Last week on Succession, Kendall threw himself a "big nervous breakdown of a party" for his 40th birthday and almost everyone had a bad time. This week, the Roys head to Tuscany for a wedding, Connor poses a question, and Roman sends an ill-advised text. Succession is a show all about how people jockey for power (and process trauma) — after the video below, check out our spoiler-filled season three, episode eight Succession Power Rankings.
1. TFW You're Going To Macau And Feeling Lucky: Lukas Matsson starts sending out tweets (first the Macau one, then a second one featuring a controller, fingers crossed, and eggplant emojis) and everyone starts freaking out about what this means for the Waystar/GoJo deal. Is it a move? Is he trying to blow up the deal? Or is he going "nut-nut," as Kendall puts it? "Hi Lukas, call me. Are you high? I think you should put down the venti ayahuasca Big Gulp," Roman says in one voicemail.
Shiv thinks they got played: "If he blows this deal, then who's left for us exactly? We could become the fucking Pan American Waystar Blockbuster Video Dial Up corporation." Tom thinks Lukas is "trying to fuck a...gaming site something?" Gerri thinks it's bad no matter what, because the SEC is going to be all over him now. But Roman stands by his gut instinct that it's just a move.
It turns out he's right: during their private rendezvous late in the episode, Matsson tells Roman he wants "the best of everything," and that apparently includes an equal partnership with Waystar. By tweeting unverifiable info about the company, he's made a move into sports betting and knocked shares up. It's gonna cost Waystar more to get the deal done.
Much like many real-life billionaires with inflated egos and too much time on their hands, Matsson remains a frustrating character to spend time with: he's evasive, awkward, a perfectionist, and most of all, an asshole. He's someone trying hard to be unreadable and opaque, which comes across as irritating. "Success doesn't really interest me anymore, it's too easy," he monologues at one point. "But failure, that's a secret. As much failure as possible as fast as possible, burn that shit out, that's interesting." Roman won't tell him what he's worst at, which Matsson says is smart: "I ream people, juice them like oranges. Seriously, I get way too into people and then they disappoint me."
2. TFW Your Son Sends You A Dick Pic: Clearly Matsson has the upper-hand this episode over the Roys, but the surprising thing is that Logan doesn't immediately nix the deal like everyone expects he will. He just needs to know if he's a "Twitter panty flasher" or a serious person—if he's a big baby who shits for clicks or a business man. "I can win any bout with a boxer fuck, but I don't know how to knock out a clown," he explains.
Roman convinces him he's the real deal, and even Shiv backs him on the importance of the deal. "It's a proper fucking streamer," Roman says. "And the future is movies, TV, music, games, sports, eSports, VR, AR, betting, fucking everything for everyone and Matsson knows how to get there." Logan agrees they can't afford to walk away from the deal. Roman has saved the day.
And then he sends his dad a dick pic.
Logan is pissed, of course—if your son sent you a dick pic during an important business meeting, wouldn't you be unnerved?—but also, he doesn't get it. Why Gerri? Is it just Roman being Roman? What exactly is the deal with his son? "Are you a sicko?" he asks him. Roman doesn't have much of an explanation: "People just send each other pics of their dicks."
The Roys are constantly regurgitating, reflecting, and projecting their own feelings, and other people's opinions about them, onto others. Certain phrases get repeated and reused in multiple different contexts. It seems notable that this episode starts off with Roman, Shiv and Lady Caroline all making fun of Logan for his messy sex life (he arrives at the wedding with Marcia on his arm and Kerry right behind him).
"The skunk, the porcupine and the concubine, it's probably the best wedding present I'll ever get, but so disgusting," Lady Caroline says about the threesome. When Shiv is explaining the Roman situation to her father, she says that everyone knows he's weird about Gerri, then adds pointedly, "And frankly, I think it's fucking disgusting."
When Logan makes his final statement on the matter, it sounds awfully familiar: "She's a million years old, it's fucking disgusting, you're a laughing stock, oh go on, fuck off."
3. TFW You're Filming The Final Two Episode Of Succession In Freakin' Tuscany:
4. TFW You Feel Like You're Taking A Shit In The Guggenheim, Ya'll: Stewy and Sandi have just arrived at Waystar for a meeting when they get waylaid by the Roys, who are all acting way too friendly. (Cuddly Logan is particularly unnerving.) They tell them they're deep in discussions to acquire GoJo.
Shouldn't they have been told about this much earlier? Is this an ambush? No no, Logan says, they just didn't want to bother them until they had some protein. "Well, no, I mean, if you jump out on someone on the road in the middle of the night, hit him on the head and shout I'm not ambushing you, it's still a fucking ambush," Stewy responds.
But the Roys played their cards right here—Sandy and Stewy aren't going to go against a transformative deal that may reshape the company and almost certainly make everyone involved a boatload of money. But Sandi does give them a timely warning: "How would you feel if Matsson starts microdosing and tweeting about angels again?"
5. TFW You Turn Your Brother's Lemons Into Lemonade: Ever since she was installed as Waystar's president of domestic operations in episode two, Shiv has been on a slow downward trajectory. She was humiliated by Kendall at the all-staff meeting, she was treated as a messenger by various other Waystar executives, she got humiliated by her father after she was able to ensure Roy control of the company at the shareholders' meeting, and she has been leapfrogged by Roman in her father's eyes thanks to his backing of Republican Jeryd Mencken and his GoJo play. Oh, and her husband isn't going to prison. What started out looking like the season Shiv would finally rise to the top of the company has turned into the season of Roman. At least until now.
Shiv starts off the episode as depressed as we've ever seen her—she's dialing into a board meeting from her bed! (Roman later asks if she was "brunching with some other sock puppet girlboss presidents," and I only mention this because I can most definitely imagine Shiv dining with sock puppet girlboss presidents.) But her brutal bachelorette party conversation with her mother ends up reviving her, especially something her mother says about Logan: "He never saw anything he loved that he didn't want to kick, just to see if it would still come back," Lady Caroline notes.
Something clicks into place for her; if Logan is gonna keep kicking her, then Shiv is going to stand right back up. "You don't just get given these things and a house in the fucking Hamptons," Shiv tells Tom, speed-talking like she's on a cocaine binge. "You don't just get given the top job or ATN. I'm gonna have to fight for it. I'm gonna have to fight Gerri and Roman and Ken, but I can, because I'm smarter than them. I'm gonna fucking do it. Fuck dad, he can kick me as many times as he wants. In 10 or 5 years, get rid of Cyd, remake ATN, destroy it, raze it to the ground." (Except for Tom, of course.)
All she needs to do is blow up the "dirty little pixie king" and she'll be the only candidate left. And lo and behold, she gets the chance to do so almost immediately, when Roman makes the mistake of uh, well, you know. Shiv seizes the chance to plant doubt in her father's mind about Roman's proclivities, saying he is a "potential problem" and then squeezing Gerri into a corner. After several weeks of stumbling and stewing, Shiv is back in the game.
6. TFW You're A Dog Named Mondale And You Just Like Hanging Out:
7. TFW Your Daughter Is Making You Cry During Your Bachelorette Party: We haven't spent any time with Lady Caroline Collingwood since last season, but the show wastes no time reminding us she does not have good relationships with any of her three children. She basically kicks Kendall out of the wedding party because it'll make Logan uncomfortable; she pooh-pooh's Roman's concerns about not having a prenup by saying it's "unromantic." But she has the rockiest relationship with Shiv, who starts off the episode by referring to her mom as "poor old Eleanor Rigby [who] wants to eat dick and drink champagne for the rest of her life."
The two get a chance for some mother-daughter bonding time during Caroline's "bachelorette party," which quickly devolves into bitter sniping as they rehash their issues. Caroline claims that she was a spotty mother and Shiv was a shitty daughter, but Shiv snaps back, "You weren't spotty mother, you were just an absence." It comes out that Caroline did move back to NYC to be closer to her kids when they were teens, but she gave Logan full custody to protect their "shares and their interest" (she leaves out any mention of her own divorce deal).
The two keep going around in circles poking at each other: Caroline self-righteously claims she's never won a battle in her life, Shiv says she didn't get to choose what happened to her. "I was 10 mom, I was a fucking kid," Shiv says. "You were 13, and you knew how to twist the knife. You knew then and you know now, and I might cry," Caroline says, calling Shiv her onion. To be fair, I might cry thinking about what Shiv was like as a teenager.
We've seen Caroline have similar tension with Kendall before, but this seems on a different level, and it gets to its apex when Caroline suggests she never should have had kids: "You made the right decision. Some people are not made to be mothers. I should have had dogs." (This is clearly what triggers Shiv into talking about having kids with Tom. Poor Tom.)
8. TFW You Want To Be Made Lord Fucking Seat Sniffer Of Pantyhose: Here's everything we know about Peter Munion, a.k.a. Peter Onion, a.k.a. Slime Badger. He's had three bankruptcies, two marriages, four children and five shell companies. He's a big investor in shitty nursing homes and salmon smoking businesses. He's got a big heart, even if he's absolutely awful at business. He's smart enough to get a scholarship and buy his own furniture. He's a Bridezilla who has his heart set on "all the important people at this wedding, such a little tart." He's tremendous fun, like a bottle of cheap Prosecco. And lastly, he wants Logan to help him put a discreet word in with the UK government so he can be made "lord fucking seat sniffer of pantyhose." This guy is a perfect fit for the family.
9. TFW You Send Your Dad A Dick Pic:
10. TFW You're Ready To Lead The Company Into The Promised Land But Then—And I Can't Emphasize This Enough—You Send Your Dad A Dick Pic: Roman is under a lot of pressure at the start of the episode: Lukas Matsson is tweeting sketchy stuff that could blow up the GoJo deal, his mother may be getting married to a grifter and no one else cares, and Gerri brought Laurie, freakin' Laurie, to Tuscany. We quickly learn from Gerri that one way Roman blows off steam is by sending her dick pics. And this isn't the first time this has happened—this apparently has been an ongoing thing he's done with her. But Gerri tries to draw a line in the sand (Roman typically deflects: "I feel like you do want them, but you're being typically minxy") and tells him to find a new outlet for himself. Roman's response is, upon reflection, some ominous foreshadowing for what happens: "Look at you trying to get inside my head. Don't open Pandora's box, there's just more dicks in there."
Things continue as one would expect: Roman has awkward conversations with his mother and Peter, he keeps making inappropriate jokes about Laurie with Gerri ("You're interrupting a great night, I'm getting very pal-y with Laurie, I might try to fuck him, see how it fits into our disgusting mess"), and he finally meets with Matsson to tries to suss out whether he's serious about the deal. He's taking his business responsibilities seriously while retaining that je ne sais Roman.
Then hubris, and a need to take a joke too far, gets the better of him. Here's the mortifying sequence of events: first, Gerri texts him "Well done Roman." (Note: the background of Roman's phone screen is him giving Shiv the middle finger.) However, as Roman is writing his followup message with the dick pic, Logan texts him "Good work kid," which is how he ends up sending it to the wrong person. Roman sends his father a dick pic and we see it multiple times; Kieran Culkin deserves an Emmy for the faces he makes during this scene and the way his entire body tenses up and folds in on itself.
Fans have eaten up the Roman/Gerri "relationship" ever since it first unexpectedly emerged thanks to the real life chemistry between Kieran Culkin and J. Smith-Cameron. But as charmingly twisted and genuine as their connection is, it never seemed like something that could turn into anything more. Considering how obsessive Roman can be, it seems like it was inevitable something would happen to ruin the fun. Was this the, uh, best way for it to all blow up? Probably not, but as for Roman, it's more embarrassing than anything else.
11. TFW You Have A Heart-To-Heart With Your Dad: Kendall Roy is stripping down: he cut his hair, Naomi Pierce and his entourage are nowhere to be seen, and he doesn't know where the fuck his kids are. All the woke-isms and all his cockiness have been shaved down as well. He only has one goal in mind seemingly: to get out of the company and get out of his father's life.
His dinner with Logan is one of the dramatic high points of the episode, though probably one of Kendall's lowest moments of the season. Logan has Iverson try his food just in case it's poisoned ("Who do you think I am? You think I want you dead? I'll be broken when you die," Ken says), and that isn't even the worst of it.
Kendall says his dad has won, and he wants to divest. He won't even speak at his funeral: "My thing is, I want out. I think I thought I was a knight on a horseback but that isn't..." Logan interrupts him with his own life philosophy: "Life's not knights on horseback. It's a number on a piece of paper. It's a fight for a knife in the mud."
"You've won, because you're corrupt and so is the world. I'm better than you. I hate to say this because I love you, but you're kind of evil," Ken says. Logan seems to be mulling everything over in real time—has he really broken his son? Could this more compliant Ken be brought back into the fold? Does he just want to keep him around to keep kicking him more? Could he let him walk away? Ken admitting defeat is one thing, but the fact that he clings to the idea that he is a better man than his father is what grates on Logan.
"Not everyone can live this life. I'm a great revolutionary. A bit of fuckin' spice, a bit of fun, a bit of truth," Logan says. "I fuckin' know things about the world or I wouldn't turn a buck. Not necessarily nice things." It doesn't bother him that Kendall says he's corrupt; it's when Kendall claims he's a good guy that Logan twists the knife by bringing up the waiter who died at Shiv's wedding. It's absolutely brutal, though Brian Cox deserves an Emmy nomination for how carefully he delivers the lines and changes his tone along the way.
"How long was that kid alive before he started sucking water? A couple of minutes? Three, four five? Long time...What were you even doing, chasing a bit of tail? Hey, are you queer? Did you try to fuck him? Or was it just the drugs?"
Kendall looks like a ghost, but Logan has one last salvo: "Sure you're my son. I did my best. And whenever you fucked up, I cleaned up your shit. And I'm a bad person? Fuck off kiddo."
12. TFW You End The Episode On An Ambiguously Ominous Note: Succession is generally not a show that does cliffhangers, which is why I am choosing not to read too literally into the final shot of the episode, which sees Kendall semi-passed out on a pool float. The camera watches him from below, so we can see him drop his beer into the water and then bubbles blowing out of his mouth. I could be proven wrong next week, but Succession doesn't strike me as the kind of show to kill off one of its main characters in such an ambiguous way—I think we're just meant to take this as a striking image representing Kendall's depleted, defeated state of mind.
13. TFW You Need A Little More Time To Think About A Marriage Proposal: Things were looking so good for Connor and Willa last week, what with Connor getting to keep his coat and Willa defending the man running to be the next president of the United States of America. Willa is having a good time at first: "Italy! Pizza, pasta and poops" should be the country's new slogan. But someone from Politico is sniffing around Willa's background, and it has Con all out of whack—not that it stops him from relaying a very amusing anecdote about meeting the pope ("He was a real full, fat pope, complete pope, very religious").
Connor has a plan for what to do (well, technically, Connor and Maxim came up with this idea I think?): propose to Willa. Or as he confusingly puts it, he wants to "have a difficult conversation."
"Who knows what'll happen, maybe I wont ignite, maybe the two party system isn't as rotten as it looks, but I have to plan for success," he explains before getting down on one knee. "Will you make me the most happiest man slash most bulletproof candidate in the world?"
The noise Willa makes when Connor gets down is absolutely priceless, and her response is equally romantic: "I'm pleased to say yes, yes, can I have a little think on it?" The next day, we learn Connor woke her up in the middle of the night to ask again, but she's still mulling this one over: "Still thinking, big decision, real real life decision." Too much thinking can start to get unromantic! Can't wait to see where this one lands next week.
14 TFW A Man Dying Of Thirst Becomes A Mineral Water Critic: Greg is dating Comfrey! I mean, Comfrey's attention is far more focused on Kendall's never-ending crisis management, but it's still something. Tom and Shiv are really impressed, but Greg seems somewhat underwhelmed.
"I like her, I like her...I do wonder, is there depth there? Is there substance?" Greg asks. "Depth? Oh my god, a man dying of thirst is suddenly a mineral water critic," Tom shoots back. Greg says he's just worried that when she gets to know the "real" him, she won't stick around, but Shiv, who has never had to worry about anyone getting to know the real her, says there's an upside no matter what.
"She's a great date ladder," Shiv says. "People will see her with you and no offense, they'll say, what the fuck is going on there." Greg is aware of what she's saying. If we put a man on the moon, then maybe Greg can get a date with a countess!
But I don't think this one is going anywhere, because Greg's attempts at flirting are hilariously bad. He tries flashing his watch, which just confuses her, asks if she is "part of the whole titled monarchical situation, if that's not too bold to say," and then gets into a conversation about her job as an online brand ambassador for a fermented yogurt drink. "I've had that, it's a gut-cleansing treat," Greg notes.
15 TFW Your Marriage Is Going Swell: Tom's extended bummer continues here. Last week, he learned he wasn't going to prison, something that is objectively good, and yet he couldn't get happy. This week, Shiv finally says they should have a baby, and uh, it's kind of overshadowed by everything else she says.
Shiv casually drops the baby bomb right after she is told by her mother that it's good Shiv didn't become a mom, some important context Tom is obviously unaware of. But even so, the vibes are all off. Shiv's dirty talk gets a little too real a little too quickly for Tom, with Shiv saying every awful thing that Tom believes deep down: that he's not good enough for him, that she's out of his league, and that she doesn't love him. (It seems clear here they have an essential problem, which is that they both want to be the sub in the bedroom.)
The next day, Tom mentions that the pillow talk was a bit "spicy" and he's feeling some afterburn, and Shiv gets defensive. "I was just being horrible for fun, dirty fun," she says. "Well, what happens is Sex Vegas..."
To Tom, there's a big difference between dirty talk and someone saying they don't love them, and he has a real moment of clarity: "Sometimes I think, I [should] maybe listen to things you say directly to my face when we're our most intimate." Shiv of course turns that back around on him, accusing him of being manipulative when she was the one who started the dirty talk and then didn't listen to him.
But Shiv says she's serious about having a baby, she thinks. Maybe just freeze some embryos and see where they are in, uh, 10 years or so. She's thought this all through, including what happens if one of them dies, or is in a long-term coma, or if they get divorced: "I don't just automatically get them if we divorce or something like that, if that concerns you."
But even on the subject of post-death embryos, they're not on the same page: "I would want you to have my babies if I died," Tom says, and Shiv's reaction is basically, "Uh, okay, cool, let me think about that one." She tries patching things over by reassuring him by saying with a wink, "I may not love you, but I do love you," which is absolutely not reassuring words. But at least Tom knows he needs to listen closer to the things she says directly to his face.
16 TFW You're Screwed: Gerri warned Roman earlier this season that they needed to have more boundaries, but the audience had no idea just how messy everything was off-screen. And while Roman has been utterly humiliated in front of his father, Gerri is the one whose job security is really at stake.
And it doesn't help that Gerri is now a pawn between Shiv and Roman, whose sibling rivalry has been at a boil all season long. Shiv makes a smart but cruel play here, because she know she has Gerri in a bind. Has it happened before? Did she ask him to stop? Was she welcoming of these items?
"It's just something for your well-being we need to get really clear about, with all this potential upheaval and you being in such a delicate position as interim CEO," Shiv says. "If you can't deal with your own sexual harassment, it's not a good look." Shiv pushes her on filing a formal complaint, which Gerri is obviously loathe to do, which just sets Shiv up even more: "I just think Gerri you should report him to HR because if you don't, it could be argued you welcomed these photos, and that undermines your position...I wonder if we should just kick it up to the board."
17 TFW Gerri Later Tries To Explain To Laurie What Happened: "Wait so, you're telling me that sick little fucker, who is your underling but also kind of your boss, has been sending you dick pics on the reg, and you were okay with that because you were mentoring him, and now you may lose your job because he accidentally sent one of those dick pics meant for you to his dad during a very important meeting?"
18 TFW Your Grandfather Has You Try His Food In The Very Unlikely Case That It's Poisoned But—And Here's The Important Part—In His Mind That Is A Possibility: Iverson got more screentime this week than maybe in the entirety of the show? Unfortunately, he was mostly used by Logan as a way to stick it to Ken during their dinner. And Iverson didn't even appreciate the gourmet mozzarella.
19. TFW You're Sophie And You Don't Even Get Any Lines:
Sweetest Tom Quote Of The Week? Look, Tom is a big slab of sad at this point, and he doesn't even say anything that creepy or sexually inappropriate this week, so let's give him a break and pick out something weirdly sweet for a change. I think my favorite line was when Tom commented on Logan's relationship drama, "Maybe its all fine. Maybe they just share a big bed together and they watch Friends reruns and drink milkshakes." This could have come off as a sarcastic joke, but because of Matthew Macfadyen's line reading, it just sounds kinda sweet and sincere.
Succession-verse Articles Of The Week: A lot of great Succession content this week, including a Thrillist article about how Kendall's birthday party came to life, which includes a tidbit that Jeremy Strong pushed hard for the writers to include a "Fucked Up Enya" room: "Basically they were going to have to drink a bunch of bottles of wine and then Ambien and then sing. That was a room I really wanted."
J. Smith-Cameron was a guest on Watch What Happens Live, where she confirmed she has no issue with becoming a sex symbol. Alan Ruck revealed that he broke his arm in real life, which is why Connor was in a cast last week. Vulture had a pair of really good pieces this week, including an article about the unbearable sadness of Tom Wambsgams and another about the slightly more bearable cringe of Kendall Roy.
But the best piece dropped on Sunday evening: The New Yorker has a massive must-read profile of Jeremy Strong that suggests Strong takes his work far too seriously/literally, which is really good for the show and maybe not so good in real life. The article is full of amazing anecdotes and details, including: Strong comparing Kendall's "L to the OG" rap to Crime & Punishment; the fact he lived rent-free for years in Michelle Williams' basement and called her home Fort Awesome; Kieran Culkin's quote: “After the first season, he said something to me like, ‘I’m worried that people might think that the show is a comedy.’ And I said, ‘I think the show is a comedy.’ He thought I was kidding;" his intense love for method acting; and this Brian Cox quote: “I just worry about what he does to himself. I worry about the crises he puts himself through in order to prepare...It’s a particularly American disease, I think, this inability to separate yourself off while you’re doing the job.”
Family Members In Absentia: We probably had the most number of castmembers present for this episode than any other this season, but there were still a few absentees (and others who got very little screentime). I don't think I saw Karolina or Hugo; we only saw Frank and Karl briefly at the start of the episode and then on a screen during the bank meeting. Big Gramps and Roger Pugh were not invited to Lady Caroline's wedding, nor was Adrien Brody. Marcia Roy was there, though we only saw her in a very few number of scenes. None of the Republicans we met a couple weeks back (Mencken, Boyer, Stephen Root, etc) are around. With the exception of Comfrey, most of Kendall's friends, former wives and hanger-ons are MIA—that includes Naomi Pierce, Rava Roy, Kendall's Sketchy Friend Reese, Tiny Wu-Tang, and my favorite, the That's Kinda Dope Though Guy.
Did Anyone Get A Kiss From Daddy This Week? In the wake of everything that happened this week, let's just call this one N/A.
Next week on Succession, the Roys are still in Tuscany for the season finale. Until then, Nicholas Braun stopped by The Tonight Show to talk about small talk and celebrities hitting him up for Succession spoilers.