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‘Succession’ Recap: Argestes Is No August Wind for the Roys’ Grand Plans

Will a "New York" magazine story about the cruises debacle scuttle the Pierce deal?

Nan, Logan Rhea Peter Kramer/HBO
 Is this the last time we’ll see this motley trio together?

Has everyone recovered from last week’s intense Pierce weekend? I’ll be thinking about Tern Haven for a long time to come.

We rejoin the Roys in the air en route to one of those conferences that super rich and powerful people get to go to. Logan is annoyed that their private jet can’t land (literally and metaphorically), and they discuss the Pierce deal with him wondering: Do we just give them what they want? Logan wants to sign and that’s it. And I mean that’s it. He dispatches Kendall to let “the team” know he wants it done yesterday. Kendall, in turn, is a jerk to the group. A cycle of abuse all before the opening credits!

Shiv, clearly, has been left behind (literally and metaphorically). She’s with Frank, who is trying to get her to shadow him. She’s not having it. He weakly tries to explain that they couldn’t all go to “Argestes” because there weren’t enough passes. She sees this bunk for what it is and tells Frank she’s going home. However, on the way out, she sees corporate PR gal Carolina at a full run which is never a great sign. Carolina pants two words to Frank: “It’s cruises.” Here’s two more words: uh-oh.

The Hotel for Argestes

Who is in the mood to head to Lake Placid? (The entrance to the hotel)  Screengrab

At a very fancy looking resort (I think we are supposed to assume this is somewhere with high altitude, an Aspen or Park City or something, but it sure looks an awful lot to me like Lake Placid’s Whiteface Lodge to me) the Roys arrive at Argestes. Argestes—in Greek mythology the Northwest wind that helped carry the ship of the Argonauts from Assyria to the Amazons, but here just means fancy corporate people mingling like it’s a tech version of Amazon’s Campfire—has a lot of familiar faces. Sandy. Stewie. Lawrence. Rhea. Basically all the ghosts of Christmas past ready to haunt the Roys.

Great news: Greg—excuse me, Gregory—is here! He is pumped (he thinks he touched Bill Gates) and ready to mingle. Tom is equally worried about the nuts and his room and getting on the culture hike. Everyone is wearing different versions of the same vest.

Succession: Season 2, Episode 6: Marquee

Do we think Tom wrote the copy for this marquee?  Screengrab

Logan arrives. He lets Rhea know that he needs her to get moving and he tells Greg and Tom to keep talking to him so he can avoid Sandy. Logan is less concerned with the new ad campaign for ATN but whether Sandy really has syphilis or not. Hugo tells Logan that the story is happening and they take it to the mattresses.

Which story is that? Oh boy, it’s cruises. New York magazine is going break a story, but they don’t know what is in it. There is palpable panic—it could break at any time. Shiv and Kendall fight over the phone about how to fight it. Kendall’s position is to go on the offense, get the bullying going. Shiv suggests getting them to delay by offering to help them. (By the way, as a former reporter I was irritated by every one of their suggestions.) Both kids keep telling their dad to ignore it. All are aware that a story detailing the allegations in the cruises division is more than enough to sink the already fragile Pierce deal. Logan sides with Kendall but tells Shiv he needs her out there right away.

Gerri and Hugo

Did this character Hugo just get Inception-d into this show this season or what?  Peter Kramer/HBO

Tom is out chasing waterfalls when Greg runs up to tell him he should stick to the rivers and lakes that he’s used to. Or rather, he delivers the bad news that the much-belabored new tagline for ATN for the company—“We’re Listening—” but there’s a problem because of course, it turns out, they are listening. Tom panics. They’d tested these things! Later they toss around the words and Greg comes up with: ATN: We’re Hear for You. Oh boy.

Logan and Marcia share an almost nice moment. Gerri sets up Roman to talk to some shady dude who might be able to take the company private. Love is in the air! He goes to his mark, Edward, that evening and introduces himself. They go to the bathroom and do some fancy-looking cocaine while discussing whether or not Edward’s family money—something to do with the Baku-Tbilsi-Ceyhan pipeline—can bail out the Roys. Edward thinks the Roys could help come up with an independent news organization that isn’t really so independent. All sounds about right.

Marcia and Logan

Whatever you do, don’t ask Marcia about her childhood in Beirut.  Peter Kramer/HBO

Logan and Rhea walk about the grounds. He tells her that he wants to sign the deal here and now. Is Rhea flirting with Logan? Let’s put a pin on this one.

Kendall and Stewie do the thing where they’re mean to each other. Kendall tries to warn Stewie that they’re in the midst of buying something big enough to kill their takeover but Stewie doesn’t really buy it and sets him straight: I really don’t trust you. How many times do Stewie and Kendall have to have this conversation?

Tom is flirting with a pretty girl named Mia when Shiv appears out of nowhere, scaring the stuffing out of him. She tells him there’s a potential crisis coming. Tom worries what it means for him and Shiv wonders allowed why everyone likes her so much all of a sudden. She also wonders if Tom was trying to sleep with that other woman.

Roman goes to Gerri’s room. These two, I can’t. He asks why Logan is having him chase this mysterious money. Gerri is also surprised he doesn’t know. The two of them cook up a little something something: Gerri is like smart yet invisible wallpaper, and Roman is a rock star moron—maybe there’s a team-up in their future? (Are they never going to talk about the weird sex stuff?) Gerri, somewhat surprisingly, thinks this—a future chair/CEO situation— is not a terrible idea. We also learn there’s a difference between Vineyard rich and New Zealand rich. Let’s all try to forget that now.

Gerri and Roman

Is this the strangest coupling on this whole show?  Peter Kramer/HBO

The next day Rhea waits for Nan Pierce, who arrives very grouchy and absolutely refuses to wear her placard. She doesn’t know why Rhea is rushing her. Rhea keeps trotting along with Nan’s brisk Yankee stride, placating as much as she can.

Meanwhile, Logan isn’t feeling so hot. Is it the altitude? The pressure? The knowledge that a giant magazine piece exposing some evils in his company will be coming fast and furious? Kendall sits with him at breakfast and tries to soothe as best he can. Here comes Hugo with more bad news: New York magazine was not so into Waystar’s bullying them into not writing their piece, and have now sped up the timeline so the piece could go online at any moment. (Team magazine!)

Kendall looks around the room, at all the people who would love to watch them read an exposé on themselves in real time, and suggests they get out of there. But before they can get up and go, here comes Nan and Rhea! Nan is still icy-cold mad from her last meeting with Logan and he’s just desperate to get her signature. Kendall, meanwhile, keeps refreshing the New York site on his phone to see if the homepage is still on a Brooklyn housing project article or if this dreaded piece has hit the world wide web. Nan—classic Nan!—complains about the prices, and how she needs breakfast and has more issues to add to the deal and the Roy boys are all, hahahah please just sign. But, too late, the magazine has put the piece “Lost at Sea” (good one) up. Kendall suggests they go to their next appointment, which is to discuss just how bad this thing might be.

Logan asks for a hard copy of the piece (I appreciate this detail) and everyone else buries themselves into their phones. Basically there’s not a lot of explicit tales but it paints a picture of sexual exploitation (thanks Uncle Molester) and shady NDA and maybe murder? The family immediately starts squabbling about how bad it actually is and also how to proceed. For starters, there’s the panel that the Kendall and Roman are supposed to be on. The no-brainer move is to have Shiv join, but she is offended at the idea and Kendall doesn’t want her there.

As the family makes their walk of shame through the grounds, we learn that meeting after meeting with them has been cancelled as people wait out to see what the fallout from the piece might be. But don’t worry, Stewie is there to come up to Kendall and gloat.

Shiv and Rhea

Finally, it seems like Shiv might have met her match.  Peter Kramer/HBO

While huddling with Jamie (the wonderful Danny Huston) about taking the Pierces temperature, Logan has a straight up barf attack. Things are not getting any better! Perhaps that’s why Shiv decides she will go to talk to Rhea herself. Rhea has been hiding from them—she says the rumor mill is abuzz that Logan is ill. Again, the altitude. (But Lake Placid!) Shiv tries to breeze her way past the scandal, but Rhea isn’t buying it. The two women assess each other: Shiv realizes that Rhea is still in favor of the deal, but Nan is deeply unhappy. Dead girls, boats—you know. Rhea wonders if this is the beginning of a storm or something else? She says Nan is going to Shiv’s panel….Shiv says she’s not on the panel. Rhea makes very clear she should be.

Kendall and Roman are getting briefed on their message points when Shiv walks into the room and tells them she wants in. Kendall and Roman instantly bristle and say no. She makes her case. Logan asks what everyone thinks. No one can agree. There’s such a dizzying power play shuffle that keeps going and going till Logan gives the word: All three will be up there.

And then the Roy siblings totally band together for a common cause. Just kidding: They start sniping at each other backstage as Tom drones on and on from the stage. When the Roys get out there, they continue but more politely. Shiv makes a point, Kendall undercuts. And reverse. Roman is Roman. But Shiv is clearly angling on about something else, using words like “fresh eyes” and “house cleaning.” But even she seems to know she’s gone too far when she mentions dinosaurs.

Succession: Roy family panel

Was the real title of this panel “Sibling Dynamics in the Roy family?”  Peter Kramer/HBO

Afterwards, Kendall wants to know what Shiv was up to. She shrugs him off and tells Tom she was actually kind of jealous when she saw him flirting with that woman. (I do not buy this for one second). Logan enters the room, looking grim. Marcia goes first: “It was too much.” Kendall backs Marcia up. Roman, sidling up beside his father, does his regular Roman thing, making jokes about how Shiv skewered the old man. Out of nowhere, Logan backhands Roman hard enough to knock a tooth loose. A swift change comes over the Roy children. Kendall immediately rushes in and barks at his father not to touch Roman. Shiv rushes over to make sure Roman’s okay. The only person that looks surprised is Tom, which makes me think the Roy children have seen this kind of thing plenty of times before.

It’s the last night of the conference, which means it’s time for the “Argie” awards (oh brother) and a stand-up comic to do the roast. He immediately goes for the Roy family and makes the expected jokes about the investigation. He also lays out why a sale to Waystar is such a terrible decision. Nan gets up and leaves and Logan follows after her, Rhea after him. Nan says it’s over. And then it turns out a lot of Nan’s rage is directed towards Rhea. She’s found out Rhea has had meetings with Logan without her knowledge, and she feels like she is being rolled. Nan fires Rhea on the spot and literally says good riddance to bad rubbish and gets in her car. Logan gets more desperate than we’ve ever seen before and chases after her to no avail. Maybe it’s the altitude.

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