Way back in the day when Alias was on,  Heather had the very funny idea that someone should write a blog from the point-of-view of one of Sydney Bristow’s SD-6 coworkers who really resent how much she gets away with at the office. And whenever I watch Succession, I always think about the random middle managers at Waystar Royco who go home at night and complain to their husband about what a complete shitshow it is over there and how much insane personal family drama gets dragged into absolutely everything. They’re just peacefully trying to cover up cruise ship sex/murder scandals, but two or more Roy children are always screaming creative “fuck”-based insults in front of the fax machine, and also they’re pretty sure the youngest one is trying to sleep with legal council. It’s a lot!!!!

It was suggested that we recap Succession on last week’s post about the current Town & Country piece on Sarah Snook, wherein it was revealed that Shiv is the youngest Roy despite the fact that Roman obviously has Youngest Child Energy, and I thought it sounded fun, so now we’re doing it! I’m the oldest child, so I am bossy. (I’m actually gonna sidebar here, in fact, and note that I feel like Kendall has MASSIVE Oldest Child Energy, despite the fact that Connor is actually the oldest — although I guess they have different mothers so that might confuse their Birth Order Energy? Is Connor’s mother alive? I don’t think we even know her name. [Okay, I just researched this and she’s a mystery but she might be in a mental hospital. As I’ve always said: This show is a massive soap opera, so gird your loins for Connor’s Nameless Non-Dead mom to make an appearance at the most dramatic time possible.])

A brief housekeeping note: I’ve decided to write these posts more like our Game of Thrones recaps, instead of getting  into hardcore recapping the plot point-for-point the way I did with Downton Abbey, because those were really time-intensive  (as much as I truly did love writing them). (I should remind you that I also said I wasn’t going to fully recap-recap the last season of Mad Men and then I like…couldn’t help myself? So this situation may be fluid.) Much as I did with Mad Men, I thought it might be fun to have a little rating system to help me structure the discussion of these episodes, and as this is Succession, that system will naturally be How Many F*cks Did I Give? about events in the episode. And instead of getting into all the various looks of each episode, I’m just going to pick my favorite outfit and use it for the post’s header. Okay, now that everyone knows how this is going to work: Let’s do this!

General Disclaimer: With the exception of maybe three people, I hope it goes without saying that everyone on this show is a nightmare person who needs massive psychological assistance, to take a vow of silence, and/or possibly court-mandated anger management courses.

Zero Effs, AKA Who Cares?!?!?!?One of the best things about this show is that they have trimmed almost all the extraneous plot fat, so far, and I give at least an eff about basically everything. It’s not like the final season of Mad Men which I loved but which also decided to faff about with Don’s Sad Waitress for like 90 minutes longer than we needed.  I guess I maybe don’t really care about Connor’s presidential run except I assume this is going to come into play later and it’s very amusing work from ol’ Cameron Frye. (This didn’t really come up this week at all.)

Speaking of no effs, though, I will note that I am concerned that other than Gerri and Roman, this show does not have any couples that I’m invested in seeing get together and I think Succession could raise its own bar a bit if there were a romantic subplot that went devastatingly wrong in like…an actual angst-ridden fashion. (I think Tom and Shiv are not this couple, although their relationship is fascinating. I cannot figure out if they love each other or not, despite that chat about a “balanced love portfolio.” I think he loves her and she doesn’t love him but some of that might just be Matthew Macfadyen’s face? I’m interested to hear your take on this.) For all the f-bombs dropped on this show, there is a very, very low amount of actual banging.

1-3 Effs,  AKA This Is Moderately Diverting:

a. I started to despair at some point in this episode as to whether Shiv was ever going to change. Outfits, I mean, not herself. (Although she also has some personal issues she should probably work on.) I know the last several episodes have taken place over only one or two days but that khaki suit was so drab. I’m sure it’s intentional — she’s blending into the blah blah overlooked something something — but I needed a new pantsuit! And the gray/blue combo she wore later to meet up with her father (which I was assume was referential to menswear very intentionally) was also a snooze from a sartorial perspective. Next week, however, it appears we’re getting a gala — that should produce something.

b. I am glad to see that Marcia is back. She’s so elegant and also so iron-willed; I love that she basically blackmailed Fisher Stevens into making it financially worthwhile for her not to divorce Logan. Good for you, Marcia! This is also where I admit that having several pandemic months between now and the last episode means that I didn’t totally remember why she’s mad at Logan — but, again, this is a soap opera and you don’t really need to know why a couple is estranged, just that they were. Anyway, in case you were in the same boat: She was mad because he cheated on her with Holly Hunter but also because he didn’t tell her he was going to step down as CEO. I think? Marcia’s true feelings are often interestingly inscrutable to me. (While we’re on the topic of Shit I Don’t Totally Remember, I really need Kendall to give Sanaa Lathan or someone a quick rundown of who’s on the board and what….all….that is, again, with this latest hostile takeover blah blah. Unlike whenever Alexis Carrington Colby Dexter Dexter Rowan was trying to ruin someone professionally by stealing their oil rights or something on Dynasty,  Succession really expects you to keep actual track of business shit and I only have so much room in my brain.)

4-7 Effs, AKA We Are Quite Intrigued:

a. I am always here for poor Cousin Greg and the fact that a literal sculpture of a Trojan Horse was wheeled past him as he left Kendall’s Ex’s Fantastic Apartment That She’s Let Him Take Over God Knows Why was sublime. THE UNIVERSE IS TELLING YOU NOT TO BE SO TRUSTING, GREG.  Everything Nicholas Braun does is hilarious; his conversations with James Cromwell were particularly funny. This poor tall hapless child.

b. Is it a bad sign for me personally that I am attracted to Kendall? He’s the worst yet also…he’s so sad and intense? I don’t know. I want to make out with him more often than I think is probably wise. (I suspect it’s because, for all his many MANY faults — which do include, in case you forgot, actual vehicular manslaughter — he’s one of the few people in this world who attempts sincerity.) I’ll talk to my therapist about this on Tuesday.

8-10 Effs: THIS IS WHAT I AM HERE FOR: Speaking of emotional manipulation: WOW this episode had a lot of people emotionally manipulating each other! You could make a flow-chart of who is emotionally manipulating who and it would look like this:

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Because Rich People Emotionally Manipulating Other Rich People is one of my very favorite genres of television, I therefore thought it was extremely satisfying. Delicious, even. All the scenes with Kendall, Roman, Connor, and Shiv were particularly enjoyable. (Jeremy Strong really is good in this part, even if he is allegedly irritatingly Method in this role.) And I truly think that Shiv might be the meanest person on the whole show. Obviously this is because she’s overcompensating for being underestimated because she’s a woman, but it’s still an interesting choice; I find her fascinating but I also think she’s extremely cruel and I might sympathize with her the least of all of them. And I’m excited to see how everyone deciding to side with Dad over Kendall (who is trying to do the right thing, as best as he can see it) bites each and every one one of these people on the ass, because it definitely will. Poor Kendall — I hope he can come up with some cool tweets to get through the night.

Bits of note which didn’t fit into our super scientific system of effs but which deserve recognition are: The photo that comes up on Shiv’s phone when her father calls is Saddam Hussein; Nicholas Braun saying “five stars” when he got out of his Uber was adorable; as one of you asked last week, where are Kendall’s kids?! For that matter, what happened to his ex? Was she just off wallpapering another room? Wasn’t his girlfriend also there last week? I guess that apartment IS truly vast; I was less than 98% sure that those donuts were not poisoned; Sanaa Lathan didn’t have anything to do this week, but her glasses are fantastic and if she’d had more screen time, she would have easily gotten Outfit of the Week. Instead, Gerri gets it on the strength of her really good accessories, which I had a hard time getting a good picture of, so just trust me! Her chunky artsy rings are great. (Honestly, almost everyone looked wrinkled and worn out this week, which was in character.) I’m fairly sure Gerri is going to regret, like, a lot of things when this is all over, but not those rings.

I look forward to hearing what you did or did not give an eff about in the comments!

Tags: Succession