Congress never had a chance. In Succession’s penultimate episode, the Roy Squad swarms our national’s fine and totally-not-corrupt capital in a Trump-meets-Kardashian political outing, with enough drama and corruption to last us until next week’s finale.
Before we get into the recap, a quick history lesson! The motto of Washington D.C. is “Justitia Omnibus,” meaning “justice for all.” The phrase appears on the corporate seal of the district, which depicts a man standing on what appears to be the shoulders of a woman. Those same words close out our country’s “Pledge of Allegiance,” as taught to me by years in the public school system. One place this concept doesn’t exist? Within the halls of a Senate hearing in which Waystar Royco is being questioned. No one’s getting justice, and there is no “all,” only one: Logan (Brian Cox).
"DC" opens with a frat party in Logan’s den: the Roy boys are watching a 20/20-esque special about the allegations against Brightstar Cruise Line. In the report, Lester McClintock, Gerri Killman (J. Smith Cameron), Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong), and Tom Wamsgans (Matthew Macfadyen) are specifically named, and tied to the coverups. The team’s initial plan is say “Fuck ‘em” to the allegations and basically discredit the company’s whistleblower, James Weisel. But then an old friend of Siobhan Roy’s (Sarah Snook) pops up: Senator Gil Eavis (Eric Bogosian). He calls for a Congressional hearing regarding the allegations, but what he really wants is to finally see Logan burn. (Quick Logan enemy count ahead of the finale: The Pierces, Stewy [Arian Moayed], Sandy [Larry Pine], Gil, and Marcia [Hiam Abbass] — who doesn’t appear at all this episode.)
Gerri dismisses the hearing as no more than just “C-SPAN filler,” but reality sets in once the Roys and their inner-circle arrive in D.C. and realise that Gil not only has an advantage by sparring with Tom (who is asked about a series of 67 emails sent to Greg [Nicholas Braun] with the subject line: “You can’t make a Tomlette without breaking some Greggs“), but he also has a key witness against Lester. What with her being more than willing to share her story, and the shareholders meeting only weeks away, Waystar is in big, big trouble.
This is a mess, but it’s also part of Shiv’s plan from “Dundee.” Remember, Rhea Jarrell (Holly Hunter) is CEO now, so she’ll take most of the heat for any failures in the board meeting, opening up a seat at the head of the table for Shiv once again. While part of Shiv’s plan works — in the final scene of the episode, Rhea tells Logan she’s out; there are too many bodies in the closet — she also doesn’t quite account for the idiots in the room: Her brothers.
Roman Roy (Kieran Culkin) has been on the sidelines, business-wise, for most of this season, but that all changes when he’s held hostage at a hotel in Turkey while trying to convince a bajillionaire to purchase Waystar Royco in the event that the company gets fucked at the Congress hearing. Tasked with this high-level assignment, Roman immediately tells his dad he is...what’s the word...unqualified. But Logan doesn’t care.
“You act the fuck knuckle, but people like you,” Logan tells him, ending the debate, and sending him off with Laird (Danny Huston) and Carl (David Rasche) in tow to provide a back-up plan if things in D.C. go sour.
It turns out Roman is a great hostage negotiator — not in terms of negotiating himself and dozens of other hostages free from being withheld in a Turkish hotel, but in terms of negotiating deals for his dad while being a hostage. He gets a verbal confirmation that his new billionaire bestie and his dad are down to purchase Waystar and take it private. And suddenly, just like that, Roman isn’t such a bad idea for a successor after all… at least in the eyes of Logan, who is clearly more confident in his youngest child than he lets on. (By, you know, emotionally and physically knocking him down at every opportunity.) He finally did something right! And it was pretty easy for him to pull off. “Should we see if any of the other hostages want to cut a deal?” he jokes.
Honestly, all the kids pull through for an undeserving Logan in this episode. Roman cinches his deal, Kendall gracefully saves the hearing by calling Gil out for personal bias against ATN, and Shiv successfully convinces Gil’s key witness to not take the stand. Originally, Rhea was supposed to take care of the witness with Shiv — “soft skills lady-duty shitwork” — but when the car arrives at the playground where the witness is playing with her kid, Rhea sits it out. “You don’t have to do this,” she tells Shiv, not understanding just how badly Shiv wants to impress her dad and get the company. Rhea isn’t cut from the Roy cloth, so she just doesn’t get just how fucked up this family is.
Logan’s kids accept Logan for his aggression, deceit, and greed, but it’s all too much for Rhea. Instead of her being pushed out, as Shiv hoped, she willingly steps down because she’s scared of Logan. He’s a liar, and she can’t trust liars. “You know who I am,” he tells her, almost begging her to stay on as CEO. “I don’t know if you care about anything,” she replies. “And it scares me.”
The natural response to someone being told that they are scary, intimidating, and morally bankrupt is for them to sit back and take a minute to reflect. But Logan’s a bloodthirsty businessman. No reflection. No apologies. He wants a “blood sacrifice” (I really hope he doesn’t mean this literally…) to ensure the shareholder’s happiness, so someone’s definitely getting fired. Someone big. Shiv clearly thinks she's caught her dad's eye with her commitment to him by the episode's end, but is it enough for him to see her as more than just his token smart child?
Shockingly, the Kendall’s daddy rap did NOT come up once, which is clearly an oversight as we all know that is all anyone would be talking about.
Cousin Greg’s Corner:
Greg cuts ties with his grandpa — losing his chance at inheriting $250 million — after his pep talk with Uncle Logs in Scotland. He really feels a part of the family, without knowing just how rich his extended family is. He tells Connor (Alan Ruck) and Tom that even without the quarter of a million, he’s still inheriting $5 mill as a back-up, which is apparently...trash. “Five will drive you un poco loco, my friend,” Connor tells him, explaining it’s not enough to retire, and will make him feel like the “poorest rich person in America.”
I’d also like to remind everyone that Greg literally has stolen incriminating documents hidden in apartment (aka Kendall’s flop house). His name was also brought up during the hearing, which means he’s on everyone’s radar. This cruise drama is so far from over.