Succession has been teasing the election all season, and now it’s that time! Nothing like reliving the last few election nights, all wrapped into one episode. Of course, Jesse Armstrong and the team imagine an even darker yet conceivable version of events. With domestic terrorism coursing through the election and extremists calling the shots, the world feels hopeless. Directed by Andrij Parekh, “America Decides” plunges the family to the darkest place they’ve been yet.

The Recap – Succession – “America Decides”

Tom and Greg get ready for Election Night in a board room. Tom lists his problems to Greg. PGN continues to play to the left. Cyd (Jeannie Berlin) continues to bad mouth him to everyone. All his potential and current bosses want to fire him. Tom may not be doing good, but Greg feels good heading into the night.

Kendall (Jeremy Strong) calls Tom to remind him the numbers need to be strong. The market is watching for ATN to suffer post-Logan. Tom reassured him and checked for stories with a producer named Pam. She says there’s a news van in trouble in Oregon while fights broke out in Milwaukee. Tom asks about a woman who voted “forty times for Jimenez with her dead mom’s name.” Per Pam, she’s not reliable. Tom asks to get the woman on the air. Pam remarks on his dress shoes, a bold choice when most wear sneakers on election night.

Everyone enters a room for a briefing with Darwin (Adam Godley). Tom asks Greg about his night out with Matssson. Greg says they went to “unseemly” places. Matsson forced him to dance with an old man and consume abnormal drinks. Greg also lets on that he knows about Shiv and Matsson’s secret agreement. Tom tells Greg to hide the information until it can be most advantageous.

The pollster notes that Mencken appears to have overperformed in Georgia and Arizona. He still projects Jimenez as the winner, but the exit poll data must be kept secret. If it leaks, ATN could get booted from National Poll Pool. Tom tells everyone to keep it confidential and immediately calls Ken.

Shiv and Roman discuss their ins with each campaign. They argue about the eggplant and smiley face emojis. Shiv brings up Mencken’s supporters kidnapping people with vans, Rome makes jokes and walks out of the room. Shiv calls Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård) and tells him to release the India numbers tomorrow. He disagrees after the night with Greg. Shiv questions Matsson’s judgment but gets a call from Nate.

Nate asks if ATN is going to cover the intimidation. She tells him that they are kept separate, but everyone should continue communicating. Nate notes some voters are still in line, but they feel good. Roman gets called to a face-to-face with Mencken (Justin Kirk). Kendall tries to get one with Jimenez (Elliot Villar). Rava (Natalie Gold) calls Kendall because she believes they’re being followed. Kendall had arranged for it to be covert, and Rava expresses her frustration about the lack of communication. He tries to reassure Sophie, but she does not speak to him.

Kendall calls Nate (Ashley Zuckerman) and asks to speak to Jimenez. Nate gets Jimenez the phone, and they talk. Kendall continues to push his issues with GoJo, and Jimenez says they’ll catch up.

Roman arrives at Mencken’s war room. Upon entering the room, Mencken puts him down because Connor remains in the race. He also brings up voter fraud but pulls Roman into a corner room. While Mencken believes he can win, he wants to ensure any narrative about his loss is seen in a positive light. He may not win this election, but Mencken wants to confirm that Roman is on his side. They agree.

Greg complains to Tom about how Matsson treats him. However, he thinks there was some trust built. Tom interrupts him and asks for coffee. Greg pushes back because his job is no longer getting coffee for Tom. Greg got Tom drugs, and they both do a line of coke. When Tom finds out Greg had someone else grab them food, he “demotes” Greg down to Greg for him tonight.

Connor calls and asks for coverage, but Tom shrugs him off. In Connors’s war room, they believe they could make noise in Kentucky. Willa (Justine Lupe) repeats that anything could happen. At that moment, ATN calls Kentucky for Mencken.

At ATN, Pam pitches the stories in Oregon and Wisconsin again. Tom tells her to run with whatever is most relevant. He watches the coverage as the Electoral Board breaks. Then, he runs out of the office to help change it. Kendall calls him and yells at him. They need it figured out with votes dropping.

Shiv also calls Tom to bring up the Wisconsin fires. Nate’s team believes they’re intimidation tactics from Mencken’s supporters. Tom reassures everyone that they are covering as much as they can, but some things need prioritizing. Kendall is annoyed that he’s finding out info from social media first. Shiv and Kendall want it covered, Roman calls it an Antifa bombing. Finally, Tom gets pulled out to help cover the stories.

ATN announces the bombing information on air, and Mencken’s team calls Roman. They want his help with the narrative. Shiv interfaces with Nate and follows Roman. The three siblings end up on the ATN floor, and Tom pushes Greg to escort them out.

Shiv pulls Tom aside and apologizes for what she said on the balcony. He accepts the apology, but she thinks he’s not taking it seriously. She mentions that her Dad just died and that she’s been off-kilter. Tom reminds her that she hated Logan. She tells him that’s not what happened. Then Tom brings up the fight between the kids, and Logan almost certainly killed him. Shiv is taken aback. She then drops that she’s pregnant from Tom. He takes a second and asks if that’s even true. She’s so stunned she walks away. Tom sits in the knowledge.

Shiv rejoins her brothers. She tells them her relationship with Tom is still broken as he walks by. Kendall tells her they’ve got her back. Roman makes a racist joke, and Tom tells Greg to get the siblings out of the control room. Connor calls Roman and asks if the ambassador offer remains on the table. Roman tells him the offer expired yesterday, but he will talk to Mencken.

Shiv relays info about Wisconsin, which does not allow the state results to be certified until all the ballots are counted. Roman walks in and says Mencken’s team is counting it as a win. Roman keeps using right-wing talking points. Shiv keeps asking to wait until all the ballots are counted. Kendall agrees with Shiv. However, Roman throws out that he wants to back Mencken to stop the GoJo deal. When Shiv asks if that’s what Kendall wants, he goes silent.

Tom enters the room and asks to call Wisconsin. Kendall and Shiv push back. They ask for non-right-wing results before they call it. Jimenez goes live to talk about the ballot fire in Wisconsin. Darwin is brought into the room and says the fire might have destroyed enough ballots to call Wisconsin for Mencken. Nothing in Wisconsin law would trigger a “revote,” and even then, it would be complicated. Roman and Shiv keep pushing each other’s buttons. Roman leaves to go to the bathroom.

After he leaves, Ravenhead (Zack Robidas) goes on television and begins arguing to call Wisconsin. It turns out Roman sent him talking points. The far-right narrative is going unopposed. Shiv chances Roman off the floor, and Lukas calls her. He’s been communicating with Greg.

Shiv pulls Greg aside to ask about his relationship with Matsson. She asks if he finds her attractive. Greg becomes immediately uncomfortable. She brings up the “disgusting brothers” name and says if he tries to fuck her, she’ll kill him. Greg asks if anything there’s anything he would get to stay silent about her relationship with Matsson. She threatens him again and kicks him out of the room.

Roman tells Kendall that ATNs support of Mencken regarding the fire will deliver the block on Matsson. Kendall sits in the room while Roman tells Tom to call it. Tom and Darwin do not agree with that choice. They’re afraid it will destroy their credibility. Finally, Roman comes up with a solution. They can call it a “pending call.” Roman pushes Darwin to make the call. Darwin finally relents, only to get wasabi and lemon LaCroix in his eyes.

Roman leaves and runs into Connor. Connor wants to concede to Menken. Roman thinks that might work. Tom rushes into the control room and tells them to call it. A few minutes later, ATN announces their call. Kendall remains silent, unsure of what to do. Roman confirms that Connor’s concession will move the needle.

Connor concedes on ATN. Jimenez wins Michigan, and Mencken wins Arizona. If ATN calls Arizona, they have to call the election for Mencken. Kendall tells them to stop and clear the room. Roman tries to turn it into a “big brother” situation. Kendall brings up his kids, and Roman mocks him. Roman tells him nothing matters and that they’ll be in power anyway.

Shiv watches PGN in the other room. Kendall speaks with Shiv and admits he believes he can run Waystar solo. If Mencken gets the juice, he will have control. Kendall asks Shiv if she wants to stop Matsson. Shiv admits there are advantages in the short term, but Mencken is a nightmare. She points out that Mencken needs them, not the other way around.

Shiv tells Ken he’s a good person and a good father. Kendall wonders if Logan would be supporting Mencken. Shiv does not think so. Kendall asks Shiv to get Nate to block the deal. They hug, and she calls Nate. We hear her phone. Shiv called a disconnected line and faked the call to Nate.

She enters the war room with Kendall and Roman. She tells them that she’s got assurances from Jimenez to block the deal. They begin fighting about what Logan would have done. Roman got something direct. Kendall steps outside to call Nate. He looks back into the room, seemingly furious. He walks over to Greg and talks to him about Matsson/Shiv, and renters the room. Kendall calls out Shiv for her deal with Matsson. Roman and Kendall turn on her immediately. They tell Tom to call the election.

Greg struggles with the call. He runs into Jess, and the two talk about it frustratingly. Finally, they make the call. They cut to Mencken, who announces he has won his supporters. His speech borrows heavily from far-right talking points.

On other networks, Tom is being blamed for calling too early. Shiv speaks with Matsson, who is actively upset by the call. Kendall tries to see his kids, but Reva will not let him. Kendall notes that some people cannot cut a deal.

Episode Breakdown – Succession “America Decides”

The episode’s conclusion tonight should answer any questions about who wins this series. Spoiler, no one is winning Succession. Instead, Armstrong and his team make it abundantly clear that only bad people function in this culture. As a result, they will use personal slights and grievances to make rash, dangerous decisions without thought.

The Roys cannot get out of their own way. They are motivated by their own self-interest once again. “America Decides” focuses on the Roy family throughout most of the episode, allowing us to stay focused on how these family dynamics ultimately shape millions of lives. Worst of all, they seemingly have no concept of how their decisions will create those impacts.

Shiv seemingly puts herself in a position to compromise her deal with Matsson. However, she, more than anyone, realizes the stakes. She knows Matsson will bring her power, and Mencken’s dangerous appetites can destroy America. Yet, in a moment when a simple call could get Kendall to her side in the fight against Mencken, she cannot give up her power play with Matsson. Rather than put the country’s good above her own, she makes a selfish choice, which backfires. Throughout Succession, but especially in “America Decides,” Shiv seemingly ignores her politics for personal gain.

Kendall proves his vision remains limited. Despite having a chance to play Shiv against his brother, he charges into the room half-cocked. He takes Shiv’s lies into a personal attack, and rather than leverage that for himself, he goes full bull in a China shop. His actions will hurt his family. Yet he no longer cares about anyone’s success or happiness. This is all about power for Kendall.

Throughout election night, Roman works completely unchecked. Like his father, he wants to crown emperors. His focus becomes so blinded he actively hurts the company he wishes to run and opens the possibility of disaster for his family. Again, the Hirt sightedness nature of calling for a Mencken ignores the possibility they are wrong. This call would bring down ATN, Waystar, and potentially bring Roman down with it.

While Kendall and Roman would likely count “America Decides” as a win against Shiv, Succession is about the fallout. They have both seemingly forgotten she has a finger on the self-destruct button. Not only can she leak to the press, but she proved unwilling to turn against Jimenez. If Mencken loses, she’s the only one the new administration will trust. Additionally, she knows that Kendall killed the busboy and that Roman sent nudes to Gerri. She can break out the big guns and force them out of the company. At that point, she can rule, with or without Matsson. Or worse, her power may still go to someone else entirely.

The Roys reached the Ozymandias line. There’s no turning back, and none of these people are good. They are all the people they’ve been since day 1. The Roys will lie, cheat, and steal to get ahead. The collateral damage does not matter to them.

Alan’s Rating: 10/10

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