December 7, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Succession “Dundee”

Season Two, Episode Eight

OK, here’s a question:  what do you give to a miserable old man on his birthday?

OK, it’s not really his birthday, but it is the 50th anniversary of Logan’s time with Waystar.  Also, we have the return of my favorite member of the Roy family, Ewan.

Look, Ewan is an infrequent guest star.  I know that.  He’s cranky, one-note, and he says at the close of this episode that Logan is worse than Hitler while also saying something else Logan blames himself for, the death of a sister, was not his fault.  There’s also a chance for Logan to point out that some of the things Ewan believes are probably inaccurate and maybe unfair.  The thing is, I never once said Ewan was a saint.  He’s not.  There are no perfectly benevolent people on this show.  The thing that makes Ewan stand out is he is the only one willing to tell Logan on a consistent basis what is obvious to the home audience:  that Logan is a horrible human being.  Yes, the series has more than once dipped into his childhood and shown that Logan didn’t just become this.  His early years were terrible with an abusive uncle and now, I’m learning, a dead sister.  Unless I missed the bit about the dead sister.  That’s always possible.  But I do like it that at least someone is willing to consistently tell the various Roys how awful they all are.

That said, Logan is definitely not feeling this massive celebration in his honor.  Whatever sort of attempts anyone makes to make the old man happy or even mildly nostalgic all fail miserably.  Rhea, chosen at the end of the episode as the new CEO when Shiv realizes it would put Rhea on the hotspot for the cruise ship problems and endorses Rhea to Logan, perhaps fails the hardest when she keeps making things bigger.  Logan Roy is many things, but he certainly isn’t happy about the hoopla around his childhood.  He has no interest in even getting out of his car to see his childhood home.  Roman buys his dad a soccer team only to find out he got the wrong one and not the team his dad is a lifelong fan of.  Connor, because of course it was Connor, asks for a fun childhood story only to get an angry retort that the almighty dollar is Logan’s “rosebud”.

And Kendall raps!  Granted, that seemed to be the only thing Logan really enjoyed in a giant ballroom where Rhea invited, oh, everybody when all Logan wanted was something small and intimate.

That “invite everybody” philosophy is probably the only reason Ewan showed up at all.  So, really, watching Ewan tell everyone how awful they are is a rare treat.

It helps that Logan, on his own, sees a chance to hurt Ewan back.  Ewan basically threatened Cousin Greg to quit Waystar or lose his $250 million inheritance.  Greg eventually decides to do just that and tells Logan in the men’s room, in his nervous way, that he’ll be leaving the company only for Logan to do the unexpected:  tell Greg how much he likes his nephew, and how Ewan wouldn’t have the guts to disinherit the lad.  Should Greg quit or stay with his fun uncle?

Greg, you do remember “Boar on the Floor,” right?

The only real reason to tell Greg that stuff–I mean, does anyone actually like Cousin Greg?–is to hurt Ewan.  Then again, I am not all that sure even Ewan cares much for Greg, so there ya go.

Regardless, those two moments–Greg in the bathroom and Kendall rapping–seem to be the only things that Logan enjoys about the trip at all, and the rapping is dubious.  Granted, he’s usually pretty miserable anyway.  Hell, even Marcia turns on him since he cheated on her.  He’s a miserable old man who makes everyone else miserable.

To be fair, his children aren’t much better.  Kendall is pretty awful here both to Connor (who apparently sunk a lot of money into Willa’s play) and later the actress he invited to the shindig when he realizes she’s shallow…and then sends her home in one of those “who’s really the shallow one here?” moments.   Combine that with how both he and Roman were taken in by Rhea’s smooth talk and how none of the brothers were taking Shiv’s concerns about Rhea all that seriously, and well…these are awful people.

The thing is, the awful seems to have started at the top.