Set to the tune of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," hum along with this. "You know Logan and Kendall and Siobhan and Gerri / Roman and Conor and Marcia and Greggy / But do you recall the most intimidating of them all?"
Probably not. The fantastically named Cyd Peach (Jeannie Berlin) is new to Succession, but old to the 'biz. She's been running the ATN news station for longer than you've been alive. That's one of the problems with millennials — they just haven't been alive for long enough! Considering ATN's baby boomer target audience, that could well be a headline.
In last night's episode "Vaulter," the newly promoted Tom (Matthew McFayden) shows up to his first day as the big bad boss of ATN only to clash with Peach, the actual boss of ATN.
Gunning for the position of CEO of Waystar Royco, Tom has to impress current CEO and founder Logan Roy (Brian Cox), who also happens to be his father-in-law. His tactic? Bring ATN into the 21st century. After digitizing the analog enterprise, Tom figures he can cut 50 "skulls" from ATN's staff like a regular 'ole business marauder. The goal is to "snuffle out waste," he explains to Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun).
But Tom will have to go through Ms. Peach first, and Ms. Peach is not amused. Peach has maintained ATN's right-leaning spirit for years. She expects little to no interference from the Roys. Anyway, she knows that Logan is on her side — he agrees with ATN's politics.
While this definitely ATN's star turn in the series, the controversial network has always been in the background of Succession. In season 1, Siobhan's (Sarah Snook) connections to ATN clash with her new gig working for Gil (Eric Bogosian), a liberal politician. In this season, Greg worries that working for ATN will compromise his principles. “Your principles? Greg, don’t be an asshole, you don’t have principles,” Tom snarks.
It's true. Greg doesn't — none of the Roys do. Case in point? Kendall (Jeremy Strong), is collecting media skulls in another Manhattan building, all to impress his father.
Whereas ATN has been part of the Waystar Royco empire for decades, Vaulter is one of Waystar's newest media acquisitions. With its clicky headlines and attempts to pivot to video, Vaulter is a clear play on digital media outlets like Buzzfeed and, yes, Refinery29. Kendall guts the place in order to get back in his father's favor.
Both Peach and Logan will ensure no such harm comes to ATN News, no matter what Tom's intentions. The acrimonious Tom-Peach showdown in "Vaulter" ensures that Peach will show up in future episodes; the two have unfinished business.
We don't know much about Peach yet. On a scale of Greg to Logan Roy, how vicious is she? Here's what we can say with some certainty: Peach would've eaten the peach.