Succession Season 1 Walkthrough and Discussion. Succession is my new obsession. I normally stick to movies, and I prefer an indie movie with a crazy script to a Hollywood standard sort of fare. But if you’ve read anything I’ve written here you already know that. So, how the heck did I backslide into a TV show? Welp. It was a circuitous route. It sort of starts with Yellowstone (1883 being unbelievably good), and my addiction there. Then came The Diplomat, and the Americans. And I was looking for other West Wingy, type shows, but with a blend of Yellowstone family chaos? And I mean… Succession. That is what that is. And although I’m super late to the party, I thought I’d start recapping the show from the beginning – now that it is close to being over (Is it over already? has the last ep dropped??), I can do every episode front to back.
Characters of Succession Season 1 –
- Logan Roy (Brian Cox) – the aging and powerful patriarch of the Roy family who built a media empire from scratch. He is a manipulative and ruthless businessman who is willing to do whatever it takes to maintain control of his company.
- Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) – Logan’s eldest son and heir apparent, who struggles with addiction and is desperate to prove himself to his father. He is ambitious, intelligent, and ruthless in his own right, but also deeply flawed.
- Shiv Roy (Sarah Snook) – Logan’s only daughter, who works in politics and has a strained relationship with her family. She is sharp-tongued, intelligent, and driven, but also has a tendency to keep her emotions and motivations hidden.
- Roman Roy (Kieran Culkin) – Logan’s youngest son, who is often dismissed by his father and siblings as the family clown. He is sarcastic, witty, and has a dark sense of humor, but also craves his father’s approval and validation.
- Greg Hirsch (Nicholas Braun) – a young cousin of the Roys who works as a low-level employee at the company. He is naive, awkward, and eager to please, but also has a shrewd sense of self-preservation.
- Tom Wamsgans (Matthew Macfadyen) – Shiv’s fiancé and a high-level executive at the company. He is ambitious, insecure, and often finds himself caught between his loyalty to his fiancé and his desire to advance his own career.
- Marcia Roy (Hiam Abbass) – Logan’s third wife and a former model. She is elegant, sophisticated, and fiercely protective of her husband and their family.
Episode 1 – “Celebration” – Succession opens with Logan Roy’s 80th birthday, the CEO of the family-owned mega corp, Waystar RoyCo. It’s clear that Kendall believes he’s the heir apparent for the soon to come retirement announcement from his father. But instead of stepping down, Logan lets everyone know that his third wife, will get two votes on deciding his successor. People are fired (eg. COO – Frank Vernon) and Kendall leaves to purchase a Vaulter. On the way home, Logan collapses of a hemorrhagic stroke.
Episode 2 – “Shit Show at the Fuck Factory” – Obviously, the children are disagreeing over who should run Waystar in their father’s stead. Roman and Connor think they should sign Logan’s contract they were given the episode prior, out of respect for their father’s wishes. But Kendall wants the CEO role. And Shiv? She doesn’t like Marcia’s two votes and obviously she’s up to something. Greg is caught in the middle, and Tom proposes to Shiv at the hospital. Greg listens to Shiv, and doesn’t bring the trust papers that Roman asked him to collect. Kendall eventually succeeds in convincing everyone that he should become the acting CEO. Gerri, Waystar’s general council, tells Kendall that the company has a $3 billion debt caused by Waystar’s park expansion. At the end of the episode, Logan wakes up.
Episode 3 – “Lifeboats” – Unfortunately, the creditors can demand full repayment of the loan if the stock drops below $130. Screwing up the bank negotiation dramatically, Kendall gets the help of Stewy Hosseini, a private equity investor. Stewy agrees to give Waystar a $4 billion injection of capital for a seat on the company’s board. But Greg notices Stewy with Sandy Furness, who is attempting to take over Waystar. Shiv asks Nate, an old boyfriend, to do a background check on Marcia. And Kendall tells his father that the company’s stock has fallen below $130… although he’s managed to stave off disaster. Logan thinks Kendall screwed up.
Episode 4 – “Sad Sack Wasp Trap” – The annual gala is upon them, and Frank is brought back on to mentor Roman as COO. Tom is brought on as the head of Waystar’s Parks, and comes upon documents alleging sexual assault and even murder that have all be covered up. He and Greg get rid of the evidence, but Greg keeps some of the evidence as a security policy. Logan announces he’s coming back as CEO, which shocks Kendall. Greg wants to dish on the cruises scandal, but Gerri talks him off the ledge.
Episode 5 – “I Went to Market” – Marcia invites Logan’s brother, Ewan, to Thanksgiving… and Greg drives to go pick his father up. Logan is hot on purchasing more TV News stations, but his kids think he’s lost it. As a result, Kendall starts plotting a vote of no confidence. Logan and Ewan fight about the company’s values and tell Greg not to trust the Roys. Kendall tries to enlist Ewan’s help with the no confidence vote, but he refuses. During a family game, Logan hits Kendall’s son and everything spirals because it’s obvious that Logan still isn’t okay mentally. And as a result, Shiv signs on to the vote of no confidence.
Episode 6 – “Which Side Are You On?” – Kendall, Frank, Gerri, and Roman all work to pull off enough no confidence votes. Lawrence is convinced. Ewan convinces Greg to stay out of the vote. The day of the vote, Kendall flies to visit an ailing board member, to get her to join the no confidence, or at the very least, not to vote. But his visit convinces her to vote with Logan. Worse, due to the terror threat, Kendall can’t take the helicopter back and gets stuck in traffic. The vote commences without him, and the no confidence vote dissolves without him. And everyone who voted yes, gets fired.
Episode 7 – “Austerlitz” – Because of the no confidence vote backfiring, Kendall has stopped talking to the family… oh, and he’s also suing his family for getting fired. Logan, attempting to make it look like the family is good, pulls together a family weekend in Austerlitz. Kendall is too busy finding drugs to go. And after the first session crashing, Shiv bounces to meet Nate and discuss Senator Gil Eavis’ presidential campaign, wherein she agrees to join the effort to get Beavis elected. I mean Eavis. And Shiv and Nate rekindle their old romance. The family love fest goes about as well as you’d expect with Logan flaming Tom, and Shiv. Logan also admits that he is the one that told the tabloids Kendall had relapse before he actually had. (Which, is sort of evil, now that I think about it.) As the episode ends, Logan is seen swimming with scars on his back, which confirmed the fact that he had been abused as a child.
Episode 8 – “Prague” – Roman brings all the guys together to an abandoned, underground New York railway station. Logan tells Greg to keep Kendall from going off the deep end. Tom starts spiraling as he considers whether or not Shiv has been faithful to him. Meanwhile, Logan tries to threaten Shiv to stop working with Gil because he knows about the affair she is having with Nate. Oh, and then, Logan tells Shiv he isn’t coming to her wedding. During the party, Kendall meets with Stewy and Sandy, who propose to buy out his share of Waystar for $500m. Instead, Kendall wants revenge, and decides it’d be better to try another hostile takeover. Because, I mean, why not?
Episode 9 – “Pre-Nuptial” – At a British castle, the wedding plans between Shiv and Tom spin into high gear. Originally planning on not attending, Logan realizes he’s going to look horrible, and instead shows up at the last minute. Logan’s second wife makes an appearance… and she’s fun! haha. Prior to the wedding, Greg wanted to know about Shiv’s infidelity, but she denies it. After the wedding? She tells him, conveniently, that she wants an open marriage. (Which I think happens in the next episode, but you get the point here.) Gil and Logan come to a detente, an icy agreement to stop going after each other. And Kendall accidentally forces the take over bid to happen on Shiv’s wedding day.
Episode 10 – “Nobody Is Ever Missing” – In the season finale, Kendall drops the bear-hug notice mid ceremony celebrations. And voila, the siblings are furious. Shiv mainly because of… you know… I mean, it is her wedding day. And later, when Kendall goes looking to get drugs from the wait staff, he drives them away to see what they can find. A deer is in the road, and they crash into a lake. Kendall makes it out, but the other guy does not. Kendall decides to run for it, but leaves his key card. His father, saves him, but makes it clear Kendall has to flip on the take over bid. Kendall agrees and cries in his father’s arms.
THiNC. Thoughts on Succession Season 1
The brilliance of Yellowstone was the strong characters and the strong female characters. Similarly, here we have psychopaths, and insane clown posse’s worth of strong characters. And the gloriousness of the chaos that is just constantly self-inflicted is fairly epic. I will say that, while I enjoyed the story lines and the intrigue of it (which actually was just a modern day Shakespearean riff), I thought the constant welcoming back into the fold of Kendall was a bit much. He did try to bury the company two different times. The absurdity of that was a little much. But I have a feeling that the screenplay writers have crafted a viable alternative in season 2. So, that will be good to see play out.
But, yeah – this is a modern retelling of like Hamlet… minus the Freudian dalliances of that play. Everything else though! I do think that in season two there will be a duel, and there will be slights that are righted with swords. I will say that the ending of the season had its fair share of Chappaquiddick-esque coverups. And it’s own fair share of dead people. So, huzzah to the screenplay writers!!
Anyway, I loved season 1. It was ignorant, and brilliant, and ignorantly brilliant. Can’t wait to finish season 2… which I’m already a couple episodes in on.
Edited by: CY