Anyone watching Succession knows that the kids cannot stay out of their own way. While we love Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Shiv (Sarah Snook), and Roman (Kieran Culkin), Logan (Brian Cox) never lets aggression go unanswered. After they purchased Pierce from under him, he goes to ATN to take a more hands-on approach. The kids went to war last week, but Logan returned with knives. Directed by Becky Martin and written by Jesse Armstrong, Tony Roche, and Susan Soon He Stanton, “Rehearsal” delivers a landmark meeting and episode conclusion.
The Recap – Succession – “Rehearsal”
Kerry (Zoe Winters) and Logan walk out to the car. She asks if he is excited about tomorrow, and he gets annoyed at the question. Colin asks if they’re good to go, but Kerry informs him they’re heading to ACN instead.
The Roy kids sit in a cabin watching the PGN news. They all complain about the current programming and prepare to make big changes. Tellis (Kevin Changaris) reminds them PGN is not theirs yet, and Roman tells him to can it. Kendall pitches a show that only covers Africa when Shiv gets a call. She steps outside and finds out all the top divorce lawyers have conflicted out from working with her. She hangs up, realizing Tom is playing at something.
After the intro, Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) confirms that Logan gave him the list of lawyers to tie up. Greg (Nicholas Braun) calls Tom as he gets into the car, letting him know Logan is on the floor. Tom cancels the rest of his afternoon and rushes back inside. Shiv calls and chews him out about the lawyers. Tom says he wants to handle things amicably, but Shiv hangs up.
Tom walks down to speak to Greg, who gives him the breakdown. Logan has been giving notes, and Tom reminds him that will be the norm when Waystar is sold off. Only ACN will remain with Logan, so this might be the new normal.
Tom walks over to speak to Logan, who notes the employee he’s watching has only sent one email since he started watching. Tom asks what Logan thinks of the election setup. Logan hates it, but Tom counters that Cyd (Jeannie Berlin) believes it helps the team. At that moment, Cyd walks over to speak with Logan as well. When she arrives, Logan asks them what they thought of Kerry’s audition tape for anchor. Tom asks for Logan’s opinion, but the boss refuses. “She’s my assistant. That would be inappropriate.” He leaves the decision to them. Logan asks to make a speech.
The Roy kids watch her audition tape, mocking it on every line. Shiv steps outside and calls Sandi. She pitches holding things back with the board so that Waystar does not just get rubber-stamped for sale. She returns inside, and they are pressured to attend Connor’s wedding rehearsal.
The team at ACN sets up boxes so that Logan can give his speech. Tom intros him, and he attacks the team for not returning on investment. Logan lets them know he plans on being around more often. He wants everyone to go bigger. He’s planning to build something bigger than before, starting with ACN.
The Roy kids get to the tarmac. However, they’re not allowed to board the helicopter. When they push back, Kendall realizes their Dad is messing with them. The helicopter takes off, and they send their team to get a car for them. Shiv receives a message from Sandi (Hope Davis) and Stewy (Arian Moayed), who want to meet in the next few hours. Kendall and Roman do not want to go, but Shiv pushes back.
Logan wanders the halls of ACN, worried about the board. He walks into a board room, where Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron) and Hugo (Fisher Stevens) laugh at a video. They deflect when Logan pressures them to find out what’s so funny. They talk about Matsson taking over the company and if there will be a photo op afterward. Logan demands to see the deck on Hugo’s laptop, and when he plugs it in, the audition for Kerry pops up. He quickly closes it as Logan chews them out for “working for Matsson already.” He storms out.
The kids get to Connor’s rehearsal, but Stewy and Sandi await them. They want five minutes, and they have a setup across the street. They believe more money can get pulled from Matsson, and they’re prepared to vote no. Sandi makes the pitch that if the five of them band together, they can ask for more. Stewy knows there’s danger, but they think they can squeeze a little and not endanger their deal for PGN.
They go to the party, where they run into Willa (Justine Lupe). She’s stressed and leaves her own rehearsal. After she walks away, Shiv tries to get them to go to discuss the deal, but the boys refuse. They walk up to find Connor sitting alone, clearly upset with the night. Roman asks Connor’s okay. Apparently, Willa stood up and said, “I can’t do this,” before disappearing into a bathroom for forty minutes.
Connor speaks to Willa’s mom, and Shiv tries to get the boys to leave again. She keeps pushing when Connor returns. He tries to get them to do karaoke, but they say no. When he asks to go to a bar, they reluctantly agree.
At ACN, Greg and Tom await Logan in the kitchen. After complaining about pizzas and telling Greg to leave, he brings up Kerry’s audition for anchor. Tom begins to move into kiss-ass mode but then catches that Logan is unhappy with that response. He spins it to start her off to a lower role and eventually agrees to tell her no. Logan reminds him that he can be nowhere near it.
The kids get to the bar and begin to order. Shiv pushes Roman with articles from Stewy while Connor tracks Willa with her location settings. He keeps asking Roman to stop making jokes when Kendall steps out for a call. It’s Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård), who heard about the squeeze Stewy and Sandi are trying. Matsson threatens to walk if he gets pushed. Kendall takes a minute outside to himself and then texts Stewy for the numbers.
Tom and Greg watch Kerry’s tape. They do not know how to tell her, and Tom puts it on Greg. He talks him through the game plan and leaves Greg to figure it out.
Kendall returns inside and thinks they can get more out of Matsson. Roman disagrees, and Connor begins to worry about his share. Logan texts Roman, causing Shiv and Kendall to turn on him. As they argue, Roman shows them the phone. They still don’t like it. Shiv tells the table that Logan advised Tom to tie up all the lawyers. Roman apologizes but tells them he’s worried about Matsson walking.
Roman goes on, telling them he’s excited about PGN. He wants to make sure they are too. Kendall and Shiv want to ensure they get more because they think Matsson is lying. They accuse each other of being too locked in their feelings. Roman reluctantly agrees. Connor complains they’re screwing everything up. He wants his money and to do karaoke.
Greg pulls Kerry aside to tell her they won’t be moving forward. From the jump, he struggles with it and ties himself in knots. He tries to put it on a focus group, and she storms out. She threatens to take it to Logan. She walks into a boardroom, where Logan hears from Connor about the board vote.
The kids walk into a karaoke room. They begin pouring champagne and get ready to play when Willa goes dark. Immediately after, Connor lets them know he told their Dad about the vote. Logan is on his way.
Connor sings “Famous Blue Raincoat” by Leonard Cohen when Logan calls Roman. The kids hang up, but Logan walks into the room. He admits he missed them at his party, and they mock him. Kerry tells them Logan wanted to address the family stuff first, and Shiv says it was a business decision.
Logan wants everyone to have a clean start. They get Pierce, he gets ACN, and everyone moves on. When Kerry tries to assure them this is good, they joke about her tape. When they realize she’s not getting the show, they congratulate her for being let down by Logan. He tells them it’s enough and finally apologizes.
Kendall, Roman, and Kendall do not believe him. They pressure him to apologize for specifics. He starts with the Helicopter, but Roman turns it on him. Logan knows they’re upset about Italy. Kendall lays out more issues, and Shiv brings up her divorce. Logan tells her he would have given her the same advice if she had been around. He then turns it back to Matsson. Shiv blows up on him, calling him a human gaslight.
Logan wants to get the family together. He knows this is real. They turn around years of words he’s used against them, bringing up the “make your own pile” remarks. Logan turns back to insulting them, calling them unserious. “I love you, but you are not serious people.” He then leaves.
Logan and Kerry walk down the road. He grows angrier with each step, complaining that even the rats are comfortable now. He tells Kerry to get the team together but leaves Gerri out.
Shiv and Kendall brag about beating up on Logan. Roman seems more conflicted. Connor tells them that he doesn’t need love. It’s not like his family ever has, anyway. He leaves the room.
The Roy kids head their own way. Kendall seems happy with what he’s done. Shiv seems more pensive. Connor arrives home, and Willa awaits him in bed. He snuggles up with her.
Roman goes to Logan’s house to apologize. Logan sits with Tom and invites Roman to come with him to meet Matsson. They’ve pushed the board meeting. Logan asks Tom to step out, so he does. Logan states that Roman is not a good fit for Pierce, and the smart ones know where they fit. Instead, he should join Logan at ATN. He “needs” Roman.
Episode Breakdown – Succession – “Rehearsal”
The daggers are out, and no one is safe. Jesse Armstrong lets Cox cook again, and the actor continues his march toward television immortality. Logan Roy might be the most sinister character on the small screen in years, dissecting his own kids for his own amusement. He knows he lost Shiv by making the move with Tom. The backhanded “if you had been there” comment assures us of that. Kendall already drew blood years ago, and they broke as a result. Logan stepped into that karaoke bar with the full intention of nabbing Roman back. Sure enough, his plan worked, and he continues to play his youngest like a fiddle.
The Shakespearean tragedy of Succession often finds us bumping against the ways these people love each other. Just as Kirosawa discovered in Throne of Blood and Ran, these powerful emotional connections drive the plot. Armstrong allows us to fully embrace the monstrosity of his characters, but doing so in a family squabble raises the stakes.
No one can hurt you like family. Shiv learned this the hard way, betrayed her dad in his quest to make her feel the divorce. Kendall experienced this pain time and time again when he was “the number one boy.” Now, Logan realized that Roman was the weakest of the three when he got that text from Rome, and it was only a matter of time until he exploited that to his benefit. Yet Roman needs to be careful. No one should be surprised when the Devil offers you everything, and it turns to ash.
In fact, Kendall and Shiv make strong cases for their own rise. Kendall bypasses Shiv when it’s time to see numbers. Matsson called him, not Roman, despite their relationship last season. Kendall has the dealmakers on his side. He knows how to pull the strings and wait in the shadows. He also shows the same pathology for non-sense ideas, which seems to appeal to a very select group of businessmen. Unfortunately, they’re the ones who control most things.
Meanwhile, Shiv pulled her own strings for the first time, believing she could turn her brothers against her dad. When she tells her father that she knows he will lie about anything and to go get more money, Shiv fully controls the room. The fact she pulled her own spot on the board, which allows her to make this move, still stems from her agreement last season. Both siblings display their own power in the episode, but only Shiv realizes that they may have upset the balance here.
As far as Matsson goes, it seems unlikely he’ll make the purchase in the end. It would be something if he comes through after all of this. In fact, he might as well buy a boat and name it “Live-4-Ever,” because the Scoey comps are off the charts. Cox puts it all on the table, and it’s unlikely that we’ll see him make it to the end of the season. Two kids show genuine promise for the first time in years. Third embraces his cold-blooded side. The showdown for control of Waystar does not appear over.