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“Succession” Episode 8 Review "Prague"

Succession Episode 8 Review
4

Summary

“Prague” saw Succession at it’s funniest and perhaps most quietly tragic, as the Roy Boys (as I’ve taken to calling them) got together for Tom’s swanky bachelor party.

Nobody goes to Prague in the eighth episode of HBO’s Succession, but everyone goes nuts. It seems fitting that after weeks of boardroom backstabbing the Roy Boys – a 90s boy band if I ever heard one – get to let off some steam at Tom’s bachelor party. Hosted at some exclusive hellhole warehouse accessed through the bowels of an underpass, it’s a festival for the flesh, where the rich and debauched can do pretty much whatever they like to one another. For the Roy Boys, it’s like stepping into neon Narnia.

Needless to say, everyone present has an ulterior motive. Roman has been despatched to acquire yet more local TV stations from Logan’s mortal enemy, Sandy (Larry Pine), who, it turns out, is in bed with Kendall’s college buddy Stewy (Arian Moayed) thanks to some complex investment loophole. Which means that Sandy technically sits on the board of Waystar-Royco, which I’m sure Logan will be particularly thrilled about.

Kendall, on the other hand, has distanced himself from his father’s company altogether. “Prague” is set a month after Kendall’s relapse last week, and since then he has morphed into a hilariously try-hard tech-bro who earnestly says, “I’m the asshole who can be your Warhol,” when trying to secure a deal with some Millennial art students. He’s at the shindig primarily to score ketamine. Here’s a fun fact: When I was about nineteen I took so much of that stuff that I genuinely thought I was growing an additional pair of arms under my own, like Goro from Mortal Kombat.

Greg’s there to babysit Kendall, at the request of Logan, who assures him that if he accomplishes the task maybe some conversations can he had about his place in the company. And while he fails at the task rather miserably, he tries very hard, mostly by snorting two lines of cocaine so that Kendall can’t take enough to overdose on. Talk about throwing yourself on the sword. Even Connor is present, hopped up on mollies and harassing women with his doomsday-prepper conspiracy theories.

As is typical of Succession, “Prague” started out as a bit of a lark, but swiftly became a capsule tragedy, with various uncomfortable realities, traumatic memories and depraved sexual acts brought into the glare of the roaming strobe-lights. At some point, incredibly, Roman became the most sympathetic member of the family; this hopeless weasel, toiling thanklessly in the shadows of his father and brother, forced into a cage as a child and made to eat dogfood for Kendall’s amusement. At least, that’s how he remembers it. For Kendall and Connor, the dog pound game was Roman’s; for some reason, he liked it. And the dog food was really chocolate cake. Or was it?

It speaks to how deeply damaged these people are that they can’t even keep their own dysfunction straight. Who to believe? “Prague” passes sympathy around the cast like a bizarre game of emotional Pass the Parcel: Roman’s pathetic; Kendall’s a junkie, shackled to his surname; Connor’s old; Greg is desperate for membership in the Roy’s Only club; and Tom’s fiancée is in bed with another man. And by episode’s end he has ejaculated into his own mouth.

There’s a shot, from behind, of the Roy Boys leaving, their silhouettes lined up, Kendall’s slightly apart. It’s a striking image; character development in still monochrome. Regret curls from them like steam from a drain. All except Kendall, stood alone. He just shook the hand of his father’s nemesis, made an agreement to take Waystar-Royco by force and hack away its leprous appendages. Whatever healthy limbs remain, he’ll control, to puppet as he likes. And those art students? They’re junkies, sluts. He’ll destroy them. By the end of “Prague” he’s back in the formal attire, back ascending the escalator, back in the boardroom. That’s why he was stood apart. He can do – can become – the one thing his siblings can’t; the single worst thing imaginable. He can be just like his father.


“Prague” was the eighth episode of HBO’s Succession. Check out our full series coverage.

 

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8 comments on ““Succession” Episode 8 Review "Prague"

  1. So King Lear, this. Thanks so much for the recap!

  2. Dear Jonathon, my favorite writer’s new least favorite writer,

    Stewy has, thus far, only been referred to as Kendall’s college buddy, not high school friend. Greg did two lines to keep Kendall from doing four. You can’t “overdose” on cocaine. “Despatched” is not a word. No one cares about you doing ketamine. How do you get paid for this? Sheeit.

    Sincerely,
    Your new least favorite critic

    • Jonathon Wilson

      Well, at least you’re formal.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the review so much that you cared about every throwaway line. That’s very heartwarming.

      I did write “high school” instead of “college” and “four” instead of “two”, so yep, you got me. Thanks for pointing that out. I’ve amended the piece to reflect your thoughtful corrections.

      If you take too much cocaine at once, though, you die. In the episode Kendall says, verbatim, “My dad’s gonna be super disappointed if his son ODs.” I wonder what he meant?

      “Despatched” is an alternative spelling of “dispatched”. There’s no difference between the two and both are correct. “Despatched” is older and less commonly used outside England, but it is a word, according to the dictionary.

      And I mostly get paid because thanks to the management structure here, nobody has the authority to actually fire me.

  3. These club set pieces were shot this past February, in a warehouse studio in Queens, NY.
    Much of the party footage, including scenes of full on fucking, including Kendall touching himself while he watched a girl give a blowjob, cut. Tom approached a pane glass window and peered into a room filled with couples getting it on, cut. A random guy interrupts a bar conversation by vomiting right next to the leads, cut. A guy and girl engaged in doggy style as Connor rolls face right next to them, cut.
    The proceeding edit job neutered the party atmosphere horribly. The script called on a raging drug and sex party, but the audience is left with a well-lit but sparsely-populated event that seems quite deserted.
    Having seen the energy that was being harnessed behind the scenes during production, I can only blame a shot-out example of post-production work in the editing department.

    • I kinda liked the neutered party scenes. I thought that was the whole joke: these rich idiots think they’re getting an “Eyes Wide Shut” style ultra-orgy, when all they’re really at is a standard club party with a few “artsy” touches. I REALLY wish I’d been able to make it to the filming though.

  4. Just when I thought I couldn’t despise the Roys any more, “Prague” happens.
    I thought at first that little Roman really did enjoy pretending to be a doggie and eating chocolate cake standing in for real dog food; many little children, especially boys, like to play games like this. Then Conner explained the dynamic that caused their father to send “weaker” Roman away, and that sent a bit of a chill.
    I still can’t feel at al sorry for Roman, however. I bet he was quite the bully at his prep school.
    I would have felt sorry for Tom’s sad, depressing bachelor party if he hadn’t been such a jerk to Greg all season.
    Great episode, great recap. But if you will let me quibble, please note that “its” possessive does not take an apostrophe.

  5. Amber K.

    Kudos for a Mortal Kombat reference. My favorite thing about this episode was less of that piano camp they rely on. I’m like you—I dig drugged out Kendall.

  6. This show is all over the place. Yeah, and you like no one. This episode was just tiresome. These spoiled brats only get to play in the gilded sandbox because Daddy gave them a Trust Fund. They hate him; fine, but give him back his money you seem to hate so much. I loath the sister, Shiv (what a stupid nick name), she’s both ugly and completely unbelievable as someone who came from money. She looks and acts like a bull dike from Pittsburgh. I’m rooting for Logan to disinherit them all, then die and let his wife take over.

  7. Pingback: 'Succession' Episode 9 - "Pre-Nuptial" | TV Recap | Ready Steady Cut

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