No one really wants to kill a boar and pose for a picture with it, like any number of recently canceled business tycoons or Trump sons have done. But the Top Team assembled in the most vampire-y part of Hungary pulls their triggers anyway. No one likes the Pierce deal, yet no one will take off the safety and tell Logan Roy for fear of collateral damage to reputation and standing.
For all their silk stockings and bright ideas, the troops are largely cowardly, content to serve a king and be rewarded with the gift of never paying market price for milk. They’ll debase themselves and unload any shred of dignity, including peeing in the corner, into a bucket, because the boss said so. Kendall laid the Daddy Knows Best playbook bare last week, and we now see why he belongs at Waystar Royco and can, when properly motivated, slide right into the offense. And the defense too. He’s nothing if not a two-way player whose true passions and opinions are malleable and clandestine, in part thanks to a virtuoso performance from Jeremy Strong this season.
Not long after Tom and Greg acknowledge the ridiculousness of shooting wild pigs in a barrel for sport, they are the ones oinking for sausages. The patriarch of the Roy dynasty does not stop hunting when the bright orange hats are hung up.
He is, after all, a human Saudi Arabia, growing even more bold in his age.
Frank is invited back into the fray for his Gore Vidal reasons and Pierce-approved charm. His reward, like the rest, is to be viciously humiliated by booze-chugging tyrant who gets intensely personal about personal pleasure in Palermo. The botched boardroom power play and closing window has made him undesirable in the market so he comes shuffling back out of curiosity or Stockholm Syndrome or for lavish breakfasts. He doesn’t know why he’s there in the thick of the madness again, soaking up the flagellation. Leaving is an option, sure, but the Roys are a bit like organized crime: just when you think you’re out, they pull you back in with a gravitational pull that zaps humanity.
Tom, Greg, and Karl are worse than the boars. They have nowhere to run. The pen is shut and it’s time to bathe in slop. Logan is making up the rules of the game and life as he goes along. The rest of the room, who just as well could be on the floor themselves, may object internally to the scene but in the moment they strike an outward Lord of the Flies veneer. Kill the pig. Stab it. Make it fight over encased meats in a fit of on-the-snout cannibalistic cosplay.
Roman isn’t squealing and prone in the Great Room but he’s in the same low place as the rest come next morning. His intentions with the covert liaison and entertaining the biographer’s advances are murky and muddy. He’s not as broken as his brother who dredged through the swamp, but for the first time, I believe he’ll take the counsel of Gerri to humble himself and get his hands dirty with the management training program. His corner-cutting and sloppy scheming have dropped him to third on the Succession depth chart, maybe even fourth. He needs the game reps, even if they come at a lower level.
Karl is a limp-wristed yes man. It’s too late for him. But not for Greg and Tom. The former is a dunce, the latter an actual cuck. One is dumbfounding in his naivety, fumbling a pre-meeting to the point where he’s asking for how he looks to be “off the record.” The other used to be that way but now comprehends the full magnitude of his humiliation. He is a guy who works for Shiv now, doing her bidding while someone else does her. His doe-ish eyes are always wet.
Selling out Greg, who hands him a loaded gun of devastating information, would be easy. Yet he doesn’t do it. The secret of what they did in Cruises binds them together for better or worse. And it’s not looking great right now. Tom is right in his assumption that Logan would kill the leaker — except in this case, they believe him already to be dead and must settle for hacking the departed’s emails. The moral character of Ratf—er Sam may be quite clear. The same can’t be said for that of Shiv’s husband.
Connor’s presidential run is about to get 1,000 percent more lecherous with the addition of serious consultants who excel at bleeding a client dry. Our hotel-dwelling candidate is channeling his best Beto O’Dork on Instagram — except with the stakes of going to federal prison for tax evasion. His plan to look down on the elites from his ivory tower is so crazy it may work long enough for him to hurt himself or the family. He may look lame in his sweaters, but in many ways this is the true wildcard of the empire and it’s becoming increasingly clear that you can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him.
Hunting was a study in putting the pieces back together. Logan apologizes for things getting a bit fruity. Shiv is told her father was a little peppery. These are the kindest, gentlest euphemisms to describe Corporate Abu Ghraib and the channeling of Christian Bale’s Batman snarling that he will win, that the deal everyone hates will get done. Everyone is worse off in the morning. A retreat aimed — sardonically — at improving morale has extinguished what little was present in the atmosphere.
Tom and Greg feel small. Roman incapable of sudden movements but flirting with taking the long road for once. Frank is looking for answers but more importantly, any green money and a sense of purpose. The Number One Boy is appropriately ranked and reaping the rewards of protecting his birthright. The remainder of the Top Team is dressed and ready for breakfast, mouths open to eat their own pride and whatever trash will be shoveled their way.
Same as it ever was. Same as it will be. Pieces in Logan’s game, willing prisoners to his rules or lack thereof.