SpoilerTV - TV Spoilers

Succession - Episodes 3.04 & 3.05 - Lion in the Meadow / Retired Janitors of Idaho - Double Review

Disclaimer: a little change in reviewer from now on, as I try and take over from Laura, who has done a lovely job on the Succession reviews so far.

Lion in the Meadow

As expected after the FBI raid that concluded the previous episode (and also, the general clusterfuck combining horrific allegations as well as a civil war that are now Waystar Royco), shareholders are understandably worried, and thinking of jumping ship. One of them, a particularly important one at that, desperately seeks reassurance in the form of, what else, Logan and Kendall being not only in the same room, but actually getting along. Or pretending to, anyway, for the sake of their crumbling empire. Because despite Kendall finally revealing to the world his father's inner workings as a business man, and the depth of deception simmering quietly behind the flashy media, Kendall cares. A LOT. He doesn't want to see what they've worked so hard for destroyed, but he does want to overthrow Logan.

Thus ensues an increasingly awkward encounter, in which Kendall and Logan play at who'll succeed in being the pettiest, but ultimately prioritize what's at stake enough that they look semi convincing when Josh forces them to talk to each other and pretend they don't hate each other's guts. Their relationship is so fraught, yet so complex, it's hard to admit that no ounce of truth found its way in Logan's praise, or Kendall's easy goading of a father he still admires.

However great they thought they were acting though, ultimately Logan's health scare after pushing himself too hard on the "walk out" (is this the new "business dealings during golf"?) finally pushed Josh over the edge, and straight into Stewie and Sandy's awaiting arms. That hug as Kendall watched through the jet's window was gutting, and all but sealed that the shareholder vote, if it happened, wouldn't go their way.

Back at the office, where Roys and proxies alike are fretting about the estate escapade, it seems like Greg has finally picked a side (maybe, probably, could be? Greg is about as reliable as a 7 feet tall weather vane). Of course, Tom, and now Logan, have been courting him since they realized he was Kendall's source for the papers that were never shredded. If I were Logan, I'd take some anger management classes though because never has something as innocuous as "COCA COLA" sounded like so much like a threat.
While Greg is fantasizing about his new job as Head of Domestic Bumbling, Tom's prospects are looking more and more dire as he peruses a jail catalogue. Yes, you read that right, Tom has a folder (with! plastic sheets!) of the various prisons he may or may not be sent to, and is reviewing them as one would luxurious hotels for a honeymoon. Tom has always been a highlight (if a slightly deranged one) of the show, but this season has him truly reveling in his misery and no longer pretending he's delighted to be Shiv's doormat, and Greg's tormentor. It's a subtle, yet gradual shift, and even Shiv doesn't realize that her very own OfShiv (minus the white bonnet and red cape) is slowly, but surely, rebelling. Shiv's obtuseness is a whole other story, but when it comes to Tom, she's so blatantly unaware of his state of mind that it becomes comical. He won't say I love you anymore, he doesn't want to bend to her new (ludicrous) position, he isn't immediately at her beck and call. Of course, some of his affection for her still pushes through, but it's few and far between, more a tendency to cling to the vestige of what he thought they had, than a genuine feeling.

Shiv, in fact, seems to be mimicking Tom's MO, i.e. unloading on people he deems below him by terrorizing them into submission. The more incompetent she feels in her new position, the more patronizing she becomes. Actually, I say "feels" but I'm not even sure she's aware of how out of her depth she is. Barreling in to Frank and Karl's office (during their lunch! Outrageous), trying to intimidate the head of editorial into publishing disparaging headlines about The Raisin (it will never not crack me up that Logan, who is approximately 600 years old as Kendall says, and can't walk a mile without fainting, calls the President that). Shiv has been unraveling for over a season now, but Kendall is right, she is "the new him" except she doesn't even realize it. The breach, with Logan, can only get wider, and one can only wonder who the next wonderchild will be. Roman, funnily enough, seems to be worming his way quite smartly, between his connexion to Gerri and the way he keeps praising Logan and quietly putting down his siblings.
However, Connor might be giving him a (presidential?) run for his money. Despite being something of a joke since the beginning of the show, in recent episodes Connor has somewhat transcended his former image and become someone who doesn't hesitate to ask for what he wants, and actually kind of makes decent points? In any case, I'm here for it, but the Roy children seem to forget that when it comes to Logan, things never, ever turn out in their favor.


Retired Janitors of Idaho

Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona New York, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.


The much talked about, much feared, and much pivotal shareholder meeting is finally upon us, and the Roys are not handling it well, separated as they are in two different war rooms. On one side we have Kendall, who actually seems pretty composed despite dealing with a rabbit-related crisis, Jess, and his team. Do rabbits eat bagels? Should they? Kendall's wild attempts to compensate for being an absentee dad are, uh, laughable laudable to a certain extent, but Jess's face as she listened to the rabbit calls really said it all.

On the other side of hell, Logan, Gerri, Roman, Shiv, Connor, Karl and Frank are two seconds away from a complete freak out. The deal with Sandy and Stewie is still not done, despite multiple concertations, and the shareholder meeting is quite literally starting, with the vote scheduled in the aftermath. Frank is thrown to the sharks and assumes the bulk of the presentation, which is an extended version of last season's finale, in which everyone tried to buy time and ultimately started to sound like a neverending drone. Despite being persona non grata extraordinaire, Kendall is still trying to save the day for Waystar Royco, pushing Stewie to be patient and his family to finally be more flexible on the terms, especially since it's not as if they have much leeway. I do find it hilarious that the Roys don't even realize Kendall is pulling the strings behind their back, minus Logan. Keeping in mind that we don't know exactly at which point Logan became addled by the lack of UTI antibiotics, his analysis of the situation being better than almost any of his children / close counsellors, is concerning, to say the least.
When they finally meet up with Sandy, his daughter Sandi (don't get me started), and Stewie, it seems that the rumors they spread about Sandy allegedly having syphylis transformed into something real. Did we know he was that sick? More to the point, is Sandi (the daughter) just saying whatever she wants despite appearing to translate Sandy's warbled coffee machine sounds, or is she truly following his lead? Regardless, the back and forth involves: them having veto power upon any of the Roy children becoming CEO, and later on, banning PJs. Despite the grandeur, it's sometimes easy to forget in what world these people live, but PJs meaning private jets and not pyjamas is a brutal reminder that we definitely do not run in the same circles.

When no agreement can be found, the Roys are just about to resort to drastic measures and somehow fabricate a weather crisis in order to purely and simply cancel the shareholder meeting. Even a call from The Raisin doesn't save them, despite them somehow believing he was going to go soft on them. Shiv apparently forgot she was the one planting stories about his neurological issues, and Roman is left to deal with the President's wrath. Not only is he not going to swoop in and save them, but after much speculation, he isn't even going for a second mandate. Which doesn't suit the Roys at all, despite their differences, they still enjoyed some protection from him, and now that's gone. Unless Connor shakes up his plans, doesn't go through the Europe/cable position he's been angling for with Logan so as to consolidate his résumé, and actually becomes a candidate right there and then. Stranger things have happened after all, including Greg trying to sue his Gramp. So far, I've always been fond of Greg because he provides a necessary foil to the craziness that are the Roys. In this season however, it seems like he's taken a little too quickly to their world, and truly believes he can have his (25 tier, probably) cake, eat it, and marry the pastry chef too. When Tom, of all people, calls you out on your callousness, you know you're in serious trouble, ethics-wise.
Tom's own unraveling continues however, as you can tell being chosen by Logan to take him to the bathroom, and subsequently being called "son" feels like a huge milestone for Tom. Which it would, but considering Logan's state, and Tom's tendency to spiral into override, I do not predict this ending well. In fact, if his conversation with Shiv about her ovulation cycles is any indication, Tom is going off the deep end, and fast. It was one thing to plan on which books to bring to prison (watch Goodreads pop out a "Top 15 books to read in prison" list), but planning a prison baby (the new bandaid baby, clearly) is just beyond. I haven't been a fan of Shiv recently, but I'm with her on this, Tom is going insane in his panic. If what he needs is a baby to have "something to hold onto", they should just divorce right now.

Finally, after they come to the conclusion that Logan's "fuck them" might have been inspired by his ailment, the Roys and Sandy.i/Stewey close the deal, and cut the shareholder meeting short. Waystar is saved! Maybe. Probably. On some level. What isn't saved though: Shiv's ego. After she comes back triumphantly from her final conversation with Sandi, having negociated a somewhat humiliating, but still viable, deal, she wants to celebrate with her dad. Logan, however, is not having it. He's not wrong because at this point, they've extracted themselves from a dire situation (again)... but at what cost?
"Don't you just want to savor this a minute, that we came out of this alive?"
"There's blood in the water, the sharks are coming. We should hustle on acquisitions."
"Take this for a toast, yeah?"
"Shiv, I'm trying to talk to Gerri about something important. Stop BUZZING IN MY FUCKING EAR"
Ouch. Roman immediately swoops in, and if the look on Shiv's face is anything to go by, she's about to go nuclear.

A few choice quotes

"Little Lord Fuckleroy is now joining the call"
"Could you please put your footwear back on?"
"Terminal Tom, because I’ve got cancer of the career"
"Call our doctor. Yeah, if he can do people, he can do rabbits."
"Roman's a knucklehead, Shiv's a fake, Kenny is screwy"

So, what did you guys think of these last two episodes? How are you enjoying this season so far? We're over halfway done, and overall it's been strong, but to me, maybe not as game-changing (quality wise) as season 2. As usual, sound off in the comments!

Recommendations