Culture Movies/TV

The Best TV Shows of 2021, According to ONE37pm’s Editors

As the years roll by and TV continues to look toward streaming as the way of the future, it is no surprise that the best shows of 2021 could be found not on cable but on your favorite streaming services.

2021 was truly a year of variety for TV as the best series ranged from straight-up dramas and laugh-out-loud comedies to episodic and mind-bending superhero adventures.

2020 forced a pivot as many series saw their premieres postponed and production suspended due to the pandemic, but this year saw television rebound in a big way. We saw the returns of powerhouse programs like Succession and Ted Lasso and the premieres of acclaimed limited series like White Lotus and WandaVision.

It was an excellent year for television, and there are plenty of shows to enjoy. Here are ONE37pm’s picks for the best TV shows of 2021.

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This final season of Insecure was a story of celebration. A bit bittersweet because it marked the end of a show that captivated us for five years but was still very much celebratory. When we were first introduced to Issa Dee (portrayed by Issa Rae) in 2016, she was a young woman in her late 20s, still trying to find herself and figure her life out. Her relationship with her long-time boyfriend, Lawrence Walker (Jay Ellis), was stagnant and seemingly headed in the wrong direction. She was working dead-end jobs and even experiencing growing pains within her friendships.

Insecure, however, didn’t just tell the story of Issa; it also chronicled the respective journeys of those friendships, including best friend Molly Carter (portrayed by Yvonne Orji) and Lawrence, whose relationship with Issa culminated with the two going their separate ways (which happened multiple times).

Through the years, we saw each character grow and encounter obstacles, challenges, and situations that were very much relatable and identifiable—particularly in the African American community. Five years later, it was finally time for the end, because as they say, it’s always better to go out on top than to leave on a stagnant note. That’s exactly what this final season of Insecure did.

While we won’t spoil it, this last season gave us all the answers we needed while providing us with the usual funny, anticlimactic, and even dramatic moments that we’ve become accustomed to. There was even some controversy sprinkled in at the beginning of the season.

While the show might be over, it highlighted what can truly be done in the world of television when simply given a chance to showcase your talents.

Jael Rucker, Editorial Writer

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‘The Morning Show’

Set in New York City, The Morning Show gives us a storyline with pace, and if you are someone as impatient as me, it’s bearable.

Following the behind the scenes drama and politics of a morning broadcast TV show, I’ll note, yes, it sometimes loses itself in overly battered cliches, but Jennifer Aniston and the rest of the cast kill their performances, so it’s worth your time.

Adam Lovick, Channel Manager and Content Creator

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‘The Last O.G.’

I simply adore Tracy Morgan. This man got me to sit through painfully unfunny episodes of Saturday Night Live back in the day, and he thoroughly convinced me of his sharp wit once I watched his stand-up specials. I figured since he was getting his own show on TBS, it wouldn’t allow him to put forth his true self and instead showcase a more neutered version of his brand of comedy.

I’m glad those fears never came to fruition because The Last O.G. has continually turned out a quality half an hour of pure hilarity based in my home of NYC.

Season four kept the show’s good streak going with great episodes that delved into deeply emotional topics and more light-hearted developments. The episode that delved into Tray helping out the father of his student’s incoming baby hit me pretty hard. But I damn sure laughed loud enough to piss off my landlord during the episode that saw Tray’s kids explore their first forays into the worlds of love and sex.

Tiffany Haddish’s absence from this season hasn’t hurt the show whatsoever, thankfully. The Last O.G. is an easy watch every Tuesday night, and I can’t wait to see how Tray’s relationships further develop next season. I really hope he and the homies get to kickstart a new food truck venture real soon!

Elton Jones, Gaming Editor

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‘I Think You Should Leave’

To an extent, Tim Robinson’s sketch comedy show I Think You Should Leave fits within the larger tradition of comedies of manners—a modern update of Much Ado About Nothing or Pride and Prejudice if you will.

To a much greater extent, though, it’s about body after body busting out of shit wood and hitting pavement.

Building on the excellent and widely-memed first season, ITYSL’s sophomore effort captures the magical realism of other people’s neuroses. More, it cements itself as the most riotous thing on TV. Over the course of six breathless episodes, Robinson mines the milieu of regular life—local commercials, courtrooms, diners—and ratchets these experiences into their most absurd possible form.

Whereas other comedies have succumbed to the vibe-killing gravity of reality, ITYSL is the rare show that allows itself to simply be funny; actual politics are immaterial when the politics of eating a hot dog at work are so fraught. Here is a febrile vision of a world where our worst impulses are transformed into high comedy, where tables are corn, steaks are sloppy and enemies (who are named Jamie Taco, naturally) can be defeated by a wife’s love. A cosmic gumbo, indeed.

Jack Tien-Dana, Sports Editor

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‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’

Curb Your Enthusiasm just wrapped up its potential last season. However, despite all of this, comedic genius Larry David keeps finding scenarios where he can display his absurd outlook on society and dissect situations that you wouldn’t normally think of. We enter each season of the show wondering how he is going to make it fresh and relatable, and he’s outdone himself yet again.

Whether it’s breaking social norms like sitting in the middle of a dinner table or simply waiting to ask for thousands of dollars from an early onset dementia patient, Larry stays true to himself and cares less and less into his later years. It’s one of the best comedy shows ever, and it’s still pretty, pretty, prettayyyy good.

Martino Puccio, Proper Football Producer and Content Creator

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‘The Great’

I’ve talked about how underrated The Great is on here before, a show that deserves much more widespread attention. Often, when someone says a show or movie is called a “period piece,” it’s code for “it takes place in the Victorian era,” and this show is no different.

Set in Imperial Russia, The Great follows Catherine the Great as she seeks to usurp the throne from her husband, Peter.

What sets The Great apart from other shows and movies like this is its strict adherence to being ahistorical. It might follow real characters, but very little of what unfolds on screen actually happened in real life. The result is a hilarious romp through history that is able to transition seamlessly into a drama that helps nail down its emotional beats.

Conor Sheeran, Senior Culture Editor

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‘Ted Lasso’

After season one of Ted Lasso became such a surprising global phenomenon—given that the world was in the middle of a pandemic and needed something like this show to boost our spirits—fan anticipation for season two was incredibly high.

Thankfully, the show was up to the task of not just meeting those expectations but surpassing them as well. Season two examines Ted’s recurring issues with panic attacks and anxiety, providing a glimpse into what in his past has driven him to become the person he is today.

Some fans lamented the creators’ decision to take some of the episodes on a darker, more serious, path but the show never lost touch with what makes it so special: Its heart.

Conor Sheeran, Senior Culture Editor

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‘Mare of Easttown’

When it premiered Mare of Easttown flew under the radar, but thanks in no small part to Kate Winslet’s towering performance and the power of social media, quickly became a summer hit.

As the weeks went by and the mystery continued to deepen, viewers began to appreciate it as not just a “detective” show but a fascinating examination of small-town dynamics and the impact of one’s decisions and how they echo across generations.

Plus, it’s pretty damn funny too.

Conor Sheeran, Senior Culture Editor

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Marvel Studios’ first entry in its Disney+ line of shows, WandaVision was something almost entirely new for the MCU. It was a trippy, mind-bending juggling act of different genres, settings, and thematic elements. It was almost an entirely different show every week as it raced through the different eras of Television from the 1950s up to the modern day.

Following the Avengers Wanda Maximoff and Vision as they, seemingly, live out an idyllic existence in the suburbs, it soon becomes clear that something dark and sinister is afoot and nothing is as it seems.

Conor Sheeran, Senior Culture Editor

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‘For All Mankind’

Alternate history shows tend to gravitate towards large, bombastic events like World War II (what if the Nazis won?!), or the Civil War.

In For All Mankind, the world is surprised to learn that the United States was not the first country to land on the moon but the Soviet Union actually beat them to the punch.

What follows is an incredibly interesting take on the Space Race, as it never actually ends, and technology is forced to keep pace with both sides’ space ambitions. As a result, things like video conferencing, electric cars, and cell phones are commonplace by the 1980s.

People are also living on the moon in full-fledged space habitats, and what’s cooler than that?

Conor Sheeran, Senior Culture Editor

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It was a great year for Marvel fans everywhere as they were treated to five different TV series on Disney+ and four feature films. Out of all the releases on television, Loki was arguably the best one.

Loki, the God of Mischief, was already a fan favorite despite being one of the franchise’s biggest villains. Even though he was actually killed by Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, he returns here in a prequel series, and this show picks up in the aftermath of his escape from custody at the end of The Avengers, which was actually shown in Avengers: Endgame.

It’s a little confusing, I know.

What follows is a series of adventures that finds Loki traversing time and space tracking down “variants” of himself across the multiverse. Tom Hiddleston is spectacular in his return to the role of Loki and makes a great duo along with MCU newcomer Owen Wilson.

With season two already greenlit, let’s just say that we’re counting down the minutes until we get to watch the next episode.

Conor Sheeran, Senior Culture Editor

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Through recapping this series for a few months, it probably comes as no surprise that Succession is on my roundup of the best TV shows of the year. After being starved of a new season for almost two years due to COVID, Season 3’s arrival in October reignited the collective love (and need) we all had for the show.

Having been left on quite the cliffhanger at the end of Season 2 as Kendall defamed his father, Season 3 was bound to have a rocky plot as a family divide was imminent. And unsurprisingly, the series lived up to its expectations and maybe even exceeded them.

While the show is incredible, the discussion surrounding it following each episode is almost as great as Succession itself. Given its major popularity, you can find Twitter users gathering on the site as if it were a town square, spewing every niche Roman and Gerri theory under the sun.

Elizabeth Pagano, TV & Movies Editor Resident

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‘The White Lotus’

In a way, it felt like The White Lotus fell right out of the sky given the lack of anticipation for it, but all of a sudden, every single person on Twitter was watching it, so I basically had to.

Coming off Mare of Easttown, we were in desperate need of another mystery, and The White Lotus took its place, albeit in a much less serious way. We’re given knowledge at the very beginning of the first episode that a death occurs at The White Lotus hotel in Hawaii, and the entire series is explaining what happened in the week leading up to it. It follows a family, a couple, a single woman, and the staff as they make their way through the week.

Jennifer Coolidge’s performance of Tanya alone was enough to win me over, as she portrayed a very odd woman who becomes obsessed with the massage therapist at the hotel. And then there was, of course, Armond (Murray Bartlett), the hotel’s erratic leader who steals drugs from a pair of underage guests. Overall, the show is an extremely chaotic mix of both characters and events with a soundtrack that’s bizarrely amazing, as well.

Elizabeth Pagano, TV & Movies Editor Resident

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‘Work In Progress’

It’s almost nice that Work In Progress isn’t as huge as it should be, as it might be the best-kept secret on television. The show follows Abby, portrayed by Abby McEnany, as a fictionalized version of herself, who deals with anxiety, depression, and works at an office where she hates her boss. The series begins with her having a long-winded conversation with her therapist about almonds (more on that later), but after finishing, she realizes that her therapist has died in session.

Now, about the almonds.

After “this bitch at work” (her boss, Susan) gifts Abby a massive can of almonds in an effort to help her lose weight, it pushes her over the edge. Abby decides to line up all 180 almonds on her counter at home and throws out one each day. She has decided that if she reaches the last almond and is still unhappy with her life, she’ll kill herself.

Elizabeth Pagano, TV & Movies Editor Resident

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Though the series isn’t even over yet, Yellowjackets has already earned its place on this list with its genre-defying storyline and an incredible cast. Following a team of high school soccer players after they are stranded in a forest after their plane crashes, the show also flips back to their lives 20 years after the crash.

While the entire cast is outstanding, Juliette Lewis is an obvious standout: her performance as Natalie establishes herself as a true force among the other former soccer players without her even having to say a word. Though much different from the character of Natalie, Misty (Christina Ricci) offers an extremely unhinged flip side, as the two are forced to work together to solve an entirely new problem in the present day.

As a whole, the story is a genre mashup, combining murder-mystery, drama, comedy, and horror, as there have been both extremely sinister scenes along with laugh-out-loud moments. Somehow the show is able to balance all of them flawlessly into a show that I’m dreading the finale of. The upside, however, is that it was just given the green light for a second season.

Elizabeth Pagano, TV & Movies Editor Resident

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While I’d much prefer this show to never stop creating new episodes, Season 2, Part 2 was the exact way that the show should’ve ended. And though the pair of Maya (Maya Erskine) and Anna (Anna Konkle) did a fair amount of growing up in this latest season, they both sort of came to the conclusion that they’re still not adults—and that maybe it’s nicer that way for now.

While it seems like the idea of having two thirty-year-olds pass off as middle schoolers might not work out, PEN15 genuinely makes you forget that Erskine and Konkle aren’t actually that age in real life. The insane chemistry between the two on top of the deep understanding of niche middle school moments puts this show over the top. This show is seriously “my actual rainbow gel pen in a sea of blue and black writing utensils.”

Elizabeth Pagano, TV & Movies Editor Resident

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‘Only Murders in the Building’

With the unlikely trio of Martin Short, Steve Martin, and Selena Gomez bringing in a wide variety of viewers, Only Murders in the Building was a hit from the get-go. When a resident in their apartment building dies by suicide, Oliver (Short), Charles (Martin), and Mabel (Gomez) join heads to start a podcast and try to prove that it was not a suicide, but instead, a murder.

Though the three were relative strangers to each other, once they realized that they were obsessed with the same true-crime podcast, their relationship was able to fully form. Almost every episode left off on some sort of cliffhanger, which made waiting around for each week’s episode that much harder.

The most enjoyable part of the show is simply just watching the three of them interact with each other. I can’t even explain what exactly it is between them that is so hard to take my eyes off of, but the three of them together are just magic.

Elizabeth Pagano, TV & Movies Editor Resident

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Culture Movies/TV

The 10 Best “Succession” Episodes, Ranked

Here’s the thing: There are no “bad” episodes of Succession, which makes the tasks of ranking even the top 10 just that much more difficult. Though there have only been three seasons so far, quite a few stand out from the bunch, which includes both explosive and underrated moments from the show’s run. From the early days of Season 1 to the tail end of Season 3, here’s what made the cut.

10. Season 1, Episode 1: “Celebration”
Craig Blankenhorn / HBO

There’s no shortage of action in the pilot episode of Succession entitled “Celebration”: it’s what started it all and has just about everything in it. Though upon first watching it’s a bit confusing to get a handle on who each of the characters is, the last 15 minutes really jolts you into things. When Logan has a medical emergency and comes close to dying, the siblings and team are thrown into uncharted waters as they attempt to figure out who will take over Waystar if he becomes incapacitated.

9. Season 1, Episode 8: “Prague”
Peter Kramer / HBO

After getting engaged to Shiv, the guys throw Tom an over-the-top bachelor party at an undisclosed location that’s somewhere under a railroad in Brooklyn. The episode solidifies Tom’s worries that Shiv is cheating on him as he has a conversation with her and asks what the limits are for his bachelor party. When she seems to be unfazed by the idea of Tom having a little harmless fun for one night, it causes him to become paranoid about their relationship.

8. Season 3, Episode 5: “Retired Janitors of Idaho”
Macall B. Polay / HBO

This episode has a lot going on it. For one, we have Frank suddenly emceeing the Annual Shareholder’s Meeting, where the Waystar team is working behind the scenes to secure a deal with Stewy and Sandy. However, as the day goes on, it becomes clear that Logan is acting a little off, and it later turns out that he forgot to take his medication for his UTI. Given this information, the team has to figure out whether or not to back or stick to the deal as Logan made his decision in a different state of mind.

7. Season 2, Episode 8: “Dundee”
Graeme Hunter / HBO

In “Dundee,” Kendall performs his iconic (though infamous might be a better word) rap about Logan in an absurd New York Yankees-esque jersey at a gala celebrating his father’s 50 years at Waystar. Though this was the part of the episode that really stuck out to most people, another huge plotline was how Shiv finally confronted Rhea Jarrell about her sketchy involvement in Waystar’s dealings.

6. Season 3, Episode 3: “The Disruption”
Macall B. Polay / HBO

“The Disruption” captures the heart of what Succession is all about, as it shows how ugly a sibling fight can get when put to the test. After Kendall loudly interrupts Shiv’s speech at the Waystar town hall, she goes above and beyond in her retaliation by sending out a public document that annihilates her brother. However, things are shaken up when the Waystar offices are raided by the FBI.

5. Season 2, Episode 4: “Safe Room”
Peter Kramer / HBO

After a gun is discharged in the Waystar offices, everyone has to head to various safe rooms to hunker down as no one really knows what’s going on. At the same time, Roman is sent away to an off-site management training course for Waystar where he’s surrounded by a bunch of “normal” people and is forced to work on an annoying project. This episode is also the origin of Gerri’s iconic “slime puppy” comment to Roman.

4. Season 3, Episode 9: “All the Bells Say”
Graeme Hunter / HBO

Though this was the Season 3 finale, if it had been the series finale, it would’ve been a perfect episode to end on as it really captures the full scope of the family’s complex dynamic and the essence of the show. In a massive turn of events, Kendall finally joins his siblings to stop the Gojo deal while Tom betrays Shiv and foils her plan to push Logan out of Waystar.

3. Season 1, Episode 5: “I Went to Market”
Peter Kramer / HBO

Holiday gatherings tend to be quite the breeding ground for conflict, and there’s no exception to that at the Roy’s Thanksgiving dinner. For one, Cousin Greg is sent out and tasked with doing what will later become a defining moment in his career: shredding the Cruises documents at Waystar. Various conflicts break out between the characters, including a massive argument between Logan and his brother, Ewan. On top of that, Logan smacks his grandson in the face with a can of cranberry sauce.

2. Season 2, Episode 10: “This Is Not for Tears”
Graeme Hunter / HBO

In what will ultimately decide the future relationships of not only Kendall and Logan but of everyone seated at the table, “This is Not for Tears” follows the Roys as they set sail on a boat to figure out who will be going down for the Cruises situation (an apt setting). The beginning of this episode also includes Cousin Greg’s testimony in front of Congress, which is not to be missed.

1. Season 1, Episode 10: “Nobody Is Ever Missing”
Colin Hutton / HBO

At Shiv and Tom’s wedding, tensions run high among a number of people, most noticeably between the newly-married couple and separately with Kendall. Following their nuptials, Shiv implies that she would be willing to have an open relationship, but Tom feels otherwise about the issue, leading to awkwardness between the two. More notably, Kendall’s attempt to secure drugs from a waiter at the reception turns deadly when a deer appears in the road and the two drive off a bridge into a lake, leading to the waiter’s death.

Culture Movies/TV

A Recap of the “Succession” Finale: ‘All the Bells Say’

Well that’s it, isn’t it? What a way to end this season of ups and downs—with a major down that’s in reality a big up. In the main sense, Roman, Shiv, and Kendall are being completely removed from Waystar, though at the same time, the three of them were finally able to mend their broken relationships. The episode itself was a masterful ending to quite the stressful season, and if it had been the last episode of the entire series, I would have been okay with that.

In some ways, this episode was possibly too much like the episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, ‘Dying For Pie,’ where Squidward accidentally gives SpongeBob a pie with a bomb in it to eat. The two are watching the sunset together—Squidward knowing that at any second, SpongeBob could explode, and SpongeBob, completely unaware of that fact—and Spongebob says, “You know, if I were to die right now in some sort of fiery explosion due to the carelessness of a friend, that’d just be OK.”

The final episode opens up with a fairly unfamiliar scene of Logan reading a book to his grandson, Iverson, as he reassures him that his father is okay—but not before asking him if he’s too old to be reading this book.

At a table outside playing Monopoly, the siblings sans Kendall are discussing what happened to him in the pool, and, apparently, Comfrey had to save him when he dozed off—he even had to stay overnight in the hospital. Finally walking up to the game of Monopoly, Kendall is clearly very off his game and tells everyone that he’s considering leaving before the wedding even starts.
Graeme Hunter / HBO

After Kendall walks away, Gerri informs the group that the Department of Justice is going to be hitting them with massive fines and that Gojo’s market cap has overtaken Waystar’s. In addition, she mentions that Gojo’s board might be leaning towards other options instead of being acquired by Waystar.

Upon this knowledge, Logan decides to bring Roman along with him to meet with Mattson, who flips things and presents the idea to buy Waystar instead. Though this seems like it would’ve been a no-brainer for Logan to immediately shoot down, he pauses and considers it, eventually sending Roman home as he discusses further with Mattson.
Graeme Hunter / HBO

Back at the wedding venue, Shiv, Connor, and Roman have called a meeting with Kendall to sit down and have an intervention, as they all feel that the pool incident was a suicide attempt. He assures them that it was just an accident, but they continue on and tell them that they love him, as they’re worried about his drug use, alcohol use, and overall mental state. Kendall then asks them if they know what it’s like to be the eldest son and be promised something, only to have it be taken away, which sparks an argument with Connor, as he says that he is, in fact, the technical eldest son.

Still upset from before, Connor is getting ready to leave for the wedding with Willa, who finally agrees to marry him. This puts him in a better mood just in time for the wedding, though it doesn’t seem like much thought has gone into the marriage idea on Willa’s end of things. Karl and Frank then arrive—at first seemingly to attend the wedding, but they end up going to a different building instead to meet with Logan.

Shiv asks Roman how the deal went with Mattson, but he’s extremely vague with his answer, which makes Shiv believe that things maybe aren’t going as they should be.
Graeme Hunter / HBO

Connor tells everyone about his own marriage news and they subsequently discuss how they believe that Logan is trying to have a child with Kerry. This of course prompts Tom to bring up the same discussion with Shiv, which clearly makes her uncomfortable and distant.

Gerri then alerts the team that Larry (an investor) from Gojo has arrived and is headed over to Lake Maggiore to meet with Mattson, a clear sign that something very different is going on with the original deal. Shiv is wondering why Mattson would need financing if they’re being acquired by Waystar.

While Greg is vying for a princess to launch himself into the title of Duke instead of Comfrey, Roman takes charge and finally asks Kerry why she’s been lying to them about the deal. At that point, Roman finally tells Shiv that there’s a possibility that Waystar could be bought by Gojo. Upset that he hadn’t told her earlier, she jumps into action and heads straight for Kendall.
Graeme Hunter / HBO

“I wouldn’t ask you if it wasn’t important,” Shiv says to him. Finally agreeing to help them out, Kendall heads over with them to a more discreet location to figure things out. However, once there, Kendall decides to sit down silently on the dirt ground. It’s a sad shot as he sits there looking completely dejected and lifeless; “I’m all alone,” he says.

Kendall tells them that there’s something seriously wrong with him and that he’s been feeling very disconnected from both his children and his business work; he eventually breaks down and cries a number of times, clearly affected by the events of the past few months.

Shiv and Roman huddle around Kendall and try to have him look at the more positive aspects of his life, attempting to cheer him up by cracking jokes. Shockingly, Kendall then confesses to killing the waiter from Shiv’s wedding, which catches them completely off guard. He fully blames himself, but Roman and Shiv have him look at it from a different perspective, which makes him feel a little better about the situation.

After Shiv gets a call from Laird telling her that they’re going to be buying Waystar, the three get in a car and head to their father’s secret headquarters. Although Roman is initially hesitant, he finally agrees to go along.

On the car ride over, the three of them make various calls about the impending deal, letting everyone know what’s about to go down, including Tom. Kendall gets into his serious business headspace and starts coming up with a plan on the car ride over, which is to use the fact that in their parents’ divorce agreement, their mother made sure that Waystar would need a supermajority with all of the children to sell the company. Given that information, they’re going to stonewall their father from selling away Waystar to Gojo and force a shareholders meeting, where they’ll vote him out.
Graeme Hunter / HBO

Back at the wedding venue, Tom approaches Greg and asks him if he’d come along and join him in a new venture as his “attack dog,” where he could be at “the bottom of the top” of the key players. Greg graciously accepts, though not completely sure of what it’s actually about.

Upon arriving at Logan’s headquarters, the siblings are initially barred from seeing their father by security, though they’re finally let in once he knows that it’s them. They’re clearly walking into something that they weren’t supposed to be part of, as Gerri, Karl, Frank, and Kerry are all sitting in the room with Logan.
Graeme Hunter / HBO

They confront their father, who claims that it’s the best moment to sell with the fact that broadcast news is fading: being owned by a tech company will save Waystar. Logan then asks Roman to remove Kendall from the room, who hesitates but decides not to tell his brother to leave. After hearing their side of things, Logan then wants to leave the meeting entirely with Roman, who again sides with his siblings.

Although Roman is having an extremely tough time not being on his father’s side, he still stands with his siblings as they tell him that he needs a supermajority to sell the company. With that information, Logan quickly gets Caroline, their mother, on the phone to tell them about the changes in their divorce agreement. Apparently, Caroline has decided to take out the part of the agreement that calls for a supermajority with their children.
Graeme Hunter / HBO

And with that information, Logan leaves the room alone. The siblings realize that someone has obviously ratted on them and told their father about the supermajority beforehand. With that just being said, Tom walks through the door, a clear indication that he was the one who betrayed them. Shiv is completely shaken by this realization, and as he comes over the hug her, her eyes freeze as they look ahead at nothing at all.

Culture Movies/TV

Examining This Week’s “Succession”: ‘Chiantishire’

Okay, I know how we’re all feeling after this one, so let’s get into it. The penultimate episode of Season 3 left us on arguably the largest cliffhanger of the entire show, but there was quite a lot leading up to that fateful moment.

The episode kicks off back in the Waystar offices, with Stewy and Sandy meeting with Logan just before their board member’s meeting. Logan finally tells them about the possible Gojo deal, which Sandy feels is an ambush, as they were supposed to be let in on the dealmaking with Waystar.
Macall B. Polay / HBO

Looking for someone to agree with her, Sandy asks where Shiv is, who is instead calling into the meeting later because she’s not feeling great. Because there’s nothing that Sandy can really do about the Gojo deal except to back out of the company altogether, they put a pin in things for now and wait to see how the Gojo deal plays out.

Afterward, the family hops on a plane and heads to Italy, where the siblings’ mother, Caroline Collingwood (Harriet Walter), is getting married. Although Shiv and Roman are still on bad terms (and still arguing) after Kendall’s birthday party, Roman gets serious and tells Shiv that they should confront their mother about whether or not she should actually go through with the marriage. Most likely because Shiv is still upset with Roman, she tells him that she doesn’t care, which basically leaves it up to Roman to handle things with their mother.

Arriving in Italy separately from his siblings, Kendall steps out sporting a new buzzed haircut alongside his children, who have come to attend the wedding, as well. Upon greeting his mother, Kendall sounds fairly lifeless and she comments on his tiredness. Caroline mentions that he and Logan will have to divvy up who attends which wedding event, as Logan doesn’t want to be near Kendall.

The other siblings arrive after Kendall and Roman knocks on Gerri’s hotel room door to see if she wants to head over to the welcome drinks. When he starts chiding her for bringing Laurie (her kind-of boyfriend) to the wedding events, Gerri finally agrees to go with him, but not before she sternly asks him to stop sending inappropriate pictures of himself to her.
Graeme Hunter / HBO

At the welcome drinks, Roman finally greets his mother and launches into questioning her on the details of her marriage and whether or not she should actually move ahead with it. He also asks her if she has a prenup, to which she vaguely says that she has it handled, which doesn’t seem very convincing.

With Comfrey along as his assistant for the trip, Kendall asks her if there’s anything coming up for him on the business docket, and she mentions that there’s a podcast that he’s scheduled to be on about the curse of the Roy family. She goes into deeper details about the podcast, including how they’ll also be interviewing Connor’s mom, as well as talking about the guy Kendall got into the car accident with at the end of Season one. Comfrey’s mentioning of this obviously jars Kendall, and he asks her to keep tabs on the podcast.

Following her chat with Kendall, Comfrey walks up to Greg and kisses him on the cheek, but after she walks away, Greg chats with Tom and Shiv and says that he’s been having second thoughts about her. He also asks them if there’s “any substance there” with regard to Comfrey and is worried that she won’t stick around after she gets to know the “real” Greg.

Being that Mattson is a bit of a loose cannon, he sends out a few crazy tweets that immediately worry the Waystar team, prompting them to get in contact with him out of fear of him screwing up the deal. Shiv feels that Mattson could be playing Roman as he’s not taking any of the team’s calls.
Graeme Hunter / HBO

After telling Willa that a reporter might be digging into her past, Connor all of a sudden asks her to marry him out on the lawn in front of everyone, but given that she’s not sure, they both pretend like she says yes. Connor tells her that she can have more time to actually think about it, and it’s clear that Willa needs that time.

Arriving at the party with Marcia, Logan immediately asks Roman about the situation with Mattson. In the middle of this conversation, Kendall starts walking towards Logan, but Roman makes a physical barrier between the two and Kendall yells past him to his father. He wants to meet with Logan later that night to finally talk things out, but it’s unclear if Logan will actually show up.
Graeme Hunter / HBO

At another wedding event that night, Shiv gets some alone time with her mother and decides to ask her if she has an air-tight prenup, and again, Caroline is vague about it. Since the two have always butted heads, they take jabs at each other, with Caroline admitting that although she wasn’t a great mother, Shiv was an awful daughter. Caroline also adds that she should have never had children and applauds Shiv for making the right decision about not having kids with Tom.

Although Mattson won’t take Logan’s calls, he leaves voice memos for Roman where he claims that he was just messing around with the tweets. However, this doesn’t go over too well with Logan, who feels that Mattson is trying to humiliate him. Because of this, Gerri asks Roman to meet up with Mattson in person and settle things.

Though he wasn’t sure if his father would show up, Logan arrives at Kendall’s dinner/discussion, where he’s concerned about being poisoned with the food that Kendall has planned to serve. Given this, Logan asks Kendall’s son, Iverson, to try a bit of his food just to see if it was actually poisoned or not.

After Iverson leaves, Kendall and Logan have a conversation that goes much longer than expected given their current relationship. Right off the bat, Kendall tells his father that he wants out of the company and wants to go for the $2 billion that was offered to him via his birthday card. Logan says that he’ll think about it, as he might want to keep Kendall close to him.

Kendall gets as honest as we’ve ever seen him in this conversation, stating that he doesn’t know where his life goes from here and admitting that he couldn’t change Waystar in the way that he wanted to—that there are things Logan can do that he just simply cannot. He also says that Logan has won, but only because he’s corrupt, as is the world at large.

In response to that, Logan reminds Kendall of all the messes he has cleaned up for him in the past, including the guy drowning in the lake from Season one. “And I’m a bad person?” is what Logan finally says to Kendall before getting up and leaving.
Graeme Hunter / HBO

Back at their hotel room, Shiv tells Tom that she wants to have a baby, most likely because of what Caroline said to her just prior to this. Additionally, Shiv starts seductively talking to Tom, but the content of what she’s saying to him involves her not loving Tom, among other things.

The next morning, Tom is clearly upset over Shiv’s remarks and brings it up to her, asking what was real and what wasn’t. He’s worried that she doesn’t actually love him and if maybe he should actually start listening to what she says to his face. Tom also asks Shiv if she’s still serious about having a baby, and though she initially reassures him that she is serious, she launches into a whole thing about freezing embryos for 10 years. As she goes further and further down that line of thinking, Tom realizes that she’s not actually serious about it.
Graeme Hunter / HBO

On a different note, Roman flies over to Mattson’s home, where he’s finally able to confront him over the tweets, which Mattson doesn’t really have any good explanation for. Ultimately, Mattson says that he wants a merger of equals, not for Gojo to be an acquisition.

As the Waystar crew heads to Milan to meet with the bankers about their possible deal with Gojo, Roman heads in straight from Mattson’s. He encounters Gerri in the hallway, where he tells her that the deal is probably over because of the fact that Mattson wants an equal merger.

In the meeting room, Logan wants a sense of where things stand with Mattson, and after Roman tells him what went down, Frank (over Zoom) says that it would be a large upheaval to do an equal merger. Despite this, other members of the team feel that they could still keep control with the merger, as they think it’s important to take the deal given Gojo’s relevancy in the media landscape. With that said, Logan asks to bring the bankers in, meaning that he has decided to make the deal with Mattson.

Gerri sends Roman a text congratulating him for a job well done, and in response, he sends her another inappropriate picture. The only thing is he ended up sending it to Logan instead, who promptly leaves the room and calls for a five-minute break. Shiv follows her father out of the room and tries to convince him that it’s not just a “Roman thing,” but that it’s instead a larger, potential problem. She also tells him about the weird situation between Roman and Gerri; all of this is fueled by the fact that Shiv wants to get back at Roman.

As Shiv leaves, Logan screams for Roman to come in, where he asks if he’s a “sicko,” before calling him a laughing stock. Because of this incident, he’s considered firing Gerri, which Roman advises against, as it’s not her fault.
Graeme Hunter / HBO

In the hallway, Shiv tells Gerri about the situation and asks her questions about it, claiming to be on her side and asking her to report Roman to HR. Gerri can clearly see through this act, knowing that Shiv just wants to get back at her brother and that she doesn’t actually care about her well-being.

As all of this is happening, Kendall is back at the hotel with his kids hanging out at the pool, though his kids decide to head back inside. Kendall’s lying face down on a pool float with a beer in his hand, at first looking like he’s relaxing, but then his eyes close and his beer drops into the pool. As his beer slowly falls to the bottom of the pool, his nose dips slightly underwater. And this is the scene that we’re left with.

For a whole week.

Culture Movies/TV

The Evolution of “Succession’s” Kendall Roy

Kendall’s trajectory in this season of Succession has been a bit like that of a heart monitor—and there’s a fair chance that the audience has felt the same way about him.

Following the major bombshell at the end of the season two finale, episode one of Season three had a feeling of victory. Kendall stuck up for himself and decided not to go down for the ship; instead, he is turning up the flame on Waystar and setting himself up to reap the gains of their downfall. But things didn’t turn out to be as easy as that.
Zach Dilgard

Kendall expected his siblings and other members of the team to blindly (and promptly) follow him into his new endeavor—a company better than Waystar and without all of its unseemly baggage. But instead, Kendall was quickly forced from the driver’s seat into the back of the van. He made the mistake of trying to outsmart his father, which was a fool’s errand: you cannot outsmart Logan, and you cannot take him down. And being that Kendall is his son, he should have known this by now.

It’s second nature for Kendall to cover up his real emotions, as he uses the strategy of hyping himself up and telling himself lies as a way to take detours from any pain or acknowledgment of true emotion. And most recently, in episode seven, he filled his birthday party up with A-Listers and planned an insane act on stage, which was just another distraction. However, in reality, it’s clear that the only things that Kendall actually cared about were whether or not his siblings showed up to his party and being able to open his kids’ birthday present.
Macall B. Polay / HBO

In this way, the emotional side of Kendall was finally cracked open as he began to cry in the present room out of frustration. When he lied his head down lifelessly on Naomi’s lap back at his apartment, it became clear that Kendall had reached his breaking point.

Perhaps it’s a result of the industry that Kendall has been a part of for his entire life, or—more likely—what comes with being the son of Logan Roy. Regardless, in this last episode, he was finally able to see through the smokescreen of his distractions, which manifested itself first in anger and frustration but ultimately, in surrender.

Kendall didn’t fight back when Roman pushed him to the ground at the end of his birthday party: with tears welling up in his eyes, he walked away. He’s now able to see the person he has become a bit more clearly, and he’s unhappy with that person. But now that Kendall has gotten to that point, he has the opportunity to turn things around.
Macall B. Polay / HBO

The probable reason for this sudden realization? Logan’s birthday card, which served as a massive wake-up call to Kendall, illustrated that he’s just a number to his father, just another bug to squash.

The great majority of the characters on Succession follow similar patterns of being likable one second and hated the next. However, Kendall is the one that many people still pull for regardless of his current status on the show. In a way, I guess we want to see him do well, to prove to his father that he is capable of running Waystar and that he holds true to his plans on actually changing the company for the better.

With only two episodes left of the season, it’s tough to tell where things will end up for Kendall. He could fall back into his usual pattern of sweeping his feelings under the rug and hyping himself up, or—given this new realization—he might actually try and repair things with his family.

Culture Movies/TV

Recapping This Week’s “Succession”: ‘Too Much Birthday’

Donning an obnoxious bomber jacket with cheetahs on the front, Kendall kicks off this episode rehearsing “Honesty” by Billy Joel on stage in preparation for his upcoming birthday bash. And honestly, he doesn’t sound as bad as I had anticipated.

At Waystar, Shiv, Roman, and Tom are preparing for their meeting with GoJo, where they plan to acquire the company. Shiv and Roman have a mini argument about the deal while Tom silently sits alongside them and scrolls through prison facilities on his phone. The three of them walk to the meeting about GoJo and encounter the entire team toasting with champagne in the meeting room. Assuming that the deal has already been made, they walk in and are greeted with a different outcome: Gerri announces that after a call with the Department of Justice, they’ve decided not to pursue Waystar with prison charges and instead are going with a monetary settlement.
Macall B. Polay / HBO

Tom tries to play it cool with this news, but being unable to contain his excitement, he heads over to Greg’s office/dungeon and has an unhinged and excited freak-out. But just before he left the meeting, Logan walked past Tom, grabbed his arm, and said, “I’ll remember,” with regard to Tom having offered himself up to go down for the team.

In Greg’s office, Tom flips over Greg’s extremely heavy desk, runs around the room, throws things around, and ultimately kisses Greg on the forehead upon telling him the good news. Having gotten that off his chest, he heads back to the meeting, and apparently, there might be an issue with the GoJo deal.

Back at Kendall’s, he’s going over the guest list with his PR assistant, Comfrey, who tells him all the A-list celebrities who will be attending. He then asks her about any updates on whether or not his siblings are attending, but when she hesitates (because none of them have RSVPd), Kendall quickly brushes it off and acts like it doesn’t matter to him.

At Waystar, Logan starkly announces that the meeting between them and GoJo is off the table, given that its CEO decided to send other staff to attend the meeting, which Logan took as a slap in the face. Shiv, Roman, and Gerri try to convince him otherwise, as the attendees are sitting just outside the meeting room. Frank announces that he reached out to Nan about trying to acquire Pierce again, which shocks Shiv, as they already tried to do that once before. Logan sends everyone back to work, except for Gerri, Shiv, and Roman, who stay to persuade Logan.
Macall B. Polay / HBO

Shiv and Roman try to convince Logan to reconsider his decision with GoJo, but when his assistant, Kerry (with whom they believe their father is having an affair), agrees with Logan, Shiv doesn’t welcome her input. Instead, Shiv and Roman suggest that they attend Kendall’s birthday party, which Lukas Mattson (the head of GoJo) will be attending. Logan finally agrees to them going to Kendall’s, and on their way out of the meeting room, Logan hands Roman an envelope to give Kendall for his birthday.

At Kendall’s party, the siblings walk in and encounter a nurse in the lobby, who greets them and says, “Congratulations, you’ve just been born into the world of Kendall Roy.” They then find Connor waiting in the lobby with his arm in a sling under his jacket—apparently he had slipped and fallen prior to the party. Although he’s asked if he wants to remove his jacket, Connor refuses and continues into the party. This sounds extremely insignificant (which it is), but it’ll come back to the plot a little bit later.

The siblings finally greet Kendall, who’s in the VIP room, and Roman gives him Logan’s envelope (though he doesn’t open it just yet). Kendall then leads them through the party into a gallery exhibit within the event that is comprised of massive prints of newspaper covers that depict the Roys—except for Kendall—in a negative light. Connor takes it especially poorly, as he demands that Kendall remove the print of him. Just before heading back to the party, he tells his siblings that he’s happy that they came to his birthday.
Macall B. Polay / HBO

Off on his own, Kendall opens the envelope Logan and finds a birthday card with “Happy Birthday” crossed out on the inside that has been written in and replaced by, “Cash out and f*** off,” accompanied by a Share Purchase Approval document (meaning that Logan wants to buy him out of the company). It’s clear that Kendall is affected by this moment but tries to brush it off, as he always does. The sum of money ends up being $2 billion, but although Kendall is initially set against taking his father’s offer, his kind-of-girlfriend, Naomi Pierce, believes that he should reconsider.

Searching the party for Comfrey (of whom he has a crush on), Greg finally runs into her, but just as he’s about to ask her out, she tells him that she might have to brief the press negatively about him on Kendall’s behalf. After this run-in, she tells Kendall that she has been hearing that Shiv and Roman have been going around the party in a discreet search for a private meeting space with Mattson. Realizing why his siblings are actually there at his party, Kendall tells her to tell them that there’s space at a VIP area upstairs called the Treehouse.

At the Treehouse, Shiv and Roman are stuck outside because security won’t let them in, but are soon greeted by Kendall, who they assume will allow them inside. He then reveals that he knows about the plan to meet with Mattson and refuses to let him up because “losers” aren’t allowed up there.

After their unsuccessful try to get up to the Treehouse, Roman tells Shiv about what was in the envelope and says that “Dad and I handled it,” which greatly angers Shiv. Feeling frozen out, she storms off.

In the Treehouse, Kendall tells Mattson that he should be buying Waystar instead of the other way around as an attempt to ruin Shiv and Roman’s plans. After that quick chat, Kendall meets up with Rava, who asks him if he has opened up his kids’ present yet—which he hasn’t (it was wrapped with rabbit-themed wrapping paper). Rava also mentions to Kendall that “goons” from Waystar have been following the nanny and kids at the park, which he was totally unaware of.
Macall B. Polay / HBO

Greg runs into Kendall and tells him about how he wants to ask out Comfrey. Surprisingly, Kendall doesn’t take this news very well and ends up scolding Greg for crossing that line, along with personal attacks against his character. Despite that, Greg explains the situation to Comfrey, who—upon hearing what Kendall said—decides to agree to the date with Greg.

As a very mini side plot, Kendall sends Comfrey to force Connor to take off his jacket, no matter what. She walks up to Connor and—in a multitude of different ways—tries to get him to take off his jacket, but each time, Connor adamantly refuses. When things start to get heated between the two, Willa is the one to finally butt in, putting an end to the jacket situation by telling her to leave him alone.
Macall B. Polay / HBO

Roman is finally able to meet up with Mattson after he forces his way into the Treehouse. Portrayed by Alexander Skarsgård, Mattson is a fairly calm and casual guy, and the two strike up a good rapport almost immediately. Pretty quickly, Roman makes some great points about Waystar and how Mattson won’t have to deal with Logan if he decides to go along with the plan, which sways Mattson into agreeing to the deal. After a quick trip to the bathroom, where Roman suggests that Mattson should pee on his app, StarGo, Mattson agrees to a meeting to talk about making a final deal.

Kendall is about to make his big stage appearance when he suddenly decides not to go through with the plan (which required him getting into a harness and some sort of being nailed to the cross moment). At this moment, Kendall realizes that the party he created is exactly the vibe of the party that he didn’t want to have: one that “feels like an a**hole’s birthday party.”

Following that moment backstage, Kendall heads to the present room to search for his kids’ birthday present. Frantically looking everywhere, Kendall starts to get heated as he can’t seem to find it anywhere. In a poorly-chosen moment, Naomi chooses to give him his present, which is a new watch. Kendall is dumbfounded by the gift, clearly unhappy with it although trying to put on a good face. Unable to hold in his disdain for the present, he finally states that he was wondering why she would give him a gift like that.

Upon that remark, he starts ripping apart and throwing presents around the room while still searching for his kids’ gift. Finally sitting down among the presents alongside Naomi, Kendall breaks down and says that “this is so pathetic,” and, “I wish I was…,” but then trails off until taking a beat and finishing with, “home.” But in reality, it’s clear what word he was actually referring to in the pause.
Macall B. Polay / HBO

Chipper from Comfrey agreeing to go on a date with him, Greg is walking around a weird garden section of the party where people hiding in hedges give out compliments to the people walking by. The two walk through the garden, but things suddenly turn sour when Tom feels that Greg is being too happy since Tom is the only one who should be allowed to be happy because of the good news about not having to go to prison.

After a drunken stint on the dance floor, Shiv meets up with Roman, who explains that he won’t be telling her about his meeting with Mattson and that if Logan wants to “loop her in,” he’ll finally tell her. Upon hearing this, Shiv is immediately angry and hurt, as Roman once again went behind her back in making regarding company dealings. Shiv tells him that Logan is just using him as his messenger boy, meaning that Logan doesn’t really value him in a real way. Kendall comes by to tell them to leave, but that ends up causing another, larger argument between the three.

Kendall mentions that GoJo was originally his idea, while also adding that Waystar is spying on his kids, which Shiv was completely unaware of. Roman, on the other hand, was totally aware of the situation, which adds even further to how out of the loop Shiv feels; she also tells Roman that spying on the kids is “disgusting.”
Macall B. Polay / HBO

Kendall and Roman start arguing separately, and just as Kendall decides to walk away instead of engaging with him, Roman pushes him hard to the ground, where he lands on his face. Kendall gets up very slowly and walks away, but not before yelling at Connor to remove his jacket.

Back at Kendall’s, he stands out on his terrace, looking down at the city below him. Naomi appears behind him, and the two decide to sit down, with Kendall eventually resting his head on her lap, his eyes seemingly lifeless as he looks out into the sky.

Culture Movies/TV

Season 3 “Succession” Power Rankings

Now that we’re over halfway through the season, it seems about time to do a quick check-in with the characters thus far in Season 3 of Succession. The past few episodes have been a bit like a game of tug-of-war between Team Waystar and Team Kendall: just when it seems like Kendall is pulling ahead, Waystar pulls the rug out from under him, and vice-versa.

Except now, things really aren’t looking great for Kendall. With his lackadaisical approach to his deposition with the Department of Justice and unsuccessful attempt to persuade Tom into implicating Logan in the DOJ case, things are basically in the gutter for him.

It’s going to take a massive effort from him to take down Waystar, but perhaps with Shiv being a bit on the outs with Logan, it’s possible that the two might team up in the episodes ahead—but that’s just me spitballing here.

These power rankings are based on the six episodes of the current season, analyzing the current standpoint of each main character with regard to their power. Some may be more obvious than others, but given this last episode, there were a few major changes within the power structure of Succession.

1. Logan
Macall B. Polay / HBO

It was proven once again in episode six that even though Logan isn’t publicly the CEO, he still holds all the power. Until he is somehow taken down—that is, if that is ever even able to happen, there’s no way that Logan doesn’t remain at the top of the power rankings. He’s got the final say, and that’s that.

2. Gerri
Macall B. Polay / HBO

Although Logan may have initially put Gerri in the position of president because of the optics, it’s clear that she has become a much more trusted and logical figure than he had imagined. Gerri always has Waystar at the forefront of her mind—preserving the company is her top priority, unlike Shiv, who also has other agendas. Gerri is also a true leader, and being that she’s been a part of the business for as long as she has, Logan is able to trust her more than he does with Shiv.

3. Roman
Macall B. Polay / HBO

Roman has proven time and time again that he’s standing by Logan’s side, and finally, Logan is starting to actually realize it. Roman’s devoted support of Mencken helped push the candidate over the edge in the eyes of Logan, which Logan actually acknowledged at the end of episode six. Roman’s loyalty is finally being rewarded, whereas Shiv’s stubbornness has taken more of the spotlight in Logan’s eyes, almost switching the two siblings from Logan’s angle.

4. Karl, Hugo, and Frank
Macall B. Polay / HBO

These three are being lumped together because they’re all basically at the same level doing the same sorts of things, although I will say that Frank is definitely at the low end of the totem pole given the fact that he’s the butt of almost every joke.

Hugo is more so Logan’s right-hand man whereas Logan values Karl’s opinion because he’s someone who has been with the company for a very long time. On the other hand, Frank is thrown around quite a bit with regard to his role, which we witnessed especially at the shareholders’ conference where he was forced to be the emcee throughout the entire day.

5. Tom
Macall B. Polay / HBO

Tom is being placed just above Shiv in this power ranking because of his outstanding change in personal character during this last episode. Serious and level-headed, Tom is also extremely selfless in agreeing to take on Greg’s charges to spare him a stay in prison.

At the same time, because he has known the Roys for such a long time, it seems like he’s starting to see everything for what it really is. Now that prison appears to be a definite for him, Tom is able to see things at Waystar—in addition to his relationship with Shiv—in a new light.

6. Shiv
Macall B. Polay / HBO

It’s clear that in the last few episodes, Shiv has been losing a bit of her charm. Logan yelled at her for “buzzing in his ear” in episode five, and in this most recent one, she remained in staunch opposition of Mencken, who Logan ultimately decided to endorse at the end of episode six.

In addition, she hasn’t been very understanding of Tom’s feelings towards the possibility of prison, which has soured her in his eyes. She came into her new role at Waystar on quite the high horse, but others around her are beginning to realize that she might be slightly too drastic for the brand of Waystar—and it’s possible that she might be realizing it, too.

7. Connor
Macall B. Polay / HBO

Though alike Greg in the fact that he doesn’t really know what’s going on, Connor does have more of an agenda than Greg, even though running for president in his position is still a fairly dumb agenda. The reasoning behind placing Connor above Kendall largely has to do with Kendall’s current state following his meeting with Tom and the fact that Connor is just overall much more pleasant to watch than Kendall.

8. Kendall
Macall B. Polay / HBO

Kendall truly took a dive in episode six, getting his rude awakening after riding the Waystar-FBI-investigation high for a bit. Because he didn’t take his mock-deposition seriously, his real deposition went just as poorly, which lead him to try and fill in the gaps by begging Tom to implicate Logan. When Tom didn’t agree to go along with his plan, Kendall was left by himself.

9. Greg
Macall B. Polay / HBO

The only real reason that Greg is placed under Kendall in this power ranking is because there’s still a chance that he’ll get burned by Kendall and overall, Greg just doesn’t really know what he’s doing. He’s also trying to sue Greenpeace for his portion of his grandfather’s estate, so there’s that.

But all in all, watching Greg aimlessly wander around is one of the great joys of watching Succession. If this article was about that, he would be on top. Anyway, here’s to Greg The Egg solidarity.

Culture Movies/TV

Examining This Week’s “Succession”: ‘What It Takes’

In a strange turn of events, the episode began with the intro instead of leading into it a few minutes in.

Kind of takes away its charm. Oh, well.

Kendall is having a mock deposition with his lawyer, Lisa Arthur, ahead of their real deposition with the Department of Justice but is being extremely dismissive of the entire thing. Afterward, Arthur lets him know that Waystar has decided to cooperate with the government and will be conducting their own thorough investigation, thus making them look much better in terms of optics.
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The Waystar crew is headed to the Future Freedom Summit in Virginia, designed to “unofficially” pick the Republican nominee for president now that the current president has decided to drop out. The three candidates being considered are the current Vice President, Dave Boyer, and two other politicians, Jeryd Mencken and Rick Salgado.

On the plane ride over, Greg sends a text to Kendall (following a string of unanswered texts) regarding their last conversation about the possibility of him burning Greg: “Hey dude. Hope ur good. Just checking in. Any update on the burning?”

Logan—very quietly—walks to the center of the plane for a quick call to action, but not before Roman emphasizes how he misses his father’s medical boot: “I miss the big boot. At least you could hear him coming.” Logan wants everyone on the team to start pushing the anti-tech narrative because they’re gaining too much power in relation to Waystar and ATN.
Macall B. Polay / HBO

Almost immediately upon arriving at the summit, Connor starts schmoozing with the other attendees, given that he still considers himself a contender for president. He brought Willa along with him, who’s clearly annoyed about being there instead of having time to write another (poor-performing) play. She then decides to write the play on her phone.

Veering off the topic of choosing the next president, Roman finds himself in a conversation with a stranger who tells him that his mother is getting remarried to Peter Munion, of which he knew nothing about. Given this new information, he runs to Shiv, who was also unaware. They decide to call Kendall on the assumption that he was hiding it from them, but he knows nothing of the matter. He also finds the phone call as another opportunity to be obnoxious towards his siblings.

Greg pulls Tom aside to both ask him advice and tell him about Kendall’s plan to burn him. He mentions how he can’t stop obsessing over going to prison, and Tom is extremely understanding of Greg’s situation, given that he’s in the same (though probably much worse) boat.

Back at their hotel room, Shiv and Tom drink some disgusting, earthy wine, but not before Tom brings up how the prison he was planning on attending is now full. Shiv is pretty dismissive of Tom, having had as much of the prison talk as she can take.

Still at the summit, Roman is googling photos of Munion at the bar when Mencken walks up to him and strikes up a conversation. The two end up getting along fairly well, with Mencken wrapping up their chat by asking who will be taking over Waystar after Logan steps aside. Roman claims that there will be no takeover, but Mencken believes that he’s just “sticking to the line.”

Unable to sleep, Tom calls Greg to get a meal at the local diner in preparation for what their meals will taste like in prison.

Concerning their omelets, Tom adds that “it won’t taste as good as this either. You have to take off 30 to 50 percent of the taste.” But more important than their meal, Greg asks Tom if he’d be willing to take on his charges since he’s likely already going to prison, to which Tom actually agrees.

Though we only see a tiny snippet of Kendall’s deposition, it’s clear by his demeanor that things didn’t go as well as he’d expected. But when Arthur tells Kendall that he “did fine,” he loses his temper and starts yelling about the DOJ’s real plan while the counselors who deposed him are standing just down the hallway. Taking him aside, Arthur gets serious with Kendall about his performance and his mistakes in the deposition.
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In a conversation with Boyer, he mentions to Logan that he wants to control tech as well, but even though this aligns with Logan’s thoughts, it doesn’t work in the vice president’s favor. Instead, Logan confronts him about a rumor he heard: the Deputy Attorney General has a dartboard with his face on it, though the VP believes it’s just a rumor.

Shiv talks with Salgado, who wants her to help him get on Logan’s side to secure the nomination, and he has a plan: if she helps him, he’ll make sure that once he’s in office, Shiv will be the CEO of Waytsar. She gets a good feeling from Salgado during this chat and agrees to the plan.

In the middle of the summit floor, the three candidates start talking (and then promptly arguing) about various policies. Standing by, Shiv jumps in and calls Boyer and Mencken out. Eventually, Mencken says “F*** ATN” and goes on a negative rant about Logan, even though Logan is within earshot to hear it all. He ends his rant by saying, “Logan Roy was an icon, but he’s no longer relevant.”

Back at his hotel room, Logan holds a meeting with his children and team, wanting to know who they’re pulling for within the candidates. Unsurprisingly, Connor is on Team Connor, while Roman is pushing for Mencken. Shiv still wants Logan to vote with the Democrats, but since that doesn’t seem like an option, she’s going with Salgado, along with Tom.
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In the middle of their gathering, Tom gets a call from Kendall to meet up at the diner. At their meeting, Kendall tells Tom that he can get him out of his possibly-prison situation if he implicates Logan in the DOJ case; this helps out Kendall because it fills in the gaps of his poor performance at the DOJ deposition. If Tom does decide to cooperate, he’ll be granted full immunity, thus avoiding the prison nightmare that he’s been dreading all this time.

Kendall finally asks if he’ll go along with the plan, and Tom says that he’ll think about it, but Kendall pushes back and insinuates that Shiv might not be waiting for him when he gets out of prison. In response, Tom states that he’ll be sticking with Logan because—given the amount of time he has spent with the family—he believes that Kendall is “going to get fu**ed” and that he’s “never seen Logan get fu**ed once.” Just as Tom is walking away, Kendall starts taking pictures of him on his phone.
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Still arguing about who should get the nomination, Logan gets on the phone with Boyer and asks him to stop by—and to bring him a Coke. Although he doesn’t end up bringing the Coke, Boyer and the team have a discussion about tech and other issues, which seemed pretty neutral overall.

Roman hangs out with Mencken in the bathroom, where Roman basically asks if he’s a fascist. The two bond not over anything in particular, but in a way that their personalities just mesh well together. Roman finally says that Mencken needs ATN on his side, and Mencken rebuts by saying that they could use him.

Going back into the hotel suite for a meeting with Logan, Mencken brings a can of Coke, opens it, places it right in front of Logan, and then leaves. Although Shiv tries to make a case that the climate around Mencken is no good, Logan disagrees, claiming that he’s a “climate denier,” and thus endorsing Mencken. The next morning, Logan’s assistant tells him that Ron Petkus (the organizer of the summit) has confirmed that he’s backing Mencken, which all but secures the nomination for him.

Logan calls Shiv over to take a photo with Mencken and the team, given their new support. At first, Shiv absolutely refuses to take the photo, but when Logan demands that she get in the photo and asks her if she’s part of the family or not, she reluctantly agrees—but only if she can stand nowhere near him.

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Diving Into This Week’s “Succession”: ‘Retired Janitors of Idaho’

Mirroring that of Waystar, Logan kicks off the fifth episode with a medical boot being secured to his left foot as a cane idly sits next to him. With that said, Waystar is a bit like a bum foot at the moment. As Waystar’s Annual Shareholders’ Meeting is about to kick off, the team is scrambling to scrounge up some good news to announce at the meeting regarding the situation with Stewy and Sandy.

On the other side of things, Kendall receives a phone call from Bianca, his assistant, about whether or not his child’s giant pet rabbit can eat part of a bagel, so there’s that. At his “HQ of the hashtag resistance,” he watches TV coverage of the deal between Stewy and Sandy and Waystar and gets a call from Frank. He tells him that Logan is willing to forego the deal and go straight to a vote given the situation, which puts Kendall on high alert, worried that his father will screw everything up.

The rundown of the situation with Sandy and Stewy: Sandy is making tons of demands, and the team has to weigh whether or not they’re going to give up certain things to make a deal happen. If they cannot settle, a vote will be forced, likely leaving the Waystar team vulnerable. Because of Sandy’s demands, though, the introduction of a vote seems like the only way to move forward, even though it’s a risky proposition.

Kendall meets with Stewy to figure out a deal that works for both of them regarding Waystar, given that Kendall is Stewy’s main ally with the company. Kendall lets him know that Logan is ready to vote, which Stewy wants to avoid; Kendall advises him to strike up a deal that works for everyone. Promptly after this, Stewy gives Gerri a call to meet up and discuss some “thoughts,” and after running it by Logan, Gerri takes Roman, Shiv, and Karl along to talk it out with Sandy, his daughter, Sandi, and Stewy.
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At the meeting, Stewy announces that instead of taking over the company, they’re willing to agree if they can lead on deals going forward. And just as they’re about to agree, Sandy—through Sandi—adds in that he wants their costs covered as well as a right to veto any Roy taking over as the CEO of Waystar.

The group takes a minute to go over the offer separately, and Gerri calls Logan to see if he’s willing to go for the deal, even though all of them think that Sandy and Stewy are asking for too much. Gerri heads back into the room and agrees, but without the veto rule. Because Sandy is insistent upon veto power, they decide to break and take a bit more time to rethink things.

Back with his dad, Connor directly asks him for a job at the company to create a more legitimate reputation for himself, suggesting something in Europe or within cable. Logan doesn’t really give any sort of answer to Connor; instead, he asks where the bathroom is.

At Kendall’s, Greg stops by for a quick visit to check the temperature of their relationship after he decided to switch lawyers and officially sign on with Waystar. Although Kendall understands, he promptly tells Greg that he “might” burn him in an effort to strengthen the DOJ case against Waystar, which freaks out Greg.

Immediately following that, Greg meets with his grandpa, Ewen, and his ex-lawyer, Mr. Pugh. Because Greg effectively fired Mr. Pugh, Ewen took this personally and has decided to cut Greg out of his will. Instead, he wishes to donate all of his money to Greenpeace, which comes as a massive shock to Greg.

While Frank takes the stage at the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting, the crew who met up with Stewy and Sandy reunite with Logan, who isn’t as thrilled as the others are about this almost-deal. At first he becomes very angry and wants to reopen the negotiations, something comes over Logan and he’s able to settle down and agree.

In a shocking twist, Kendall gets a call from Bianca that the giant rabbit is sick after having eaten the bagel that Kendall OK’d earlier in the day. He tells her to call his doctor because, “if he can do people, he can do rabbits.”

Back at the team base, Gerri receives another provision regarding the deal: Sandy wants to stop the use of private jets for the company because they’re “elitist and out of touch.”
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Right in the middle of deciding what to do with the deal now that there’s an extra demand, Logan insists that he needs to go to the bathroom, with Tom specifically as his escort. Upon returning from the bathroom, Logan is asked to make a decision as they can’t wait any longer. Looking slightly out of it, Logan simply says “F*** them.”

The rest of the team isn’t quite sure at first of whether or not to actually go ahead with no deal. Roman thinks that his father knows what he’s doing, whereas Shiv and Gerri are a bit more apprehensive about Logan’s response. Ultimately, they decide to go ahead with Logan’s plan, given that he’s had to make decisions like this before and has always pulled through.

Logan then asks Tom to escort him to the bathroom once again, except this time, Tom hears Logan screaming in pain in the bathroom stall and has to physically walk him out. He gets Logan a chair at the far end of their conference space and tells Shiv that her father is “totally out of it.” After hearing this from Tom, Shiv goes to speak with him and Logan believes that Shiv is Marcia, prompting her to call Kerry, an associate, who reveals that he has a urinary tract infection (UTI). These infections can be quite serious at his age, as well as being known to cause symptoms like the ones that Logan is experiencing.

Given that information, the team freaks out, slightly for Logan’s health but more so for the instruction that he just gave them to strike down the deal with Sandy and Stewy. Huddling together to decide what to do, Hugh interrupts them to say that Logan is “concerned there is a dead cat under his chair; he says that he doesn’t want Rose to see it and he wants Colin to take it out.”

Just as this is happening, Kendall angrily waltzes in and wants to figure out what’s going on with the deal having having heard from Stewy that it has been taken off the table. He hears Logan yelling incoherently in the background and watches as Colin hurriedly takes an empty bag out of the room that has the dead imaginary cat in it. Kendall continues to yell at the team and demands that they make a deal and fix the situation.

As Gerri takes the stage from Frank, Logan is seen by a doctor and put on an IV for fluids. Shiv then decides that since Logan isn’t well, it’s important that they try to make a deal work since there’s a greater chance that they would lose if a vote were to take place.

With the turn in negative coverage of the president brought on by Shiv, the group receives an incoming call from the president, who is demanding a conversation with Logan. Because he’s incapacitated, Roman takes the call, which quickly turns sour as the president decides to drop out of the presidential race as a result of the poor coverage from ATN.

By herself, Shiv meets with Sandi, and she agrees to get rid of the private jets. Though Sandi is pleased with that, she tells Shiv that there’s a chance that her father is going to add more provisions. Wanting to keep it between the two of them, Shiv is able to convince her to stand her ground by offering her a fourth seat on the board if they can have an extra one on Waystar’s side for herself.

Shiv calls Tom to relay the information about the deal, and everyone seems fairly elated and relieved about it—except for Roman, who’s more apprehensive in thinking ahead to how his father will react. Despite this, Roman also signs off on it, finally securing the deal.

In a fit of celebration, Tom reveals to Shiv that he’s most attracted to her when it’s her “time of the month,” thus revealing that he’s been tracking her period cycle. After at first denying it, he finally says, “I just, like, counted the days on my iCal. It’s not creepy.” He further explains that judging by the amount of jail time he’d possibly be serving, it would be a good time to have a baby.
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Just after Karl gets on stage and announces the deal with Sandy and Stewy, Kendall decides to take it upon himself to interrupt him. He creeps up behind Karl and takes the mic, speaking to a now-uneasy-looking crowd and asking them to take a moment of silence for all of the victims of crime that occurred under the watch of Waystar.

Kendall then starts reading off the names of each victim slowly, and although this seems bad for the company, Karolina tries to spin it into a positive, adding that Kendall, “looks crazy, and I think that can be good for us.” His mic is cut off as he’s reading the names, leading him to announce that he’s starting a foundation for victims who were sexually abused under Waystar.

In other news, Greg has figured out that although he can’t sue his grandfather for removing him from the will, he can still sue Greenpeace. And for what benefit, I’m not sure, but he seems to be pretty excited about it.

Logan is back to his old self just as the Shareholder’s Meeting is ending, snapping at Shiv for congratulating him on the deal as he’s not pleased with what went down. He screams at her to stop buzzing in his ear as he’s trying to figure out the next moves with Gerri. It sort of leaves us wondering: is Gerri just a facade or is she actually more of a CEO than Shiv is?

Back on Kendall’s side, Kerry tells him that Logan wants to have a meeting. As he sits in a room alone and gets in just the right position to look intimidating enough for when his father walks in, his assistant, Jess, walks in instead, telling him that Logan has decided to leave.

This prompts Kendall to call him—except, on the other end, Logan sees who’s calling and tells Kerry to block his number, “permanently.”

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Gleefully watching the FBI raid of Waystar on TV, Kendall is glued to the TV with his crew. A lone Greg sticks out like a sore thumb, anxiously sitting in a chair, unsure whether he should be sitting in the Waystar office instead. In a way, Greg serves as the thermometer for how things are going at Waystar: when he’s doing good, Waystar is doing good. But more often, when he’s nervously squirming around in his chair, the climate at the company is probably about the same.

On a remote conference call, Kendall dials in, clearly not in the mood to take things seriously with Waystar. Gerri, Roman, Frank, Karl, Shiv, Karolina, Hugo, and Logan are all at the meeting, which was called to speak about the blowback with investors since Kendall’s sparking of the DOJ investigation. Given that, they want him and Logan to meet with Josh Aaronson (Adrien Brody) since he has a four-percent holding in the company and is concerned about the investigation. More importantly, he’s also considering switching over to Sandy and Stewy.

Afterward, Roman pitches Gerri an odd plan to sink Kendall, which involves tracking down a “hobo” that Kendall paid to tattoo “KLR” on his head years ago. Gerri’s not sure about the idea, but Roman forges ahead on the plan by himself.
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After leaving Kendall’s, Greg heads over to an early one-on-one meeting with Logan at his apartment, where he worries that there might be “goons and stooges and roughjacks there to administer a beating.” When he gets there, he instead has a rum and coke with Logan.

He makes it clear that Greg’s role at Waystar will start to “get complicated” if he keeps sticking by Kendall’s side, suggesting that he joins them and stands in unity with their lawyers. With Greg still on the fence, Logan offers for him to decide what he wants from the company to sweeten the deal, as he has a bit of leverage.

After a fair amount of convincing, Frank persuades Kendall to meet with Josh, pushing the narrative that if Logan does step away from Waystar, Kendall will have the upper hand moving forward. Finally agreeing, he heads off by helicopter and then plane—separately from Logan—to meet with Josh on his island.

Throughout this, Tom is distracted by his possibly-impending jail time, ranking the nearby prisons he would prefer to be sent to. “I’m leaning towards FCI Otisville as my number one,” he half-excitedly-yet-nervously says to Shiv.

Shiv meets with Connor as he wants to gain some “real-world experience” that will make him seem more legitimate when it comes to running for office in four years. She suggests that he does a wine tasting show on their food network, to which Connor greatly objects.

The conversation quickly turns sour after that, with Connor comparing Shiv’s current position to that of when she used to stamp the mail that came to their house as a child.

After departing the tarmac, Kendall arrives at Josh’s house slightly earlier than Logan, giving him a few minutes to rundown his relationship with his father. He explains that while it’s a bit of a mess right now, it’s not too complicated: “I’m better than my dad, but my dad is still better than Sandy and Stewy,” Kendall says to Josh.
Logan arrives—in almost the same exact navy baseball cap as Kendall—and the two have an awkward hug, mostly to show Josh that things are kind of okay between the two. Logan tries to convince Josh quickly, but he insists that the three of them go for a walk to talk it out.

Back at Waystar, Roman was able to locate the “tattoo man,” but there turns out to be a catch—he’s had most of the tattoo removed from his forehead, leaving just the faded initials of Kendall. The man refuses to give Roman a photo of his forehead pre-removal, who then offers $1 million for it (he later agrees).
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Tom pays Greg a visit at his new office/dungeon to figure out where he’s at on officially signing back with Waystar. Greg wants to be Operations Director of the Parks division, but instead of actually addressing that, Tom quickly shifts the conversation to himself and how he’s probably going to be in prison. He then starts to playfully try and fight Greg, who wants no part of it.

Walking with the two, Josh wants Kendall to reverse what he originally said about Logan and Waystar, but Kendall rejects that option. However, when Logan agrees with Josh and tells him to consider it, Kendall starts to believe that something else might be going on—that the two of them are possibly teaming up on him as part of a set-up.

At the office, Tom meets up with Shiv to discuss general things but is preoccupied once again with the possibility of going to prison. He talks about how he’s going to miss the chilled white wine they drink after work and how he could try and recreate it by fermenting fruit in the toilets at prison. Overall, Tom is in a very sensitive state, and though he’s trying not to let on that that’s why he’s acting so erratically; it’s starting to pour into his work.

Logan interrupts this conversation when he calls Shiv to tell her that Karl isn’t happy with her input at Waystar; he’s not going to challenge Karl on his thinking, which leaves Shiv somewhat surprised and questioning her work so far.

At lunch by the beach, Josh airs his concerns, and Logan rebuts them once again, making this whole event basically a back-and-forth with no real possibility of it ever being resolved.

Finally, Logan says something more compelling to Josh: that Kendall is a “good kid” and that he might be the one in charge one day. “It’s in his blood. He learned it all from me. And maybe he’s the best one of all of them.” After asking if Logan could agree to a few things on his “wish list,” it seems like Josh is leaning towards staying with him.

Alongside Kendall, Logan tells him that what he said at lunch was just to secure Josh, that Greg has come with him, and that he’s all alone now. They decide to head back to the house, and though Josh mentions that he could get carts for them to ride back in, he suggests walking once again. Kendall tells his father that if he retires immediately, he’ll go easy on him.

Logan starts to breathe heavily, making Kendall a bit worried about him. Although Josh keeps telling them he’s not lost, it sure seems like they’re walking awfully far in the wrong direction. After walking in the sun for so long, Logan finally grabs his side and chest and almost throws up, eventually sitting down on the side of the trail as Kendall calls for a doctor.
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At Waystar, Shiv interrupts an editorial meeting with ATN and asks Mark, who’s in charge of things, to start being tougher on the president because she feels that he’s being left off the hook for various different things. After Mark then leaks that Shiv has demanded that he does that, Logan has to deal with the mess while on the phone with the president.

After the entire walk and upon arriving back at the airport in New York, Kendall gets a call from Roman, who tells him that Josh has backed out of the deal. Just after this call, Kendall spots Josh on the tarmac cheerfully greeting Stewy—a massive slap in the face.