‘Succession’ Season 4 Episode 2 Review: ‘Trial’ – Spoilers
With Waystar on the way out, can business titan Royco really “build something better” or is he just a lonely old pirate missing his loyal crew?
(Editor’s note: Included in the following review spoilers for “Succession” Season 4, Episode 2, “Trial”.)
“This isn’t the end,” Logan shouts toward the end of his gut-wrenching speech on ATN news. “I’m building something better—something faster, lighter, meaner, wilder, and I’m going to do it from here, with you.”
Even before Logan (Brian Cox) screams his fiery tirade at a roomful of Manhattan reporters, “You’re fucking pirates,” it’s clear he’s won them over. The worried looks of Greg (Nicholas Braun) and Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) gave way to nodding heads and cautious smiles. At the end, applause breaks out, cheers are heard, and Greg the Egg grins. But like so many “successions”, the end result does not represent the truth of what happened.
In my sister’s absence, Logan is grasping at straws. His impromptu speech is staged on copy paper boxes. He is barely three inches taller than Tom. Some of his first words: “I’m going to spend a lot more time with you because I love it here” – outright lies. Logan doesn’t want to be here. He wants to gut Pierce Global Media and rebuild it in his own image. Before that, he wanted to head the megaconglomerate formed from the merger of Waystar-Royco and GoJo. However, Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgärd) denied him the latter option, just as his children – by outbidding PGM – took away the former.
Well, Logan is a man without a mission. A pirate lost at sea trying to build a better ship without a loyal crew – or at least the crew he likes. Sure, he can still gather a few deckhands, but his first mates are moving on. He can warn Gerrit (J. Smith Cameron) that he is not out the door yet. He can get Tom and Greg to do whatever he wants (without formally influencing anyone to hire his assistant/humble as the new ATN anchor, of course). And yes, he can scare the bejesus out of his employees — like Santa Claus as an assassin — but his actual power is waning, and he knows it. Last week, he went from the saddest birthday party ever to an even sadder birthday dinner where he contemplated the afterlife with his “best buddy” and paid bodyguard Colin (Scott Nicholson). This week she defiantly canceled her kids’ helicopter so they’d miss their brother’s rehearsal dinner, then divided the little trio by stealing Roman (Kieran Culkin) to work with her at ATN.
These are not the machinations of a media mogul; these are the desperate actions of a wayward, unloved retiree—worrying about what’s next while manipulating the only people he still has power over: his family. On the surface, you can put on a show and piss people off. But underneath, he’s just an old man trying to push away his biggest fears. It’s like how Roman says at the beginning of episode 2, “Man, dad was a god. And tomorrow he sells the empire to a 4chan swede and hands out jobs for the plagues.
It would be a mistake to say that Logan would be more than happy to see GoJo acquire Waystar. Logan will hate his children (and their supporters) forever if they break up his huge business. Logan has to protect his legacy and wants to make a “good” sale on his terms. Unfortunately, he is dealing with “non-serious people” whose only ambition is to burn him to the ground.
Well, two of them anyway. After getting a taste of paternal blood in the Season 4 premiere, Kendall (Jeremy Strong) and Shiv (Sarah Snook) want more. If their disdain for PGN wasn’t made clear in the opening scenes of episode 2 – complaining that the current shows are only for college professors, before turning to ‘What’s Happening in Africa’. that Shiv correctly identifies as ‘Homework: The Show’ – the pair’s bloodlust becomes apparent during ‘The Trial’.
Courtesy of Macall B. Polay/HBO
As Roman and Kendall mock Kerry’s (Zoe Winters) ATN debut, Shiv calls Sandy (Hope Davis), who wants her to consider voting against selling GoJo. “Maybe we’re not just waving this around,” Shiv is quick to admit. “It might make my dad mad, but that might be okay.” From that moment on, he goes on a crusade to convince his brothers that angering their father is in their best interest. He brings it up early, only to be rejected, but he sticks by Connor’s (Alan Ruck) disastrous rehearsal dinner, his sad excuse for an after-party (no one sings Leonard Cohen’s “Famous Blue Raincoat” hours before his wedding), and a surprise sit-down with Logan, the kids once in his private karaoke room. Shiv hardly needed another reason to make his father’s life miserable (not after the fun of stealing PGN), but he got one when he helped Tom lock up Manhattan’s best divorce lawyer, putting him in an early hole in the legal battle that follows. I wouldn’t say Shiv is blinded by rage—he’s nowhere near stupid enough to burn his soon-to-be-inherited billions for revenge—but he doesn’t see all the pieces in play.
Which brings us to Kendall. Everything you need to know about the mental state of Tom Ford’s favorite Buddhist can be summed up in two scenes: the first is when Lukas Matsson Facetimes his sleep-deprived “friend” to tell Kendall not to mess with Stewy (Arian Moayed) and Sandy. . Lukas firmly says, “Either back off or I’m walking.” So what does Kendall do? She hangs up the phone, opens the Messages app, and sends Stewy a text. It doesn’t matter what the numbers are either. Kendall believes Lukas and sees an opportunity to royally con Papa Roy. So he takes it. Later, on her way home, Kendall smiles. Why? Well, her brother (who is getting married tomorrow) has just declared that his biggest superpower is the ability to survive without love, his father has called all four of his kids “fucking dopes” and he’s about to blow a huge paycheck (which he has to pay for PGN, not to mention continue he lives a lavish life). But none of that matters as long as Logan gets it.
If Kendall or Shiv were to stay, they might realize that Logan has run out of options—he’s ended up running a news network he doesn’t even want after being cut from his larger company and cut off from his kids. (He even admits he wanted them for his birthday! He was telling a story!) Instead, their stubborn insistence on screwing their dad pushed his wary Romans into Logan’s waiting arms, giving the patriarch more than just a card against the other kids. , but provides him with a path to prosperity. If the united front of the brothers is broken, what will happen to the PGN deal? What about the GoJo store? What happens to their family property, if not to the family itself? Maybe Logan was right. Maybe this is not the end. Good luck with the Matsson meeting I guess.
Courtesy of Macall B. Polay/HBO
Tom… a good boss?
Of course not. Do not be silly. Offensive, temperamental and acting. I don’t want my financial or personal well-being tied to Mr. Wambsgans in any way, shape, or form, but I’d be lying if I said the question didn’t cross my mind while informing Greg of an “incredibly important issue.” a fine piece of diplomacy.” (“It’s like Israel and Palestine, except tougher and more important” has been the top-level quote since it was included in the trailer, and it’s only better now, in context.) After all, as the Disgusting Brothers cross Kerry tape – trying to figure out the best way to convey that you’re terrible on TV without getting their boss or yourself involved – Tom there is to teach Greg what to do.
He develops the strategy, covers the most important talking points and delivers the necessary information. Sure, Tom knows that Greg won’t be able to follow through on these ideas when he meets Kerry, but a) despite Tom’s much, much better way of disguising the bad news with barely perceptible gibberish and telling Kerry that he’s A Terrible newscast is undoubtedly a suicide mission, so why not get an underling to do the dirty work, and b) Greg learn. You need to know how to have these conversations if you’re going to survive at ATN, and more importantly, Greg needs a skill—any skill, just one. I’m not entirely sure what he does all day, but I know he hasn’t graduated since we first saw him puking in a mascot uniform. If Greg becomes Tom, maybe he can still wear a suit and tie instead of the smelly old animal costumes?
And maybe you should come up with a better phrase than “The arms are not good – a bit un-TV.” It just doesn’t sound like it executive level business.
Slime Puppy Time
Roman’s turn to Logan this week shouldn’t be all that surprising. On the one hand, Kendall and Shiv like to make fun of their brother for avoiding conflict, but there’s some truth to it. At the end of Season 3, he was convinced to go see Logan and do it; a large part of their plan depended on Roman standing up for the brothers against their father, and he did.
But the past two weeks have taken the pattern too far. In Part 1, Roman is the lone holdout who follows Pierce behind The Hundred over. He acknowledges all the work they’ve put into it, as well as his complete autonomy from their father, and defends the idea until it’s clear that Kendall and Shiv are done with it. In Part 2, this is repeated. Shiv and then Kendall decide it’s in their best interest to demand more money from the GoJo deal, despite Roman’s repeated insistence to the contrary. He’s ready to move on, take what’s coming to him and start gutting PGN. But his brothers don’t—they’re bored with their new game—and basically get Roman to join their next attack on Dad.
Of course, Roman has interacted with Logan more than they have, and their shared texts play a role in the division within the trio. But as Kendall looks at the messages, she claims they’re “a little hot” and then, on Roman’s cue — “take care” — points out that the bro is being too nice to their dad? Totally hysterical for us, but rightfully infuriating for Roman. They should have let the poor kid feel safe. If not, he’s going back to his daddy — back to the man who called Roman “100 percent key” to the (GoJo) transition before the debacle in Italy. Now Logan has what he needs. Here we go again.
Do you have a joke?
“He’s wearing sunglasses inside.” As if Santa Claus had become an assassin.” “Greg, watching Logan roam the ATN floor.”
The best line still airing on ATN
“Somewhere fun and real, away from fancy dancing,” says Connor, describing where to have his after-party. “A real bar with girls and guys who work with their hands – grease and sweat dripping from their hands and bloody hair.”
“I don’t like these guys,” Roman says. “They sound like a medical experiment gone wrong.”
New episodes of “Succession” Season 4 air Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO and HBO Max.
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