and the audience's, too-- by suggesting that anyone who comes with an offer of co-operation is actually going to take you out. It also may be Stewie suggesting that at least he can be trusted because he quickly turned Kendall down.

It's also such a tacky thing, like a pinata, and the matter-of fact way it's pushed into the apartment by those glum workers emphasizes how silly and pretentious Kendall is being. Also, Kendall is still probably tripping balls so imagine how surreal it's going to look to him.
posted by BibiRose at 10:13 AM on October 26, 2021 [2 favorites]

Btw, who sent the donuts? I don't know if Logan was actually in the headspace to do that.

TOM. He is fucking with them.
posted by tristeza at 12:13 PM on October 26, 2021 [3 favorites]

No way is it Tom. Gerri is far more plausible.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 2:06 PM on October 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

I meant to say this earlier, but the mercenary reappearance of Marcia was a gorgeous contrast to the emotionally needy grasping of all the underlings and family members in this episode. In the first season, we met his high-strung second wife. In the second, we learned his first wife was institutionalized. I have to wonder how much of his love for this relationship is an appreciation of how coolly Marcia operates. We saw about as much emotionally from Logan as we ever see from him: he misses Marcia, but not enough to apologize. And we saw about as blatant a quid pro quo as Marcia has even given: she'll stay with him, but only after receiving a list of financial concessions, and she wants those concessions hammered out immediately.

I don't know if it's admirable, but it is at least interesting that Logan -- unlike many men with younger wives -- doesn't appear to resent her for making the transactional side of their relationship explicit. In New York, the failkids are having a sneering, rambling, unplanned meet-up that doesn't go anywhere. In Logan's exile in Sarajevo, his wife calmly approaches him with a statement of what he did wrong and how he can fix it. They're squared away by the end of the episode. She doesn't even dwell on the idea that his infatuation with another woman hurt her feelings, though I'm sure it did. She says he humiliated her, which changes the emphasis from Logan hurting her feelings to Logan hurting her pride, which I think Logan respects a bit more. (As we've seen again and again, Logan is someone who intentionally humiliates his family all the time. From a training perspective, I guess it's smart of Marcia to tie his bad behavior to negative consequences.) Anyway, I love Marcia appearances because her character always feels so steady that it's like she's calling in from a different universe.
posted by grandiloquiet at 2:52 PM on October 26, 2021 [13 favorites]

I’m disappointed that the sibling alliance, as far fetched as it was, collapsed so quickly. If they’d stuck together and forced Logan out, then the rest of the season would be him maneuvering to get back in. As it is, I’m not sure Kendall’s position is that strong (didn’t he say last week that he had Marcia’s support?) and then it becomes a replay of the other times Kendall has tried to move up.

I was surprised that Conner was the first sibling to drop out. It seems like he would be the most susceptible to Kendall’s vision of a new and improved corporation. He was less dependent on Logan’s largess last season (but maybe running for President took a big chunk of his inheritance). He’s the most wishy-washy. Obviously if Roman or Shiv had come out against the plan, he would have followed them but in this case, he was the first.

I loved the little trap Kendall set for Shiv, having his assistant leave a manila envelope on the table, so when she sneaked a peak, the top sheet said Fuck you.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:51 PM on October 26, 2021 [4 favorites]

TWinbrook8, I think when they were saying "who do we have" in the car and Marcia's name came up it meant who do they have yet to reach out to, not who is already on their side.

That confused me as well, and I had to rewatch it for clarification; I was pretty surprised in the moment that Marcia would've jumped ship already, especially for one of Logans' kids, seeing as she's been openly disdainful of them pretty much the whole series.

I think it was Logan who sent the donuts. He doesn't know who exactly would be there to receive them maybe, but the implicit threat of "enjoy your tea party" works for anyone who would've been in that room.

My only question is how did everyone seem to know that they were at Rava's?
posted by newpotato at 1:48 AM on October 27, 2021

Well, the guy who sent the Trojan Horse knew they were at Rava’s. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them had location services and Find My Friend enabled. (At the beginning of their meeting I think Kendall asked them to turn off their phones but they’d already been there for a while). In the car after meeting Logan at the airport, Shiv said something about standing in front of the window? which was in conjunction with the donut talk. I would LOVE it if it actually was Gerri who sent the donuts.

At this point I feel sorry for the high priced legal team who’ve been sitting around waiting to have their strategy meeting for hours while Kendall bounces off the walls.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 7:07 AM on October 27, 2021 [4 favorites]

One item of note about the Trojan Horse; it arrives just before Shiv does. And there's a very obvious shot framing Shiv next to it. Given how the whole episode plays out I don't think this is any sort of hidden clue, just a moment to heighten drama.

I'm enjoying this season but increasingly grating at the lack of any characters with a meaningful moral backbone. The meeting of the kids felt really hollow that way, all 4 of them just posturing about meaningless things. I mean they all acted as if they were defending principles but in reality none of them even acknowledge the most basic thing about their culpability.

The "everyone is awful" is part of Succession's shtick and mostly I've been on board with it, but it's wearing thing. In my head I keep comparing it to The Office, which I'm watching for the first time. There a lot of people are awful too, particularly Michael, but then there's good people for relief and even Michael has his weird moments of redemption in half the episodes. There's none of that at all in Succession and it's exhausting.
posted by Nelson at 10:37 AM on October 27, 2021 [2 favorites]

Did anybody else notice James Cromwell's Uncle Ewan, when dismissing Greg after confirming he's got him covered for legal counsel, sending him off with the phrase "that'll do"?

I know from other tidbits about Cromwell that he has quite a sense of humor about that catchphrase from Babe, so it's safe to assume that was a knowingly cheeky bit of writing or improvising on his part.
posted by knotty knots at 12:12 PM on October 27, 2021 [18 favorites]

I’m just having a hard time caring about who gets to be CEO at this point. It doesn’t feel very high stakes. I find the characters and their relationships interesting, so when the show focuses on that I still enjoy it — but who gets what corporate title just feels meaningless.

Hopefully this is setting up the pieces so that when they’re all thrown into disarray by the government’s/law enforcement’s involvement it’ll be more fun seeing the fallout.

In terms of where the characters are: Kendall is being even more self-absorbed than usual, but I get why he would want and expect his siblings to rally around him after their dad tried to throw him under the bus. It’s way worse than when Logan backhanded Roman so hard he knocked out a tooth, and Kendall stood up for his brother pretty instinctively then. So it’s sad and presumably disillusioning for Kendall to discover that none of his siblings feel the same protective instinct toward him. Or are still too scared of their dad (via the doughnuts) to act protective even if they do feel that way… although Roman and Conner made such a big show about feeling protective toward their father specifically, that I don’t think they feel any similar protective instinct toward Kendall at all.

Anyhow, I thought Kendall lost Shiv when he made gender SUCH a thing with her. I mean, he was creating a wedge and alienating her and I don’t get how he didn’t get that. When he said that they all knew what their dad and his sleazeball cronies were talking about and doing to all these women — I can believe that Shiv was naive to the extent of the exploitation, just figured that they were misogynists who sexually assaulted women and she shouldn’t get too close, but not how organized and fundamental to their business that sexual exploitation was. She wasn’t and never was going to be a member of the boys’ club and she has never even been a Royco employee, so how much exposure to any of it would she have even had? She’s been sheltered by her privilege and shut out by their father, it’s believable to me that she would be naive about how dirty their literal business is. And Kendall just made it so clear that he couldn’t see past her gender, just like their dad and all those shmucks couldn’t, and she’d be a second class citizen hitting the glass ceiling at Kendall’s new version of the company — same as it ever was. Shiv is obnoxious and has zero integrity, but in her shoes, I would have bounced, too. And then he was screaming that all that mattered about her was her “teats”? Damn, in your ex-wife’s house and right by your daughter’s room… But all three of the brothers have huge issues with women, so I guess that’s to be expected.

That said, I thought it was funny when Shiv was nasty to Roman and asked Kendall if she’d gone too far, and Kendall shrugged, “are you kidding? He loves it. He’s probably beating off right now.” Hahahaha

But actually, I think Roman’s relationship with Gerri is actually helping him grow up, in a weird way. I think he’s actually kinda in love with her, and I think he wants to throw in his lot with her — regardless of whether that means throwing in his lot with his dad or not. I think she’s just using him, and is pretty clear with him about that, but she also does give good advice and takes him seriously, so it’s not the least healthy relationship ever. It’s mutually supportive in its way.

I was not surprised that Conner would have no desire to bring down the company or their father. He has no killer instinct at all. He got in trouble at the bachelor party for telling everyone he loved them ffs. This is not a guy who has the stomach for bloodshed and destruction.

Greg was hilarious and I’m excited to see what happens with his grandad and that old school lawyer. It cracked me up that he invited his “lawyer buddy” over to ask for legal advice and she’s like, “I’m barely a 1L?!” Of course she has no idea and can’t advise him, you don’t learn how to be a lawyer in two months! Although apparently you do learn enough to know you are out of your depth, so good on her for that.

Anyhow, at the end Kendall was wearing the baseball cap of depression, so I think things might take a dark turn for him now that he’s crashing from his whistleblower mania. Tom also appears to be going rogue, and it’ll be interesting seeing Shiv try to deal with that mess. Logan and Marcia is just kind of a sad situation all around, but I guess Logan is already too much of a cynic for it really to matter. I feel bad for Con and his playwright girlfriend because the amount of cluelessness there is just incredible… even worse than the clueless Greg trying to play both sides and bringing in a bunch of old men who are going to treat him like a pawn in their own hundred year old grudges, although Greg is set up for a much worse fall. Love the family stuff, just don’t care about Royco a bit at this point. The CEO carrot has been dangling out there so long that it is fully rotted.
posted by rue72 at 12:29 PM on October 27, 2021

That’ll do.

Yeah, when Cromwell delivered that line, Mr. Carmicha and I both said, “Pig.” It was hilarious watching Greg grovel and fawn, changing his purported purpose several times to match Ewan’s POV and struggle to understand his grandfather’s vocabulary and cultural references. Playing cluelessness believably is a talent.
posted by carmicha at 8:51 PM on October 27, 2021 [5 favorites]

I have a vague memory of Tom using the "tea party" line in an earlier season. I feel like maybe he says it over the phone to Greg. I can practically picture it, I feel like Matthew Macfadyen's accent even slips when he says it. Or maybe I'm thinking of Pride & Prejudice...
posted by guiseroom at 8:39 PM on October 28, 2021

If Marcia's place in the trust is finalized, I believe that means that in the event Logan is incapacitated, she gets 51% control of the company. They talked about it briefly in season 1 but now it could become a live issue.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 8:03 AM on October 29, 2021 [3 favorites]

That’ll do.

I saw another comment elsewhere call that an "Easter Gregg". Can't unhear that one.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 3:48 PM on October 30, 2021 [4 favorites]

I think even a 1L would know that a lawyer sent by Logan to Greg still has Logan as a client or so my decades of watching Law & Order tell me.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:41 PM on October 30, 2021 [1 favorite]

Re-watching the show a little late - but wanted to say how much I've been loving the ever changing and Easter egg packed opening credits for Succession. We see two or three different castings of each family member just for the credits - and there is clearly a whole lot of back story created to support the shots that are shown. The emphasis changes with each season: Kendal in Season One, Shiv in Season Two and now Roman. The credits depict a whole lot of explicit childhood memories from the family - and that home video look supports the idea of them being shot under Logan's guidance. Then there are the Simpsons style ATN headlines you have to freeze-frame to see. "Decoding Succession's Opening Credits" covers a lot of these (with some minor spoilers of some shots from upcoming episodes). Totally free of spoilers are the evocative opening credits from David Fincher's 1997 "The Game" - which the directors seem to have used as inspiration.
posted by rongorongo at 11:56 PM on January 8, 2022 [2 favorites]

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