Sunday, August 11, 2019

REVIEW: 'Succession' - Logan Wants His Family's Advice Regarding the Future of the Company in 'The Summer Palace'

HBO's Succession - Episode 2.01 "The Summer Palace"

Still addled from the events in England, Kendall tries to make amends with his dad for his takeover attempt betrayal. Logan receives some unvarnished advice from his financial banker about the next best move for Waystar Royco. As Tom maneuvers for a new position in the company, Shiv tries to determine whether Logan is playing mind games regarding his successor.

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 season premiere of HBO's Succession.

"The Summer Palace" was written by Jesse Armstrong and directed by Mark Mylod

Every member of the Roy family is broken and emotionally stunted in their own way. They are all truly awful people. And yet, that's the easy way to describe who they are. They are shameless and callous regarding how their actions could impact the lives of others. They are all rich and entitled. Their trivial pursuits can have life-changing consequences for people of lower economic status. A man is dead because of Kendall's self-implosion throughout the first season. He believed he was working hard to replace his father at the top of the company. And yet, Logan understood that Kendall couldn't take the reins. He was completely unprepared for the role. He hadn't actually achieved anything in his career. He was tentative about all of his actions. He could certainly deliver threats. But the only consistency in his life was being an addict. That was when he truly did the most damage. Sure, he teamed with Sandy and Stewy to stage a hostile takeover of the family company. But that was only disruptive to the family and shareholders. It was the action that sent markets into turmoil and the family seeing Kendall as the enemy. But again, a man is dead because Kendall needed to get high. That's the thing that completely changes his life. He is now entirely subservient to his father. It's a startling transition. Shiv and Roman expect their brother to put up a fight to possibly defend his actions. He can't manage that. He can barely remember the one phrase that he needs to push in order to calm the world about any uncertainty over the family or the company. When he does recall it, then he relies on it over and over again. It's the simple explanation. It provides him with a way to discuss his betrayal without getting into the details of why he is serving his father once more. Of course, those details are still forthcoming. Logan needs to know everything about what these outside bidders are trying to do. He wants to know their game plan so that he can fight back. But Kendall is also updated on the status of the police investigation in England. It presents as an open-and-shut case where no one suspects that he was at the crime scene. And yet, that may not be a certainty. It just leaves him completely rattled. He has the desire to take time off in order to process everything that happened. He understands that he needs to do that. But his family needs him. They call on him to ease tensions that were ignited by his actions. He isn't in the right headspace to do interviews and discuss complicated points of business. That's his role though. He is still seemingly rewarded by being named to a high executive position alongside Roman. That's the promotion that the siblings have long been competing over. Logan has always wanted to pass his company down to one of his children. Kendall and Roman presented as the only viable options. And yet, they have both messed up in some significant and costly ways. Now, there is potentially a hostile takeover of the company as well as an investigation into how a telecom satellite launch ended with an explosion. Those are damning events that could ultimately destroy this company. As such, it needs to be an active choice on Logan's part to keep fighting. This could be the lucrative time for the family to cash out. They could leave while they are still on top. Logan is uncertain about what the future holds for these vast media conglomerates. He is willing to be swayed either way in this debate. The family just doesn't trust him. They see this as a trick to see who is still loyal to him after Kendall's betrayal. That means he has to conduct these honest discussions in private. It's in that moment where Logan and Shiv are finally genuine about what the future of the company could be. That's such an inspired moment. It's one built around manipulation and deceit. They plan on springing the news of her being his successor on the world at a later date. Right now, it's just a private discussion to prove that they are on the same side and moving in the right direction. Shiv isn't even honest with Tom. But this is also her taking power and being so happy to be recognized in this way. It's real and that's all that she has ever wanted. She has been made to doubt it every step of the way. Things could still grow more complicated. And yet, the season presents as a new power structure emerging within the Roy family. That's very exciting and could create even more juicy turmoil.