We’re down to the final five episodes of HBO’s “Succession,” and boy, was Sunday night’s episode, “Living+,” a wild ride. Like Roman (Kieran Culkin), I cringed so hard, I’ve turned into a fossil.
All jokes aside, are any of the Roys OK? Clearly, they have not grieved their father’s death. Instead, they’re doing what they do best: deflecting their emotions and making all sorts of unhinged and incompetent business moves.
Kendall (Jeremy Strong) leads a cringe-inducing product launch for Living+, a new Waystar Royco brand with an absolutely dystopian premise. If that weren’t awkward enough, during his presentation, he talks to hologram Logan (Brian Cox).
Meanwhile, Roman impulsively fires Joy (Annabeth Gish), the head of Waystar Studios. Immediately after, he also fires Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron), when she calls out his incompetence and correctly notes he cannot just unilaterally fire a studio head.
And Shiv (Sarah Snook) is secretly negotiating with Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård) behind her brothers’ backs. She’s also doing ... whatever the hell is going on with her and Tom (Matthew Macfadyen). Weirdest divorce process ever.
Join HuffPost’s Marina Fang, Erin E. Evans and Candice Frederick for a recap of Episode 6, “Living+.” Don’t worry: We will not be playing Bitey, thankfully.
4 More Episodes. What’s Going To Happen?
I wonder if the series finale is Logan’s funeral, and everything he has worked toward — a right-wing, white nationalist president like Mencken, and the deal with Matsson going through — has been unsuccessful. Kendall and Roman are on this collision course that seems highly likely it’ll end with them fumbling this deal, and the company going down in flames. That last scene, with Kendall in the ocean, seems ominous. Ken and water: Never a good combination. — Marina
I wonder who is going to speak at the funeral if we see it. I could see them having Roman attempt to do it and him fully breaking down instead. I’m also waiting for Shiv to make a big power move that plays out front and center. I have decided that this is a thing that’s definitely happening. I also want a big moment for Gerri. — Erin
Connor could give the speech he gives at Uncle Mo’s funeral. LOL. — Marina
The short answer is: I have no idea. But I think Waystar will go down in flames after the two brothers have spent all season lighting a different match. Gerri will come in and save it after she fires everyone around her and rehires Joy. Kendall will be back in rehab. Roman will go home and stare at a shrine he made to his boarish dad. Shiv and Tom will be on a permanent vacation. — Candice
'Succession' Moments That Live Rent-Free In Our Brains
It’s the “big nervous breakdown” part for me. Because all the siblings are having one here, even though Roman (the actual person who says this about Kendall) fails to admit it. I also thought throughout this entire episode that maybe Kendall had a relapse and was back on drugs.
I also appreciated Karl reminding Kendall that “You have my dick in your hand, Ken, but I've got yours in mine.” Because that’s true and he should say it. — Candice
“I know a thing or two about a thing or two.” I love that this season has been Karl’s time to shine. Though I’m also now worried because Kendall is probably going to make him take the fall for those cooked numbers.
We’ve mentioned a lot of great lines already, but as if this whole episode weren’t unhinged enough, Tom having to follow Kendall at this event was just so much cringe. “How am I supposed to follow this? He just promised them eternal life!" And then him going all Oprah with his “YOU’RE an ATN citizen, and YOU’RE an ATN citizen!” This show is exhausting, but in the very best of ways. — Marina
Roman Is Deeply Unwell
Plus, Roman listening to his dad berating him on the phone (yet again) over and over reflects a lot of self-loathing that I think all the siblings have. — Candice
This moment was so sad and disturbing to me, whew. Another thing about Roman is that we often see him doing a nervous fast trot across the scene in a bunch of episodes when he’s about to fuck something up. I feel like I’ve seen that walk IRL before — and it unnerves me to no end. — Erin
Great eye, Erin! He also did a version of that last week on the mountaintop with Matsson. That split second when he scrunches up his face, and then decides: “Fuck it! I’m doing it!” and heads over to Matsson pissing on the side of the mountain. Incredible work from Kieran Culkin. — Marina
When he asked Kendall, who is also deeply unwell, whether maybe he went too far after firing Joy, and Kendall was like ... YOLO. That’s a very rare occasion when Roman is actually second-guessing himself out loud, and he goes to the absolute wrong person for clarity. — Candice
All anyone wants is approval from their dad, and now they’ll never get it.
Obviously, this doesn’t take away from their incompetence, but I do wonder how much the fact that none of these idiots have grieved their father’s death contributes to them making these totally unhinged business moves.
Also, Gerri! That is all. The face she makes when Roman asks her to believe he is as good as his dad. Chef’s kiss. And her line: “You are a weak monarch in a dangerous interregnum,” and when she whispers: “I am good at my job.” Every episode, we say: “Give [X ACTOR] an Emmy,” and this was J. Smith-Cameron’s Emmy moment, for sure. — Marina
Also, when Gerri says, “Say it, or believe it?” in response to Roman’s demand? I laughed so hard. J. Smith-Cameron is so, so good. — Erin
Yeah, I think they’re all spinning out after his death. Because they don’t know who they are and what to do when they’re not openly competing with him or taking his bullshit.
I love Gerri SO MUCH. She says what needs to be said every time. Always the “I’m gonna call bullshit on this” woman. Respect. And I love that she read Roman for filth after he fired her (AGAIN). He deserved that. He’s trying to force people to respect him that don’t, and won’t. — Candice
Shiv And Tom's Marriage Is So Toxic On 'Succession'
She must be spinning over the pregnancy thing, right? She doesn’t know what to do, and just hangs with Tom because he’s just ... there? Like, there ALL THE TIME? I don’t know. It all seems like a new pathetic low for Shiv. Though, I did think when they talked about what they’re in this for, when Tom says that he basically likes shiny things, was telling. I just ... am not entirely sure what it tells us, though.
But even with all the disturbing things they did throughout this episode, the one that puzzled me most is the scene where Tom is driving himself and Shiv somewhere. Because I don’t recall ever seeing any character on this show drive their own car. Where are they going? Tom has a car? Tom knows how to drive? — Candice
Wait, he was driving? I assumed their driver was driving them, and they were both in the back seat.
I regret to inform you that I briefly thought Tom and Shiv looked kind of hot at this party … until they started doing whatever the hell they were doing. I know, I know. This marriage is toxic, and they have both hurt each other and pushed each other around the entire time. It’s a real testament to Matthew Macfadyen and Sarah Snook, who are so, so good in this episode (and all the time).
I really wonder what’s going to happen. There’s a part of them that needs the other in a perverse way. Will Shiv tell Tom about the pregnancy? Will they ever have an honest discussion? Or was this the closest we’ll ever get to, as Tom said earlier in the season, “a full accounting of the marriage”? — Marina
I thought they were in the back seat too, because they’re ALWAYS in the back seat. But I saw the back seat behind them! And the way Tom was staring ahead and had his hand up. I was like … are these two very disturbed people going on … a road trip together? — Candice
Shiv looked hot all episode. Her wardrobe was just light-years better than it had been in the past few episodes and I’m sure for good reason. (Another reason to read Ruth’s interview with costume designer Michelle Matland since she provided so much insight to her thoughts around fashion in “Succession.” I’ll have to go back to see what I think of Tom’s lewks! I have no clue what is going on with them as a couple, though. Do we even know if Tom knows that she’s pregnant? That has been on my mind every time they appear on screen together. — Erin
I don’t think Tom knows, and I’m still deeply concerned about that whole thing. — Candice
Sidebar: Every week, I’ve been loving people making memes of Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy, with Tom Wambsgans' quotes. Genius. (I recently rewatched that “Pride & Prejudice” adaptation, which is one of my favorites, and it really holds up.) — Marina
Kendall Gives A Truly Unhinged Presentation On Eternal Life
So many little fires everywhere! But I know we’ll chat more about Roman later on. I found it so funny that, as Kendall was presenting, people were really into the product, with claps and excitement seeming to mount in the room. Even I was starting to believe in him! — Erin
I took all of that as nervous “OMFG I can’t wait to get on social media [or back to my yacht club or whatever] and laugh about all of this” laughter. — Candice
As it was happening, I of course was cringing (and turned into a fossil). But I also thought it made total sense that the investors in the audience were into hologram Logan and bought into Kendall’s cringey emotional appeal. I could see it being weirdly moving if you were sitting there. — Marina
That’s true. I also feel like in upfronts and presentations like these, people naturally — and sometimes nervously — cheer in the room. And then go home and are like WTF was that? — Erin
I agree, Erin. I took the cheering as performance. Happens a lot at film festivals, too. — Candice
Yes! I could totally picture some headline like: “Investors Give Kendall Roy Ten-Minute Standing Ovation After Surprise Appearance Of Logan Roy Hologram.” — Marina
The Dystopian Hell That Is Living+
This is true. Also, it’s alarmingly easy to picture an actual product like this: a branded nursing home stuffed with content from that brand. Synergy! Bleak. Hope no one is getting any ideas from this.
I also like how every episode this season — even more so than in previous seasons, I think — takes place around one communal event where everyone gets an opportunity to do something unhinged. In the post-episode commentary, Jesse Armstrong said they have a board in the writers room where everyone lists different events they want to do on the show, and they realized they had never done a product launch before. It’s perfect because, again, you can picture a real-life CEO pitching something like this. — Marina
Another testament to the genius of this show. Like, of course the product is about old people living longer right after the patriarch of the family died. All of that tying together made for a very WTF moment but also an oh, of course this is what they have been likely spending millions on developing. Even the name of the product is perfect, with the little plus sign at the end of it. I hope this means the end of adding plus signs to names of brands. It’s officially dead now. I absolutely hate when artists or celebs tap into holograms for performances. Remember the Tupac hologram at Coachella? Shudders. With AI seeming to be a part of every other conversation in too many industries, I’m not looking forward to how this looks in the near future. — Erin
Yes, SO many celebrity holograms! Let them stay dead in peace! And this is exactly what I’d say about Kendall doing the same thing. Just goes to show how tiny they really all are, especially without their dad to halfheartedly acknowledge them (mostly through insults) every once in a while. Also, the only way any of the siblings can be taken seriously is if they remind folks who their dad is. It’s all they’ve got — talent by association. — Candice