We all thought the election party was during election night. Silly us. What appears to be the calm before the storm turns into quite the battle. Not only does Shiv (Sarah Snook) have a different agenda from her brothers, but also from her husband (Matthew Macfadyen). The battles rage, both inside their relationships and inside Waystar Royco. Directed by Robert Pulcini and Sheri Springer Berman direct Succession, Season 4 Episode 7 – “Tailgate Party.”

The Recap – Succession – “Tailgate Party”

A private chef preps breakfast, and Tom (Macfadyen) enters the kitchen. He brings the meal to the other room for Shiv (Snook), who is on her computer. Tom also brings polling numbers, which show Jimenez (the Democratic candidate) up by four points. Shiv asks how Toh is going to play a Jimenez victory at ATN. He’s unsure, but he’s got options.

Matsson (Skarsgard) texts Shiv and asks what is up next from Kendall. Tom tells Shiv how they can spin their relationship while hosting the party. She responds when Tom reveals he got her a present. It’s a scorpion encased in a paperweight, which confuses Shiv. He plays it off as a joke and leaves for work.

A photo from the production of episode 407 of “Succession”. Photo: David M. Russell/HBO ©2022 HBO. All Rights Reserved.

Kendall (Jeremy Strong) exits a car and meets Rava (Natalie Gold). Rava explains that the election has freaked out Sophie (Kendall’s daughter), and she may have been pushed as a hate crime. Kendall immediately blames Rava for not watching Sophie. Rava does not take that lightly. She points out ATN spews racist content, and how she raises Sophie does not mean he cannot call her. As she walks away, he chases after her and tells her all his work is for them.

Roman continues to push investigators to dig up dirt on Matsson. He walks into a restaurant to meet Shiv and Connor. Conn tries to get them to see their dad, who is still unburied. Shiv and Roman debate politics, and Conn excitedly tells them his numbers in Alaska are jumping up. Kendall arrives and asks everyone to chill out because a lot is happening to him.

Connor convenes the “funeral management committee.” He’s worried it’s becoming too much, including all their wishes, Marcia’s, and the event will be sullen. They agree to ignore Marcia, and Conn asks who should speak at the funeral. They all appear standoffish, and Kendall throws his name out. However, the other siblings do not want him to speak poorly of Logan. They table it, and Conn goes off to the campaign.

Succession Tailgate Party

The brothers ask Shiv for a favor. They would like to invite Nate Sofrelli. Shiv is unsure why that would be in play, and they tell her they want Sofrelli to slow down the process in government. She reluctantly agrees. Roman and Kendall leave. When they’re out of earshot, Shiv calls Matsson. He needs to be there and stop the regulatory process. If he gets in good here, he wins regardless.

Tom walks into a room with dozens of people on Zoom. He admits what’s about to happen is hard and lets Greg take the stage. Greg proceeds to read odd a page announcing layoffs, starting with the people on screen. They are eliminating international positions from Waystar Royco.

At the party, Tom and Shiv keep prepping the party. She confirms that Matsson is coming, and Tom appears excited to get face time. However, when Shiv tells him Nate got an invite, he does not maintain that energy. Tom tries to play it off, and Shiv thanks him. The guests begin to arrive.

Succession Tailgate Party
A photo from the production of episode 407 of “Succession”. Photo: David M. Russell/HBO ©2022 HBO. All Rights Reserved.

The family begins to spread out and talk to the regulatory people. Tom and Greg play for different teams, with Greg siding with Ken and Roman. They also work the room. Mencken’s campaign calls for Roman to get Connor out of the race. They’re projected to lose, but they want every vote up for grabs. Roman pitches getting Connor out of the race, and they agree to keep working with everyone.

Nate comes into the party and is greeted by Tom. They passive-aggressively push each other’s buttons. Roman pulls Connor aside to get him to drop out. Connor says no. Roman offers up the ambassador role in Mogadishu. Connor says he would at least need the UN.

Tom gets everyone to quiet down and calls for Kendall to make a speech. He does and calls for a moment of silence for his dad. At that moment, Matsson and his team loudly walk into the party. Kendall and Matsson have a back-and-forth. Outside the party, the boys ask Shiv to follow him around and push him to the wrong people.

Inside Tom and Matsson discuss Tom’s philosophy as an executive. Tom tries to suck up, but Matsson seems genuinely annoyed by it. When Shiv approaches, Matsson compliments the house and asks who keeps it in the divorce.

A photo from the production of episode 407 of “Succession”. Photo: David M. Russell/HBO ©2022 HBO. All Rights Reserved.

Shiv gives Matsson a quick lowdown of who to speak with over the night. Matsson reveals he brought Andreas and Ebba as well. They are jittery in different ways (Andres is too into everything). They begin their rounds.

Connor and Roman continue to discuss ambassador locations. They continue to pitch ideas back and forth, with Connor offering Germany and Roman offering Oman. In the party, Matsson speaks with Nate. While Nate seems to like him, the campaign does not. He expresses concerns about Data Mining. Matsson reminds Nate someone new is getting ATN. Under him, the organization will change and likely be more amenable. It will include changes at the top, which causes questions about Tom. Shiv seems fine with it, while Tom nervously manages the party across the hall.

Nate and Kendall meet up in a hallway. After Nate gives him condolences, Kendall makes his pitch. Unbeknownst to him, it’s very similar to Matsson’s. He then pushes the regulation angle.

Succession Tailgate Party
A photo from the production of episode 407 of “Succession”. Photo: David M. Russell/HBO ©2022 HBO. All Rights Reserved.

Shiv gives Matsson feedback in the coat closet. He realizes it’s all just money and gossip and thinks he can knock it out with everyone else. Shiv then asks what she’s getting out of their relationship. Matsson says name your price, and she says she requires a high-up position. He balks, and when they leave, Kendall notices them. He pushes Greg to interfere.

Tom and Shiv banter with a guest, who hears Tom might be heading out. Tom seems uneasy and walks away. Roman returns to the party with info about the Ebba/Matsson relationship. Kendall and Roman bring it to Nate, who tells Kendall he’s leaving. Kendall keeps pushing it, and Nate tells him to stop. He also tells Kendall he’s not Logan, and that’s a good thing.

Willa asks Connor about Oman as an option. She does not appear into the idea and does not like doing it for Mencken. Greg comes over to Matsson and Andres. While he’s met with hostility from Andres, Matsson tells Greg he can stay. They break the silence on the Ebba/Matsson situation, and Greg says he can help by firing Ebba. She tells them to stop and walks upstairs. Greg cracks another joke to Matsson.

A photo from the production of episode 407 of “Succession”. Photo: David M. Russell/HBO ©2022 HBO. All Rights Reserved.

Out on the balcony, Kendall and Roman approach Ebba. They saw what happened inside and wanted to ensure she’s okay. They begin to pry, asking her about the issues Matsson is facing behind the scenes. She tells them about India. When they push for details, she says no.

Tom and Shiv continue to discuss the election inside. Tom shows no concern, Shiv remains worried about Mencken and right-wing extremists. The brothers show up and ask to speak to Shiv. They loop her in and tell her about India. Matsson inflated the numbers in India to show more growth. Greg and Matsson talk about Greg’s string of firings.

Shiv walks in and pulls Matsson out of the party. She confronts him about India. He admits their numbers are double counting India-based subscriptions. Shiv believes he’s cooking the books and tells him the Waystar Board would be within their rights to pull out. He tells her he can buy Waystar, the numbers will get lost in the shuffle, and everything will be okay.

A photo from the production of episode 407 of “Succession”. Photo: David M. Russell/HBO ©2022 HBO. All Rights Reserved.

Gerri and Roman meet at the bar. He tries to pick her brain, but she refuses to answer. Roman tells her he was not serious about the firing. Gerri lays down her terms, and that’s she’s out. If she ever feels attacked, she will go public with the pictures he sent her.

Frustrated, he walks away and confronts Connor about the position. Willa and Connor push back and say they want nothing to do with the Mencken offer. Roman gets unhinged, telling Connor he’s a joke. Connor stands up and walks out with Willa. Matsson mocks Roman from the corner.

Kendall and Matsson begin sparring. Kendall brings up India. Matsson brings up the goosed numbers from Living+. Matsson gets Kendall to publicly say he loves the deal. Tom tells Shiv he’s leaving, partly because everyone is telling him he’s about to be fired. Roman and Kendall make snarky comments, and Tom walks outside.

Shiv chases him down, and they talk. Tom believes Matssons is the future. Shiv freaks out about Matssons numbers and betraying her family. Tom reveals he heard that Shiv was telling everyone he would get fired. He doesn’t understand why, and when she says it is a joke, he asks her to explain it. Tom tells her she will find her footing because she will do what she needs to survive. Shiv tells him he’s projecting. She cracks a joke about the scorpion, and she calls him a snake.

Succession Tailgate Party
A photo from the production of episode 407 of “Succession”. Photo: David M. Russell/HBO ©2022 HBO. All Rights Reserved.

Tom tells Shiv that she’s selfish and should not have married him. Shiv reminds him that he proposed while her dad was dying. She wanted to spare his feelings, and Tom brings up her infidelity. She accuses him of only. Ring with her for power and reminds him about the betrayal. Tom screams at her about her willingness to let him go to prison. He makes two comments about the fact she would not have children with him and that maybe she should not have any. She blames him for losing six months with her dad. Tom tells her it’s not his fault she never earned her dad’s approval. She tells him she does not care and returns to the party.

Kendall and Frank walk into the closet. He reveals the India problem, which makes Frank upset. Then he pitches a new idea: what if Waystar bought GoJo? When Frank asks where that leaves Roman and Shiv, Kendall believes there’s only one crown to wear. He asks if Frank is with him.

Tom tries to get everyone to leave the party. He’s both drunk and exhausted. He heads inside and walks past the Roys. Roman asks the siblings if they agree with him taking the lead on the funeral. They agree. Everyone tries to sleep before the election.

Episode Breakdown – Succession – “Tailgate Party”

Wisely, Jesse Armstrong and the writers team took one giant piece off the board. While they integrated several old characters into the fray, this will be remembered for the Shiv and Tom final showdown. As usual, Snook and Macfadyen prove next-level talents. Few would doubt they could hurt each other so much, and after this season, it’s no surprise. However, it feels a little cruel to make us believe in love again only to tear it out of our grasp.

However, the Shiv and Tom relationship does not work. Even when they find common ground, it’s based on pain. They cannot function without hurting the other one. The toxicity leaks through and infects everyone around them. They simply cannot function around each other in a healthy way.

A photo from the production of episode 407 of “Succession”. Photo: David M. Russell/HBO ©2022 HBO. All Rights Reserved.

To add to the stress, Roman continues to lose control. The lack of grief counseling becomes more apparent every week. He needs help, and when he tries to reach back out to Gerri, he finally faces the consequences of his actions. Worst of all, she threatens to destroy him and reminds him that she could have taken him to the top. His petulant nature comes out again, only to lash out at Connor. Doing so may have cost him the ear of the president if Mencken loses.

The shadow of violence in the aftermath of the election cannot be ignored. The bombings, the threats, and Mencken’s authoritarian leanings become more obvious. The hate crime against Sophie only further proves how isolated the siblings are from reality and connection. If Kendall went to his siblings and told them one of their own (Shiv and Roman’s niece) was being abused, the tone of the family might change. Instead, they cannot even admit when their efforts make the world unsafe. The violence is knocking on their doors, and they refuse to acknowledge it.

A photo from the production of episode 407 of “Succession”. Photo: David M. Russell/HBO ©2022 HBO. All Rights Reserved.

Kendall’s inevitable play for individual power came out tonight. The kids refuse to work together, and now the lines between them are even greater. Roman alienating Connor does no good for anyone, but at the end of the day, that shows how inept the family is as a whole. The three who want the power the most simply grasp at any modicum of power they can hold.

Yet in the unlikeliest of all scenarios, Connor’s actions have put him in the position to decide the next president. He put himself on a stage much grander than the others hold. It’s a surprisingly winning episode for Connor, and he might truly be the wisest of the family, living comfortably in his own skin.

Alan’s Rating: 8/10

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