A horribly unpleasant (in all the right ways) episode of HBO’s rich-family drama, “I Went to Market” finds the Logan clan at their most ugly and compelling.
This review contains spoilers.
There’s nothing worse than pretending to like your extended family. Luckily, here in England, Thanksgiving is a date that we can just helpfully skip over, freeing up the time to prepare for the dreaded Christmas and New Year get-togethers. But as far as the Logan clan are concerned, thanks must indeed be given. In the fifth episode of HBO’s Succession, “I Went to Market”, perhaps predictably, nobody is grateful for anything at all.
You’d imagine that Logan might be grateful for his health, but it’s swiftly becoming apparent that a significant portion of his brain isn’t in much better condition than the Thanksgiving turkey. Back at work, he’s trying to buy local TV news channels and pouring his coffee until it spills out of the mug and soaks the table; at home, he’s smacking his grandkids around the head with tins of soup.
You shouldn’t laugh, but you kind of have to. It’d be too tragic otherwise. At the end of the episode, after the guests have cleared off in various states of disgust, Logan recites the children’s game of the title. “I went to market and bought a potato, a new hat,” etc. He doesn’t mention the child abuse.
It seems like everywhere you look in “I Went to Market”, someone is getting slapped around, literally or otherwise. Tom has been presented with a prenuptial agreement by Shiv, his fiancé, which he swiftly forwards to his lawyer, who just so happens to be his mother. Shiv incessantly reminds him of this, but doesn’t bother to think up any decent excuses for why the agreement doesn’t include any clauses pertaining to infidelity, beyond, simply, “We both travel. Shit happens.” She not only wears the pants in that relationship, but also the shirt, coat, hat and gloves.
Tom, then, feeling emasculated, turns his attention to Cousin Greg, who has spent twelve hours ferrying Logan’s brother Ewan (James Cromwell – brilliant) to the occasion and then is promptly dispatched to dispose of a damning paper trail that leads right to Waystar-Royco’s cruise liner cover-ups. I wouldn’t trust that kid to open a tin of beans, but then again I can’t trust the rest of the family not to wrap the tin around some poor child’s face, so what can you do?
Kendall’s plan is to summon the Waystar-Royco board and push for a vote of no-confidence, thus removing his dad from the picture before he, as he puts it, “Calls up Bezos and sells us out for a dollar.” His first port of call in this regard is Ewan, a fellow board member and a nihilistic Bertrand Russell-quoting ornery grandpa who is rightly disgusted by the entire family – especially Logan. He’s particularly annoyed by the latter’s collection of military medals, given he never served in Vietnam but used his various media channels to whip the public into a frenzy over countless other conflicts in which he also never served. Ewan feels like a transplant from a different show, or at least of an audience member who can see what these people are really up to. I hope he gets more to do.
“I Went to Market” ends, really, with everyone in much the same mood they were in already, only sourer. Nobody really changed or developed or altered their narrow viewpoints, which, of course, was entirely the point. It was a horribly tense and distinctly unpleasant episode of television in all the right ways; an hour-long condemnation of the Logan family, and any family that puts their self-serving pursuit of profit above the ideals that a tradition like Thankgiving is supposed to celebrate.
I’m still glad we don’t have it here. You think the Logans are bad? You should meet my in-laws.
“I Went to Market” was the fifth episode of HBO’s Succession. Check out our series coverage.