Succession recap: 'Those f---ing kids of yours'
Though Kendall beat Logan in the battle for Lisa Arthur last week, he blows a major chance to put his father out to pasture when he can't convince his siblings to side with him in the upcoming battle. And as we see, it's just as much ambition as parental affection that motivates Shiv, Connor, and Roman to reject Kendall's offer.
As Logan and Tom try to locate the curiously out-of-reach Shiv, Cousin Greg spies her entering the apartment building as he leaves to meet with his cantankerous grandfather, Ewan (James Cromwell), for legal advice. (He eventually hires a friend of his grandfather's played by longtime character actor Peter Riegert.) Shiv knows she's a valuable asset for both sides, and since her father just gave the interim CEO position to Gerri, she seems the most willing out of all the Roy siblings to hear Kendall's offer. And Kendall knows that having the only female Roy on his side is a powerful PR move as well.
But before he can get very far on his pitch, Roman shows up, both to spy for his father and possibly, in his prevaricating, weaselly way, to see if the better play is to side with his brother. They move to Kendall's daughter's bedroom for privacy's sake, and eventually, oldest brother Connor joins the fun. Though he's always been outside of the Waystar succession drama, Kendall knows that with all four Roy children on board for this coup, his father won't last long as head of the company.
Connor's presence (Alan Ruck continues to be marvelous in the role) also lets the full dynamic between the siblings play out to an extent we haven't really seen yet. Connor might be a silly dilettante, but he also tries to act as the big brother and keep his younger siblings from knifing each other in the gut. This is especially evident when Shiv goes too far in picking on Roman's relationship with Gerri, leading him to storm out of the room. Connor chides her for being mean and goes to retrieve his younger brother. We don't see what happens outside of the room, but Connor gets Roman to come back in, showing a real brotherly connection between the two.
It seems like all the remaining Roy children are willing to entertain Kendall's pitch, but he's so far up his own ass, he can't make an effective case, rambling on about societal ills instead of focusing on the real problems that have festered at the company under their father's amoral leadership. Sure, his siblings would like their dad to step aside, but they have no interest in a cultural revolution. They are much too selfish for that.
Kendall's argument gets more powerful when he starts talking about the specifics of Waystar's crimes. Shiv and Roman say they didn't know what their dad's cronies were up to, but both Kendall and Connor take them to task for it. As hands-off as Connor has been with Waystar, he admits he knew what the sleazy men surrounding his father were doing. Though Shiv angrily denies she knew because she was so young at the time, Kendall reminds her that she knows now and she has a decision to make about what she stands for.
Before Kendall can finish making the sale, he leaves to go have a covert meeting outside with Stewy Hosseini (Arian Moayed). Stewy wants to know if he has a case, and Kendall swears he can take down his dad. Stewy slips in the knife with "I don't see it, dude," before ushering Kendall into a car with Sandy's namesake daughter (played by the always welcome Hope Davis). Sandy 1.0 doesn't sound too spry over the phone, but all agree that they want to avoid a contested shareholder vote.
Back in the apartment, Connor seems more concerned about his wine storage while Shiv tries to get a read on Roman's feelings about the situation. Even though Shiv reminds him that Logan is "not dad from 20 years ago, he's now dad," Roman still seems to want to put his faith in their father, showing that he still acts like the youngest Roy child temperamentally even though Shiv has that honor technically. Pausing his wine conversation, Connor agrees that it's very hard to imagine their dad surviving if they backed Kendall and Roman is concerned the betrayal would actually kill him.
And he might be right because Logan spends the entire episode on edge, sensing that his four children are up to something. He knows he'll never survive if his family abandons him, so he reaches out to his estranged wife Marcia (Hiam Abbass) to finally make peace. She arrives soon after commiserating with him about "those f---ing kids of yours." Logan is willing to humble himself about his behavior with Rhea Jarrell just enough to get Marcia back but it's going to cost him. Marcia's lawyer lays out her long list of financial demands that must be agreed to before Marcia will appear again as Logan's loving wife. Waystar executives want to avoid the bad publicity of a divorce, so they have no choice but to agree to every single one of them. Get that money, lady!
Kendall finally returns to the apartment, but the discussion has turned since he left. Shiv brings up a good point, saying she doesn't see how that family stays in control of Waystar during the proxy battle with the shareholders if they betray their father. He admits he's been talking to Stewy and Sandy and that they would back off if it came to that. And he also points out that if their dad was willing to send him to jail to cover his ass, he might be willing to do the same to the rest of them (though he's not so sure Logan would do it to Shiv).
Roman wants to know more about Kendall's vision for the company's future, but when Kendall mentions he would be interim CEO, the train goes off the tracks. Neither Shiv nor Roman think Kendall should be CEO, and their doubts seem to be confirmed when they call Tom and Gerri, respectively, during a break in the conversation. Tom thinks it would destroy their dad, and Gerri tells Roman much the same, adding that none of them would wind up being CEO. It would become "snake linguini," and Sandy or Stewy would wind up naming the new CEO. Roman knows her advice is compromised by self-interest, but she tells him to "stick with me, Roman. We have something going." What they have going is the definition of "it's complicated," but she seems to make an impression.
If Roman and Shiv were wavering before, they are completely unnerved when they find out that Logan has sent them some fancy donuts to enjoy at this "tea party" they are having. Connor is the first to say he's out, and Kendall declares him as irrelevant as the donuts. "You're not wanted!" he bellows over and over again, but Connor comically defends himself by noting that as a public figure, he simply can't betray his father like that. Both Roman and Shiv quickly bail from the plan as well, and Kendall comes unhinged as his plan collapses in his face. He's a little disappointed in Roman but much more hurt by Shiv's rejection. He rips into her with a misogynistic stream of insults and continues to rage at all of them as they leave.
Logan does not yet realize he has emerged triumphant, and when Marcia mentions that he could stop Kendall by using all the dirt he has on his son, Logan demures with, "Drop some bombs, you get burnt, too." But before he ponders that much longer, Roman calls him with the good news that his other children have stuck by his side. Roman covers for Shiv being at Kendall's place first and swears that she can be trusted. Logan decides that it's time he stopped hiding and return home to the embrace of his loyal family.
While Roman greets his father's returning jet in full view of the cameras, Logan is a little salty that Shiv decided to passive-aggressively stay in her car. But showing that he's way better at being a master manipulator than Kendall is, he proposes that she comes into Waystar as president. She wants to know what exactly that means and he tells her, "My eyes and ears, Shiv. At the heart of everything through this s--- storm but wearing a full chemical and biological suit going by the name of Gerri Kellman." Logan might have picked another CEO for now, but he has no intention of letting someone outside the family have the real power in the long run. Shiv smiles slowly and her father smiles back. Dear old dad might have come through for her after all.