This article contains major spoilers for Succession S3E5, “Retired Janitors of Idaho”
Coming off of last week’s tour de force, Succession found itself in a situation where questions of the company’s fate, Logan’s health, and of how Logan and Kendall would interact moving forward took center stage. While all of those topics received a lot of attention this week, Shiv and Roman had the brightest lights shine on them, after weeks of their father and brother hogging the attention. We’re about to get into heavy spoiler territory here, so if you haven’t seen Succession S3E5 yet, ask yourself “why?”, watch the episode, and then come back to this article.
Old Rich Men Do Battle
The premise of this week’s episode was the shareholders meeting and the vote being called to see if the shareholders were ready to task Sandy and Stewie with running the company over Logan and his family. There was a strong desire to reach an agreement so no vote would need to be called from everyone in Logan’s orbit, who kept telling the old man that they didn’t have the votes. Of course, Logan being Logan, he didn’t want to bend or concede in any way. To his credit, he knew something felt off here, almost sensing that Kendall was working both sides, trying to ensure a deal would be reached so his family would remain in power but he would be creating allies in Sandy and Stewie.
The running theme underneath the power struggle and negotiations was one of old men who want to control every little detail until the bitter end, despite having a qualified younger generation waiting in the wings. We saw Logan acting as if he was losing his mind in this episode, the result of forgetting to take his medication for a UTI. He was crippled and sidelined for most of “Retired Janitors in Idaho”, unable to assist in any of the several ongoing crises that erupted over the course of the shareholders meeting. Then on the other side we had Sandy, confined to a wheelchair, unable to speak above a grunt or whisper, speaking through his daughter, also named Sandy.
While Sandy is in much worse shape than Logan, the situations were the same. We have these aging men, who are unwilling to loosen their grips on the empires they’ve spent their lives building. Sandy has a more than qualified daughter and a young “hired gun” in Stewie, who might not be family but has certainly made Sandy a lot of money over the course of their partnership. Logan has three children who are each qualified to play a bigger role in taking over his company, but just like Sandy, he would rather die than let someone take over what he spent his life building.
Succesion S3E5 showed what this younger generation could do without the old men though. Sandy, the daughter, and Shiv met secretly to be the ones to finally hammer out a deal to prevent a vote from being called. This deal was one that neither of their fathers would approve of but these second generation businesswomen knew that time was of the essence and found a compromise. A compromise that would serve to add both of them to the board of directors, protecting their shaky futures, despite the wrath they would certainly face from their fathers.
The President of the United States
The ongoing subplot of Logan being frustrated with the lack of political cover from the President has been slowly escalating over the last few weeks and it finally reached a pivotal turning point. The President called to tell Logan that he would not be seeking a second term, only Logan was unable to take the call. Enter Roman.
There’s a lot to unpack here. Succession S3E5 legitimized Roman perhaps more than any episode prior as someone who could be a deserving heir to the throne. Roman handled the angry conversation with the most powerful person in the free world exceptionally well, showing everyone in the “inner circle” that he could handle the high pressure situations. It also showed that unlike Shiv and Kendall, who are both fighting for themselves ultimately, Roman is the one hanging onto hope for the family. For their father. He still aims to please his father and isn’t standing over him with a knife…yet. I’m still standing by my previous prediction that when Logan eventually does attempt to throw Gerri under the bus, that’s going to be when Roman snaps and sides with the one person he truly trusts in this world.
Additionally, the President resigning means that Connor, who has been ruthlessly trying to get a somewhat important job within the family business, may now retract that request (that was kind of granted this week?) so he can attempt to run for President. Maybe? There’s been an attempt to make Connor less comedic relief and more of a threat to his siblings and the family business, yet it’s still not clear in which direction the character is going long term.
Perhaps most importantly though, with the President resigning, what will that mean for Logan and company in terms of their ongoing legal troubles? The President is obviously not happy with his cable news network of choice, so sweeping pardons on his way out doesn’t seem likely. Does this mean that the DOJ will be more of a threat as we enter the back half of the season? I tend to think so.
The question is who will be the targets. We saw Kendall this week tell Greg that he’s prepared to offer him up to the DOJ, unless he walks away from Logan and company. It almost seems inevitable that Greg and Tom will be targets of the investigation and possibly looking at jail time. But who else? Will Tom and Greg flip and offer bigger names to try and protect themselves? I tend to think so.
The Wrath of Logan
When Logan was once again medicated and lucid by the end of the episode, he was on a warpath. He was furious that Shiv gave away so much in the deal. He snapped at her and excluded her from a conversation with Gerri, publicly knocking his only daughter down a few pegs. It was clear that Logan thought less of his daughter and her leadership abilities by the end of Succession S3E5.
Then there was Kendall. The former golden boy turned Roy family turncoat spent this week desperate to be included, and yet was always on the outside looking in. He’s effectively been iced out, a squeaky wheel no longer being paid attention to and he knows it. After a desperate attempt to crash the stage at the shareholders meeting, it was Kendall’s turn to face the wrath of this father.
Logan had Kendall summoned to a small conference room and then left. When Kendall tried to call him, he asked his assistant to permanently block his number. But why? Did Logan blame Kendall for being in this spot of vulnerability? Is he upset with Kendall because he saw him ill the previous week? Is he lashing out at everyone because he’s internally mortified that more people saw him ill this week? Or is he prepared to reign hellfire upon his son because he has a need for vengeance? All of the above feels like the correct response.
With Succession S3E5 in the books, as a halfway point of sorts, only four episodes remain this season and it’s clear that we’re headed for a turbulent ride to close out the year. The looming threat of the the DOJ further complicates the already complicated family dynamics. This writer can’t shake the feeling that dominoes will be falling soon and the question will be: who is left standing by season’s end?