Succession Recap: Let The Boars Hit The Floor

August 26, 2019
Jonathon Wilson 0
TV Recaps
4.5

Summary

“Hunting” featured possibly the best sequence of television this year, in another hysterical but oddly terrifying hour of rich-people ruthlessness.

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4.5

Summary

“Hunting” featured possibly the best sequence of television this year, in another hysterical but oddly terrifying hour of rich-people ruthlessness.

This recap of Succession Season 2, Episode 3, “Hunting”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.


There’s a long, bizarre scene in Succession Season 2, Episode 3 that is difficult to describe but might have been the best sequence of television this year. In it, Logan Roy (Brian Cox) punishes his family and business associates for their collective disloyalty, both in refusing to back him in a nonsensical attempt to acquire the respected news network PGM and in sharing with a biographer details of the Roy clan’s ruthless insanity. The scene, set in a gothic Hungarian castle where the Roys are staying while on a hunting trip, incorporates everything that makes HBO’s rich-family satire such a scathing success. It’s hysterical and oddly terrifying. It’s broadly ridiculous borderline slapstick that’s also deeply rooted in emotional frailty; the desperate need to control, to impress, to be loved, to be acknowledged. It was brilliant.

It also raised the possibility that Logan Roy is insane. The patriarch’s wavering health is what kick-started the show in the first place, his children circling like vultures hovering over wounded prey, eager to devour its carcass once it expires. But Logan never expired. He regained his strength, if not his faculties, and without one to keep the other in check he’s running rampant. But because the situation around Waystar Royco is so incendiary, legitimate medical concerns can be dismissed as business savvy. Logan’s doctor thinks he’s paranoid, and he is because he believes that his family and external parties are all coveting his throne — which they are. His plan to acquire PGM is ostensibly a way of making the company so big, wealthy and powerful that it can’t be seized, which means it’s smart business, but none of the characters established to be smart business people think it’s a good idea.

This is one of many eternal conflicts in Succession; nobody can parse anyone else’s motivations because self-serving dishonesty is the only language any of these people speak. Kendall (Jeremy Strong), with no option but to lick his father’s shoes, has become a roaming automaton, gazing idly at the man whose empire he tried to wrest from him, awaiting approval like a dog begging for treats. Roman (Kieran Culkin), the show’s most easily detestable but bizarrely sympathetic figure, makes every effort to impress but only ever manages to reveal himself for what he really is: A simpering, spineless idiot. His pathetic efforts to run game while Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron) buttoned his shirt like a child was “Hunting” at its most crushing; mercilessly skewering the “elites” whose understanding of the world begins and ends with the parts of it they can control from the safety and comfort of their glass-walled skyscraper lairs.

What’s most tragic about Succession are the people sucked into the Roy orbit and squeezed into an unrecognizable shape by the black-hole gravity of the family’s ruthlessness. In “Hunting”, Shiv (Sarah Snook) despatches Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) as a sacrificial lamb, pressuring him into opposing the PGM takeover in her stead while she busies herself having sex with a dopey actor. Having been made to scramble around on the floor for a sausage as penance for his second-hand role, Tom returns home to be told he probably doesn’t want to hear about how his wife spent her weekend. The look on his face when he realizes what that means was almost as devastating as the look on Roman’s when his father declared him a moron. Kendall, meanwhile, has long since stopped showcasing any expression at all, all the edges of his character planed into a vague outline; an honest shadow of his father at last.


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