“Boar. On. The. Floor.”
Honestly, my anxiety once Logan started saying those words cannot be described. I kind of wanted to throw up? And also disappear? Everything happening during that scene was full-on Deliverance meets Lord of the Flies, and it was so dehumanizing and humiliating and totally believable, and has Succession peaked? “Hunting” might have been the peak.
“Hunting” puts a few different storylines in play that I’m sure we’ll see reverberate throughout the season. The first involves Cousin Greg, who we learn called back a reporter aspiring to write Logan’s biography, but not, you know, officially. So Susan from Friends gets Greg on the record calling Logan “scary, vindictive, paranoid, violent” (and teaches him a valuable lesson about on the record vs. off the record and anonymous source vs. background; clearly Cousin Greg never watched All the President’s Men), and then it gets back to Logan that someone talked. Who the hell talked?
Logan is already caught in a hurricane of paranoia. He’s obsessed with the idea of buying the media company PGM from the Pierce family, an idea that he boasts about to Waystar Royco’s board and that has literally everyone blanching and speaking in hushed tones. Logan thinks buying another huge company is a sign of strength for Waystar Royco and would make them too large to be threatened any further by Sandy and Stewy, but everyone else is hesitant. He’s tried to buy PGM before, we learn, and the Pierces rejected his offer. And the Pierces are, we understand, the opposite of the Roys. They’re blue bloods, an old money family, and their news source is actually, we learn from Shiv, a trusted commodity. “Last time we tried it, their surrogates called us ‘cultural vandals’ and ‘poison in the well of public discourse,’” it’s noted at the board meeting; later on, Shiv says to Tom, “If we do all the news, I am actually going to wonder where I get my fucking news.” Many props to Shiv for shouting out “a couple hundred angry young women on Twitter” who report the news other people don’t, but she raises an excellent point: “It is thread-fucking-bare out there, and now we’re going to eat another one?” And why does Logan even want to buy PGM for $20 billion? Because his brother, Greg’s grandfather Ewan (remember James Cromwell, who didn’t speak to Greg at all during the hours-long drive in from Canada?), watches PGM and trusts them. Logan will not be crossed.
And so the company retreat to Hungary becomes an opportunity for Logan to try and really sniff out who is loyal to him and this PGM-acquisition idea, and who is going behind his back. What he doesn’t realize is that one child is actively trying to help him, albeit stupidly, and another is actively trying to discredit him, albeit not as slickly as she thinks. We are talking, of course, about Roman, who works through Tabitha to reach out to a member of the Pierce family—spooking them with this attempt at contact—and Shiv, who talks a big game about being the new sheriff in town and rallying the resistance and tries to force Tom into discouraging her father away from the PGM deal. She’s not alone in doubting the deal, but she isn’t there in Hungary, and so when Logan goes off the rails, locks the doors of the dining room in the hunting lodge, and starts threatening people, she’s not damaged at all.
Who is damaged, of course, is Tom, who tries to play both sides, telling Gerri and Karl that he’ll speak to Logan (although his father-in-law did once call Tom “the cunt of Monte Cristo”) but then telling Logan that whatever he says in doubt of the PGM buy is a farce. It doesn’t work. Logan fingers Tom almost immediately when questioning loyalty, forcing Tom, Karl, and Cousin Greg all into the corner of the grand room and then whipping the rest of the retreat attendees into a frenzy with his repeated chants of “Boar on the floor.” Remember that when everyone was hunting earlier in the day, the people running the hunting trip stationed Waystar Royco employees in wooden towers and then let boars go below them, so the “hunting” was more like standing at a good vantage point and shooting a defenseless animal released for your opportunity to murder something. It was very much like shooting fish in a barrel.
And that same lazy bloodthirstiness is on display with Logan rallying his troops (in particular the revolting Ray, who went from meekly about to pee in a pitcher to going full Sam and Eric on Tom). When Logan says “Oink for your sausages, piggies,” notice that Ray is practically sporting wood in the background while Frank, former COO of Waystar Royco who Logan brings back in (despite his former alliance with Kendall, because of his connection to the Pierce family), walks away from the scene. Frank is an adult, and Gerri isn’t sure why he’s coming back at all, but maybe he was moved by the quote from Tennyson’s “Ulysses” carved on the back of the Rolex Logan gave him. Maybe he misses Kendall, who once used to serve as a sort of surrogate son. Or maybe, as he tells Gerri, he has no reason not to come back.
As we see in that dinner scene, Logan Roy is the center of the fucking universe. He’ll embarrass his son-in-law and his grandnephew and an executive at his company just because he can, and when he learns that none of them is actually responsible for the betrayal for which he accused them, nothing happens. There’s no apology. There are no amends. There’s just Logan, moving onto the next target, and Greg, now further in debt to Tom (“Trust no one, ever!”), and Tom, coming home with his tail between his legs to Shiv, who promptly tells him she slept with somebody else while he was doing her bidding. “Don’t let me down, soldier,” she had told him in a voicemail before sleeping with that guy who gets his news from comedians (gross). But how long will Tom be a loyal sidekick? If he’s not going to run Waystar Royco, and he’s just going to continue being Shiv’s errand boy, what the fuck is in it for him? Or are we seeing that Tom is the future Frank, just like Shiv might be the future Logan? Does that make Roman the future Connor? Kendall the future Ewan? The Roy family dynamics are so horrendously screwed up, I wouldn’t be surprised by any of this.
ODDS AND ENDS
+ On the one hand, duh at Connor brushing off Shiv’s concerns about his video proudly proclaiming he won’t pay taxes as a way to generate up interest in his presidential campaign, and I don’t disagree when he says that rich people don’t stay in jail, anyway. But on the other hand, I at least appreciate that Shiv is aghast by everything about this situation, from Logan telling her to handle it to Connor offering her a job to Willa being seemingly nonplussed by the whole thing. When Willa said that they support each other’s dreams? Y’all, I cringed. (Also, Willa was friends with the guy that Shiv slept with. Does Shiv’s cheating on Tom, because I don’t really think they have an open relationship if Shiv is the only one sleeping around, now become further public knowledge?)
+ Related: Connor is every terrible conspiracy theorist who lives on social media brought to life, and I cannot stop thinking about how this man in the same breath lambasted “elites,” but then admitted that he “sees them down there” (IF THEY ARE ELITES, AND THEY ARE BELOW YOU, WHAT ARE YOU???), and then said of his enemies, “Tell them to get in line behind Bezos and the Clintons.” This man’s brains are mush, and I swear, if we see him inaugurated in season three, Succession might get too damn real.
+ Is “hyper-decanting” a thing? God, fucking rich people.
+ Shiv, at some point Tom probably won’t keep tolerating you saying things like “Is this the replicant department? My meat puppet has stopped working.” Y’ALL, I CRINGED, AGAIN. You already criticized my man’s suits! Cut him some slack!
+ Danny Huston is a truly excellent addition to the show as Logan’s banker who is now involved in the Pierce buy. He had some fantastic lines of dialogue this episode, from “I’ve burned villages and overthrown governments on your behalf … We could be at a ‘maybe’?” to “I hate to be a party pooper, but I have poop.”
+ But does he really compare with Gerri, our unheralded queen? Many reasons to love her this episode, from her incredulous “Again?” when Logan brought up PGM to her deep sighs throughout the Hungary trip to her being honest with Logan and escaping “Boar on the floor.” I do think that Logan at this point expects Gerri to play both sides of every situation, but because she’s always remained loyal, he grants her more leeway. And Roman hitting on her? I’m not even sure what to say about that, but I do enjoy that relationship, even if I had previously only construed it as maternal?
+ Everyone’s aghast faces at “warm white wine” being Logan’s impetus for hating The New York Mail, a newspaper the Pierces own and one of his reasons for his rabid desire to acquire them, was one of those fabulous little glimpses into the utterly spoiled world of these people.
+ Should I feel bad for Roman? I don’t. But his analysis of his father as “He can do whatever the fuck he likes. He’s like a human Saudi Arabia” is phenomenally astute.
+ Logan freaking out that no one knows how much a gallon of milk costs felt very much inspired by Arrested Development’s “It’s one banana, Michael. What could it cost, $10?” And it also reminds us that Logan did not grow up with money, but grew Waystar Royco from scratch to the multibillion company it currently is. His judgment of his employees as a “bunch of silk-stocking fucks” is over the top—and hypocritical, given how much he’s spoiled his own children—but it does make me realize a bit more what he and Marcia see in each other, this resentment of others who didn’t “work” as they did. (I want more of Marcia’s backstory, by the way, always and forever.)
+ Not much Tabitha this week, but the way she very earnestly said “You!” when Roman asked “Is there anybody you haven’t fucked?” was pretty great.
+ Kendall pulled a lot of dead-eyed groveling this week, and probably the worst of it was the way he reacted to Logan’s “Historically speaking, when I’m betrayed, it’s usually you.” He was barely even fazed!
+ I loved Greg’s description of riding on a private jet as similar to being in a “very white, very wealthy band.” Of course, U2 was the right comparative!
+ Shiv in that burgundy leather jacket, hot damn.
+ Who is Mo, who we learn was the one who talked to the aspiring biographer, letting Greg off the hook? Have we met Mo? Of course Logan sent “ratfucker Sam” to hack into all of Mo’s shit, now that he’s dead.
+ Next week: HOLLY HUNTER ARRIVES as Rhea, “on behalf of the Pierce family.” I cannot wait, I CANNOT WAIT.
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