Here I am at the end of season one of the often brilliant Succession, and I find myself asking the question: are there any likable Roys?
The answer is a clear “no,” but there doesn’t have to be.
If anything, this season finale may be about, well, characters who can tell the truth but still ignore the full implications of how terrible that all is. Kendall’s takeover bid is something he keep saying he has no control over. That isn’t completely true. He did walk into the plan to do what it happening. He simply has no control over “when,” but it says quite a bit about how much power Kendall has in general. Doesn’t that say a lot about Kendall as a character that he has no power over, oh, anything? Not really. He’s never had the power he wants, whether to save the company or not. It makes him, in a way, the most likable member of the family, and he’s still a horrible human being. He’s a man trying to do what he thinks is right both in life and in business, and he just doesn’t seem to know how. And that’s assuming he is trying. I tend to give him the benefit of the doubt when he isn’t behaving like the corporate monster he sometimes does, and even being the most likeable doesn’t mean I’d want to be his friend.
Then there’s Roman, told by Kendall that his family name is the only reason he has a job anywhere. It’s hard to see where that might be wrong. True, that could easily apply to all of the Roys save Logan, but Roman is trying to hide from the fact that not only is Shiv not keen on letting him set off fireworks at her wedding reception, but the satellite he was responsible for launching exploded on the pad.
Shiv is married now, and now she tells Tom she can’t do monogamy. That should have been something that should have come up, you know, before the wedding. Tom says that’s OK, but then he throws Nick out. Now, Shiv may be the most competent Roy of the bunch, but that isn’t saying much, and she works in the realm of politics, not business. Plus, even she only has so much control over her family when Connor basically insists on pictures with Willa despite Shiv’s stating Willa is a prostitute. Connor doesn’t even disagree with that.
Then again, told of the forced buy out by Logan, why would apathetic to the business Connor care? Because the business is going to prop up his race for the White House, a fact that seems to completely diffuse the meeting Logan set up between Kendall and the others to try and stop Kendall. Connor says he’s serious, but no one quite seems ready to believe he is even capable of being serious.
But then Kendall gets someone killed, a la Chappaquiddick. Some waiter got in a car with a sky high Kendall and only one of them came out of the lake alive. Here’s where Logan’s own horrible nature rears up because he figures it out and will cover for Kendall provided Kendall call off the takeover and go to rehab. Kendall sobs like a baby in his father’s arms, and yeah, it isn’t too obvious why Logan is terrible: he raised his kids to be completely dependent on him to one degree or another. Whether Logan intended to retire or not, it does seem as if even he is aware that Kendall, Roman, Shiv, and Connor are all collectively or individually incapable of running Waystar. It is, for him, all about control, not allowing his kids to maybe learn on their own, though with the resources this family has at its disposal, it might be questionable whether or not these people living truly independent lives was even possible.
Still, Logan is winning for now.
Too bad Greg saved all those Parks papers to protect his own butt and told Kendall as much…