Succession season 1, episode 6 recap: ‘Which Side Are You On?’


Things threaten to get brutal on HBO’s Succession, as Kendall tries to gain support for a no-confidence vote in his father.

Thus far in Succession, Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) has faced constant criticism from his father, Logan (Brian Cox). Even when he makes decisions that keep the company solvent, he’s still considered a screwup. That’s why, when faced with the prospect of yanking away his dad’s command, it could be seen as revenge.

However, Ken seems to lack such motivations. In fact, he seems to be one of the few Roys who genuinely cares about the company’s future. Sure, he goes about some things the wrong way, but who wouldn’t? In a family positively oozing with scandal, Kendall can’t help but get some of it on him.

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Tom Mentoring Greg – Lifestyles of the Rich and Heinous

Before now, Succession‘s”Tom Wamsgans (Matthew Macfadyen) has been an over-the-top bully against Greg Hirsch (Nicholas Braun), Logan’s nephew and naïve company hopeful. However, after Greg shredded some scandalous documents for him, even Tom feels he owes Greg something in return. Believing the scandal to be buried, the bruise-faced Tom leaves his frigid fiancée so he and Greg can live it up.

Predictably, Tom wants to show Greg “how to be rich,” after mocking Greg’s desire for some California Pizza Kitchen food. Tom becomes an open book, which is a little scary. He compares being rich to being a superhero, “only better.” He claims that, if you’re rich, you get to do what you want and authorities can’t touch you. As he puts it, you wear a superhero costume, but it’s designed by Armani.

He partly demonstrates his point through food selection. Rather than California Pizza Kitchen, or a burger and fries, Tom orders something called Ortolan. What is Ortolan? It’s a deep-fried songbird that you eat whole. Also, as Tom notes, it’s “kind of illegal.” Tom then puts a cover over his head, saying it is either to mask the shame or heighten the pleasure. Greg doesn’t seem to enjoy the “food,” saying “If I eat any more songbirds I’m going to hurl.” While a similar Ortolan scene occurred on Showtime’s Billions, Succession certainly gives it a unique spin.

Meanwhile, as Tom and Greg become best frenemies, Shiv Roy (Sarah Snook) meets with her ex, Nate Sofrelli (Ashley Zukerman), ostensibly to discuss political strategy. However, he continually proposes they have an affair, and he repeatedly bashes Tom as a boring dufus. While Nate considers himself exciting and dangerous, it’s implied that Tom has a very dark side, and would love an opportunity to elevate himself at another’s expense. In other words, if he were to find someone sleeping with his future wife, all bets would be off.

Everyone’s Got a Game

Jeremy Strong, photo credit: Peter Kramer/HBO

In a rare bit of insight from Logan, he tells Ken that everyone’s got a game. Like practically anything, this could be interpreted many ways. However, it suggests that Logan knows how to read people, that he’s anticipating certain moves. It’s therefore like a warning, but it seems to go over Ken’s head. While Logan seems to be struggling with his mental faculties, he hasn’t lost his keen business insights entirely.

Still, Ken tries to gather everyone against his father. He tells Tom that he’s on “Team Kendall,” and does his level best to reach out to all swayable board members. Despite asking others if the vote is “objectively horrible,” he knows it’s the right move. He even travels to Long Island to meet one of them.

The Game is Rigged

This isn’t a campaign Ken takes lightly. He makes it clear that he respects the ground Logan walks on, but believes his dad’s unfit to run the company. In addition to Logan striking a kid at Thanksgiving, Ken argues that debt threatens the firm. He mentions “dead-weight acquisitions” in “non-growth areas.” Quite simply, he fears that Logan is completely behind the times.

Still, despite everything, the game is largely rigged in Logan’s favor. For example, Ewan (James Cromwell) Logan’s brother and Greg’s grandfather, calls the no-confidence vote “an act of egregious selfishness.” Then, because Kendall conveniently gets stuck in traffic, Logan takes charge of the board meeting and does his best to intimidate everyone. Despite their efforts to convince him he can’t be there, he plays the ever-elusive “I’m too old to leave” card — knowing that no one will drag him out.

After taking full command, Logan calls Ken a Judas, and takes the votes against him personally.
He fires Ken and everyone else who voted against him. By the episode’s end, it’s suggested that Logan knew about the oncoming conspiracy, and may have hatched one of his own. Although the episode never explicitly says it, it’s implied that Logan may have had the President call a terror alert to prevent Kendall from getting to the meeting on time.

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While that sounds far-fetched, it isn’t.  This may be Succession‘s comment on the Fort Lee lane closure scandal, where the George Washington Bridge was allegedly closed to intentionally cause traffic jams, supposedly to punish Fort Lee’s Mayor for not politically supporting New Jersey’s Governor. While Kendall and others lose this particular battle, it’s clear that the war’s not over. How could it be with a family like this?

What do you think about this episode of Succession? Let us know in the comments!