Halfway through “Secession,” Kendall’s girlfriend Naomi Pierce jokes on the phone that he could be the best man in the world. Kendall laughs, then adds, an expression on his face making it clear he’s not entirely kidding, “But what if I do?” He is rich in his own supply, metaphorically for sure and probably in a literal sense too. While it is possible that he was using drugs from Naomi or one of his other facilitators, he implicitly went mad throughout the premiere, speaking at a mile per minute and convinced that every idea he a is the greatest thought that has ever occurred to anyone. He is convinced that he will eliminate Logan without destroying Waystar Royco in the process, and that he is doing so for quite noble reasons.
We know enough about Kendall Roy after two seasons to know just how wrong he is about virtually all of this. It has moments of moral clarity, but when an indignant and bewildered Logan insists over the phone that Kendall’s press conference in the season two finale was just another move in the power play. endless family, it’s hard not to side with the evil old man. . If Logan had chosen, say, Frank as the downfall guy for the cruise ship scandal, would Kendall have gone to the press with stories about his father’s misdeeds, or would he have continued to play the bullied son? and devoted that he was for all Season 2? Of course, he would have stayed in the fold.
But Kendall’s unwarranted pride isn’t unique to her within the family. Again and again throughout “Secession,” we see various Roys trying to inflate themselves to respond to the chaos that Kendall’s press conference created. Each of them acts as if they know exactly what to do and as if they are going to emerge victorious. And almost immediately after, we see that they are just as weak and ignorant as they always have been, more crippled by the fear of losing their power than by the willingness to do whatever it takes to gain more of it.
It’s most palpable in the excruciatingly awkward phone conversation Roman and Logan have at the end of the episode. Logan told the inner circle that he wanted to name one of them as Waystar’s new CEO, more for the sake of putting someone else in charge than to signal a real change of guard. This could be a huge opportunity for anyone who wants to step up and grab it. Logan is not getting any younger. He’s been medically sidelined before, and Kendall has made him extremely vulnerable professionally. Anyone named as a bogus CEO could potentially maneuver to make the title real and meaningful. Instead, most people considered are only able to view the gig as a trap and desperately try to play Not It. After briefly trying to push Tom into taking it – and Mr. Wambsgans recoiling at the possibility as if he had just been offered a live grenade – Shiv genuinely tries it, but ruins her chances when she fails to land his old friend Lisa Arthur (Sanaa Lathan) to legally represent Logan and the company in this mess. And Romain? Roman feels he deserved the job – has been the good son everyone treats like the bad son – but is ultimately too cowardly to take it. He calls Logan, insists, “I think it should be me.” It’s my time, I can do it, I want it. He pauses for a moment in the middle of this, and we can see that at a minimum, Logan is impressed with the initiative. We will never know whether or not that would have been enough to win the day; before Logan can give his answer, Roman keep talking, instantly hedging his bets by saying he would do a good apprenticeship under Gerri for a few years if Logan doesn’t think he’s ready yet. It’s every email invitation you’ve concluded with a variation of the phrase “But if you can’t come, that’s okay,” every defensive posture taken after asking someone to meet. one or makes a big demand for work, and that’s the wrong posture to adopt in front of Logan Roy, who hangs up and says: “Roman is out”. If Roman feels the need to give his father an excuse to say no, then of course his father will.
But even before this call, you can see Roman, Shiv, and the others wondering what to do and why. The bulk of “Secession” finds our cast of characters scrambling for position, both literally and figuratively. The Logan team spends a lot of time moving around the airport, then eventually parted ways between New York and Sarajevo, where Logan chooses to go into hiding for a bit due to the lack of an extradition treaty with the States- United. Logan is generally in control of whatever he polls, but the guy we see here stepping out of the Sarajevo hotel lobby to get some fresh air in the final minutes of the episode looks vulnerable in a different way when ‘he was medically incapable at the start of the first season. This attack from Kendall is different for Logan than when his son was planning a hostile takeover with Stewy, and it’s clear that for once, he’s not sure he can pull it off no matter how hard he screams. strong that it is war. , or that he’s going to “get screwed up” against Kendall, Lisa Arthur and their friends. And Logan isn’t the only one who has doubts. On the tarmac at the airport, Roman and Shiv each briefly consider switching sides and supporting Kendall, but it’s clear that each of them would need the other to do so before even seriously considering such a move. . You can’t win if you don’t play, so they stay paralyzed.
Kendall, meanwhile, spends a good chunk of the hour simply driving around Manhattan in the back of his company-supplied SUV with his assistant Jess and cousin Greg. (Karolina is with them briefly, but Waystar’s PR chief has the professional common sense to get the hell out of when Kendall tries to recruit her to his side.) With the threat of being banned from entering the company headquarters. , he just hung out publicly, and with the high likelihood of paparazzi camping out near his own apartment, Kendall instead takes over his ex-wife Rava’s spacious living room. Rava is a good sport about it, wanting to believe that Kendall’s press conference is a sign that he’s finally standing up for real to the family she was eager to break free from. Then Naomi introduces herself and talks to cousin Greg about opening an expensive bottle of wine that Rava had kept, as it was a gift from her godfather. As Succession indignities go, it’s sweet, but it’s especially cruel because Rava is a non-fighter in this war, and also someone who very clearly wants to believe the best in Kendall, despite plenty of evidence that she doesn’t. shouldn’t. (In the car, Kendall even makes jokes about the death in Scotland that left him so crippled with guilt throughout season two, even though he’s the only one who understands the joke.)
Kendall manages to secure the services of Lisa Arthur, as well as those of Berry Schneider (Jihae), a sort of crisis management PR expert who can’t have a word on the edge while trying to introduce Kendall on the way to fight this very public battle. against Logan. The fact that Kendall gets to Lisa before Shiv can leads to another real squirter of a scene, where Shiv – who considers herself the coolest, most collected, and smartest sister – can’t help but to have an adult seizure coming out of Lisa’s fantasy. Office.
Since everyone spends most of “secession” not knowing where to go and what to do, the episode might feel like a narrative clearing of the throat. But it’s been so long since we’ve seen these characters – thanks to Covid, the previous episode that aired two years and four days ago – that a slower re-entry into their world helps, especially when it’s as typically funny as this one. The insults exchanged between siblings are always a delight, as is Cousin Greg’s attempt to appear smarter or more worldly than him. But everyone has their comedic moment, like Willa’s utterly defeated response to Connor’s suggestion to start marketing his much-maligned piece as a hate watch for “hipsters and assholes.”
None of the Roys are as good or as powerful as they think they are. Their show, however, is in great shape after his long absence.