Sunday, August 2, 2020

Emmy Catch-Up: Succession (Season Finale)

Every year, I watch the six submitted episodes of every series I don’t regularly watch that’s up for one of the Emmy series prizes. This year, I’m getting a jump start to check out the entire season of some of most high-profile shows I didn’t watch when they originally aired.

Succession: Season 2, Episode 10 “This Is Not for Tears” (B+)

Well, this ending was quite a surprise. Logan’s shareholder told him that it was going to have to be his head, and though he suggested it to his family before dismissing the possibility entirely as unrealistic, he never thought it was actually going to be him who fell. Meeting on the most absurdly luxurious boat that I’ve ever seen with a helicopter bad and giant attachable water slide was the very representation of a disconnect with reality and consequences that defines the behavior of this family. Things started off separate with Tom defending his “deadcatting” while suggesting that “Benign Fungus” should be the title of Greg’s memoir, and Willa throwing Connor’s tablet into the water when she read a bad review of the play. Roman was bold to tell Logan that he thought that the appealing offer he had received wasn’t actually real, and Jamie didn’t hide his fury at being subverted. Hearing them sit around the table and debate who should be thrown to the wolves was unsettling but typical for these characters, and nothing anyone said was excusable. After Shiv tried to make a threesome happen on the boat, it was refreshing to see Tom finally stand up for himself, confronting her for agreeing that he should be served up and for suggesting an open marriage on their wedding night. The biggest news had to do with Kendall, who for the entire season has been faithfully serving his father and who seemed so disappointed when Logan made it clear that Naomi, who he said was good for him, wasn’t welcome. The look on his face when Logan told him that it was going to be him conveyed so much misery, and it seemed like he really was going to take the fall. It’s been easy to forget how he tried to bring down his father in season one because of the debt he’s felt after Logan cleaned up his mess from the season one finale. Announcing that Logan was a malignant presence was extremely brave and the ultimate declaration of war, and it seems like he didn’t tell anyone (except maybe Greg) what he was doing. That sets up a formidable conflict for season three, which I think I’ll plan to watch when it debuts. Like “Ozark,” I’m still not entirely sold on this show but I do see some of the appeal, and can particularly respect the performances. This episode earned both writing and directing Emmy nominations, which I can appreciate.

Season grade: B
Season MVPs: Kieran Culkan as Roman, Sarah Snook as Shiv, Matthew Macfadyen as Tom, and Holly Hunter as Rhea

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