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'Succession' recap, Season 3, Episode 5: Keeping it in the family

Roman (Kieran Culkin), Shiv (Sarah Snook) and Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) are all on tenterhooks at the shareholders' meeting.
Macall Polay
Roman (Kieran Culkin), Shiv (Sarah Snook) and Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) are all on tenterhooks at the shareholders' meeting.

This is the week Logan and his family have been waiting for: We've finally reached the shareholders' meeting where Stewy and Sandy 2 (and her father, Sandy 1) will try to wrest control of Waystar Royco away from the Roy family by persuading enough shareholders to vote with them. Everything gets very wobbly when Logan's physical and mental condition seem to abruptly deteriorate, but Shiv pulls off quite a trick by settling with Sandy 2, keeping control in the family while also agreeing to some power-sharing with Stewy and the Sandies.

Speed rankings

85 MPH: Logan

The most striking thing about Logan in this episode is how withering he is with Shiv after she makes the deal with Sandy 2. The whole thing really was about to go up in smoke, and he's completely unable to specify what he would have done differently, but he insists that one way or another, he would have made it work without giving up the four board seats Shiv did. It also seems most uncertain that Shiv is actually going to get the extra seat that's being added on the Roy side, as she would when she made the deal.

Of course, Logan also has time to humiliate Kendall again by making him wait for a meeting that's never going to happen. Is this specific payback? Generalized cruelty? Not clear. But Logan is still really putting his shoulder into it when it comes to making Kendall feel as bad as possible.

It seems clear enough that the real reason Logan is upset has more to do with his own health, his own moment of weakness, and ultimately his own fallibility than it does with anything Shiv did. Whatever the reason, he's just brutal with her, acting disappointed and contemptuous at the very moment when she expects his approval. There seems to be some specificity to this physical problem — a UTI for which he stopped taking his medication — but Logan's physical and mental frailty has been hanging over the series since the first episode ever, and now it's creeping back to the forefront.

It's also worth noting that we all saw how angry Marcia was, very recently, about Logan and Rhea. And he seems awfully tight with this young associate, Kerry.

J. Smith-Cameron plays Gerri, who's got a big week ahead.
Macall Polay / HBO
J. Smith-Cameron plays Gerri, who's got a big week ahead.

65 MPH: Gerri

Gerri is speeding toward ruin not because she does anything particularly hateful — Gerri isn't really hateful — but because she's just deeper and deeper in the thick of all this. She's involved now to the point where Logan turns his attention to Gerri when he's angry with Shiv, treating her like the confidante Shiv so badly wants to be. He's very much using her in that moment as a weapon against Shiv, and Gerri is letting herself get sucked in on a personal level. It's also interesting to see her loyalties pried apart when Sandy 1 and Sandy 2 start asking for things in the deal — getting rid of the private jet and being able to veto any member of the Roy family from becoming CEO ever — that affect the kids more than they affect Gerri.

65 MPH: Kendall

Kendall doesn't wind up playing all that much of a role in this, even though he really thought he would. For one thing, he believed he could operate as the link between Stewy and his family, and it turns out that Shiv plays that role. Kendall gets Stewy back in conversation with the family, but he can't actually make the deal happen. The events of this episode mostly revolve around Logan, his besuited goons (including Karl and Frank), and Shiv, with a little bit of panic from Roman. Kendall does a lot of blustering, but he's a bit sidelined, which you can imagine makes him irate. So irate, in fact, that he takes the stage at the shareholder's meeting to put himself back in the conversation and continue his phony "I'm the Roy who really cares" approach. He's also, we should note, not the world's best caretaker for rabbits.

But what accelerates his score this week is his declaration to Greg that he might "burn" him. In other words, presumably, he might tell the DOJ that Greg stole the documents, which might lead to Tom and other big fish. Of course, he's doing this partly because Greg went back to Logan, but Greg went back to Logan partly because Kendall wasn't exactly being very reassuring. So as always, Greg is just getting batted around by the Roys like a cat toy.

60 MPH: Shiv

They've done a nice job building a story where Shiv feels extremely angry about how she's being disrespected, which makes it feel particularly painful when Logan rejects her. Obviously, she was acting out of self-interest when she hopped into the negotiation with Sandy 2 and made it into an unspoken agreement that they, the overlooked daughters, would take care of themselves and each other. But she also wanted to impress her father, and it didn't work at all, and you can tell she's quite devastated.

It's also interesting to see how strongly she reacts to Tom's desire to have a baby. I'm not sure I feel like they've laid enough track for that quite yet, but that moment goes from very warm to very cold in a very short time.

Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) and Greg (Nicholas Braun) both kind of can't catch a break.
Macall Polay / HBO
Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) and Greg (Nicholas Braun) both kind of can't catch a break.

59 MPH: Tom

Tom is still — uh, understandably — quite preoccupied with the idea that he's going to jail. That is one of the motivators behind his ill-fated advance upon Shiv. He just really does not anticipate how she's going to react to the news that he's been tracking her cycle on his phone, and that's a mistake.

He also seems surprised and then humiliatingly flattered that Logan chooses him as the one to take him to the bathroom, and he's the first one to see that something is seriously wrong. This is a big week for Tom just hanging on desperately to any sign that Logan likes him, which is ... a tough thing to have to want.

50 MPH: Roman

They've started to establish that if any one of the Roy children is actively, truly worrying that Logan is about to die, it's Roman. He seems to be the one who most acutely fears his father's passing, perhaps because he's the one who feels the most alone in the world otherwise, the most propped-up by that parental relationship. His comments about his father's health and the related UTI are in extremely poor taste, but he actually seems worried about the guy.

50 MPH: Connor

The longer this season goes on, the more you really see Connor's cynical, calculating side coming out. He is so fixated on his presidential campaign that he sees everything through that lens, especially the surprise news that the current president is not going to run again. (They've been occasionally foggy on the specific politics, but it's safe to say the current fictional Succession president is a first-term Republican who has been vulnerable to attacks from parts of the base that he's not conservative enough, a position that Waystar has embraced as part of its identity.) For the rest of the family, this president (who was afraid of them) going away in favor of the unknown is bad news; for Connor, it's great news. The field is suddenly open.

On the one hand, it's easy to appreciate the fact that Connor has kept himself far enough away from the business that he doesn't seem panicky about the shareholders' meeting itself. But it's not like he's doing that for reasons of decency.

45 MPH: Greg

Greg has no idea what to do, as usual. Kendall threatens him for returning to Logan, so he thinks about changing direction yet again. But by then his grandfather is irate at him for disrespecting the great lawyer Pugh and it seems like he can't go back. What's more, Ewan has decided to give all his money to Greenpeace, so Greg is out in the cold again. (One of the funniest exchanges of the season: "I'm giving all my money to Greenpeace, Greg." "Even my part?" "That was the first part.") While Greg is mostly just a bumbling dope, this does lead him to make absolutely bizarre inquiries into whether he can sue Greenpeace.

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Linda Holmes is a pop culture correspondent for NPR and the host of Pop Culture Happy Hour. She began her professional life as an attorney. In time, however, her affection for writing, popular culture, and the online universe eclipsed her legal ambitions. She shoved her law degree in the back of the closet, gave its living room space to DVD sets of The Wire, and never looked back.
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