Succession episode two recap: ‘S*** Show at the F*** Factory’


Previously in Succession, we got to meet the Roy family. In the obscenely titled 2nd episode, we get to see what makes them tick!

Though some critics find the Roys too one-dimensional, “S*** Show at the F*** Factory” reveals the complex emotions behind their inflated egos in Succession. For example, though Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) just had a showdown with his father, Logan (Brian Cox), he seems to actually care about him.

Still, Kendall feels obligated to address business matters, rather than focus solely on his father’s hospitalization. It seems to be a coping mechanism of sorts. The result is added tension between Kendall and his family, who feel it’s in bad taste to prioritize business.

Related Story: HBO’s Succession premiere episode recap: ‘Celebration’

“Do They Know Who We Are?”

When the family first enters the ICU, the big question Roman Roy (Kieran Culkin) asks is, “Do they know who we are?” This implies, of course, that they’re a very big deal, and deserving of special attention. Kendall only adds to that vibe, saying of his father’s presence: “The socio-economic health of multiple continents is dependent on his well-being!”

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In many ones, the Roys aren’t solely to blame for such attitudes. This is what can happen when people are given exaggerated importance. They’re built up so much that, after a while, they start to believe their own myths. The sad (and funny) thing is, one can easily imagine “powerful” families behaving like this, and worse. After all, why wouldn’t they?

Greg – A Go-Getter or an Errand Boy?

In episode one of Succession, Greg (Nicholas Braun) was clamoring to get a job and came off looking desperate and weak. In this episode, he becomes the family errand boy — getting Logan’s slippers and important papers. Still, one can tell that Greg (or “Craig”) will become a bigger character. The question is, what kind of character will he be? His loyalty and need to impress are obvious, and it’s easy to imagine him changing over time. Could he grow from errand boy to go-getter?

The Roys gather to bicker.

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His role becomes complicated. As a power play, Shiv (Sarah Snook) calls Greg, telling him not to retrieve the aforementioned paperwork. It’s a way of delaying the inevitable and suggests that she may develop a special control-connection with Greg.

Was Logan Roy Thinking Straight?

Because Logan Roy suffered a brain hemorrhage, it’s debatable to what extent he was thinking clearly during his birthday party. Kendall wishes to take special advantage of this debate, suggesting that his father was “Loco in the coco” — to quote his technical lingo. It’s definitely an interesting point in the episode and helps feed the other conflicts, too.

In fact, Logan’s stress seems symbolic of the stress corporate America provides. Obviously, someone being hospitalized might, in a way, become a family bonding moment. Here, however, there’s barely an opportunity allowed. In addition to Kendall jockeying for position, you have Roman emphasizing his role as Chief Operating Officer. Then, of course, Roman gets into a physical altercation with his sister, Shiv — just like children!

Then, of course, you have Kendall’s proposal that Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron) take over. It’s an offer that she rebuffs, saying, “I don’t want the job that makes your brain explode.” In other words, Gerri has some insight that Kendall lacks. Sure, she wants some power and prestige, but not so much that it encapsulates her whole world! She is a nice contrast to some of the other characters and proves that there’s still some hope, even in the cut-throat corporate world of Succession.

Kendall and Roman – A Loose-Fitting Alliance

Near the episode’s close, Kendall and Roman agree to support each other, at least in some vague fashion. The impression is of a tenuous truce of sorts. The question is, how serious will it be? Roman is a jokester by nature, emphasizing how he thinks the business world is nonsense. Nevertheless, when he gets a taste of its benefits, he doesn’t just turn away.

This is why I find Roman relatable, and I’m sure others could, too. Many folks look at the corporate world and say, “What a bunch of soul-sucking nonsense!” Still, the allure of power has intoxicating effects and can place a would-be clown into a pin-stripe suit. Indeed, Roman exemplifies the modern power-seeker, who relishes a symbolic position with high rewards, but is ever-willing to “outsource” the actual work to life’s underlings (people like Greg).

Meanwhile, Kendall is trying hard to be normal — to dwell somewhere between a Greg, a Roman or a Logan. However, as he seeks more power, he will either have to take a firmer grasp or have everyone turn on him. In essence, he plays ever-shifting roles and cannot find stability. He’s not naturally a fighter but must do so every step of the way. It’s like what his brother, Connor Roy (Alan Ruck), says about UN Peacekeepers: “Sometimes a Peacekeeper has to go shoot a maniac on the perimeter.”

Next: Succession episode 3 recap: ‘Lifeboats’

By episode’s end, everyone is worried about the family losing the firm under Kendall. No one has faith in the guy. To make things worse, during a private rooftop meeting, Gerri tells Kendall that the company’s billions in debt.

Oh yeah, and Shiv basically agrees to get married. Whew!

What do you think of Succession? Did this episode’s chaos inspire you? Let us know in the comments!