I hate cruises. I hate how many people are on the ship, and how there is reheated food around every corner. I hate that there’s an ice skating rink adjacent to an overcrowded hot tub. Cruises are both extremely excessive, and totally tasteless. But you know who hates cruises even more than me? The Roys on Succession.
In episode 6, most of the Roy family is headed, via private plane, to a tech-media summit called Argestes, which is also the name of the episode. This outing is immediately derailed by a New York magazine exposé on the illegal and reprehensible activity happening over in the cruise department of Waystar Royco.
But before all that drama, Logan (Brian Cox) is hoping to have Nan Pierce (Cherry Jones) sign something to move forward on their deal from episode 5. Logan wants to sign “today,” and has hopes of making a spectacle out of it, since his nemeses Stewy (Arian Moayed), rocking an incredible cream turtleneck and suede jacket, and Sandy (Larry Pine), who apparently has syphilis, are in attendance. That, of course, doesn’t happen. Instead, Logan gets sick — as in, physically vomits in the lodge’s dining room (possibly from altitude sickness, possibly because he is legitimately sick like I’ve been saying all season) — and the multi-billion dollar deal with the Pierces is put at major risk.
Ironically, the bombshell piece ties up a few loose ends. We finally know what role Mo (real name Lester) played in all this — the same guy Conor (Alan Ruck) gave that eulogy for in episode 4, and the guy who spoke to Logan’s biographer in episode 3 — and he sounds...terrible. According to the investigative piece, Mo forced women to perform sexual acts in exchange for a renewed contract on the cruise line i.e. to keep their job. The accuser in the piece claims his actions ruined her career, and a link between Mo’s behaviour and the shocking death of one of the cruise's employees is made. The article implies this other woman was killed, or possibly died by suicide due to the sexual harassment she faced at the hands of a very high-up Waystar Royco employee. Apparently there are dozens more women with similar stories, all trapped behind ironclad NDAs. Mess. Big mess.
Of course, Mo is dead so we can’t get his perspective, but we do get to see the rest of the families’ reactions, along with the other core group members like Gerri (J. Cameron Smith), Hugo Baker, senior VP communications for parks and cruises (a new face, played by familiar face Fisher Stevens), and Rhea (Holly Hunter), who is growing increasingly close to the Roys. There might even be some sexual tension brewing here between she and Logan? Or maybe just a lust for power…
The cruise stuff blows a hole in the plan to have Nan sign a letter of intent for Logan. The only option, really, is to put the Waystar Royco women front-and-centre to handle the media nightmare. (Again, ironic.) Logan, with the aid of Rhea, convinces Shiv (Sarah Snook) to come over to the summit from New York at the last minute (she wasn’t originally invited). Then, Rhea and Gerri convince Shiv to sit in on a pre-planned panel alongside Kendall (Jeremy Strong) and Roman (Kieran Culkin) to put a strong female face in front of the scandal. Shiv's immediately reluctant, and refuses to be a martyr for her dad's peers and the attending press. (I physically winced when Logan said: ‘They don't give a flying fuck for these bitches — they hate me!,” in reaction to the article, which was written in a font too tiny for him to read.)
But then, unable to resist the opportunity to show that she is ready to run the company — especially in front of the now-wavering Nan in the audience — she agrees at the last minute sit-down with her brothers. Their panel immediately follows Tom’s (Matthew Macfayden) talk on ATN, during which he introduces the broadcast news company’s hilariously misguided new slogan “We Here For You.” Yes, spelled like that. It’s supposed to be a play on words, but it just doesn’t make sense. (Apropos of nothing, consider that Fox News’ slogan is still “fair and balanced.”)
While onstage with her brothers, Shiv and Kendall start butting heads. In fact, this whole episode hinges around the toxic feuding between the three siblings, worse than ever now that Shiv’s CEO-sized secret is out to the family. Her brothers see her as real competition now, and having watched her work in politics for years, they know just how cunning and ruthless she can be. So, the guys are on the defensive. (Although Roman does wish to collaborate with one woman: Gerri. No, not like that — although maybe like that. He proposes that he and Gerri team up. He basically promises her that if she agrees to form an alliance with him she’d be filthy rich and no longer be “wallpaper” to everyone. She doesn’t jump on the opportunity.) The tension that has been building all episode spills out onstage when they each give conflicting answers on the company’s response to the allegations in NYMag. Shiv says there will be consequences (taking the feminist stance that she doesn’t really believe it — she’s Shiv first, not women first), while Kendall tries to avoid condemning the company. Roman throws in a “we will do whatever anyone wants!” which is the stupidest response until Shiv gets a little too comfortable in her position of power in her navy turtleneck and checkered pants. She basically calls her dad a dinosaur to the panel's host (a woman), and locks eyes with Nan in the audience telling them (her) that she promises to fix this dated, archaic company.
This is a new side to Shiv. She’s vicious to Kendall, Roman, and her dad, as if she’s got nothing to lose. She curses at them and calls her dad outdated in front of all his peers. She’s looking the devil right in the eyes!!!!!!
Yeah…it doesn’t go over well. Backstage after the panel, Marcia (Hiam Abbass) scolds her with a stewing Logan by her side. Roman and Kendall piggy-back off Marcia’s stern words, and the former quips that she “barbecued” Dad. In response, Logan smacks him across the face, inciting a pretty wild chain reaction: Kendall immediately jumps in front of a shocked Roman, standing directly between his little brother and his dad. Kendall's really pissed off, and screams at his father to leave Roman alone; Tom looks over, shocked; and Shiv takes a step back away from the angry white man in front of her, leaning towards Roman. It’s a telling scene, not just to show how big of a shit storm Shiv managed to dredge up as a bit of revenge on her father, but also in its portrayal of the deeper dynamics between the siblings. Kendall has been sucking up to his dad because he is literally being blackmailed by him, but we have to remember that when we first met him, he wasn’t daddy’s little boy. He wanted to rebel from the family, and he wanted to learn how to stand up to his father, a legitimate bully. Seeing him come to Roman’s defence like that also brings back the conversation from season one’s, “Prague,” when Roman reveals his father used to keep him in a dog cage because not all his kids were made to be leaders.
But wait! There’s more: What’s a summit full of rich assholes without a roast by a B-list comedian? It’s the final straw, and after the first blowjob joke at the Roy's expense, Nan’s out. Out of the room, and out of the deal. “It’s intolerable,” she says. On top of that, she asks Rhea to resign because Nan is not blind — she can see that Rhea and Logan are way too buddy-buddy.
The episode ends with Logan aggressively screaming into the window of Nan’s car as she drives away from the cursed, bougie log cabin. It’s in stark contrast to the ending of last week’s episode, which found him gloating like a cat snacking on a canary.
This marks first time we’ve seen Logan at such a disadvantage. His money, his screaming, and his brute force usually get him what he wants. But his family is sick of his behaviour, and his only ally — Rhea — is no longer useful in closing the deal he so desperately wants to happen.
The winds of change (“Argestes” means ‘clearing’ and ‘brightening’ in Greek mythology) are blowing. Hopefully they blow in someone else's, not Logan's, favour this time around.
Cousin Greg’s Corner
Since announcing himself as “Gregory” (no one calls him that) Cousin Greg has really stepped up his game. First of all, at the beginning of the episode, he’s at this summit and Shiv isn’t, which is huge. Second of all, he’s asking Roman for a bump of the “ol’ cocaine” in the bathroom to get him hyped up to schmooze with the 1%. And third of all, he’s bold enough to think that he would get called out and roasted by the comedian. Greg, you may be 6’7,” but you’re still invisible to everyone except Tom. I mean that in the nicest way. Now stop doing drugs!