‘Succession’ season four, episode one recap: deals, drama and divorce
Fuck off! Yes, Succession is back. True to form, the end of the last season of Jesse Armstrong’s colossal troma (tragedy-comedy-drama) had its audience simultaneously gasping for breath and licking their lips. In case you’ve been in a coma (a real coma, not a comedy drama), here’s a quick catch-up: the Roy children’s attempted coup against their father failed when Tom (Matthew MacFadyen) told Logan (Brian Cox) exactly what the kids were planning, enabling Logan to take full control of the business at the last minute and having GoJo buy Waystar out. Naughty Tom. Lucky Logan.
As we begin our fourth descent into the richest corner of Hell, we are at Logan’s birthday party, which might as well be his deathbed for all the fun people are having. If you’re in the same room as Logan Roy, you take your mood cue from him – and the old boy, separated from the three offspring he hates the least, is bored and itchy: he doesn’t look like he wants to play musical chairs any time soon. To make matters worse, Greg (Nicholas Braun) has brought a random date, Bridget, treating the exclusive private event like a group trip to Wahaca. “You’re a laughing stock in polite society,” Tom witheringly notes.
Over at Roman’s (Kieran Culkin) pad, things feel nice and familiar as Roman and Kendall (Jeremy Strong) arrogantly dismiss proposed logos for their new media venture, The Hundred. After shifty Shiv (Sarah Snook) breezes in, she gets a call from Tom. To Shiv’s chagrin, he’s been hanging out with Naomi Pierce (Annabelle Dexter-Jones) and he may be inadvertently reporting that the great white shark is considering buying Pierce, the vast media conglomerate. This ends up being a costly leak for Logan: all of a sudden, the three youngest Roys propose binning The Hundred; they’re mainly interested in bringing up Logan’s blood pressure to fatal levels, and succeeding where they failed last time.
Back at the party/funeral, presidential hopeful Connor (Alan Ruck) is providing some comic relief by wondering aloud whether he should spend $100 million to stay in the political conversation. “If I fall below 1% I fear I would become a laughing stock,” he says. Tom and Greg – “the Disgusting Brothers”, in Greg’s eyes – then have one of the best conversations of the episode when Greg tells Tom he got saucy with Bridget in one of Logan’s rooms. Tom lies to Greg that Logan has cameras in all of his rooms (“You’ve accidentally made him a sex tape, Greg”) and says that Greg has to come clean. After he obediently does – a scene that is inexplicably and tragically left out of the episode – he proudly reports that Logan called him “disgusting”.
It’s then on to a full-on bidding war: the kids visit Nan Pierce (Cherry Jones) and propose various billions to her, all while the Logan contingent have her on the phone and propose various billions to her. She pretends to be revolted by the whole thing but ends up $10 billion richer as, after multiple back-and-forths, she accepts the offer from the kids (“Congratulations on saying the biggest number, you fucking morons,” Logan snarls). We know, even if Tom deflects, that Logan has only lost because Tom felt loyal to Shiv.
This loyalty, however, looks likely to have reached its expiration date. In a touching scene, Shiv comes home to the couple’s barren apartment and tells Tom that it might be time for them to divorce. Paralysed by the implications, they lie at right angles on the bed next to each other and hold hands. “We gave it a go,” they say. Will anyone else love either of them?
The funnies and the fucks
- Logan: “Who wants to smell Greg’s finger?”
- Tom, about Greg’s date, Bridget: “She’s wolfing all the canapés like a famished warthog.”
- Roman, about his dad: “We know him pretty well; I mean, we’ve never licked his big omelette nipples…”
- Greg to Logan: “You’re mean. You’re a mean old bastard and you scare the life out of folks, that’s your thing.”
- And that first episode “fuck”-count in full: Logan – 21; Roman – 16; Kendall – 11; Shiv – 6; Tom – 5; Kerry – 4; Connor – 2; Greg – 2.
‘Succession’ is streaming now on Sky Atlantic