“Tailgate Party” is, even by Succession standards, an extremely sad and depressing hour of television, as every character continues to destroy themselves and each other.
This recap of Succession Season 4 Episode 7, “Tailgate Party”, contains spoilers.
If there’s one word to describe Succession, at least after “Tailgate Party”, it’s simply this: Sad.
The show has been sad before, of course, even recently. But now it’s sad on every conceivable level, and for every character, even peripheral ones. Logan Roy’s demise in Episode 3 has, predictably, created a domino effect of personal and business calamities, but the siblings’ utter mishandling of their sudden responsibilities in his absence has driven them all further toward personal despair and professional ruin than they ever were when their father was alive.
The guessing game used to be who’d succeed. Now it’s whether anyone will be able to avoid rock bottom for long enough to even get by.
Succession Season 4 Episode 7 Recap
After trying to tank the GoJo deal by rocketing Waystar’s share price with Living+, Kendall is still trying to work the angles against Matsson at a pre-election party. Everyone who’s anyone is there, including all the siblings – even Conner! – and various other high-value attendees, such as Matsson himself and Shiv’s old playmate Nate.
As is always the case when Succession bundles all of its characters in a room together, the whole thing is just an excuse for rapidly escalating personal vendettas and snide backroom dealings to reach a fever pitch. “Tailgate Party”, though, even by the show’s usual standards, gets especially nasty, so let’s talk about Shiv and Tom.
Are Shiv and Tom back together?
The episode initially finds Shiv and Tom on solid footing. They’re tentatively back together, enjoying a very active sex life and some typically ill-advised gift exchanges (Tom buys her a scorpion, which symbolizes… well, I’m sure you can work it out.)
But things quickly start going wrong for both of them. Shiv’s problem is that she’s trying to play both sides, feeding information to Matsson so that she can undercut Kendall and Roman’s efforts to sabotage the deal, but once the GoJo acquisition goes through, she wants a big piece of the pie to justify her betrayal.
Matsson, who clearly has the hots for Shiv, is happy to oblige. But one of his acquisition non-negotiables is completely restructuring ATN’s upper management, which means firing Tom, and Shiv doesn’t seem especially perturbed by this.
Tom, though, is rightly appalled by the idea. He’s already having to swallow his pride by watching Shiv flirt with Matsson and Nate in their own home, and now all anyone wants to talk about is how his head is going to be on the chopping block.
This amounts to the most honest – and thus nastiest – argument Shiv and Tom have ever had. Both tear strips from one another. The chances of them remaining together after this are virtually nil.
What is Matsson hiding?
In their eternal quest for damning information about Matsson and Gojo, Kendall and Roman target Ebba, Matsson’s communications director (the one he was sending blocks of his own blood to.)
Ebba is more than willing to provide information against Matsson because, even though she could potentially ruin him, he just can’t seem to stop publicly tormenting and bullying her. But while the Roy brothers assume that the harassment is going to be the point of contention, that turns out to be the least of Matsson’s problems.
As it happens, GoJo’s subscriber numbers in India have been grossly inflated to the extent that they’d only be accurate if there were two Indias – which of course there aren’t. This throws the entire acquisition into a legal grey area that might well ruin absolutely everyone involved if the sale goes through.
For Kendall and Roman, this is good news. They can justify tanking the deal to the board. But when they tell Shiv – still unaware that she’s collaborating with Matsson – she’s distraught. She is banking everything on the deal going through, and now there’s a huge chance that it won’t.
Succession Season 4 Episode 7 Ending Explained
“Tailgate Party” ends with Kendall coming up with a new idea – to “reverse Viking” Matsson by having Waystar instead acquire GoJo. And that’s without telling either of his siblings.
Somehow, that’s the happiest turn of events. Roman and Conner have a mean-spirited argument about Conner’s campaign, and eventually, he and Willa are planning to move to Oman.
Shiv and Tom, after their argument, lay wide-eyed and alone in separate beds, their brief glimmer of happiness together once again destroyed.
Roman can’t even talk Gerri around. At this point, Waystar is a sinking ship, and while Kendall’s scheme might just be enough to keep the section of it he’s on temporarily afloat, everyone else is going to drown sooner rather than later.
You can stream Succession Season 4 Episode 7, “Tailgate Party” exclusively on HBO and HBO Max.