Succession season 4, episode 7 recap: Matsson wobbles, Kendall’s ambitious start to crystallise

   2023-05-08 02:05

Succession season 1-4 spoilers below

It’s election eve and the Roys, GoJo boss Lukas Matsson, Ebba and Oscar and the Waystar Royco crew are gathered at Shiv and Tom’s luxury apartment for a tailgate party (the on-off couple are back on as the episode opens, and they’re co-hosting).

The guests are some of America’s most influential individuals, who are brought together to make deals and allegiances just hours before America’s political landscape changes. New York sparkles through the floor-to-ceiling long windows, nibbles are chips and mini-burgers with tiny US flags pierced through the top. What could possibly go wrong?

Here’s our breakdown of season four, episode seven.

Logan’s funeral

The Roy siblings meet for breakfast at a restaurant the day of the party to discuss who should give the speech at their Dad’s funeral. No one jumps at the opportunity. Connor says he’s visited Logan again, and says he’s, “Looking good. Woke up on the right side of the coffin today, boy.”

“The weird thing is how much he’s not there,” he adds. “I find it consoling.”

Apparently, there are way too many people requesting funeral invitations, so they agree to abandon all of Marcia’s wishes. “Kerried,” says Roman, our new favourite word for when things are chucked out. They decide to confirm who will speak in the evening, and towards the end of the party, it’s Roman who ends up volunteering.

Greg does some firing

Fans of Greg have been feeling a little hard done by of late – his storylines have been rather thin, and although some of his one-liners have been hilarious, some of the last episodes have been severely lacking the fantastic comic relief that he and Tom usually provide. But episode seven gave us a little Tom and Greg of old, as Greg was tasked with firing a tonne of Waystar Royco employees.

Tom stands off-screen, sexting Shiv and making faux crying faces to Greg, while Greg does the actual firing of the employees who had all dialled in on a sort of Zoom. “This is a very sad day,” says Greg. “Goodbye.”

The tailgate party

<p>Tom and Shiv at their tailgate party </p>

Tom and Shiv at their tailgate party

/ ©2023 HBO. All Rights Reserved

The Roys hold the tailgate party on the eve of every presidential election. Pundits, advisors, media CEOs, editors and other influential individuals turn up to rub shoulders, make allegiances and presumably backroom deals in preparation for the next day’s results.

This time around, there’s also the GoJo deal to contend with. It’s the perfect opportunity to try and influence peoples’ opinions about the deal.

“Come on, they’re not all crypto-fascists and right-wing nut jobs,” says Kendall as the sibs get ready to work the floor. “We also have some venture capitalist Dems and centrist ghouls. Dad’s ideological range was wide.”

All the usual suspects are there, though it looks like Matsson won’t be coming. But then, during the breakfast Roman and Kendall explain to Shiv that they want to also go after Matsson from a regulatory angle. They ask her to bring political strategist Nate Sofrelli (remember the guy she had a brief affair with in the earlier seasons) to the party to help influence a few key people, and start planting a few seeds suggesting that GoJo might have some structural issues. Once Shiv hears this, she calls Matsson and essentially orders him to get to the party.

Roman and Kendall ask Shiv to stick to Matsson, get him high on something strong, get him talking to the wrong people and basically keep him out of the way so he can’t argue his case for GoJo. Meanwhile, they’ll be speaking to all the important players in the room, and muddying the water about the GoJo deal. Shiv calls the plan of attack “nuke the Luke”.

But of course, what team Ken-Ro don’t know is that Shiv is now fully working with Matsson. So she actually takes him to speak to some of the important people in the room, and makes sure he doesn’t, as Matsson elegantly puts it, “screen people on data and stick my dick in the guac”.

Roman and Gerri

<p>Roman and Gerri discuss Gerri’s exit package </p>

Roman and Gerri discuss Gerri’s exit package

/ ©2023 HBO. All Rights Reserved

Roman fired Gerri last week, in a fit of Roman-style rage. We knew it wouldn’t stick. After all, Gerri is the most competent member of the entire Waystar Royco team, which is why she’s been top of the company for years. She knows it, Roman knows it, everyone knows it.

Even though she turns up to the party, she’s still mad. Roman says the firing wasn’t real, but Gerri says she’s out. She wants “eye-watering sums, hundreds of millions of dollars” in her exit package, otherwise she’ll bring the dick pics into the negotiations. “I could have gotten you there, but nope,” says Gerri. Gotten him to be the sole CEO, we assume she means. Oh Roman, what have you done?

The wine

The party opens with Tom talking to one of the waiters about the wine. “Don’t say it’s biodynamic, don’t say it’s German,” he explains. Later he says to Nate, “It’s the kind of wine that separates the connoisseurs from the weak-end Malbec morons.” Frank’s not a fan, saying it smells “like wet dog”.

It’s a fun little subplot: we know how much of a wine snob Tom is, so why is he fobbing off this funky German wine to these important guests? We’re guessing the wine is something that the hip kids would like and Tom is trying to show he’s cool like them. But the people in the room drink Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Château Lafite with their Tuesday TV dinner, so he should have known they weren’t going to like it.

Tom’s breakdown on the balcony (we’ll get to that shortly) should have been seen coming a mile off: his hysteria was all there, slowly bubbling, showing itself as wine faffing (he also at one point tries to make a scarcity of it by hiding the bottles).

Matsson’s gold jacket

<p>Matsson shows up to the party wearing a stunning gold bomber </p>

Matsson shows up to the party wearing a stunning gold bomber

/ ©2023 HBO. All Rights Reserved

Let’s all take a moment for the jacket. Matsson enters the party during a moment of silence that is being held for Logan, and he’s wearing a gold, quilted bomber. We’re under no illusion that it would look ridiculous had it been worn by anyone else, particularly given that the dress code was cocktail attire and basically everyone else is in black.

But Matsson has an irreverence and swagger that week on week has won the tech founder squillions of fans. On him, the gold number is utter perfection. How does it manage to be elegant and expensive looking while also being gold and quilted? Is it the brown collar? Are we just in love with Matsson? We’re trying to find out the designer and will update as soon as we know.

Matsson’s chaotic team

We love Matsson’s chaotic team as much as we love Matsson. There’s the appalling bearded, loud-mouthed Oscar, who arrives high on edibles, and then there’s the enigmatic and very put-upon Ebba.

At one point during the night, Matsson taunts Ebba in front of Shiv saying he has the only head of comms who hates communicating. Later Matsson, Greg, Oscar and Ebba are sitting together and Matsson teases Oscar, saying he’s going to fire him. Ebba rolls her eyes. Matsson says it’s funny how Ebba has “tenure” because they “mingled”. Ebba, who is understandably weary of it all, goes to smoke on the balcony.

Roman and Kendall see their chance to get some dirt on Matsson and go and join her. Roman suggests he knows something about the blood bricks – his minions have been digging up dirt on Matsson all day and have got wind of some of Matsson’s eccentricities – but Ebba says that’s the least of Matsson’s problems. India is the real problem. India? Ebba doesn’t say any more, she’s not going to betray Matsson completely, even if she is angry at him, but it’s enough for the CE-Bros.

They find out that GoJo’s real subscriber figures in India are half what they’ve stated. Given that the deal is 50 per cent cash and 50 per cent stock it’s a major issue: if GoJo is worth less than it says it is, then the deal is as good as defunct. Roman and Kendall tell Shiv, and she immediately confronts Matsson.

To give him his due, he denies nothing. Ah yeah, if there were two Indias the figures would be accurate, he says, breezily. Shiv’s eyes are wide: you can see she’s regretting choosing the Swedish maverick now. He says that all they need to do is complete the deal and everything will be ok. By next quarter the figures will be accurate after the acquisition. Shiv laughs, but you can see she’s seriously worried.

Connor and Willa

<p>Willa backs Connor in Tailgate Party </p>

Willa backs Connor in Tailgate Party

/ ©2023 HBO. All Rights Reserved

Roman gets a call from far-right candidate Jeryd Mencken’s people who say that Connor’s one per cent is actually splitting the Republican vote in some crucial areas, and they ask Roman to try and persuade Connor to drop out of the race, less than 12 hours before the polling stations open.

Connor thinks that maybe it’s not a great idea: he’s spent hundreds of millions of dollars, why would he drop out now? Plus, he seems to be doing quite well in Alaska. But there’s a shiny carrot – Mencken’s people are offering Connor a diplomatic role – perhaps he could be an ambassador? They offer him the Somalian capital Mogadishu, which Connor finds a “little bit car-bomby”. He counters with South Korea – or North Korea even – Roman doesn’t even check these with Mencken’s team. In the end, they all agree on Oman.

“Oman? Poor man’s Saudi Arabia, or rich man’s Yemen?” says Connor. He then goes check to “see what my w-Oman thinks about Oman.” Willa isn’t keen. But they’ll have diplomatic plates, they’ll be able to drive anywhere, like even on the pavement, says Connor.

“Running people over is not a selling point,” says Willa. They decide Connor should stay in the race. Roman rants at Connor, saying that everyone thinks he’s an idiot. Connor says, “There’s one person here who doesn’t think I’m a joke. So that’s who I’m going to listen to.” And he and Willa leave the party.

Shiv and Tom

Some love Tom and Shiv and find their hot and cold relationship enthralling. Others are utterly bored of it, or find it confusing. It has certainly been a rollercoaster this season: they broke up in episode one, spent much of the subsequent weeks flirting, then slept together, and were back together as episode seven opened. This week they are hosting the party together at their house, sexting each other, and working as a team again – Tom knows that Shiv is working with Matsson.

But Tom is super tired (a fact he keeps on repeating all night) and starts to become incredibly irritated when he sees that Shiv is allowing him to be thrown under the bus repeatedly by Matsson when Matsson is talking to investors and shareholders about his future vision of Waystar Royco.

On the balcony, where he and Shiv go for a private chat, it all blows up: “Shall we have a real conversation?” says Tom, and oh how we (and he, we’re guessing) wish he had just gone to bed in that instant. Shots are fired; things are said that can’t be unsaid.

“You’re a f***ing snake” says Shiv. “I think you shouldn’t have even married me,” says Tom. “You’re f***ing me for my DNA. You’re f***ing me for a f***ing ladder,” says Shiv. “I think you are incapable of love, and I think you are maybe not a good person to have children,” says Tom.” Wow. We thought we’d seen Shiv and Tom go through many lows, but this was something different, and it really could mark the end, actually, totally, finally, of Tom and Shiv.

Kendall reveals his plan

Kendall’s ambitions to helm Waystar Royco were there in the first season and are still there four seasons later. But now he’s much closer to his goal. There’s no Logan, he’s co-CEO and the only things standing in his way of achieving his objectives are his siblings and the GoJo deal. So of course, the news of GoJo’s inaccurate India subscribers numbers utterly thrill him – now he has actual ammo for tanking the deal.

He and Matsson taunt each other. “Your numbers, exploding, literally unbelievable,” says Kendall. When Matsson asks him about the deal, Kendall says, “Are you kidding? Biggest overpay in history. Love that s***. Love it. Love the deal.” Matsson calls New York a “shitty f***ing town”, saying, “It’s pretty depressing from up here, you can really see how second world it is.” That really gets to Kendall. But they hug it out, with everyone else at the party watching.

Later Kendall speaks privately to Frank about his plans: he wants to “go reverse Viking, we pillage their village.” He wants to buy GoJo. Frank asks about Shiv and Roman, and Kendall says, “I love them, but I’m not in love with them, you know… One head one crown.”

We’re not remotely surprised, but we can’t help but be shocked as we see Kendall’s master plan start to slowly come together.

Final thoughts

After last week’s rather off-piste episode, we were happy to see the gang back in New York and up to their usual tricks.

With just three episodes left we can really feel the show gaining momentum with the many intertwining plotlines finally starting to bear fruit: Will Connor make any inroads at the election tomorrow? Has Shiv made a mistake by siding with Matsson? Will Tom grass her up about collaborating with the Swede, and will she tell Tom about her (their?) baby? Will Matsson be able to complete the deal now the India issue has arisen? Will Gerri really bow out? Will Kendall attempt fratricide?

All we really do know is that we literally cannot wait until next week.

Succession season 4 is currently streaming on Sky and NOW

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