Succession season 2 finale recap: This Is Not for Tears


In the season 2 finale of HBO’s Succession, the Waystar Royco “family” debate who the so-called “blood sacrifice” shall be, and Ken makes an explosive announcement.

Previously on HBO’s Succession, Waystar Royco had Greg (Nicholas Braun), Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) and others testified before Congress. Also, Shiv (Sarah Snook) helped avert damaging testimony from a victim. While Shiv seemed to say save the day for the Roy family, Logan Roy (Brian Cox) still feels a “blood sacrifice” needs to be made. When the heat from the Congressional investigation has died a little, key players at Waystar board a boat.

Tranquil waters?

There’s a lot of tension aboard even without the cruise ship scandal. Connor Roy (Alan Ruck) and Willa (Justine Lupe) aren’t happy with the reviews of her unsuccessful play. In fact, she throws his device off the boat. Later, Connor wants Logan to get good reviews for Willa’s play, which is sinking pretty low, even by Logan’s standards. Logan says he’ll give Connor $100 million if he quits his Presidential campaign, calling him a joke. Meanwhile, Shiv and Tom have botched plans for a threesome — which would have been awkward anyway with all the people around them (including family). Somewhat understandably, Tom expresses concerns that he can’t perform in this setting.

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In other news, Greg has a toenail fungus which almost prevents him from boarding without shoes, although Kendall (Jeremy Strong) insists, “Sails out, nails out.” Roman (Kieran Culkin) is not appreciating people making light of the hostage thing in Turkey, which seemed to help him realize not everything’s a joke.

Surprisingly, Roman even compliments how Ken handled DC. and without his usual snarkiness. When Logan Roy boards via helicopter, he’s semi-excited that Waystar may go private, thanks largely to Roman. However, while Laird (Danny Huston) likes the deal Roman struck with new financiers, Roman doesn’t trust it. He also adds that, if the deal fails, they will lose the proxy vote and “we die.” Shortly after this, Tom drops hints that he may not retain loyalty to Greg.

It’s all about relationships

As dehumanizing as corporations seem, Succession reminds us that we can’t fully bury human concerns and interests. When Ken tells Logan he likes media competitor Naomi Pierce (Annabelle Dexter-Jones), Logan suggests it’s bad for business. Naomi later takes off without Ken, which is no doubt another conflict between father and son.

Then the more blatant backstabbing begins. Who should get the ax? Roman recommends Frank (Peter Friedman), Ken recommends Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron), Frank mentions Karl (David Rasche), and Karl and Roman also suggest Gerri. Gerri asks, “Haven’t we killed enough women already?” due to the cruise ship scandal involving unexplained deaths. Soon, Roman, Karl, and even Shiv suggest Tom. Getting defensive, Tom says Shiv could be the one, too. To sweeten the deal, Roman suggests Tom and Greg could go “as a party pack,” suggesting he hasn’t totally lost his snide humor. Greg also gets defensive, pointing out that everyone knows Roman as a horrible person.

Meeting the opposition

After this brouhaha, Ken and Logan meet Stewy (Arian Moayed), who’s staying nearby. They offer him a deal to prevent him and Sandy (Larry Pine) from taking over Waystar Royco. The deal includes three board seats. him having a say on CEO and dismissing litigation on the proxy battle. Stewy promptly rejects the offer and is not intimidated by Ken’s childish threat. For his part, Stewy insists it’s all business (though he’d likely croon another tune were he the one in trouble).
Meanwhile, Tom is quite mad at Shiv. In fact, when Shiv says she loves him, Tom says he loves a rock then throws it in the water! It’s definitely an insight into where Tom is heading in the future of Succession.

When Tom gets back on the boat, he grabs Logan’s piece of chicken, bites it and walks away. Later, as a tentative peace deal, Shiv meets with Logan, insisting that Tom doesn’t deserve to be fired. Logan agrees, sensing her distress. Though Tom is hardly a swell guy, he would only be guilty of trying to save the company from a possibly devastating scandal. There’s never a sense that his character was directly “in on” any of Mo Lester’s shenanigans on the cruise lines.

The final sacrifice

The time comes for the big decision. Logan meets Kendall in private, noting that “the Incas sacrificed a child to the sun.” He instructs Ken to set up a press conference and to admit he knew everything about the scandal. He also chides Ken for not being a killer. Logan also says Roman is to take over as COO.

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When Ken gets to his press conference, Logan and Shiv diligently watch on TV. Ken wastes little time in saying his father is a “malignant presence, a bully and a liar” with a “twisted sense of loyalty to bad actors like Lester.” He had a disregard for the safety of workers. Also, Logan knew every inch of his whole empire, which meant he had to know of the payoffs to the victims. Adding that he has relevant documents (likely preserved by Greg Hirsch), Ken says “This is the day his reign ends.” It’s a huge end to Succession Season 2, and Logan is almost smiling at his son’s courage.

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