In the season 2 finale of Succession, which aired tonight on HBO, corrupt media mogul Logan Roy (Brian Cox) spent day and night on his Mediterranean yacht, considering who would take the fall for his many misdeeds—only to select troubled son Kendall (Jeremy Strong) as his blood sacrifice. Providing Kendall with a meagre scrap of fatherly validation, while admitting he never could envision him as his successor, Logan seemed confident that he’d found a solution to his many problems—until Kendall stepped out before the press and revealed his father’s complicity, in the cruise scandal and so much more.
Calling Logan “a malignant presence, a bully and a liar,” Kendall carried with him documents that would support his claims and reveal the entire, ugly truth of the man who once sat on the throne of Waystar Royco. “I think this is the day his reign ends,” Kendall said at the presser, as his father watched on television, with a prideful smirk. “You’re not a killer. You have to be a killer,” Logan told his son, as he prepped him to take the fall—and these surely were the words that sealed his fate.
This shocking reversal followed a prolonged season ender, in which Logan could no longer conceal the true powerlessness behind his colorfully worded threats. The episode opened with the Roys and their confidantes making their way to the yacht, with the focus up front being on Logan’s son Roman (Kieran Culkin). Sent to Turkey to try to secure the funds to take Waystar private and thus circumvent a shareholder revolt, Roman found himself in danger abroad, but arrived on the boat safe and sound, with the deal in place—convinced at the same time that this money and those who so willingly offered it cannot be trusted. Laird (Danny Huston) disagreed. If the Roys don’t go private, he said, “someone’s getting tossed out of the balloon.”
Following Laird’s exit, the Roys engaged in a prolonged debate over who the blood sacrifice should be, with each person onboard trying to save their own skin. Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron), Frank (Peter Friedman), Karl (David Rasche), Tom (Matthew Macfayden) and Greg (Nicholas Braun), it seemed, all stood to lose their heads. Shocking Tom in this moment was the fact that even his own wife, Shiv Roy (Saran Snook), supported him taking the fall.
Following this meeting, Logan tried one more time to bully Stewy into an agreement—one that might prevent the worst of outcomes for the Roys, and one which the shrewd investor could not accept.
Apart from an end to Logan’s reign, the main focus tonight was on relationships coming undone. Logan slept in solitude, with Marcia gone; Tom and Shiv’s marriage wound up on the rocks; and Kendall’s blossoming relationship with Naomi Pierce (Annabelle Dexter-Jones) may have ended before it really began. While Succession has been teasing viewers over the course of two seasons with the question of who Logan’s successor at Waystar will be, the answer to that question will have to wait for seasons to come. While Logan asked Roman to take over as Chief Operating Officer, with Frank responsible for the cruise clean-up, Kendall and Shiv are set up to continue the fight for their spot at the top of an empire in decay.
Winning the Emmy this year for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series, Succession was renewed for a third season in August.