Note: This short article consists of spoilers for numerous Succession episodes, especially season 4, episode 5, “Eliminate List.”
At the start of Succession‘s 4th season, Logan Roy regrets that no one informs jokes any longer. It’s an unusual observation from a guy who never ever revealed a fantastic love of funny; media critics often muse that scary and humor are more alike than we believe, however Logan constantly stood securely on the line of scary. In “Eliminate List,” the 5th episode of the last season of Succession, while Logan is being prepared for a burial– not in a kilt if Connor can assist it– we lastly capture what he indicated.
It’s an episode that toes the line in between the comic and the ominous, set versus the background of the lovely, spooky vistas of Norway. The whole Roy retinue, consisting of the Waystar C-suite, is starting a trip to the nation to settle the sale of Waystar to GoJo, Lukas Matsson’s (Alexander SkarsgÃ¥rd) streaming business, which has actually been dragging out for months. It’s a relationship that has actually shapeshifted sometimes; initially Waystar wished to get it, today it’s Waystar that’s desperate to unload the aging leviathan Logan (Brian Cox) developed and gather a fat payment. The episode opens with Kendall (Jeremy Strong), using his sunnies, listening to Jay Z’s relentless diss track “Takeover” in the automobile, which might simply be a portent that he’s feeling overconfident and will in some way be lowered by his hubris quickly.
Kendall and Roman (Kieran Culkin), as the recently minted co-CEOs of their daddy’s empire, have actually prepped vigilantly for the settlements. They’re travelling to a foreign land prior to Logan is even in his tomb; sealing the offer he began is a sort of send-off. However on Matsson’s grass, our lead characters are never ever rather sure if they’re being dabbled– is this major or is it simply a little bit of amusement for the Swedes? Little bit do they presume the Midsommar– lite mind video games that await them.
Boomers versus Zoomers
Things are significantly tenser in between the kids and the Waystar executives– Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron), Frank (Peter Friedman), Karl (David Rasche), et al– and Shiv (Sarah Snook), irritated at their continuous concerns and pointers, makes a joke about how old they are. They may be years her senior, however that likewise suggests they have years more experience. Ken and Rome rapidly flash how green they are; when Matsson firmly insists that they participate in GoJo’s retreat in Norway, he sends out a breakdown of everybody he desires in presence, and the kids flap around a bit like headless chickens. It’s been all of a couple of days given that Logan’s death. It’s the old guard that puts Matsson’s need into point of view. “Cultural compatibility check,” Frank assumes. “It’s early however it’s wise,” Gerri states. What would the kids do without Logan’s inner council still whispering in their ears?
Though Roman and Kendall have actually prepped, the worried energy energizes the vigorous Norwegian air. They’re surrounded by tranquil mountains and waterfalls, however there’s something deeply surreal and enormous about the environments, and everybody feels a little like victim being enticed into a trap dressed up as a relaxing camp for media and tech executives. You can virtually hear Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Tune” blasting in the background. The Waystar team is flipped out about how stacked Matsson’s group is– intellectually in addition to physically. Among them was an Olympic ski jumper.
Gerri provides a pep talk. “Sure, they’re young and they’re fit– however they’re European,” she states with contempt. “They might believe they’re Vikings, however we have actually been raised by wolves. Exposed to a pathogen that passes the name of Logan Roy.”
It ends up that Matsson is similarly deadly. En route as much as fulfill him by means of cable television automobile– he’s set all of it up so that he’s the warlord sitting atop the mountain, requiring the villagers pay him homage– Karl offers some last-minute guidance to Kendall and Roman, stating that Logan frequently opened settlements with a joke. Kendall isn’t listening; he boils the matter to getting above a number, actually doodling it on a clipboard: above $144 billion, it’s a win. Roman describes Matsson (who might or might not have actually been drawn with tones of Swedish Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, to name a few) as a “little Elon bitch.” They believe this is going to be simple.
” Everybody has a strategy till they get typed the mouth,” Shiv states sagely, with simply a tip of a sneer. She will not remain in the space with her siblings, after all, and perhaps there belongs of her that would delight in seeing them lose a couple of teeth in the brawl.
The conference of the households
The Waystar and GoJo clans have actually come together for the very first time on what might have been lovely, neutral ground– GoJo is a Swedish business. There’s lots of food and home entertainment to delight in, like ax throwing and archery. However the meet-and-greet is contrived, mainly since the Waystar faction feel little and can’t unwind.
Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) presents himself to among Matsson’s inner circle. “Oh, Tom– of Siobhan?” the guy asks. “Yeah … and of ATN,” Tom responds annoyingly, currently feeling rather teased. Later on, the Swedes reveal it’s time for the sauna. The Americans do not deal with the heat effectively; their competitors look at them superciliously while they sweat.
From the minute that Matsson and the Waystar CEOs have their very first sit-down, Matsson explains that he’s the one in control. They raise their daddy’s current death, and instead of using acknowledgements, Matsson bizarrely beguiles them with a grisly tale about discovering his own daddy dead in a vehicle. It shakes off Kendall and Roman, who begin babbling anxiously– which Matsson buffoons. The siblings state their practiced lines, however the 2 aren’t in sync, mistakenly discussing one another. Matsson disrupts with a bombshell.
” I wish to propose a deal,” he states seriously. “I wish to purchase your whole operation for the cost of one single dollar.” Kendall and Roman react with total silence.
Then Matsson babbles. He’s the one who begins settlements with a joke.
He informs the 2 shocked siblings that he desires the business’s news network, ATN, back in the offer– no carveout. The Roy brother or sisters had actually been intending on producing a Frankenstein’s beast of a media giant by purchasing competing business Pierce Global Media and in some way combining it with ATN. ATN is likewise an “emotive” problem, as Kendall explains it, since the conservative network was Logan’s infant, and he had huge strategies to revamp it. Roman right away chirps his annoyance at the concept. “I’m uncertain that it works,” he objects.
” It works,” Matsson states.
” Okay, well, we’re uncertain that it does work,” Roman responds. The shift from “I” to “we” is not undetected by anybody in the space, however he does not get the assistance he desires from his bro. Kendall requests for a cost. “You like it a bit, do not you?” Matsson states with a sneaking smile, understanding he may have discovered his mark.
The CEOs report back to the Waystar executive group, which takes a shine to the deal, too. It suggests more cash– not $144 billion, however all of a sudden more than $180 billion. Shiv aspires, calling the Fox News-esque ATN a “hazardous possession.” Roman is the just one with an emotional objection to quiting ATN, understanding that his daddy wished to keep it for himself. A lot more shocking, Matsson states outright that he thinks about the business as bit more than parts to be ruthlessly taken apart.
” We can’t browse by Daddy maps,” Kendall states. “He’s not here.” It’s an asset, however likewise the height of hypocrisy from somebody who is attempting to use Logan’s trousers, consisting of utilizing his trademarked technique of feeding unfavorable stories to journalism, as Logan when did to Kendall.
On the other hand, Shiv presumes that something is off about the abrupt media protection of Logan being a bad daddy. Kendall attempts to sidetrack her by using her an option cut of meat on a silver plate: “We might cut Tom’s throat,” he recommends. Significance: They might fire him from ATN, or simply abuse him expertly. Shiv looks lured, yet hands down the brotherly compassion. However as she passes Tom later on, she can’t assist however smile like the feline who got the cream.
Norway is the very first time that Matsson and Shiv fulfill, and there’s an instant, strange sexual frisson in between them. It’s as if they comprehend each other on a level that the siblings could not. Shiv, like Logan, understands how to have a little enjoyable with company– to enjoy in the flirtations and techniques, blurring the line in between teasing and really adopting the kill. When Matsson hugs her siblings in welcoming, he asks her, “Am I going to get a claim if I hug you?” She does not miss out on a beat. “Wish to discover?”
On the opening night of the Waystar-GoJo conclave, Shiv and Matsson delight in a personal beverage in his quarters. He states he’s bad with limits– that this is evidence of it today. Throughout the episode, he admits to a lot while leaving his real nature and inspirations a secret: To Kendall and Roman, he suggests that he discovered his father dead by suicide in his automobile. To Shiv, he narrates about how he sent his ex half a liter of his frozen blood after they separated– as a “nasty, friendly joke.” It’s something to keep a vial of your partner’s blood around your neck However half a liter? Is this guy taking iron supplements? “I simply kept doing it, once again and once again and once again,” Matsson states, “and it ended up being not a joke, and after that a joke once again, and now it’s obviously not a joke.” Then he admits that the ex to whom he’s been sending his physical fluids is Ebba (Eili Harboe), his head of comms. The individual in charge of his public image.
This is horrible news for the pending Waystar sale– if the media learnt that the business’s brand-new CEO was some bloodplay freak, not to discuss a sexual harasser, they would never ever let it go. However far from being interrupted by this admission, Shiv, a previous political strategist, is smart enough to inform Matsson she can offer him “casual guidance” on preventing a PR catastrophe. She, obviously, sees the stimulate of humor– or something else– in Matsson’s mischief.
The next time she identifies Tom, she’s needlessly aggressive. She buffoons his white tennis shoes and rubs dirt on them. “This is why individuals do not take you seriously,” she states with vicious gusto. She might have rejected Kendall’s deal to cut Tom’s throat; however, not unlike Matsson, she’s intent on a minimum of drawing blood. However Tom strikes back for when, snapping her ear hard enough that she sobs out. And he murmurs perhaps the strangest thing anybody has actually ever stated on the program: “Your earlobes are thick and chewy. Like barnacle meat.”
This is a video game for them, one that perhaps they both delight in. Tom discusses Shiv’s chat with Matsson. Is he envious? “He’s dull– however he’s extremely traditionally appealing,” Shiv responds. She does not inform her siblings about her discussion with Matsson, either; Matsson’s fetish might be great utilize for them. She keeps his trick, like she delights in that, too.
Are we having a good time yet?
Tom and Greg (Nicholas Braun) trade intel (more like chatter) about the GoJo team. Greg reports that Matsson uses noise-canceling earphones when making love. They’re standing right beside a screen of pigs being roasted over a spit, and a sort of metaphor– they’re on the menu, even if they do not feel the heat yet.
The off-kilter undercurrent of the retreat gradually constructs as the day goes on. The Waystar inner circle has actually provided firm handshakes and made steadfast eye contact, however they still can’t assist however feel surpassed and cornered. Matsson’s the one with a fondness for mind-altering drugs, however it may also be their team that’s on shrooms. This prowling fear enters into sharp relief when Matsson discovers that Greg is another of Logan’s blood relations. He and his whole team double over in laughter, speaking in Swedish about what an incestuous little household operation Waystar is, most likely. It’s a scene in which Matsson drives house that he does not appreciate the Roys at all. He wishes to conserve ATN; Logan’s kids question, wait from what? “It’s a great deal of screaming. Little guys, huge veins,” Matsson states imperiously. He wishes to make ATN easier and more affordable. “IKEA ‘d to fuck,” he states.
” Got ta state, I simply believe basically you’re incorrect,” Kendall informs him.
Matsson goes for the jugular. “I do not care what you believe. You’re a homage band,” he retorts.
It’s the minute that he impugns Ken’s honor. It’s something to attempt to hardball him on a deal, it’s another to embarrass him. Kendall confesses to Roman that he wishes to tank the offer, after Roman sighs that it’s tough to inform whether they’re winning or losing. Kendall makes it seem like it’s simply not a bargain for them, and is even sincere about the appeal of remaining on as CEO. Does not Roman wish to keep doing this too?
” What do you believe he would do?” Roman asks.
” I believe precisely whatever the fuck he desired,” his bro guarantees him. They develop a strategy to make Matsson believe it’s his concept to ignore the sale, since if it’s clear that it’s their concept, the board will discover it which, well, may land them in hot water with the SEC. However Kendall and Roman’s maneuvering is cumbersome, too apparent. The next early morning, they place on a three-hour screening of an upcoming film they’re producing, understanding the movie is a mess and wanting to freak GoJo out. Ken leakages to the media that the “offer vibes are bad.”
Matsson sees right through it. “Are you fucking Scooby Doo-ing me here?” he asks. “Are you tanking the offer?” He informs them Logan was a prick, however he would be humiliated if he saw them now. It suffices to make Roman’s blood boil, and he lays into Matsson for the ruthlessness of requiring them to come to Norway days after their daddy’s death. “Do you keep in mind when you asked me when my father was going to pass away?” he asks. Matsson informs him that, too, was a joke.
Roman calls him an “inhuman fucking pet guy” and closes the door on the sale. Matsson does not look all that fretted. What he understands, which Logan’s boys stop working to understand throughout “Eliminate List,” is that if you can’t inform a joke, then you’re the butt of one.
As they make their method house, Matsson outmaneuvers them at last– he ups his deal to purchase Waystar to a succulent $192 billion, however informs Frank when they’re on the airplane back to the States so the kids can’t keep it a trick. Everybody else commemorates, congratulating the CEOs for wrangling such a fantastic offer. A minimum of, till they get Matsson’s list of who’s not occurring for the flight– the kill list. Hugo (Fisher Stevens) is out; Karolina (Dagmara DomiÅczyk) and Gerri still in.
The Roy kids have actually constantly understood it is very important to win– Logan drilled it into them– however winning isn’t almost the most significant number. That’s missing out on the forest for the trees. It has to do with never ever being the embarrassed one, the boar on the flooring. The course to power is climbed up by stepping on somebody else. Possibly Kendall and Roman are so utilized to suffering many indignities under their daddy that they’re entirely artless at swerving this sort of humiliation.
Shiv, on the other hand, not just prevents embarrassment in Norway, however metes it out. Shiv gets a call from Matsson. He desires her to send out a picture of her siblings’ mortified faces. It’s not a joke. Or, it’s the supreme joke: They demanded keeping her out of the halls of power, and now they have actually shot themselves in the foot. Shiv snaps the image for posterity and gets the ultimate victory.