Sunday, November 21, 2021

REVIEW: 'Succession' - The Roy Family Analyzes the Potential Republican Candidates for President in 'What It Takes'

HBO's Succession - Episode 3.06 "What It Takes"

Logan and team head to Virginia for a conservative political conference, where Roman finds out surprising news about his mother.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides 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.

"What It Takes" was written by Will Tracy and directed by Andrij Parekh

The leaders of Waystar Royco gather to appoint the next President of the United States. They do so not from a sense of patriotism or morality. They have their own selfish interests. They view this position as one that will dramatically shape their own livelihoods. They have the influence to make any of these nominees ascend to the office. They can make or break candidates. It's all a stealth negotiation. It's also these powerful people playing with the fate of the world without any consideration for the repercussions of their actions. They aren't choosing the best candidate for the country. They largely share the same political views. Shiv is the only person who scoffs when one candidate does the general stump speech about the Republican party being the voice of the working class. That isn't true in the slightest. But it's also just baked into the overall premise of this endeavor. The politicians believe they need the donors and the media in order to secure the support. They believe they can earn that leverage by presenting a certain way. But it mostly showcases the limits of their power. They make these blanket promises hoping that it will lead to success. Shiv is the only person who is aware of the danger all of this may cause. That may break her. She started the series as a political operative. She has expertise in this arena. Sure, everyone notes how her politics differ from the people in the room. Her opinion is still validated and sought out. But her history is also used as a weapon against her. Roman doesn't prevail because he crafts a more cogent argument on behalf of his chosen candidate. He simply shares his father's immorality when it comes to this decision. Shiv can ardently attack the fascistic option because of the danger he poses. He has no true morals. He is willing to take ideas from anywhere. He just happens to accept most of them from white nationalism and supremacy. Those aren't turn offs to Roman. That's startling. It once again proves that no one in this show is inherently good. Even Greg is caught being celebrated by the white nationalists. That's a moment of joy for him in a life slowly being consumed by dread over the likelihood of his prison sentence. None of this fundamentally matters though. Logan gets to name the next President. He is trusted with that responsibility. His decision is made by whomever will promise a lenient Justice Department. That may not even be necessary in the grand scheme of things either. This threat may be going away all on its own. However, the family is still fanning the flames of this conspiracy. They are fighting to protect what's theirs. Logan has prevailed so many times. It's hard to bet against him.

Tom actually takes a meeting with Kendall though. He does so in the midst of his own tragic depression regarding prison. Shiv doesn't want that energy in her life. It's an obsession she can't tolerate. Nor can she see it as inevitable. Tom and Greg may not ultimately go to prison. That's been talked up so much at this point that it may just be misdirection. They still fear that fate though. Kendall fears that he is no longer being treated seriously. He views himself as God. Anyone who doesn't validate that opinion is a traitor. They aren't fighting hard enough on his behalf. That even extends to Lisa Arthur. She was labeled as the best in the business when it came to these legal issues. Kendall has stomped all over her advice. He believes he is smarter than her. On one hand, he has engaged in the political realm for a long time. Politics informs so much in life. Both the media and the judiciary are influenced by it. The vice versa is true as well. On the other hand though, Kendall is a terrible client who goes rogue. He is a reckless individual. He doesn't have any true allies. Tom may be more susceptible to the pitch than Kendall's siblings. Even then, Tom is skeptical because he knows Kendall has a track record of failing. Logan has always been a success story. Part of that is the legacy everyone has built up in their own minds about him. They fear him. They are ordered into obedience. That's true of Shiv even though she doesn't want to appear in a picture with the far-right candidate her father has approved. It's all seen as a battle. Shiv prevailed when it came to preventing the hostile takeover of the company. She believes she hasn't gotten the necessary appreciation from that. Instead, she has to earn good will from her father once more. Meanwhile, Roman can do very little and receive countless praise. It's a fascinating dynamic. These sibling relationships are informed by so much. None of them want to take Connor's potential candidacy for President seriously. Logan does indulge in that idea for a beat though. Greg is the only one who objects over some kind of patriotism. He's not wrong. His reasoning isn't what ultimately pulls Connor out of the running though. It's all a big show meant to impress Logan. It's all about which narrative can be bombastic enough to grab the attention of the public. That, in turn, will fuel support for ATN. Not all of the candidates may like the channel. However, they all acknowledge that they need its support in order to get their message out there. One would hope those in charge of the media give that responsibility the weight that it deserves. That's clearly not what actually happens though. Logan makes his selection. That's all there is to it. Politics is one big game. Logan is a proven winner. No one else can gather the necessary allies to make a dent in his empire. That remains true and consistent. Even when people are shown to be living happy lives outside of his orbit, it's all seen as a joke. It may hit personally in some moments. At the end of the day, it's all about amassing and flexing power. Logan continues to have that in strides as Kendall's case crumbles. He does so even when this season highlights more health problems for him than ever before. That may trip him up eventually. It did with the shareholder meeting. He returns with a vengeance here though.