Succession season 2, episode 7 recap: Return


In episode 207 of HBO’s Succession, Logan and Ken go on an unexpected PR quest, and the Roy kids negotiate family vs. business with their mom.

Previously on Succession, a cruise ship sex scandal ruined Waystar Royco’s deal to buy Pierce Media Group. Now Waystar’s Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron) and Hugo Baker (Fisher Stevens) are in damage control mode, trying to alleviate things. This episode also revisits Greg Hirsch (Nicholas Braun) destroying of documents for Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen).

The past won’t stay totally buried for Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong), either, as his father is still blackmailing him for fleeing the scene of a tragic accident.   After the Pierce deal faltered, we also saw Logan Roy (Brian Cox) strike his son, Roman (Kieran Culkin), so hard that he broke a tooth. In that sense, “Return” may be about things returning to the Roys, and Waystar Royco.

Interestingly, Kendall seems to have an ongoing relationship of sorts with Naomi Pierce (Annabelle Dexter-Jones). While theirs seems to be casual, Tom’s marriage to Shiv Roy (Sarah Snook) seems to be more about business. While Waystar’s shareholders want a new CEO named to eventually replace Logan, there’s a clash between Tom and her. In another odd twist, Gerri seems to be open to Roman’s offer of a free-flowing business partnership.

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Here she agrees to do research on Roman, to see if she could find any scandal that could derail his rise to CEO (or any similar position of power). Meanwhile, Roman is tasked to negotiate with his mother, Caroline (Harriet Walter), to maintain her shareholder support against a takeover threat from Sandy (Larry Pine) and Stewy (Arian Moayed). As for Shiv, she’s still in hot water over her public comparison of Logan’s company (or even Logan himself) to a dinosaur. Of course, everyone on Succession seems to feel Logan is indeed antiquated, and not just due to his physical age.

The cruise scandal and damage control

Tom meets with Chan (Christopher Chan) and Strauss (Christopher Kelly) of Blanch and Partners, and he feels the heat. He emphasizes that his time at Parks and Cruises was brief. When they ask Tom about any destroyed documents, he tells them he has to pee. While out and about he asks Shiv if Logan will “fry him” over this. He soon decides to put pressure on Greg, who he knows has blackmail-capable copies of the papers. Greg hesitates, insisting they are “insurance” for himself, and we can reasonably consider them a future in-road for Greg to advance in the company.

Tom assures Greg that his so-called insurance is only causing more nastiness, adding that he’ll break his legs if he doesn’t comply and hand them over. As further pressure, Tom insists that he’ll be staying the night, re-emphasizing the threat to break Greg’s legs if he steals or takes more copies. It turns out the papers are poorly hidden. We later see that Greg will record audio of the torching of his documents. In fact, while Tom is distracted, Greg takes whatever papers he can before they torch them, and also speaks clearly and loudly about what they’re up to for a proper quality recording.

Rhea and the Dodds

Logan offers a half-apology to Roman for hitting him the other day. He says it’s not something he does, questioning that his strike even made contact. Soon, Kendall and Logan meet Rhea Jarrell (Holly Hunter), fresh out of work after the Pierce fiasco. She is asked about who should be the new CEO of Waystar, and she has unflattering things to say about Shiv: “She thinks she’s smarter than she is.” Rhea offers to help, even staying overnight with Logan (prompting instant gossip about an affair).

There’s another complication, though, when a news headline accuses Logan of “bullying to death” Andrew Dodds, the server from season 1, into crashing his car. It’s Sandy’s tabloid that broke the story, and Karolina (Dagmara Dominczyk) and Hugo want Logan to apologize to his family. As a power play (though ostensibly also for closure), Logan takes Ken along with him.

Rhea further cements her role in Succession, telling Shiv that she should go work for Pierce. Logan also says he’ll have dinner with Rhea, while on the trip to meet the Dodds family. Ken joins Logan in meeting Paul Dodds (Albert Welling), and we only hear occasional apologetic words from Logan as Ken looks around the room vacantly. Ken later returns to their house to secretly slip a check into their mail slot, likely to assuage his own guilt over the accident. There is one question: Will Logan ever drop his blackmail tactic against Kendall, as a sign of good faith for his son’s renewed obedience? It;s an interesting dynamic.


When Roman and Shiv meet with Caroline, Caorline sees it as a cynical ploy. Of course, she’s no less cynical herself. In exchange for her 3% shareholder support, she wants to renegotiate her divorce settlement, and she wants the Hampton’s house. She also wants the family for every Christmas.

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Near the end of the episode, Ken comes close to confessing the car accident to Caroline but doesn’t, no doubt realizing she may use it against him much like Logan has. On that note, Logan is upset with Shiv for meeting with Rhea about the Pierce gig, and indicates she will probably not be CEO. This is an act by Logan, largely staged by Rhea, to keep her from taking over. It seems that Logan has been using her for her PR capabilities, dangling the prospect of taking over as a manipulation tool.

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