Kendall is hyped up for a big presentation this week on Succession. But did his new product launch turn out to be more of a rapid unscheduled disassembly?
As Sunday’s episode opens, we’re greeted by the face of… Logan Roy! The old bastard (R.I.P.) is on video taping a pitch for Waystar’s new line of gated communities dubbed Living Plus. When the director asks him to try doing it “a touch more upbeat,” Logan snaps, telling the crew: “You’re as bad as my idiot kids.” Kendall’s watching this video, and he shrugs that comment off: “That’s fine. That’s a Valentine’s card.” Shiv meets with Matsson on a parked private jet, and Matsson wants to scrap the whole Living Plus idea. He tells her when the deal goes through, he’ll need someone at Waystar “who gets me.” (He also tells her Kendall and Roman went “totally f—king mental” on him on that mountaintop.) He calls Shiv his “girl on the inside,” blowing her a kiss as he shimmies off her plane.
Shiv meets Kendall and Roman at Waystar Studios in L.A., with a big investor presentation and the Living Plus launch looming. Kendall floats that he has some concerns about Matsson, with Roman lying that Matsson was the one who melted down on that mountaintop. Kendall wonders if they can recommend a deal with such an erratic personality, but Gerri isn’t concerned: “His reputation is priced in.” After the others leave, Shiv lets her brothers know she knows exactly what they’re doing: “trying to f—k the deal.” Kendall admits it, but says they were only trying to protect her. He thinks they could keep Waystar and still buy Pierce, too. He and Roman pull her in for another three-way hug, but Shiv’s face is unmoved. Oh, and Tom catches her crying in a conference room, and she tells him she’s been scheduling time to cry ever since Logan died. She also pulls him in for a kiss? (These two, I’ll tell ya.)
Roman heads off to meet Joy, a film executive at Waystar Studios. (Hi, Annabeth Gish!) He tells her he just wants to “get the hit machine pumping,” but she raises concerns about ATN’s “rightward lean” and how cozy they are with Mencken. Roman says Mencken is just IP, like anything else, and laughs her off when she stresses that the entertainment community has “values.” He admits he’s not his dad, but when Joy replies, “I’m sure you are where you are for a very good reason,” that doesn’t sit well with him. Roman impulsively fires her, walking out on their meeting. Kendall is busy micromanaging the Living Plus presentation, asking if they can build him a house to walk through on stage and bulldozing right past their hesitation. (“Here’s the rule: No one can say no.”) Plus, Shiv and Tom have a flirty encounter at a party where he tries to apologize “for f–king you up” (“I was f–ked up long before I met you,” she responds), and they play a game of “Bitey” where they bite each other’s arms until one of them quits. Tom wins! “Tom Wambsgans finally made me feel something,” Shiv marvels.
A fired-up Kendall is now convinced they can get out of the GoJo deal by pumping up Waystar’s stock price to the point where Matsson has to walk — and he thinks he can do it by pitching Living Plus as a way to ward off death. (Well, immortality is certainly a selling point.) Gerri confronts Roman about firing Joy, and he says they can just exile her to some other department. Gerri says Joy has a lot of powerful friends and calls Roman “a weak monarch in a dangerous interregnum” (just give us a minute to look up the word “interregnum”…), and when Roman says his dad would’ve done the same thing, Gerri points out: “You’re not your dad.” A wounded Roman turns on her: “You don’t treat me with sufficient respect. So maybe I’ll fire you, too.” She realizes he’s considering not selling and warns him: “Tech is coming. We are over.” But he insists on firing her, even ordering her to do the paperwork herself. He’s spiraling, though, and sheepishly admits to Kendall he fired Joy and Gerri. Kendall is taken aback at first (“Shiv’s godmother Gerri?”), but then he decides it’s a good thing: the brash young CEOs cutting all the old dead weight.
Shiv and Tom get dressed — after an intimate encounter, it seems — and she asks him what he thinks of Matsson, admitting: “I don’t entirely know what to do.” He laughs that she’s “still keeping all your options open,” adding: “You should be careful with that.” He cozies up to her and says he wants her back, but she shuts him down: “Well, then you shouldn’t have betrayed me.” He confesses he’s always wanted money (“I like nice things”) and notes she wouldn’t follow him to a trailer park. She contends she’d follow him anywhere… but they both quickly giggle at what a joke that is. Meanwhile, Greg pushes a reluctant video editor to manipulate Logan’s video and make him say that Living Plus will “double the earnings” of the parks division, while Kendall pushes his business advisor to pump up the projections on paper (“What if we double that?”), finally getting him to relent. This definitely doesn’t have disaster written all over it!
Kendall isn’t happy with the fake house they built for his presentation, and Matsson tells Shiv he isn’t happy with Living Plus being pitched at all, so she sidles up to Roman and tells him she’s worried about Kendall: “He’s got that gleam in his eye.” She sees how wildly he’s pumped up the projections and wonders if they should pull the plug: “He could do anything up there, and then you’re a part of it.” So when the presentation day arrives and Kendall is clad in a flight jacket “for the launch,” Roman pulls him aside and asks if they should postpone. But Kendall insists “it’s big swing time” and convinces Roman to push ahead on it. He’s stopped by Karl, too, who’s questioning the pumped-up numbers and cautions him that if he claims anything onstage that threatens Karl, “I’ll f–king squeal.” But hey, good luck up there, Ken!
Kendall takes the stage and gets off to a wobbly start before introducing his dad… via video, of course. He goes off-script, selling Living Plus as “a sanctuary” where you’re guaranteed “complete peace of mind” in a crime-free environment. He also teases celebrity drop-ins from Waystar movies before adding: “How about if I told you it would all last forever?” He’s not serious, of course, but Living Plus will offer “health and happiness” benefits thanks to Waystar’s connections to big pharmaceutical companies. He points to that video of Logan again, with the big guy saying Living Plus will double earnings. (And it looks real!) Then Kendall gets serious: “Would I take an extra year with my dad right now? Say the unsaid? That would be priceless. I miss you, Dad. I love you, Dad.” He fights back tears — and the online buzz is surprisingly good. Is he actually pulling this off?!
Matsson throws a wrench into the presentation, though, by tweeting out a German phrase referencing the Holocaust. (Oof.) A reporter quickly asks Kendall about it, and he takes a second to process it before apologizing for Matsson: “He’s very European.” He adds that “if and when we complete the deal… I think he’ll be tweeting something different.” (Shiv calls Matsson to tell him to back off, but Matsson claims he knows what he’s doing.) Kendall hands the mike to Tom and exits the stage to big applause, with his staff telling him the financial analysts are all very positive about his pitch. And hey, Matsson deleted the tweet! On his way home, Roman gets a text from Kendall with a manipulated video of Logan insulting him and saying he has a, um, “microdick.” Roman laughs at it first, but he actually keeps playing it over and over again — just to hear his father’s voice, it seems. Shiv and Tom make plans for an election night party and keep that flirty energy going, while a triumphant Kendall walks on the beach alone, stripping off his shirt and diving into the waves, floating on his back, feeling free.
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