“DC” was a darker, more serious reminder that all of these people are rotten to their cores, while also functioning as a masterful penultimate episode. Who will be the blood sacrifice?
This recap of Succession Season 2, Episode 9, “DC”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
As Rhea Jarrell (Holly Hunter) astutely puts it to Logan Roy (Brian Cox) in “DC”, the penultimate episode of Succession‘s indescribably good second season, his ability to lie is like a superpower. And it’s a problem for anti-hero television since it’s all too easy to root for absurdly charismatic people, even if their charisma is always a distraction from self-serving moral bankruptcy. Succession Season 2, Episode 9 was a masterful reminder of how deeply, incurably awful all these people are; it sat them down at a Congressional hearing to be ruthlessly examined, and they all were found wanting.
It began with a tell-all TV news segment on the Brightstar cruise scandal and moved swiftly to Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) and Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron) seated before a Senate subcommittee being eagerly grilled by Senator Gil Eavis (Eric Bogosian) about their involvement in the cover-up. The breakneck transitioned helped to immerse us in Tom’s woeful unpreparedness, even if it was obvious that he was being set up as the patsy anyway. But he literally couldn’t have performed any worse. He claimed not to know anything about Lester’s nickname of “Mo” (Mo-lester, Molester) despite there being hundreds of emails referring to him as such, and then incredibly claimed not to know Greg (Nicholas Braun), who was sitting right behind him. A disaster for everyone besides us, who at least got to enjoy some wonderfully comedic moments, such as Tom’s email subjects — “You can’t make a Tomelette without breaking a few Greggs” — and a blogger for The Atlantic describing Tom as “a smirking block of domestic feta.”
This landslide victory for moral decency in Succession Season 2, Episode 9 leads Gil to think he’s cracked it, so he unwisely turns down an offer from Shiv (Sarah Snook) to deliver the head of Bill (Mark Blum), who organized the cover-ups, on a platter. (This is part of a scheme playfully dubbed “Kill Bill”.) Gil thinks he has the Roys dead to rights, and he has an ace in hand: A victim who is willing to share all her experiences with Lester. But he gets too overconfident. When Logan and Kendall (Jeremy Strong) take the stand, Kendall deflects his accusations with charges of ideological bias, much to the enjoyment of the Senator from Missouri and the right-leaning viewership of ATN. Shiv, meanwhile, visits the witness and convinces her not to testify, thoroughly debasing herself and betraying her own values in the process. But family must come first, at the end of the day, especially if you stand to go down with the ship.
But not, apparently, if you’re Logan Roy. He’s able to scrape through the Congressional hearing with a modicum of his reputation intact, but he’s smart enough to know that this can’t be tossed overboard like errant stowaways. The shareholders won’t like it. Rhea hated it enough to abandon her position as the new CEO of Waystar Royco. Unless he does something drastic, he’s finished — and his plan must include, as he puts it, “a blood sacrifice”. But who will that be? The ever-loyal Kendall? Tom? Shiv?
You’ll notice I haven’t mentioned Roman (Kieran Culkin) yet, which is because in Succession Season 2, Episode 9 he’s potentially kidnapped in Turkey as part of a nebulous power grab that, thanks to the high drama of everything going on in DC, somehow plays like the lighthearted comedic subplot of the episode. Still trying to schmooze enigmatic Eastern money man — and Heart of Midlothian Football Club co-owner — Eduard (Babak Tafti), which takes him, Karl (David Rasche) and Laird (Danny Huston) to Turkey for a pitch to Eduard’s father, Roman is detained at gunpoint and eventually taken away by potential terrorists who have an interest in the proposed deal. Has he been kidnapped? Will he swoop in at the last second with private foreign investment, saving his family’s company just as it’s about to be demolished? Nobody knows, least of all me. But it’s going to be great fun finding out.