This week on HBO’s Succession, Logan kept the annual corporate retreat on track, despite numerous distractions — but did it (cough) “boost morale,” as intended?
The new hot topic at Waystar, mostly in the name of giving Stewy an impossibly large pill to swallow, was Logan’s revived interest in acquiring PMG (Pearce Media Group, I am guessing). His aggressive stance on the idea was met with well-concealed eyerolls, partly because Pearce runs a legitimate news division that “rivals” ATN, so there are optics and probably media monopoly issues to consider. But on the surface, Kendall, Roman et al gave the idea a thumbs-up, for now. And if the old man is going to push through on this, Roman is jonesing to bring the delicate deal home, so he decides to reach out to a Pearce family member who is pals with Tabitha.
Despite all that is going on, with the proxy war etc;, Logan insists on forging ahead with the corporate retreat — to Hungary — though for multiple reasons he instructs Shiv to stay behind and do what she can to stop Connor from releasing a potentially viral “campaign” video in which he announces his intent to not pay taxes, even at risk of imprisonment. To that end, Shiv deftly recruits Willa to the cause, and even tags along on a night out with her actor friends. But even after appealing to Willa’s wish that Connor blow $10 million on her Broadway dream versus cutthroat consultants, Shiv fails in her bid — Connor releases the video to the Internet. But on the bright side, Shiv came away from the evening out with a new hook-up, with Willa’s TV-snubbing, news-averse actor friend.
En route to Hungary in a PJ, Logan learns that someone close to him has been speaking to the woman who’s out to write an unauthorized biography of the media titan. As we saw earlier in the hour, Greg took a “pre-meeting meeting” with the writer, only to accidentally comment, on the record, about how Logan rules with an iron fist, before clumsily backtracking and then bolting out the door. Greg confides his lapse in judgement o Tom, who in turns advises him to keep his lips zipped, and hope the Rat Bastard in IT doesn’t dig up any damning data.
The retreat itself starts off with a super-lame “hunt,” in which pigs are trotted across an open road flanked by Tom, Kendall et al perched nearby in blinds. But that night, the hunt really begins, when Logan learns that PMG got wind of Waystar’s interest and is already freaking out. Logan starts grilling the attendees one by one, over dinner, starting with ex-COO Frank, who eagerly accepted an invite back into the company fold. Logan then singled out Tom, Greg and some other exec to step to the side and be “boars on the floor.” And in the freakiest party game since the movie Ready or Not (which I saw last night), Logan orders the men to crawl on all fours, snorting and with eyes closed, before lunging at sausage links to scarf down. It is brutal, and it is demeaning. And the three men go along with it.
Kendall meanwhile uses the air of pandemonium to seize Roman’s phone, following a mysterious call his brother took earlier. Kendall finds evidence that Roman has been in contact with one of the Pearces. Logan rails at Rome’s piss-poor judgement, regardless of his intentions, but declares that they will nonetheless pursue PMG, and win.
As for the snitch, the next morning over breakfast, Logan learns that an old associate named Mo is the “rat” at hand… and that Mo subsequently passed away. Logan very briefly mourns the loss, before ordering the IT over to the guy’s home to search his laptop for intel on what he told the biographer. Logan then calls Siobhan to set up a time to start on-boarding her at Waystar, as a first step toward her taking over.