First of all, it has come to my attention that this is the penultimate episode of this season. Am I wrong, or has….very little actually happened this season so far, until tonight? There have been no consequences for anything, other than that Kendall’s Daddy is irked with him and he is like….very sad? (What else is new?) Great performances, as ever, and the episodes have been enjoyable and well-written and fun, but, plot-wise so far this season has been primarily just vamping. Fun vamping, but a lot of vamping. (I think it’s possible next week will be a plot EXPLOSION, but it’s definitely been a slow boil.)
ANYWAY. I know this wedding week was emotionally miserable and this is a family just full of fuckfaces, but I’m bitter and angry that I’m not in a Tuscan villa. Italy looked AMAZING in this episode, I’m intensely irked that I am not there! I’m sure all the Middle Managers at Waystar Royco are thrilled though — all the big wigs are off wearing sun hats in Tuscany and hearing that their parent wishes they were never born and they can leave at 7:00 pm without someone snidely saying, “half day?” Win-win!
And thus to the effs! This week, I have given an eff about everything. Nothing has gotten no effs. Well, maybe Greg and Ponytail only get half an eff. I LOVE Cousin Greg, but do we really think he would be invited to this wedding? He’s not even remotely related to the bride. I presume he ends up having to do something of import next week, but otherwise him being there felt like it’s contractually obligated that Nicholas Braun be in every episode (and also that it felt too mean to leave him home while everyone else was in Italy).
1-3 Effs, AKA This Is Moderately Diverting: Kendall has shaved his head. Everyone who has ever watched TV knows this means he is cracking up. I cannot blame him; Tommy “Mustache” Lascelles AKA Peter, Harriet Walter’s new husband, tried to disinvite Kendall to his own mother’s wedding, because it’s more of a coup to have Logan there, and that’s like…the least of Kendall’s issues. Kendall is real depressed, y’all. His dad won’t even let him quit the dumb company!
PS: I love that they’re introducing a podcast that’s doing a deep dive into the Curse of the Roys, including whatever is going on with Connor’s mother (I clearly will need to listen to this podcast! If only it were real) and — ominous drum roll here — the mysterious death (AKA secret murder-ish at Kendall’s hands) of a caterer at Shiv’s wedding. If it were 2015, HBO would pay two clever women to produce this podcast and use it as PR — the next wave of webserieses — but I don’t think they need to spend the money anymore.
4-7 Effs, AKA We Are Quite Intrigued: It seems like it’s FINALLY going to come out that Willa is (was? I’m unsure of her compensation structure here) an escort, and thus Connor has publicly proposed, to make an honest woman out of her. How did this news not emerge earlier, first of all? We allegedly had an entire primary season. I guess we can handwave that because the sitting president was running for re-election at the time and it wasn’t like a primary-primary. But come on. This intel surely would have been rustled up by the gossip journos before this, even just because Connor Roy is the eldest son of an incredibly powerful and famous person. Second: How did Connor never think about how to handle this issue previously? Third: Them being married does not erase the fact that she was an escort. It helps, but it’s still going to be a thing. Fourth: I think she should marry him, but get a VERY GENEROUS financial settlement out of it, including real estate. Connor and Will are the least fleshed-out characters on this show and you can kind of feel it here.
In other romantic entanglements, Gerri has a boyfriend and needs Roman to stop sending her dick pics. Instead he accidentally sends one to HIS FATHER, and Shiv implies to Logan that Roman is an HR nightmare waiting to happen, which HONESTLY IS TRUE, if not specifically in this case. Shiv is also being very manipulative to Gerri about this, trying to get Gerri to bring down Roman, more or less. Shiv is usually really bad at this, but apparently her terrible mother has truly awaken the Roy demon within in.
Also: I have NO IDEA why ASkars tweeting eggplant emojis would get the SEC pissed at Waystar Royco and the show has explained this business deal incredibly poorly. Now Logan is telling Hope Davis that they’re going to go under without ASkars’s money? Since when! Are you not making enough money from MyPillow.com ads on the cable news side? And now ASkars wants a merger? What is HAPPENING with this plot line? I feel like those stakes were not well communicated before now! I mean, I’m not mad at seeing a depressed ASkars in a villa on Lake Como but this story has not been adeptly told. (Also, his accent was all over the place in this episode, which is not an issue he usually has.) I actually think Waystar Royco merging with another company is potentially really interesting but I feel like the lead up to this has been….hamhanded at best, writing-wise. (Honestly, at a certain point, it feels like the show might as well just start having everyone talk in total business gibberish. “If those fucking fucks don’t sign the Blamsky Release, we’re fucked, Roman! Doesn’t anyone in here understand that the SEC and FCC are going to come down on us like a ton of fucking bricks if we don’t re-categorize the Maloney acquisition in the Comminsky files like the LTQ told us to do at the meeting of the Wrigley Commission? I swear to fuck, you fuckers, if I end up going to jail because someone forgot to fax the Canterbury journal white papers to the people at the Federal Reserve, I’m gonna blow this place up!”)
8-10 Effs: THIS IS WHAT I AM HERE FOR: There is truly nothing I love more in popular culture than a wedding in a beautiful location, peopled by miserable rich folks, going horribly wrong on an emotional level. (The show agrees, as this is the second such one! Who’s gonna die at this one? I think they want us to think it’s gonna be Kendall but it will actually be someone else.) In fact, this entire season has basically just been a series of Big Event Set Pieces — this wedding, the shareholders meeting, the Future Fascists of America Fuckfest Fest, Kendall’s hideous birthday party — and no real connective day-to-day tissue. I’m not actively mad at this, because I love a set piece, but I do think it speaks to the fact that this season has felt a little All Show and No Go.
Anyway, basically everyone at this wedding weekend so far has been absolutely awful. Shiv was awful to her mother; her mother was extremely awful to her. Logan was AWFUL to Kendall and made his grandson be his food taster in case Kendall was poisoning him. (Admittedly, I also thought there was a 15% chance that Kendall WAS poisoning him.) Logan was also mean to Roman! And Shiv literally told Tom she doesn’t love him and I don’t think it was just some weird sex thing they do, although they’re kind of pretending it is. She literally does not love him. (Because otherwise, she would have said, “Tom, don’t be ridiculous, of course I love you,” and not, “I may not love you, but I do love you.” What does THAT mean?!) Anyway, great idea for them to procreate!!
Bits of note which didn’t fit into our super scientific system of effs but which deserve recognition nevertheless: “He’s not posh. He’s bought all his own furniture.”; That gif of Alexander Skarsgard barfing cash!; there were SO many expensive sunglasses on people in this episode!; I honestly AM worried about Harriet Walter’s pre-nup? This man seems like a bounder! Don’t give him your flat, Harriet!; “Ten years is a like two-and-a-half Olympics!”; the orchestral pieces in this episode were gorgeous.
Finally, this interview with Jeremy Strong in The New Yorker is quite a good read. (I’ve read that Brian Cox finds him VERY IRRITATING, but he seems actually concerned about him in this; other actors, however, seem annoyed.) People on Twitter have been reading into it that Kendall will die at the end of this season, but I actually didn’t get that from this, personally. (I’m interested to hear your take!) I also saw some chatter that people think he’s dead at the end of this episode, but I really didn’t get that. Passed out, rock bottom, yes. Dead? No. (Not yet?)
And, finally, the best outfit of the week lives above, in the header: Honestly, there were a surprising lot of good looks this week. Shiv takes this one but it was close!