July 1, 2022

Gabbing Geek

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Succession “Return”

Season Two, Episode Seven

I spend a lot of digital ink when I talk about this series noting how much different members of the Roy family are trying to position themselves to please the unpleasable father that runs the company for them.  He’s cruel, petty, and has no problem hauling off and hitting members of his own family.  He has, at this point in the series, only really shown approval for Kendall when his son was groveling, and it is only because of of actor Brian Cox’s own insistence that many would think he even loves his children.  I think I can see he loves his kids, but he likewise is used to people doing what he wants, and being the especially ruthless sort of businessman, it does follow that he thinks his own kids need to be that same level of ruthless to survive the world he sees around him.

But what exactly does that mean?

See, Logan is probably the most pivotal character in the series.  He would be the one to pick a successor, and so far, he hasn’t.  Kendall looked like a lock when the series started, but since then, Logan has more or less refused to settle the question even when asked or required to by the Pierces for that aborted sale of PGM.  I mean, am I supposed to believe Shiv was the next in line after her father told her so?  Shiv may be a lot more competent than her brothers, but she surely isn’t in any way ready to take on running a big media company.  And the more she says she’s next in line, the less I believe it.

In point of fact, this episode seems to show Rhea, possibly with Logan’s approval, has tested her and found her wanting, leading to Shiv to do something unusual as the episode draws to a close:  call Kendall, her biggest family rival for the top job, to warn him that Rhea is dangerous.  By this point, Kendall and Roman both strongly suspect that Rhea and Logan slept together, and they aren’t completely wrong, but Roman’s commentary is a bit much for Kendall or anyone with good taste.

But what about Logan?  Does he think much about if he’s doing anything wrong?  This episode gives two instances where he might want to apologize, and it is worth noting who he does and doesn’t apologize to.

First up:  Roman.

Now, Logan slapped Roman at the end of the previous episode.  It was deliberate, uncalled for, and it got Kendall to snap at his dad for the first time in ages.  So, does Logan apologize to his adult son?  Of course not!  He makes some comments about how he wasn’t trying to hit anybody because he didn’t see Roman there, and he wasn’t even swinging that hard and wasn’t sure he even made contact.  Considering Roman made a wisecrack about losing a tooth, that is almost certainly not true.

Roman, for his part, plays along but doesn’t make eye contact.  It’s an uncomfortable moment, well played by both actors.  Besides, Logan needs Roman to talk to his mother and make sure Lady Caroline will help her ex-husband retain control of the company.  To that end, he’s been told to open up the divorce settlement to make a deal of some kind.  Roman and Shiv do manage to pull this off, but that’s neither here nor there.

Mostly because there is another apology at play here, one Logan is willing to give:  one to the parents of the dead waiter.  Logan isn’t the slightest bit responsible for that one (the cover-up is another story), and the only way he’d even consider it is because it will keep those folks happy enough not to sue him at a trying time.  Logan here is friendly and seems to get along well with the working class parents, and that is something of a change, so how does he make it awful?  Simple:  he decides, spur of the moment, to take his traumatized son Kendall along, then leaves Kendall in the couple’s kitchen where he can’t make any personal apologies himself, even if Kendall is the one responsible for the waiter’s death, something only Logan really knows.  So, any progress Kendall might have made, well, that’s over.  Not that Kendall should get away with murder, but it is noteworthy that his father either A) doesn’t realize that this is hurting his son or B) doesn’t care or C) does care but prefers his son controllable this way.

Either way, it seems clear that the only reason Logan will apologize is to keep a situation under control.  Then again, that was the same reason he went into family therapy:  it was about appearances, not sincerity.  He’s not a man given to moral introspection to begin with, so why start now?

And this is the man that Shiv, Roman, and Kendall are all trying to appease.

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