Shiv Roy Is The Mad Queen Now In This Week’s Succession

Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
There are three documents I would like to get my hands on after watching this week’s episode of Succession: Roman Roy’s (Kieran Culkin) screenplay, a syllabus for a class at the Logan Roy School of Journalism, and the lyrics to Kendall Roy’s (Jeremy Strong) absolutely deranged rap about how much he loves his dad. Unlike Greg (Nicolas Braun) and Tom (Matthew Macfadyen), I would not burn these documents. I would savor them. I would dissect them, and then use them as blackmail against the Roy family. And you know what? Compared to the way things currently stand at Waystar Royco, I suspect the Roys and their the inner-circle — Gerri (J. Smith Cameron), Karolina (Dagmara Domińczyk), Hugo (Fisher Stevens), and Frank (Peter Friedman) —  would probably prefer my method.
Much of episode 8, “Dundee,” takes place in the episode’s namesake: the quiet town of Dundee, Scotland. Logan returns to the place of his birth to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Waystar Royco, and a celebration it is, thanks to Rhea Jarrell (Holly Hunter), who in the span of this episode graduates from Logan side-piece — Marcia (Hiam Abbass) icily asks her if she has any sexually transmitted diseases she and Logan should know about — to CEO of Waystar Royco. That last one is the result of a very calculated play by Shiv (Sarah Snook), who starts the episode threatening Rhea’s life and ends it supporting her new title.
But of course, Siobhan isn’t giving up her seat at the table entirely — she has a plan. Not only that, she’s also adapting to all the wild card situations being thrown at her to ensure that she ends up CEO. She’s been screwed too many times this season (often by her...self.) The latest scheme involves Rhea becoming CEO just so she can burn at the stake. “You think if you kill Rhea, he is just going to give it back to you automatically?” Tom asks Shiv at one point after she demands he go flirt with Rhea to make Logan jealous. “He made me a fucking offer and I am going to renew that coupon,” she says back to him. (Way too little Tom this episode, writers. I miss him.)
In order for her to renew that coupon, she needs to leave it in the junk drawer in her kitchen (you know the one, we all have it) and only retrieve it right before the expiration date. This is the new play: Rhea will take all the heat for the nth round of cruise drama. This time, a guy named James Wiesel who worked as an accountant in cruises is threatening to come forward about  the shadow logs, the NDAs, and the inappropriate actions of the late (Mo) Lester. The “What The Fuck Are We Going To Do Committee“ (Gerri, Karolina, Hugo, Frank) try to buy his silence, going up to $20 million, but Wiesel (or "Weasel," as the Roys have taken to calling him) won’t budge. Turns out, one of Logan’s enemies is backing this guy, insuring and protecting him in order to take down Waystar Royco. They don’t say it, but it’s probably our favourite Batman and Robin duo, Stewy (Arian Moayed) and Sandy (Larry Pine). While the WTFAWGTDC are busy worrying over what to do, Shiv sees her opportunity. She tells her dad that she thinks Rhea is a good person to lead the company, knowing full well that the first move in fixing this major cruise upset would be to swap CEOs again. Rhea is in the dark about the latest drama, which means if all goes according to plan, she’ll be forced to leave the company, giving Shiv the opportunity to cash in that coupon: Good For One CEO Title At A Major Media Conglomerate. There’s a snake in the grass, and her name is Shiv, and we love her.
But this whole episode wasn’t just about Shiv going full Mad Queen. It also peeled some layers off Logan, revealing his own descent into madness, starting with the mysterious death of his sister. We don’t know the cause of her death, or even the timing of it (or anything, really), but we do learn from Logan’s brother, Ewan Roy (James Cromwell, aka Greg’s grandpa) that Logan blames himself for her untimely demise. He can’t even bear to hear her name: Rose. In other Logan facts, he used to be a bird watcher, spotting some of the rarest birds around his town’s band stand. Ewan maintains that his brother lied about the birds he saw which is probably true considering Logan is a great liar, and rarely asked to defend his actions — or in this case, bird sightings. We also find out that his mother, Helen, is dead, and that he exaggerated the squalid conditions in which he apparently grew up in. (The house he shows his kids, Roman points out, would be worth at least $5 million in Brooklyn.)
Logan lies, Shiv schemes — this isn’t late breaking news, but much like all dysfunctional families, when these two hit their stride, they feel untouchable. Shiv convinces her brothers to help her take down Rhea (she still has to update them on her latest plan by episode’s end), and it’s fun to see the Roy kids rally together with a common enemy — except Connor (Alan Ruck), who likes Rhea, mostly just to play devil’s advocate. And because he’s broke over Willa’s play. Speaking of that play, two of its cast members have lent themselves as unknowing pawns in the Roy children’s latest game of human chess. We already know about Shiv’s tryst with one of the actors, back when Tom was being a boar on the floor in Hungary, but we also see Kendall fall into a deep lust for Jennifer (Sydney Lemmon), who follows him to Scotland as his plus-one. Behind closed doors, Kendall and Roman couldn’t have more opposite approaches to women they’re interested in. Kendall is all cuddles and kisses, while Roman is all, “Gerri, should we get married? Like I abduct you and force you to live with me? You eat me, I eat you, like they do in Germany?” (Gerri ignores the comment, but does continue to groom Roman for a potential takeover — she’s still having him court Eduard Asgarov [Babak Tafti], a Azerbaijani billionaire who has deep pockets and shallow taste. He and Roman buy a soccer team together.) But then, after Jennifer asks Kendall if he realises he’s obsessed with his dad, he goes cold. He points out that she says “awesome” too much, and ditches her on a cold balcony, telling an assistant to basically get her out of his site.
Don’t speak ill of Kendall’s super dad, who he super loves. Only Marcia is allowed to do that! 
Cousin Greg’s Corner
Cousin Greg has some decisions to make. His grandpa, Ewan, tells him that he no longer wants his grandson working for someone he considers “worse than Hitler.” He threatens to disinherit Greg (ironically thanks to Logan, Ewan has $250 million in the bank) if he doesn’t stop working for him. Greg the tattle-tale informs “Uncle Logs” of his grandfather’s wishes, and is shockingly met by a modicum of affection by Logan, who tells him, “I like you Greg.” And tells him he can choose between Uncle Fun or Grandpa Grumps. No pressure, Greg.
Greg also gets some new friends in the form of sand mites, adopted from the prop sand at Willa’s preview of her play. He struggles to not itch at his mite bites throughout the episode. “I’m just uncomfortable in my skin right now!” Is anyone in the Roy family comfortable, Greg? Is anyone?

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