Sunday, August 25, 2019

REVIEW: 'Succession' - Logan Exerts His Power Through Constant Humiliation During a Corporate Retreat in 'Hunting'

HBO's Succession - Episode 2.03 "Hunting"

Logan informs his skeptical management team of his plan to make another attempt to acquire Pierce, a rival media company and one of the most respected names in news, and brings back Frank to work on the deal. Convinced the acquisition is a terrible idea, Shiv asks Tom to deliver the message to Logan at a corporate retreat in Hungary. Greg worries his pre-meeting with a Logan biographer puts his standing with the family at risk. Connor's presidential announcement irritates Logan.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of HBO's Succession.

"Hunting" was written by Tony Roche and directed by Andrij Parekh

Greg tells a Logan Roy biographer that the CEO of Waystar Royco can be scary and vindictive. That's the way this hour begins. It's the first indication that something explosive is about to happen. The second comes when Logan's doctor tells him the side effects of his drugs are irritation and paranoia. He also cautions Logan against attending the company's annual retreat in Hungary. As such, all indications pointed to this trip aboard being extremely chaotic and destructive. That's exactly what occurs as well. But it also features Logan with so much riotous fury. He has always been a fiery personality. And now, he feels as if he is surrounded by a group of company yes men who refuse to be honest about what they think of the prospective deal to acquire the Pierce media company. They all see it as a terrible piece of business fueled by Logan's petty need to win over his brother. Ewan doesn't even have a personal stake in Pierce as an actual company. They just produce the news that he watches. That's the whole source of this drama. Logan wants to acquire all media so that ATN is the only network producing the news and informing the public of what they should think. Shiv understands that's not the service that ATN typically supplies. Yes, ATN may be one of the most lucrative pieces of the company right now. But it shouldn't be seen as a trusted news source in the same vein as The New York Times or The Washington Post. And yet, it all becomes a matter of who is willing to stand up against Logan to tell him that this is a decision that could lead to financial ruin for the overall company. Everyone is very tentative about that decision during this retreat. Shiv isn't there. She sees her future with the family company. But instead, she is at Connor's New Mexico ranch trying to curb his impulse to run for President of the United States. Connor is basically just boasting how he won't pay any federal taxes and teases the government to try to put him in jail. He views himself as above even the most elite in society. He looks down on them. It's such a narcissistic driven campaign. And yet, that has always been the mentality that has afforded a whole lot to this family. This is a business that feels the need to push one's own agenda no matter what the consequences may be. In fact, it's the mindset that consequences of any fateful decision be damned. They will forge ahead no matter what. Greg doesn't have that assertiveness. He is terrified of being shunned from the family after it's discovered he was the one who talked with the biographer. He was the one who said an innocuous but true comment about Logan which may spurn further investigation into the family and company. That doesn't happen though. He wants to believe that he can still trust Tom. Of course, everyone believes that Tom can be the fateful messenger who can deliver all of the bad and unfortunate news to Logan. He is a part of the family but he still has the outside perspective to be seen as reasonable and objective. Tom is always looking for that way in with his father-in-law. He continues to see his and Shiv's future plans as a team effort. He wants to be a part of the decision-making process. But Shiv's ambitions may not have room for him. Intimacy still exists within their relationship. It just comes at a time in which they are chasing similar things with vastly different results. Tom wants Logan's support. Instead, it leads to an epic night of humiliation because Logan knows that Tom isn't fully onboard with this acquisition. In fact, Kendall is increasingly seeming like the only person within the company that Logan can actually trust.

Of course, that is very scary as well. Kendall had these grand ambitions in the first season. He wasn't able to follow through on them though. Sure, he has created a huge headache for Logan because of this potential takeover mounted by Sandy and Stewy. However, Kendall is now firmly on his father's side no matter what. That is very endearing to Logan. He wants people to see the world in the same way that he does. He wants them to hold the same values. He hoped that his children would come up with the same expectations of the world. But that was impossible because they had such drastically different upbringings than he had. Logan sees himself as this all-powerful CEO who built one of the largest media conglomerates from the ground up. That is a significant achievement. He just now walks around with the assumption that his ideas are always the best ones. They typically are. That's what makes him such a formidable force. He has the power and arrogance to destroy lives and actually move the ground around him. That's how he projects his influence. But he isn't always right. Nor is it possible to have formed a successor who sees the world exactly the same way. Of course, he may be forging that out of Kendall following his murderous accident. Kendall certainly has that ambition now to be just like his father. It's so abusive to see Logan force Tom, Karl and Greg to act like pigs and fight over a piece of sausage. That's his form of a twisted power trip to put people in their place. He doesn't want to sustain any serious threat to his leadership. He doesn't want anyone to question his judgment. More than that, he wants people to back him up when he creates this display of humiliation. He wants his colleagues to join in on pressing these three to demean themselves in this way. They mostly abide as well. Kendall also aspires to approach the world this way. He sees the value in playing Roman's loyalties to flush out just how trustworthy he actually is. He wants to know if he was the one who spoke to the biographer or teased the news about this possible acquisition. It is true that word got out about Logan's renewed interested in Pierce because of Roman. He just wanted to impress his father. He wanted the validation that came from delivering Logan the thing he has long wanted. It didn't matter whether or not he thought it was a strong strategic decision for the company. Kendall and Shiv are the ones determining its value. They land on separate sides of the issue. But Roman is focused on being seen as a capable man in this world who is deserving of the Roy name and legacy. Logan doesn't see him as such. He sees a pathetic moron who doesn't understand the world. Now, Logan is petty and vindictive. He has created such a destructive and harmful environment that has damaged his children. They don't know if they can trust anyone's intentions as pure. They may always see any action as a potential move to flush out what is truly going on. That's the way Logan raised them. Logan may appreciate what Kendall is doing for him now. But he still invites Shiv into the fold. He continues to tease her along. But this could still be something that implodes for her especially since she wasn't able to stop Connor from releasing his video.