Succession recap: Stumbling into armageddon
With the fate of the Roy family hanging in the balance, Waystar's annual shareholder meeting has finally arrived and Logan (Brian Cox) himself seems to be ailing. Whether his new walking boot is the result of the incident at Josh Aaronson's (guest star Adrien Brody) house isn't quite clear, but it's another medical issue that will cause chaos as the day unfolds.
Anxiety is running high in all quarters as Kendall (Jeremy Strong), his family, and eternal threats Sandy (Larry Pine) and Stewy (Arian Moayed) all establish their own hotel command centers to monitor the meeting. In his #Resistance HQ, Kendall is amped up but somewhat cut off from the action until he receives a call from Frank (Peter Friedman) asking if he can act as a back channel between Waystar and Sandy and Stewy to prevent a public vote on the control of the company. Frank doesn't want to accidentally stumble into armageddon and Kendall, who needs his family to remain in control of the company, agrees.
As the Roy family gathers with top Waystar executives, the news does not look good. Karl (David Rasche) and Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron) have been negotiating with Sandy and Stewy (who really need their own portmanteau — Stewdy? Sanstew?) to no avail. Roman(Kieran Culkin) greets the idea of an open vote with "Let's just throw it to the retired janitors of Idaho," while Shiv (Sarah Snook) freaks, "We're going to lose the company." When Connor (Alan Ruck) arrives, Roman cracks, "So the news is tomorrow we're all going to look for jobs in the same branch of Target."
Ordering his assistant Kerry (Zoe Winters) to keep an eye on the proceedings downstairs, Logan finally shows up to greet his nervous family and staff. Unbeknownst to them, Logan is suffering from a UTI, and without Kerry around to make sure he's taking his medicine, they don't know that the decisions he's making are suspect. He wants to press the President for any kind of a supportive statement they could spin into a win before the vote, but since ATN has been questioning the Commander-in-Chief's mental capabilities on air, he's rather irate. It doesn't help that Logan has been avoiding his phone calls.
With a warning from Kendall that Logan is psychopathic enough to go for a vote, Stewy calls Gerri to chat about reopening discussions, and just as everyone gets excited, Logan suspiciously asks why they want to make a deal now. Sensing the other team might have received bad news, Logan is less inclined to cooperate, claiming, "I'm not doing a tap dance," much to the rest of the team's frustration. He sends Gerri, Karl, Shiv, and Roman to meet with Sandy and Stewy instead of him, as requested.
Whether the wheelchair-bound Sandy is fully cognizant of what is going on is a question that remains as they meet with him, his daughter Sandy the Younger (the sublime Hope Davis), and Stewy. Stewy proposes the new lines of the deal, and while the Waystar team tries to conceal their excitement at the good terms, Sandy the Younger listens to her dad (or at least pretends to) as he murmurs two additional requests: One is that their costs are covered, and two is veto rights over any Roy family member taking over as CEO.
Shiv and Roman are in the room, and it's a tough pill for both of them to swallow, though Karl and Gerri are fine with keeping them out of power. Roman wants to know that Sandy the Elder isn't their meat puppet, but Sandy the Younger claims innocently, "I just do what my dad tells me. Like you guys."
Gerri calls Logan and he agrees to covering costs but not the veto, and both sides agree to take a break from discussions but allow their lawyers to work out the terms of a possible deal. Both Shiv and Roman are pissed at Gerri because them out as possible CEOs would consolidate her position, but for Roman, it's more personal. Whatever strange romantic notions he had about their relationship, he warns her, "You picked your prince. Don't f--- it up now."
Meanwhile, Logan's untreated UTI is starting to cause major issues, and he isn't helping matters, waving off water and his pills. He seems physically uncomfortable as Connor approaches him about taking over the European cable division. Logan doesn't quite agree with the plan but honestly seems more interested in going to the bathroom than debating the future employment of his eldest son.
Kendall is monitoring the dealmaking from afar, but when Greg (recent EW digital cover star Nicholas Braun) takes a moment to visit him, he decides it's time to apply the screws to him for jumping ship to Waystar's legal team. He passive-aggressively tells Greg it's fine, though he just might have to burn him in order to jump-start the Justice Department's lagging investigation of Waystar.
Greg is, of course, alarmed by that idea, but that's not the only bad news he gets. Turns out his grandfather Ewan (James Cromwell) is so ticked off at him for leaving his longtime lawyer, Roger Pugh (Peter Riegert, who hopefully got paid well for such a small role), for Logan's legal team, that he's writing Greg out of his will and giving all of his money to Greenpeace. Before storming off to watch some speeches, Ewan warns his grandson that he's "putting his life in the service of a monstrous endeavor" and that he "needs to take himself seriously." Considering Greg later contemplates suing Greenpeace for the money, the warning falls on deaf ears.
As Shiv and company return to the family's headquarters at the hotel to discuss the possible deal, Logan suspects they have been dealt the losing hand. Shiv cautions that if they blow up this deal there are no more deals, but things get worse when Sandy the Younger calls and says that her father wants them to give up the private jets. Roman says no immediately, but Gerri, Karl, and Shiv think it's not worth calling off the deal for. They look at Logan for a decision, and he replies, "I need a piss," selecting Tom (EW's other recent digital cover star Matthew Macfadyen) to help him.
Logan returns from the bathroom after Tom's assist, and everyone crowds around him waiting for a decision. In response, he utters the most disastrous "f--- 'em" he ever has. Roman thinks it's a badass move, but both Shiv and Gerri think it could be lethal. After much debating over the meaning of what Logan said, Shiv calls Sandy the Younger and tells her it's off. When Sandy inquires why they would blow up the deal over something so small as the jets, Shiv cuttingly parrots back, "I don't know. I just do what my dad tells me."
But once the call is over, Logan really starts to lose his marbles, and it isn't until Tom takes him to the bathroom again that they're alerted to how serious the problem is. As Logan screams in agony, Tom rushes to his side, and while he's initially horrified Logan might have gotten something sensitive caught in a zipper and he might have to handle that something himself, he realizes that Logan needs to see a doctor immediately. As soon as they return, Tom tells Shiv that something is wrong with her father, but she doesn't quite believe him until Logan mistakes her for his wife, Marcia (Hiam Abbass). She calls Kerry to ask what the hell is wrong with him and finds out Logan has a UTI and his erratic behavior is the result of his not taking his medicine.
Shiv tells the rest of them. Roman thinks it's not that serious, but Connor notes that it is at Logan's age and that "Reagan had one and nearly nuked Belgium." Shiv finally realizes that all of Logan's decision-making today has been the UTI speaking and she might have scotched the deal by accident. (Now if you're still questioning if UTIs can do this, the very same thing happened to a family member, so I can indeed attest to the accuracy of the behavior — though said family member cursed a lot less and was not in the middle of a crucial shareholder vote when it happened.)
Roman suggests they just give him some cranberry juice and ask him about the deal again, but once Logan asks for his ex-wife Caroline (Harriet Walker), they realize he's become "the demented f---ing piss-mad King of England" and that they cannot let him go onstage for his planned speech in this state.
As Shiv decides whether she should reopen negotiations over the deal, Kendall arrives at the worst possible moment. He has already yelled at Stewy about screwing up the deal, but when Stewy notes that Sandy is the "angriest f---ing vegetable," he decides he can fix what's wrong with his family like the real "puppet master" he is.
From Logan's agonized screams, he realizes that something dire is going on, but that still doesn't stop his raging narcissism. "You are putting everything I have fought and bled for on the f---ing edge!" he shouts. "And I am not going to let that happen. Do you understand me?" — and J. Smith-Cameron's reaction shot is priceless. Roman, Shiv, and he all scream at each other in realistic sibling fashion, and after more shouting he leaves having achieved nothing.
Logan thinks Kendall was actually Frank, which is probably for the best, though poor Frank has been trapped on stage this whole time while chaos reigns behind the scenes. Tom just goes with it in his calmest "everything is going to be okay" daddy voice, while Logan frets, "I'm the only one that's allowed to be nasty to Frank."
As Frank tricks Gerri into taking the stage in his place and Hugo (Fisher Stevens) and Karolina (Dagmara Domińczyk) ponder calling in a bomb threat to postpone the vote, a doctor arrives and finally gets an IV into the dehydrated Logan. Shiv wants to know how long until Logan is in his right mind and the doctor notes, "He's not a cup of instant noodles."
While Logan naps, Roman and Shiv fight over whether Logan really meant to blow up the deal or not. Running out of time, Shiv decides to go out on a limb and reach out to Sandy the Younger herself. They meet one-on-one and Shiv agrees to the jet request. Subtly commiserating on how Sandy is sidelined by her dad and to secure the deal, they come to an arrangement in which both sides will get another board seat and each woman will take it for themselves as a way of amassing their own power.
And it's a good thing because Roman has just found out on a call from the President himself that he will not be running for reelection and Waystar can kiss any hopes of a cooperative Justice Department goodbye. While aspiring president Connor greets the news with glee, the rest of the team realizes they just alienated their most important ally.
So when Shiv calls Tom and relays there is a deal to be had, Gerri agrees to it even though Logan is still in his pee coma and has had no say. Tom greets a cheery Shiv by the elevator like she's Wonder Woman. But the mood quickly sours when Shiv realizes that Tom's amorousness comes from the fact that he's been tracking her ovulation and wants to get her pregnant so that he has something to look forward to while he's in prison. Shiv is horrified but brushes him aside to keep the shine on her win.
Once Karl takes the stage to announce that a deal has been made, Kendall makes a catastrophic decision to interrupt his speech to get some visibility for himself. To the embarrassment of everyone in the Roy family suite who scrambles to cut his mic, Kendall starts making a cringe-inducing speech calling for a moment of silence for the Waystar sexual abuse victims and then names each one by one. His mic gets cut, but Kendall yells out that he's launching a foundation for Waystar sexual abuse victims and pathetically walks off the stage to tepid applause.
As the meeting wraps and they clink champagne glasses, Logan finally comes back to his senses and is not happy about the deal Shiv made. Frank congratulates Shiv for saving the day, but when she tries to get affirmation out of her father, she gets none. When she asks what he would have done, he says with cold fury, "Not that." She won't give up, and to her humiliation Logan explodes with, "Stop buzzing in my f---ing ear!"
As Kendall's PR team tries to put a positive spin on his stunt, he comes in for his own parental burn. He's informed that his father wants to meet with him only to get stood up in another one of his dad's mind games. He tries to call him, but Logan hands Kerry his phone with the command to block Kendall's number. When Kerry asks if he's sure, he replies, "Permanently." Logan may have lost some control of the company, but he wants Kendall to know he remains out in the cold.
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