WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
HBO premiered the first episode of the second season of Succession last night, and its cult audience was grateful for the return of an hour's worth of lavish-lifestyle porn.
Much like Tom and Shiv's honeymoon, our break from one of the best shows and most entertaining families on television was brought to a shocking stop. Succession picked up right where it left off: with the downfall of Kendall Roy, the supposed heir to his father Logan's throne. In case you forgot what happened at the end of season one, HBO's classic season-recap-prior-to-the-episode and I got you covered...
Kendall Roy committed vehicular manslaughter during his sister's Shiv's wedding reception.
This is essentially right where we were left off as an audience: with Kendall shitting himself due to an intense case of guilt, and in the palms of his omniscient father's hands. If you didn't recall, Logan Roy is not the most loving father on the face of planet Earth. In fact, he's kind of a brutal asshole without any capacity for love or immediate emotion. Every decision that Logan makes is premeditated, and his decision to keep Kendall at the end of a 4-inch long leash seems like one that's not going to end well for the eldest son.
Kendall is yanked out of an Icelandic rehab station after being there for only 48 hours, and is immediately asked to appear on national television so he can discuss what went through his mind when he decided to remain apart of his father's company rather than dismantle it with Stew and Sand (a duo who I will now be identifying as the one entity they ache to become: StewSand). Kendall appears on national television like a ghost who just got caught jerking off to pictures of his aunt at her high school prom, and nobody in his family aside from his father knows why he looks like a hollowed out carcass.
After Kendall's appearance on television, Logan sits down with his trustee banker who advises him to sell the company because of generational issues that include people don't read newspapers anymore and television news is practically extinct.
Later, Kendall's two beloved full-siblings, Shiv and Roman, absolutely tear him to pieces verbally when they see him on the landscape at The Summer Palace (which happens to be the name of the episode). The two younger siblings demand him to tell them why he decided to go against his initial decision to overthrow his father's conglomerate corporation, and Kendall almost literally refuses to speak. Is it because he's afraid they might crack his code? Is he afraid that if he tells them they'll use it as leverage against him? Is he probably right about both of those things? Only the rest of the season will let us know.
The rest of the family (Marcia, Connor, Willa, and Tom) meets at The Summer Palace, and there is a nose-blinding smell that's mysteriously existing somewhere in the house. After discovering the stench's source to be dead raccoons in one of the several living rooms's chimneys, Logan demands that all of the surf & turf dinners be thrown away and pizzas be made immediately as a substitution. The family gathers around the dinner table, and Logan dives into business once everybody's seated before they're allowed to eat. Shiv admits that although Logan demands every member of the family to speak their mind about whether he should sell the company or not, he hasn't traditionally been the best listener in the household, or ever even listened to anyone at all.
After the group meeting doesn't work, Logan removes himself from the table and goes to his personal office. He then invites Roman, and Shiv into the office as individuals to understand their outlooks on what he should do with the company. Roman is the first one to talk to his father, and he doesn't have nearly as much to say as Shiv does, whom Logan ends up offering the almightily desirable position of CEO. Shiv's insecurity and the family's tendency for betrayal is on full display during this scene where Logan appoints Shiv to become the next head honcho, and her inability to believe his decision is really what highlights the downfalls and critical issues of this family.
BUYERS AND SELLERS
This section of the weekly series dedicated to Succession is going to act as a mode of tracking the winners and losers of each week. I'm going to list the people that you should buy stock in, along with the people whose stock you should sell according to each respective week's episode.
BUYER: SHIV ROY
The worst thing to happen to Shiv this episode might've been the best thing in her eyes: she had to cut her honeymoon short, and it really looked like her and Tom were dying to get out of paradise where all they had was each other. That can't be healthy, right? Anyways...
Shiv's the smartest family member in the Roy patriarch. There isn't a doubt about it in my mind. She's experienced in the heavy hitting field of politics, and her genuine experience in that department proves that she doesn't just need her last name to get somewhere in life like Roman and Kendall do. Shiv's winning all over the place in this episode, aside from in her marriage to Tom which feels more like the world's most boring reality TV show than it does a passionate love affair.
The Roy Family Heiress has "officially" been appointed Queen of the East, and has a body with so much firepower that it makes it really hard not to root for her whether you're on her side or not. Cause whatever work outs she's been doing since right before the wedding have worked beyond my wildest imagination. Like GOD DAMN SHIV, GO HEAD, DO YO FUCKIN THANG.
The one question we have to ask ourselves regarding Shiv before we determine her to be our rightful Queen is: Is she still cheating on Tom with that douchebag? Cause if so, then revoke everything I just said about her. Except for the thickness admiration part. She's still thick even if she's cheating on Tom's goofy ass.
BUYER: COUSIN GREG
Poor Cousin Greg.
He only gets one scene.
He gets some bad coke in that one scene.
And he asks Kendall if he wants to return the cocaine that he bought, but isn't sure if he still has the receipt for it.
Because Cousin Greg wasn't anywhere the center of attention during this episode, that means we're definitely due for more Greg screen time in the next nine episodes. Buy low, that's how it goes, and Greg hasn't been this low since he was throwing up out of the eye holes of a mascot suit.
SELLER: KENDALL ROY
Logan's favorite puppet has less of a spine than Cousin Greg now, which nobody would've thought was possible during Kendall's backseat bass-boosted pump-up sessions in season one.
He's officially got no confidence left in himself, no cards left in his deck to play, and can't even get a gram's worth of some decent cocaine in New York fucking City. He's shit out of luck, and is growing dependent on "straighteners" in order to keep his head on somewhat of a swivel.
And how could I forget? He's got a twenty-something old kid's death weighing on his shoulders, and hasn't been able to properly grieve or overcome his guilt because the professional and financial battle of his life is in full fucking swing. Kendall has basically been this below GIF personified ever since the incident took place.
All in all, Kendall's never been this low in his life. Even when he was shooting crank with some nearly homeless men in season one, he at least didn't have a kid's life weighing on his conscience. I would say that it'd be smart to buy low on Kendall right now, because of the fact that he's never been this low, but the whole accidentally murdered a British kid thing seems like it's going to come back and bite him in the ass at some point.
BUYER: SUCCESSION and the show's theme song
Good God, I missed this show so fucking much. Television just doesn't hit like this anymore. Don't get me wrong, I love Barry, but its episodes typically cut to black before I can even fully appreciate what I'm witnessing. So for that reason, I'd like to crown Succession as the best show on television, not by a wide margin, but by about a half hour.
If you haven't done so yet, tell all of your friends about this show because I truly believe that it reaches into the hearts of every demographic. My friends watch it, and they're all idiots. Also I watch it, and I'm a fucking genius. So it's really a win-win for everybody, no matter what Ivy League school your dad paid for you to get into and no matter what hidden clubs you attend in the depths of the city that never sleeps.