Succession returned today to reclaim its rightful place as the best show on television. Brilliant writing, a character we loathe, a family we hate even more, and all the twists and turns are displayed in the first episode entitled “Secession.” It’s important to understand that this first episode takes place mere moments after Kendall’s (Jeremy Strong) bombshell press conference where he implicated Logan (Brian Cox) and all of Waystar Royco in the sexual assault scandal involving the cruise division. With that in mind, let’s take a look at our top 5 takeaways from tonight’s episode.
5. Nowhere to go
Following the press conference, Kendall has a slight panic attack but immediately pulls it together. Is he going to attempt taking down the one man that seems untouchable (Logan)? He immediately pulls it together and starts down this path. His team at first is small but is seemingly growing by the second in the first episode. One of his first moves was securing the best lawyer in New York City, Lisa Arthur (Sanaa Lathan), which irritated his father as he attempted to do the same and failed. As far as momentum goes in this “Roy Civil War,” advantage Kendall.
4. On the ropes
Logan realizes that he’s in a terrible spot. Instead of looking at what his son did as the right thing to do, he sees it as a “play.” Realizing that there’s only one way out of this, the patriarch of the Roy family announces that someone will need to appoint an acting CEO. What’s funny is how the writers approached this moment. Instead of having someone suggest a candidate, everyone ends up picking themselves. The only one who attempts to be a bit different is Tom (Matthew Macfadyen), but his actions come off as being a shill for Shiv (Sarah Snook), which of course, everyone picks up on rather rapidly.
3. Shiv tries to make a play and fails
Shiv sees all of this upheaval as a chance to make a move towards becoming the future CEO. The problem is that Logan has no desire to ever be the CEO because of her gender. He favors his three male children; even though they aren’t cut out for the corporate world, Logan loves giving Shiv tasks and does so in the first episode. She’s suppose to help acquire the services of Lisa Arthur to help with their defense. When she fails to do so, he only uses that as reasoning for Shiv not being the acting CEO. I have a feeling that these types of moments will have repercussions down the line.
2. The real Tom
This whole time, we thought that Tom was just a nice guy marrying into a terrible family, but boy were we wrong. In the first episode, we are starting to see signs of Wambsgans “playing” the game. While he will undoubtedly advocate for his wife, Tom knows that it’s every man for himself in this family. What stood out to me was the coldness he showed Shiv during this episode. Really out of place for him.
1. It’s Gerri’s world
It’s Gerri’s world! Even though Logan sees her as merely a puppet, she is appointed acting CEO for Waystar Royco. Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron) is taken aback by the news and plays it off to Roman (Kiernan Culkin) as a procedural move; something tells me there’s more to this than meets the eye. Fans have to realize that Gerri has been with the company for many years and is well aware of everything. Her appointment as CEO isn’t going to sit well with Logan’s children. Will it cause them to join up with Kendall?
Photos: David Russell, Hunter Graeme/HBO