Last night’s episode of Succession was deftly constructed from the writing, blocking, and even the pacing resulting in an entertaining yet pivotal sixth episode.
Writer Susan Soon He Stanton demonstrated a great deal of savvy shifting the focus of the episode continually showing the many contributing towards this vote of no-confidence. Stanton’s writing didn’t highlight the bravery of Kendall (Jeremy Strong), but the failure of others for not standing by their convictions. Andrij Parekh’s direction demonstrated a deep understanding of the events unfolding. The writer and director needed to be in sync or Sunday’s episode would have been a disaster.
Sunday’s Succession centered around the forthcoming vote of no confidence against Logan (Brian Cox). Kendall (Strong) is bouncing from board member to board member trying to shore up the “yea” votes.
Roman (Kiernan Culkin) attempts to sway any neutral voters. Logan heads to Washington so he can meet with the president about an upcoming acquisition but is snubbed. Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) attempts to take Greg (Nicholas Braun) under his wing, so he knows how to act “rich.” Shiv (Sarah Snook) is exploring her options in D.C. and potentially the body of a former flame, who happens to be a consultant for the candidate her father loathes.
This episode will long be remembered as the one where the fiery Logan Roy emerged. Cox unleashes his rage on those who sided with Kendall (who he now views as traitors). Logan is someone who thrives on order, and he’s answered to no one for so long.
When he is challenged by these “usurpers,” Logan tries to squash the vote immediately. When Frank told him that he wasn’t following procedure, the rage only got worse. Cox’s delivery in this scene is what made this moment much more believable. He quickly can pivot from pleasantries to sarcasm and of course blinding rage which certainly speaks to his instability.
Sunday’s episode of Succession was undoubtedly a visual one (which is probably one of many reasons Andrij Parekh was picked to direct). Every one of the players during this high stakes moment kept their intentions hidden until the last possible moment. Even when Roman was telling Kendall that he was on all for the vote, anyone could see the doubt in his eyes. It wasn’t some moment where he valued his father; Roman saw this as an opportunity to eliminate some of the family members who were in his way to reaching the top.
Seeing each of them tells Kendall precisely what he wanted to hear was an excellent example of our survival instinct kicking into overdrive. Patrick Capone’s cinematography enhanced this experience by making use of close-ups so the audience can see the anguish on their faces.
Overall, Succession delivered one the best moments in television in 2018 (so far) and set the stage for what lies ahead for the Roy’s. Will Roman ascend to CEO? Where does Shiv fit in all of this? Only time will tell.