Succession’s Horniest Episode Is Also Its Most Devastating

Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
Welcome to the horniest episode of Succession. Even though this week’s episode is called “Returns” — which could refer to the Roy crew returning to see their mother (unwittingly), or Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) returning to the scene of his crime from the season one finale —  most of the time is spent exploring new ideas, situations, and even successors. This is an episode of firsts: It’s the first to use the the phrase “dick pic” (Naomi [Annabelle Dexter-Jones] requests one from her new lover-slash-partner-in-crime — congrats to anyone with a weird crush on Kendall); the first to depict a woman so deftly screwing over another woman; and the first time we all have to think about Logan Roy’s (Brian Cox) sex life. And for all that drama, we have one person to thank: Rhea Jarrell (Holly Hunter).
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Yes, the woman with the second sharpest bob on the show (first goes to you dear Siobhan [Sarah Snook]), is also the woman with the sharpest tongue. As suspected, Rhea is using her wise words and insight to get close to Logan. Like, really close — perhaps even in-his-bed close. Logan brings his new friend and potential love interest (and according to a conversation between Kendall and Roman [Kieran Kulkin] not his first affair) along to the UK and picks her brain along the way. He wants to know what she sees in terms of the future of the company — especially now that she’s been fired from a competitor. Are any of his kids a viable successor, he asks? As a totally unbiased, non-ladder climbing, non-employee, she gives him the most honest feedback she can muster: “Shiv thinks she is smarter than she is. Roman could actually be good, but nowhere near right now. Kendall is… I don’t know..It’s like you put him in a big diaper and now he can shit himself whenever he likes.” Her words have the desired effect. By the end of the episode, Logan appears to be seriously considering Rhea as his formidable successor, a move that would leave Shiv out in the cold. 
So, how did our petite friend even end up with the keys to the kingdom? She just so happened to be heading across the pond for some thea-tre and hitched a ride on the Roy’s private plane. The Roys are, of course, going to England to screw someone over, as per uje. This time, they’re going to see their mom, one of the largest shareholders in the company, with 3% of the stock. Logan hears through the still-greatly-underappreciated grapevine named Gerri (J. Cameron Smith) that his ex and the mother of his three youngest is not solid ahead of the upcoming annual stockholders meeting. Why, you ask? Maybe it’s because of the cruise scandal (update on that in a minute), the failed Pierce News Group purchase, or the hit piece Stewy Hosseini (Arian Moayed) and Sandy (Larry Pine) have sent out to the biggest shareholders. Whatever the cause, Logan has a solution, and it rhymes with Shmoney. It’s off to Caroline Collingwood’s (Harriet Walter) we go to use the divorce settlement as leverage to buy back her trust. 
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But before we talk about Caroline’s own devious actions against her ex husband and her kids (poor Kendall!!!!), let’s do a rundown of the other horny moments in this installment of the Roy family saga. We already mentioned the dick pic, and Logan pining for Rhea, but there’s also: Greg (Nicholas Braun) saying he got a haircut just to feel the soothing touch of another; Gerri telling Roman that she just may want to partner up with him to form the most fucked-up duet in Waystar Royco history; Kendall blushing over the fact that he’s living in a “Simon and Garfunkel song” with Naomi; Roman eating a fistful of honeydew melon. 
Now for the extremely buzzkill, wet blanket moments of the episode: Rhea tricking Shiv and jeopardizing her CEO position; Kendall meeting the father of the boy he killed and being eaten alive by his festering guilt; Caroline skirting Kendall’s one moment of vulnerability because she doesn’t want to deal with the heavy shit in her kids’ lives; Logan agreeing to give up holidays with his kids in order to keep his big, smelly Summer Palace in the Hamptons — an ultimatum thrust upon him by Caroline just to prove to her kids how little their father cares for them.
With both Caroline and Rhea’s betrayal, the kids are the ones left hurting. It was kind of nice to see Logan squirm in episode 6, but now he has restored order in his kingdom — so he thinks — once again. Still, he does make one apology,  to Roman for hitting him, denying that he meant to make contact. “I didn’t even know you were there,” he tells Roman in the backseat of their chauffered car on the way to the private plane. Roman avoids eye contact and lies and says he didn’t touch him, even though he almost lost a tooth. “That’s not something I do,” Logan finally says, finishing it — and thus ending any talk that his character would physically abuse his kids. (Cox also said that the slap was an “anomaly” for his character in a recent interview with THR.) He’s only abusive verbally, emotionally, and financially! 
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It will be interesting to see what recipe for revenge Shiv cooks up — side note, would love to know if anyone on this show knows how to cook — to get back at Rhea. I’m nervous about Kendall’s mental state after meeting the family of the boy he secretly killed. He went back and left them a wad of cash, which is reckless and won’t bring back their son, but he’s clearly hurting and when he’s hurting he usually hurts himself, and then others. I also need…need….need to see Marcia tell Logan to “Fuck off,” when she inevitable learns about his affair with Rhea. I beg you Succession gods, please give me that.
Cousin Greg’s Corner:
After this episode, Cousin Greg might earn his whole room. Not only do we learn that he HAS FRIENDS, or “pals,” as he calls them, he also has the balls to go behind Tom’s (Matthew Macfadyen) back and do what’s right. In this case, that means stealing back documents and confessing he was part of a “criminal conspiracy” to cover up the indecent and illegal acts that happened in the cruise department years ago. It’s also important to mention that Greg kept these extremely sensitive documents at the office in a folder labeled “Secrets” because it’s “work” — so why would he bring it home? I just hope Greg knows what he’s doing, especially since Tom actually threatened to break both his legs if he didn’t cooperate. And I weirdly don’t think he was kidding.
But hands down, the best scene of the episode — directing-wise, joke-wise, Greg-wise — is when Gregory is psyching himself up to record damning evidence against Tom. He’s pacing the public bathroom, waving his arms and practicing his script. He is the least cool person in the world, and seeing his relentless awkwardness is such a treat. I also really want to know more about his environmental group (I think that’s what “The Next Wave” is referring to), and if he will finally get his own legitimately horny moment! It’s what he deserves.
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