‘Succession’ Recap, S2E6: Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish
Succession is a show about family. But the HBO series is also very much a show about business: money, power, influence, ego, and the machinations of corporate America.
As such, it’s the perfect show for us at Fortune to recap as the saga of the Roy family and their Waystar Royco media empire unfolds over the weeks to come. In the sixth episode of the new season: ankle cleavage, dinosaur culls, and 300-year investing horizons. (You can read last week’s recap here.)
Logan Roy is on the clock, and he’s starting to feel the pressure. Enveloped in a bear hug, he’s spent this season of Succession trying to make his company too big to digest for the private equity raiders hoping to swallow him whole.
But he needs to do so quickly, which means that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to push his $25 billion acquisition of rival media conglomerate PMG over the line. When PMG starts picking nits over details like break fees, the usually obstinate Logan has no qualms about undermining his own position; keep pushing on it, he tells PMG CEO Rhea Jarrell, because Waystar Royco will eventually cave and they can all finally get things signed, sealed and delivered.
Matters have been further complicated, however, by an impending pipebomb: a New York magazine expose of the unsavory practices, and subsequent coverup, at Waystar’s cruises division. Tom Wambsgans and Cousin Greg may have spent last Thanksgiving burying the bodies even deeper, but they’re finally starting to poke through the surface—and they could easily scupper the PMG deal.
Waystar’s efforts to mitigate the fallout from the article and see the PMG acquisition through form the crux of this week’s episode. The setting is Argestes, an elite business summit-cum-retreat where all the relevant players are in attendance—yet it is Logan who sits in the eye of the storm, balancing public relations bombshells and highly sensitive takeover talks with his own declining health and the carnival that is his family.
When the story does drop, the Waystar braintrust finds itself in damage control. Shiv, previously relegated to an audit committee tutorial with Frank back in New York, is flown in to be the face of the company’s response. While she’s understandably reluctant at first, it is a conversation with Rhea—who’s been playing both sides of the takeover deal—that convinces her. After all, if the acquisition falls through as a result of the scandal and her dad ends up losing control of the company, where does that leave Shiv’s designs on succeeding him as Waystar CEO?
The result is an ill-conceived, three-headed panel discussion at Argestes that sees Shiv, Kendall, and Roman blunder their way through conflicting responses to the cruises debacle. Logan is not amused, and neither is PMG matriarch Nan Pierce, who’s sitting in the audience. It all comes to a head at the summit’s closing reception, when the Roys get thoroughly (and hilariously) skewered by the comedian providing the evening’s entertainment. Nan, realizing just how radioactive the Roys are now, has seen enough; she walks out of the dinner, only to be followed by a desperate Logan and his accomplice Rhea.
There’s nothing Logan can say to change her mind, and it’s not long before he veers from last-gasp bargaining to full-on rage. Rhea is also done for; Nan is finally onto her tricks, and asks for her resignation. “Good riddance to bad rubbish,” Nan retorts as she departs Argestes—leaving Logan to seethe into the night, and the future of Waystar Royco very much in the air.
— “We’re Listening.” Tom’s designs for ATN’s new tagline are torn apart by Cousin Greg, who informs him that Waystar’s questionable data-collection practices mean that they actually are listening, quite literally and quite aggressively, to their customers. But fear not, because they put their heads together and brainstorm up the equally inspiring “We Hear For You”—or, as it was mistakenly displayed at Argestes, “We Here For You.” Priceless.
— “Rockstar and the Mole Woman” is Roman’s pitch to Gerri on a future in which they run Waystar as CEO and chairman (or chairman and CEO), respectively. It was a rough episode for Roman; his comments in the wake of the kids’ disastrous panel appearance hit too close to home for Logan, who literally hits him back in response. But it’s been a brilliant season for Roman as a character; we’ve learned so much about the fascinating emotional complexities that make him who he is, and it’s made the show that much more rewarding.
— Kendall and Stewy didn’t reconcile over $75 Cobb salads at Argestes, but their brief exchange reminded us of the wonderful chemistry between Jeremy Strong and Arian Moayed. There’s an intense yet measured charisma between the two finance bros that makes their scenes together work so well.
More ‘Succession’ content from Fortune
Fortune’s ‘Succession’ Season 2 Recaps
—Succession S2E5: Money Wins
—Succession S2E4: The Gold Rush
—Succession S2E3: Takeover Defense
—Succession S2E2: Media Matters
—Succession S2E1: Blood in the Water
Follow Fortune on Flipboard to stay up-to-date on the latest news and analysis.