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 eighth episode of the new season: sand mites, super-dads, and Lewis and Clark. (You can read last week’s recap here.)
Siobhan Roy is ready to play offense. She’s not going to sit back while Rhea Jarrell, her dad’s new adviser and supposed romantic interest, ingratiates her way onto the Waystar Royco throne that is Shiv’s birthright. So she starts sounding alarms within the House of Roy—urging her siblings that they need to take action and proverbially smash Rhea’s head in with a rock before their father “does something rash.”
She’s not being paranoid. The Roy clan find themselves in Logan’s hometown of Dundee, Scotland, on a get-together celebrating their father’s 50 years in business. The expedition is organized by none other than Rhea, who’s also handling the search for Logan’s successor as CEO—one involving an admittedly “small pool” of candidates, including Rhea herself.
But the rest of the kids aren’t entirely certain. Sure, they’re happy to engage in some mind games; Kendall suggests that Rhea toast Logan’s departed sister Rose, a gesture that brings up unsavory memories for the media baron, while Roman also does a bit of sparring. (Less successful is Shiv’s effort to dispatch her own husband, Tom, to stir Logan’s jealousies via a comical attempt at flirting with Rhea.)
Yet Kendall and Tom recognize that if Shiv really wants to sway her father’s thinking, she’d be better off shelving any overt power plays in favor of a soft power approach. “Killing” Rhea, as it’s put time and again, doesn’t mean Shiv reassumes the mantle of successor-in-waiting. She should know well of her father’s obstinance and recognize that there’s a better way to finesse things in her favor.
Part of that involves Logan’s own growing skepticism around his involvement with Rhea, a teetotaling liberal who’s not everything he thought she was. But more important is Shiv’s own willingness to appeal compassionately to her father’s instincts; trust your gut, she tells him at the “Logan-athon” soiree in Dundee, even if that means that Rhea is the one.
Of course, Shiv is willing to make that appeal because she, unlike Rhea, knows that there’s a tsunami of scandal headed straight for Waystar’s cruises division. A whistleblower in accounting is apparently ready to spill the beans on the myriad improprieties covered up by the company, and not even Gerri’s attempt at a $20 million payoff is going to be enough to keep him quiet.
That means the next CEO of Waystar Royco will almost certainly have a raging dumpster fire of epic proportions on their hands; if Shiv wants rid of Rhea Jarrell, what better way than letting her deal with the fallout? Logan indeed names Rhea as his successor in Dundee—but Shiv finally has a game, as her father would say, that could well see her come out on top.
— Ken.W.A. is all the rage on the internet in the wake of last night’s episode, and understandable so. As Kendall himself would say, that was f—-in’ imperial.
— Roman’s oil money buddy Eduard is exactly what’s wrong with modern soccer—the type of egoistic profiteer who wants to monopolize the game via a “super-league” that would shut out smaller clubs. But it’s all worth it just to see Eduard and Roman buy the wrong football team in an attempt to get in Logan’s good graces; the big man is Hibs ‘til he dies, not Hearts, and don’t you forget it.
— A red sign advertising The Sun, the Rupert Murdoch-owned British tabloid, appears noticeably in a shot of the streets of Dundee. No way is it an accident, but it also bears asking: is this a universe co-inhabited by Logan and his News Corp. counterpart?
— After a weeks-long break from the screen, Connor is finally back and providing his usual rewarding comic relief. This time, it’s the joy of witnessing his desperation as he bleeds out money to keep Willa’s new play afloat.
— Where do you stand on Grexit? A nice little chunk of Grandpa Ewan’s $250 million inheritance would go a long way, but Greg has his own desires and ambitions to account for. It’ll be interesting to see what he chooses.
More ‘Succession’ content from Fortune
Fortune’s ‘Succession’ Season 2 Recaps
—Succession S2E7: Rhinos and Hummingbirds
—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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