Sunday, September 8, 2019

REVIEW: 'Succession' - Two Media Families Sit Down to Discuss the Terms of Logan's Acquisition in 'Tern Haven'

HBO's Succession - Episode 2.05 "Tern Haven"

Logan attempts to solidify his buyout of PGM at a weekend retreat at the Pierce family home, where Shiv, Roman and Connor veer from their carefully orchestrated roles. As the Pierces question whether an alliance with Waystar Royco will tarnish their legacy, Kendall makes his case to Naomi Pierce during a drug-filled night.

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.

"Tern Haven" was written by Will Tracy and directed by Mark Mylod

Logan does things according to his own time table. He refuses to be bullied by anyone else. That has made him an abhorrent father. And yet, it has still led to a ton of business success. He will still bail his children out of any situation they find themselves in. Kendall is forever indebted to his father. He is playing the role of dutiful son and heir apparent. Kendall doesn't view himself as such. In fact, he's still destroying his life with drugs. He's a horrifying influence on others. But he holds no power in the world anymore. He may actually see himself as free and unburdened. That isn't true in the slightest. He has this massive secret bearing down on him. It is all-consuming to the point where he may not be effective at anything in his life. He may not even have control over his own body anymore. But Kendall does whatever his father tasks him to do. That's what Logan expects from every member of his family. He needs them on their best behavior in order to woo the Pierce family. If the acquisition of PGM goes through, then he will cut off the takeover threat completely. That's what is driving Logan forward at the moment. He never wants to tip his hand though. He never wants anyone to know what game he is playing. He's a man who constantly needs this perception of strength. He may honestly want Shiv to be his successor at the company. He can't let that be known throughout the world though. He can't actually put that down in words that will allow the markets to settle knowing that the company will be secure no matter what happens to its current CEO. That was a major fear at the start of the series. But now, Logan is right back at top making these major decisions. He was the one who wanted to acquire PGM. Shiv didn't think it was a good idea. It was a strategy born out of a personal vendetta. That should never be the rationale for a business transaction. But that's the way in which Logan conducts his business. He is very spiteful to those who aren't loyal to him. His family bears the brunt of that over and over again. Tom and Greg were humiliated during the corporate retreat. And now, Tom once more needs to be the punching bag to blame all of the problems over ATN's news content. Pierce is a much more respected brand in the news business. They see themselves as changing the culture and influencing policy. They view ATN as nothing more than a garbage tabloid that destroys lives. That may fundamentally be true. And yet, Waystar Royco has the money right now. Logan can increase the PGM offer by a billion dollars without sweating it at all. At the end of the day, it all revolves around the money. Some negotiations may need to be done about how much influence the Pierce family will still have over their company. But this is something that Logan wants. He views himself as the one who goes out and gets it. He may congratulate his family in the end. But he is the one who stood firm and closed the deal when everyone else was screwing it up. Logan is so vastly disappointed in his family. He needs them to stay on mission but everyone seems to be failing at their specific jobs. He doesn't see them as fully complicated human beings. Instead, they are just his servants who have to do his bidding. They are no different than the maids, cooks and butlers that these families employ. That's startling. But it also proves quite destructive for the family relationships. Shiv feels like she has no choice but to announce herself as the successor. It's a power move that may completely backfire on her. She sees it as the best way to land this deal. Nan and Rhea certainly respect her politics more than Logan's. But Logan is willing to blow everything up because he doesn't want to announce Shiv as his successor unless he's the one making that decision. He doesn't want to cede power in any regard. That is so devastating. This is something that Shiv wants but she will continually feel bad and messed up about wanting it so long as Logan remains in charge.

The Roy family doesn't feel like celebrating when the news comes in that the Pierce family will accept the acquisition. The only person who does so is Greg who wasn't present at this dysfunctional gathering of the families. Instead, he walks in at the last second bringing a completely different energy to the proceedings that no one else in the room can appreciate. This weekend wasn't awesome. That wouldn't be the word Shiv, Kendall or Roman would use to describe what has just happened in their lives. Kendall may see it all as an important step in his recovery even though he is still constantly abusing drugs. He sees the amount of cocaine he is currently snorting as perfectly acceptable. He hit his rock bottom by killing a man. As such, he may have the clarity of knowing just how far he can go. That's dangerous because this substance can always be toxic and destructive no matter how much he inhales through his nose. He's also encouraging that in another person. Naomi seems better off in the beginning. But she is just as broken as Kendall. She is influential in helping this deal go through simply because of Kendall's reassurance that she could take the money and walk away from all of this completely. The embrace of the unknown can be scary but thrilling as well. That's what fuels her reversal over the deal. Kendall makes that happen. So, it's not just Logan's perception of strength that helps get things done. Logan's actions may be the response that seals the deal for good. But the conclusion of this hour does go back and forth on whether this acquisition is happening. That shows just how tentative and delicate so many business relationships can be. Each person puts on a nice and unassuming face. But behind closed doors, they may all be greedy monsters capable of heinous actions. Now, the Pierce family seems more stable than the Roy's have ever been. The head of their family isn't someone who rules from a place of perceived strength and fear. Logan has always had that going for him. His children have that quality as well but to varying degrees. They can all be monstrous in their own regards. Logan may respect Roman for going through the management training program. But Roman is constantly forcing Gerri to cater to his sexual needs in a way that he simply can't express with Tabitha. He believes that if two people agree that an immoral action is actually good than it loses the bad stigma attached to it. That is such an awful mindset. Roman is in a position of power abusing someone who works for him. It doesn't matter that she goes along with it. She may see that as the only way to get him to leave her alone. Appeasing him could be seen as encouragement though. This action will only intensify further. Gerri may be in the room for many major discussions within the company. She may have Logan's trust. But she is belittled by so many as well. That's a scandal just waiting to burst at any moment. It's all because the Roy family believes that they have to appear strong. That has just come with the cracks appearing in such pronounced ways because they have never been allowed to express any kind of emotions out of fear of the anger it will create within their patriarch. He may be happy about the Pierce deal but he remains fairly isolated within his own family as well.