Succession “Which Side Are You On?”

I think I noted for the write-up of the previous episode that whether or not the characters are sympathetic, they are for the most part coming from a place of extreme privilege.  Kendall seems to be, maybe, actually trying to do something for his father’s own good.  He has at least convinced himself that he is from the looks of things, but he’s probably the only one.

And for all this episode has a big moment–the vote of no-confidence in Logan–what struck me most this time around was the small things that show just how out-of-touch these people might be.

So, to act as our windows into this world by showing a theoretically normal few people, we do have Greg and Ewan.  Ewan is still my favorite member of the family, and he and Logan had hands-down the best single beat in the entire episode that I will mention later.  But Ewan, who probably does have money, doesn’t act like he does, and Greg has no idea how the rich live after he gets his first paycheck.  The two have a very awkward dinner that Ewan has strictly out of obligation to his unseen daughter, Greg’s mother.  Then they go their separate ways into what I can perhaps charitably call WTF Land.

Here are the small things that show, well, the Roys are all kinda screwed up people with no idea what to do about real world problems.

Logan has a meeting with the President of the United States.  We never see that guy, but Logan starts to bitch about his time when he learns a national security incident has postponed that meeting.  Later, he makes the President wait to answer a call from the man, like he is somehow the most important man in the conversation.

Roman admits at one point he isn’t an answer guy, but as soon as he gets put in pressure during the vote scene, when a blindsided Logan refuses to leave the room, he wilts and admits when asked he has no idea what to do with himself.  How old is this guy?

Shiv has a meeting with an ex-boyfriend she ends up sleeping with.  She then berates Tom for not telling her that vote was coming, and Tom only knew because Greg told him.

By the by, my second favorite moment comes when Shiv does find out.  He had tried to call her (he claims, I think I missed his trying), and she says something about the rebels showing up.  Greg, clueless as ever, asks if they’re the rebels to which Tom just shrugs in a confused manner.  So, Shiv’s metaphors don’t make a lot of sense, and her job is messaging as a political consultant.

Connor shows up briefly and says something so damn dumb in such an earnest manner that, well, it cements Connor as being really, really weird.

Kendall, the one who comes across as the most “normal,” flies out to Long Island in the company helicopter to (ultimately successfully) convince a cancer-ridden board member to vote with him at the upcoming meeting.  But then there’s a terrorist threat, a no-fly zone is established, and Kendall offers to bribe or pay any fine his pilot would pay to get back to the City.  Then he learns “no fly” could mean “you will get shot down”.

That, by the by, is a big reason I don’t like going to Long Island.  It takes forever to get there and back.

Tom takes Greg out to live like the wealthy at a restaurant where the wine isn’t listed on the menu, the best meal is a whole songbird that has to be eaten with a napkin over the head whole, and later they drink actual gold.  Even Tom admits that it’s a foolishly expensive way to do things when Greg asks common sense questions.  Oh, and I actually know for a fact that the songbird thing and the drinking gold is not something this show made up.

So, really, this was all a mess.  Kendall gets back to the board meeting just in time to get fired when the vote fails and too many people chicken out and don’t vote because Logan is right there glaring at them and challenging them verbally so that the ones that do (including Frank and the cancer patient) are all fired.  Kendall can’t even go into his office to get some personal items as he’s escorted out the door.

But there was a moment, one that plays into how strong both Brian Cox and James Cromwell are as actors, where it’s Ewan’s turn to vote.  Logan challenges his brother to do what he knows, deep down, Ewan would love to do.  And Ewan is clearly thinking about it.  It’s not an easy decision.  Ewan has seen his brother browbeat at least one of his own kids (Roman) at this very meeting, and he has to have an idea that Logan isn’t well.  But Ewan also has his principals, and he ultimately (and reluctantly) sticks to them and sides with Logan in the vote, causing a short beat where both brothers fall silent.  Logan had commented on every other vote up until that point, so it almost felt like there was something bordering on respect from Logan to Ewan.  These two are not going to bury the hatchet, and I don’t even know if Ewan will be on the show again, but the tension of that whole scene, as great as it was, was perhaps tightest when Ewan’s turn came up, and quite frankly, I loved every second of that short bit on a show full of small moments showcasing out-of-touch people.

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