Succession continues to juggle multiple subplots with aplomb as the next phase of complex negotiations begin.
This recap of Succession Season 4 Episode 2, “Rehearsal”, contains spoilers.
If the overarching theme of Succession has always been that the entire Roy clan are needy maniacs starved of intimacy and personal sovereignty, the emerging theme of the fourth and final season is that they’re all idiots too.
Well, the kids are, anyway. And you can tell because, in last week’s premiere, they finally managed to outmaneuver their father by grossly overpaying for an acquisition of the Pierce media estate, and yet it’s still hard to believe they achieved any kind of victory.
They don’t seem to know anything about news, for one thing. What they do know is, mostly, that they hate it, which you’d think would have come up before they spent all their money acquiring a network dedicated to it. But such is the allure of spite. The Roy siblings are so bitter that all of their business decisions are led by a desire to hurt their father.
Succession Season 4 Episode 2 Recap
Why do the Roy siblings consider Sandi’s offer?
This is why they decide in “Rehearsal” to gum up the works of the GoJo deal. Lukas Matsson’s company is set to acquire Waystar in the next day or so. Sandi (between this, Perry Mason and Your Honor, Hope Davis is having quite the year) and Stewy think that they can wring more money out of Matsson by voting against the deal, and want to persuade the kids to do the same. Logan’s – justified, it transpires – fear is that Matsson will walk if he gets the sense he’s being pushed.
There is absolutely no reason that the Roy siblings should consider this for even a second. They need the dough from their Waystar shares to fund the Pierce acquisition, which they already overpaid for. But, as above, they’re idiots.
To be fair, their idiocy is rooted in a great deal of neglect and personal trauma, but it’s idiocy nonetheless. Shiv is the first one to openly contemplate the deal because she’s trying to retain a divorce lawyer but Tom has already consulted with all the city’s best, creating a conflict of interest if they represent her. It’s a move straight out of Logan’s playbook, and she’s so angry about it that the opportunity to stick a knife in his back again seems suddenly compelling.
So, Shiv starts trying to persuade the others. Roman doesn’t want any more conflict, and Kendall agrees with Logan’s assessment that there’s no more money to be safely extracted from Matsson, but Logan’s general pettiness – he revokes their access to Waystar’s private helicopter – sours them all against him further. The deal keeps being talked about.
What’s going on with Willa?
The negotiations persist all through Connor’s wedding rehearsal, which Willa herself isn’t even present for because she declared during a practice speech, “I can’t do this,” and then went for a drink with her friends.
I noted in my preview of this episode that Willa is up to something, and that still seems to be the case. Sure, she could just be getting cold feet on the eve of marrying this faintly pathetic and idiotic man, but where is she going? And who with?
The siblings try to make Connor feel better by indulging his wishes to drink in a regular bar – Shiv: “The house red, do I dare?” – and then sing karaoke. He spends the whole time creepily tracking Willa’s phone and delivering an utterly emotionless rendition of “Famous Blue Raincoat” by Leonard Cohen.
At some point during the festivities, Matsson calls Kendall directly and tells him explicitly that if they try to push for more money he’ll walk. This, somehow, compels Kendall to push for more money.
You can tell it’s all rooted in spite because when Logan eventually turns up – tipped off by Connor, who isn’t on the Waystar board but is horrified at potentially being stripped of his share value on the cusp of his wedding potentially not going ahead – they just double-down on their desire to hurt him.
Logan’s ostensibly personal appeal is laughable, obviously. His apologies are meaningless. His excuses are those of a man with absolutely no understanding of how human beings think and feel – basically a coda to his speech last week about how he sees people as economic units in fluctuating markets.
But he’s right about one thing. His kids really are dopes. And they’re really not serious people.
What happens with Kerry’s audition tape?
All the best lines in “Rehearsal” come from the ATN newsroom, where Logan spends much of the hour prowling for people to torment in the absence of his kids. He gives a rousing, bloodthirsty speech about slitting the throats of the competition, and then forces Tom into an exceedingly awkward situation with Kerry.
Kerry, it turns out, wants to be an ATN anchor, and has submitted an audition tape. She’s terrible. Logan knows this, but he also knows that Tom is too sycophantic to point it out, so the whole matter goes on much too long and Kerry gets actual airtime (much to the enjoyment of the siblings elsewhere). After finally realizing that Logan wants Tom to reject her application on his behalf, he delegates the responsibility to Greg (describing it as more difficult and important than resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict), who messes it up completely.
Kerry doesn’t come across well in this exchange, to be fair, but then again she knows what it means to be let down gently by Cousin Greg, of all people, especially when he’s pretending that a made-up focus group made the decision for him. She promises to take him apart like a human string cheese, but the point that she’s a terrible news anchor is still made pretty clearly.
Succession Season 4 Episode 2 Ending Explained
“Rehearsal” reaches the end of a long night with the various siblings going about their respective sad little lives. Kendall smirks to himself about getting one over his father once again, inevitably to his own detriment. Shiv returns to an empty house. Connor gets home to find Willa already in bed, though apparently aware of and secure in the knowledge that she doesn’t love him and that their pending nuptials are a well-funded charade.
It’s easy to see why Roman goes to Logan. He was already conflict-averse. He must know, on some level, that his siblings can’t defeat their father at his own game. And Logan knows that Roman knows, so he offers him a leadership position at ATN and invites him to visit Matsson with him in person. Logan has found a weak spot, and he’s about to start sticking a knife in it.
You can stream Succession Season 4 Episode 2, “Rehearsal” exclusively on HBO and HBO Max.