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Succession season 4 episode 2 recap and power rankings: The Roys reunite over karaoke

"It's like Jaws, if everyone in Jaws worked for Jaws," Greg says.  (HBO: Macall Polay)

Welcome back to our weekly Succession recaps and power rankings, where we unpack the biggest moments of each episode and analyse how our favourite billionaires fared.

"Smart people know what they are," Logan tells Roman at the end of this week's episode in a bid to lure him back to his side, encapsulating what makes Succession so darn good.

The series knows what it is – compelling, devastating, excruciating – and each facet was on full display in Episode 2: Rehearsal.

There was plenty of wheeling and dealing this week, thanks to the impending GoJo deal, so let's start there.

What's the go with GoJo?

Here's a quick breakdown of where the deal is at:

  • Sandi and Stewy are still on the Waystar board and reckon "there's more money to be squeezed from the Swede" (that's GoJo CEO Lukas Matsson). 
  • If they join forces with Kendall, Shiv and Roman, they've got the numbers to send Matsson back to the table to renegotiate.
  • Screwing Logan over a second time sounds nice, but everyone agrees if they push too hard, Matsson could walk — something he confirmed to Kendall.
  • The board meeting is happening the following day, so Logan reaches out to Roman ahead of a meeting with Matsson.

We need to talk about that family reunion at karaoke

"I would like to sing one song at karaoke because I've seen it in the movies and no one ever wants to go," Connor says. (HBO: Macall Polay)

After missing Connor's rehearsal dinner on the eve of his wedding, Shiv, Kendall, and Roman finally arrive and indulge their older brother in a night on the town.

But they're stuck contemplating their life choices when they end up in an impromptu family reunion with their dad in a karaoke bar (and this is after Connor sings Leonard Cohen's Famous Blue Raincoat.)

For once, Logan sees this interpersonal family drama with the GoJo price hike as bad business and needs to make amends.

After the Waystar patriarch struggles to separate the personal from the professional, he finally concedes just a little bit.

"I wanted you there at my party," Logan admits, to which Kendall mockingly replies: "Did Dad just say a feeling?"

Roman, the voice of reason this season, finally brings up what happened in Italy with their mother when they were essentially cut out of the business.

"Stop ganging up on me like you’re Lennon and McCartney and I’m George. I’m John," Roman says. (HBO: Mcall B Polay)

"I don't do apologies, but if it means so much to you, then sorry," Logan says. But Shiv and Kendall aren't ready to forgive and instead bring up a wealth of childhood trauma. 

"Sorry for ignoring Connor his whole life? Hitting Rome when he was a kid? Having Connor's mother locked up?" Kendall says. 

Realising negotiating the GoJo deal with his grown children is futile, Logan gives up and walks out, saying: "I love you, but you are not serious people."

The scene ends with a devastating monologue from Connor.

"The good thing about having a family that doesn't love you is that you learn to live without it. You're all chasing after dad, saying, 'Oh, love me. Please love me. I need love; I need attention.' You're needy love sponges."

We can't not talk about Kerry's newsreader audition

After Logan pushes for Kerry to have a spot on ATN and backflips when he realises she's a laughing stock, it's up to Tom to tell his boss's girlfriend she can't be on TV. 

"This is an incredibly delicate piece of diplomacy, Greg. Okay? It's like Israel-Palestine. Except harder and much more important," Tom says. 

So he gives the job to Greg

"Can I possibly, please, grab you for five minutes, quickly, please?" Greg asks.  (HBO: Macall Polay)

Greg "grabs" Kerry for a car crash of a moment in which he gives her "the heads up on the down low on what the murmurs are" about her TV spot. 

In a bid to shift the blame away from Tom, Greg says a made-up focus group full of "grandpas and little twerps" says Kerry's arms "aren't right" but can be fixed "within a few years".

Ultimately, he gets the job done, despite Kerry vowing to take Greg apart like human string cheese.

Let's chat power rankings

There was a lot of moving and shaking this week, so here's how the dynamics have changed since the first episode.

Roman

Romulus shoots to the top of the pile this week, thanks to Logan saying he "needs" him. Not a want, but a need! Logan is firing Cyd and reinventing ATN, and he needs a "fire breather". Watching Roman get manipulated into crawling back to his father after we know he hit him (which isn't exclusive to childhood; he backhanded him in season one) is devastating, but Logan's offer places him above his siblings. 

Logan

Despite threatening to have a seizure under those karaoke bar lights, Logan Roy is still pulling the strings. He knows the kids have the numbers if they join forces with Stewy and Sandi, and he knows he can break them apart. He tells Roman there's "a night of the long knives coming" (a bit dramatic), and he's getting prepared. Plus, that rousing speech on the ATN floor proves he's still got plenty of fight left, and he's cooking up something big.

"They have some juice here," Logan says. (HBO: Macall B Polay)

Lukas (new entry)

Fresh meat! We didn't see much, if any, of Matsson in the first episode, but that's already starting to change. The Roys are tearing themselves apart over the GoJo deal, meaning this is Matsson's world, and we're just living in it.

Connor

This was quite the episode for Connor, considering Willa walked out on their rehearsal dinner saying she "couldn't do it anymore", only to reunite with her at the end of the night. So the wedding is BACK ON. Also, who would have guessed Connor used emojis? 👀🤞🚁

Tom

Logan used Tom as a sounding board this week, and he managed to palm off his dirty work to Greg. Plus, he is setting up for this divorce battle far better than Shiv. But what happens if the divorce really happens? Succession writer and executive producer Lucy Prebble told the official HBO Succession podcast she can't see Tom coming off well — yikes.

"He's just walking around, but with the slight sense that he might kill someone," Greg says. (HBO: Macall B Polay)

Kendall

Kendall and his emotional support baseball cap are all go with the flow on the surface ("Hey Buddha, nice Tom Fords"), but he's still splintering off from his siblings to FaceTime Matsson in a subway exit. At the end of the day, though, he'll be just another vote at the board meeting and doesn't have much sway.

Shiv

Shiv's losing control and even Stewy and Sandi can see she's rushing the GoJo deal for emotional reasons. And, of course, she's emotional; Tom tied up every divorce lawyer in Manhattan. Logan says he would have given her the same advice if she came to him, and annoyingly, she knows he's probably telling the truth. 

"I want this to be amicable," Tom says, after screwing Shiv over. (HBO: Macall B Polay)

Kerry

That newsreader audition tape was not good, and yes, she popped her "betrayal cherry" once her ATN spot was taken away from her. But Logan Roy? Going out of his way to protect her from humiliating herself? It's concerning how much he cares for her, but he's got big plans for ATN's future, and it's unclear if Kerry is part of that.

Greg

Greg tells himself he still "got the job done" after his botched chat with Kerry about her tape. If there really is a night of the long knives coming as Logan says, it might work in Greg's favour that he's not in the room.

Gerri

Logan's either losing trust in Gerri or knows she has more of a backbone than Karl and Frank combined because, at the end of the episode, he hurriedly plans a meeting with Matsson, telling Kerry: "You, me, Tom, Karl, Frank. But no Gerri."

Notes and observations:

  • Logan Roy stood on reams of paper to rally his ATN troops. Fellow media mogul Rupert Murdoch also stood on boxes to deliver a speech when he bought The Wall Street Journal in 2007.
I, too, would be looking at the strength of those boxes. (AP: Mark Lennihan)
  • Is Tom Wambsgans an Oscar Wilde fan? Either way, the phrase "capacious handbag" (which took over the internet this week) appeared in Wilde's play The Importance of Being Earnest. 
  • Greg's focus group screw-up is reminiscent of The Thick of It's focus group episode where they based a government policy on the thoughts of one woman because "she's middle England". This makes sense when you realise Succession executive producer, Tony Roche, wrote both that episode of The Thick of It and this episode of Succession.

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