Succession season 1, episode 5 recap: ‘I Went to Market’


On the 5th episode of HBO’s ‘Succession,’ the Roy family gathers for a scandalous Thanksgiving. Will they ever be normal?

Previously on Succession, Logan Roy (Brian Cox) cast aside the specter of retirement, stealing the show at a charity gala. Boldly, he announced that he’s back and better than ever. This was, of course, bad news for his family. Individually, his children either wanted him to retire to recuperate or wanted to take over his media empire. In “I Went to Market,” this struggle is broadened by the Thanksgiving holiday — a trying time for even relatively stable families.

If that’s not enough, Logan kids genuinely feel he’s outdated, and that the family business should better reflect the times. For example, during a business meeting, Logan asks, “Why shouldn’t we do all the news?” Putting aside moral concerns (of which there are many), it gives his children an opportunity to question his judgment. Roman Roy (Kieran Culkin), for example, jokingly calls him “Kim Jong-Pop,” suggesting it’s unwise to seek a true monopoly on content in the digital age. Health is also a factor. At the same meeting, Logan fails to stop pouring a cup of coffee. It suggests that he’s not recovered from his stroke, and may have mild dementia.

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Shiv and Tom’s Overly Officiated Marriage

Part of the Roy’s dysfunction is how business-centric they are. Everything on Succession hinges on business, making big decisions and establishing savvy connections. In that regard, when Shiv Roy (Sarah Snook) asks Tom Wamsgans (Matthew Macfadyen) to look over their prenuptial agreement, it’s almost a breath of fresh air when he brushes it off. It’s implied that he actually trusts her and that he may actually respect her as a person.

Of course, Shiv isn’t having that. She suggests a lawyer go over it, and Tom agrees only to make her happy. It’s definitely a new perspective on Tom, who before now just seemed sleazy. To see that he could let his guard down — knowingly no less — shows a bit of humanity. It makes him a semi-sympathetic character, even if still mostly smug and self-centered. Still, there’s every reason to believe their marriage will work badly if it’s allowed to happen at all.

Shreddin’ it Up – Tom Gives Greg a Special Assignment

This was a big episode for Tom, as he’s set up to get in trouble numerous ways. In addition to marrying Shiv, he doesn’t want a cruise line scandal to break big. This is where Greg Hirsch (Nicholas Braun) comes in. Tom has been a ridiculous bully to Greg, and Greg seems susceptible to his commands. This time, Greg is tasked with leaving the Roy’s Thanksgiving, and go to their office and shred cruise ship sex scandal-related documents.

In other words, Tom is being an utter fool here! Not only is he interrupting Greg’s Thanksgiving, but Greg has every reason to eventually blackmail him. To drive the point home, Tom initially bullies Greg but relents when he’s told he’s on speakerphone. Then, when the two speak in person, Tom tells him a chimp could shred the documents. Recognizing that it’s a “Watergate scenario,” Greg actually makes a personal copy of every document he shreds. It’s not how he wanted to spend Thanksgiving, but he now has an insurance plan against Tom, and a new way to gain access to the Roy’s wealth.

Meeting Ewan

James Cromwell and Brian Cox, photo credit: Peter Kramer/HBO

Greg’s grandfather Ewan (James Cromwell) is no fan of the Roy’s media empire. In fact, he seems surprised to be invited to their Thanksgiving and seems particularly jaded about the whole affair.
Then again, that’s apparently how Ewan is in general. Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) compares him to Sasquatch, and everything about him seems bitter.

Indeed, when meeting Logan, Ewan says he looks terrible and haggard. Then, as the dinner progresses, Ewan calls him a “carnival barker for all the wars we didn’t need.” Of course, this ostensibly isn’t just a critique of Logan, but the whole family, who are insensitive and abysmally self-centered. For example, in this very episode, Roman says, “Indonesia sounds like a medical condition.” Roman also gets annoyed with children at the dinner, because they like a kid’s movie that he tried to get stopped.

Ewan is interesting, she’s definitely like the Roys, but almost as a mirror image. It’s implied that his politics are liberal (if not leftist), but he’s jaded with the human race. There’s not a strong indication that Ewan is selfish, but he definitely wasn’t capable of putting differences aside to simply enjoy a family dinner. That being so, he is very much in the same family, even if on a different side. His hostility makes Roman quip, “I don’t understand why we don’t invite him every year.”

Challenging Logan’s Reign/Other Scandals

Nothing says “family togetherness” like scheming against one’s own father! This is essentially what Kendall is up to, and has been since the series premiered. He’s hit a few speed bumps along the way. In addition to his father’s health improving, not everyone’s on board with Ken. For example, Logan’s mentor, Frank (Peter Friedman), asks Ken is he’s ever heard of loyalty. Ironically, that’s coming from a character Logan had fired just before the stroke. Clearly, Ken has an uphill battle. So, he will have to note every single misstep his father makes, to show that his dad is not normal.

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In that regard, Ken has less to worry about as the feast continues. Logan ends up looking pretty bad. Ewan calls the whole family a nest of vipers, claiming “They’ll wrap themselves around you and they’ll suffocate you.” Then, while playing the game, I Went to Market, Logan strikes a boy named Iverson (Quentin Morales) with a can. It puts a damper on the evening, to say the least, and suggests that Logan is slipping. This incident convinces Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron) to turn against Logan. The question is, who will still support Logan, and what will be left of them?

What are your thoughts on this Succession episode? Let us know in the comments!