‘Succession’ Recap, S2E7: Rhinos and Hummingbirds

September 23, 2019, 2:50 PM UTC

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. In the seventh episode of the new season: Ulstermen, disappearing sauce, and Thomas Aquinas. (You can read last week’s recap here.)

The first season-and-a-half of Succession has been balanced on a relatively simple, straightforward question: who among Logan Roy’s children will succeed him as head of the company he built?

But for the first time, the inevitability that Logan would select one of his own kids to take over at Waystar Royco appears to be in serious doubt. Rhea Jarrell (Holly Hunter) may have lost her CEO gig at PMG, after trying to facilitate a Waystar takeover of the rival media company, but she’s now spending a lot of time with Logan—accompanying him and the kids to London as they seek to get a couple of shareholders in line with the proxy fight that Waystar’s presently waging.

We’ve previously been led to believe that Logan, a man who claims he did everything for his children, would rather sell off his life’s work than leave someone other than his own kin in charge. But now we see him ask Rhea, his new informal adviser and apparent romantic interest, to look further afield when it comes to Waystar’s succession planning.

That’s quite the development, and it’s clear that Rhea will play an outsize role in proceedings in the weeks to come. She’s surely shot up the myriad Succession “power rankings” lists that populate the internet, and justifiably; in the span of one TV week, she’s gone from losing her job as chief executive of a major media conglomerate, to finding a pretty decent professional and personal rebound in Logan Roy.

Rhea is already ruffling feathers among the Roy clan, unsettling Kendall and Roman with her mere presence and setting up Shiv with a deft piece of politicking. Over lunch, Rhea suggests that she could float Shiv for the vacant CEO gig at PMG—a piece of leverage that she could use against her father in her quest to succeed him at Waystar. 

But Shiv walks into the trap, and when she finally gets the chance to clear the air with Logan over the events at Tern Haven and Argestes, he rebuts with rumors of her designs on the PMG job. That gives Logan the upper hand; he can play the family card, and dispatch Shiv with the understanding that her position as Waystar’s heir apparent is anything but a formality.

The episode ends with Shiv calling Kendall to flag him on Rhea, letting him know that they have a new adversary in the midst. Logan has played his kids against each other time and again as they jostled for his crown, but in Rhea Jarrell, they may have found the common enemy that could bring them—and maybe even their beloved stepmother Marcia—together again. 

That’s family for you.

Juicy Morsels

Operation Rockstar and the Mole Woman is underway, with Gerri telling Roman that he needs to subject himself to some opposition research if they’re serious about teaming up as Waystar’s future braintrust. That leads to Roman being asked about some hilarious things he may or may not have done—though given what we’ve learned about Roman’s emotional complexities and insecurities, such escapades could very well be mere rumors he spread about himself to burgeon his bad-boy reputation.

Lady Caroline Collingwood may be bitingly witty and a joy to watch on screen, but she clearly leaves a lot to be desired in the parenting department. Yes, the kids are trying to bribe their own mom—a major Waystar shareholder—into falling in line on the proxy fight. But let’s face it: between Logan and Caroline, it’s no wonder the Roy children have grown up to have their fair share of issues.

You’ve got to love what The Greg Man has done with his new luxury condo, and he even looks to have made a pretty cool group of new friends. But, of course, Tom can’t let him be happy; amid an escalating internal investigation, he strong-arms Greg into giving up the last vestiges of evidence on the cruises debacle. Greg, for his part, salvages what he can when Tom isn’t looking. Yet it’s becoming increasingly obvious that one of the show’s great “friendships” is doomed for eventual betrayal.

No Connor Roy for the second successive week? C’mon, guys.

More ‘Succession’ content from Fortune

Inside Succession with executive producer Adam McKay and actor Kieran Culkin
Succession’s costume designer shares the inspiration behind the show’s corporate wear

Fortune’s ‘Succession’ Season 2 Recaps

Succession S2E6: Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish
Succession S2E5: Money Wins
Succession S2E4: The Gold Rush
Succession S2E3: Takeover Defense
Succession S2E2: Media Matters
Succession S2E1: Blood in the Water
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