The Box Set: "Succession."
Ep. 7. "Tailgate Party."
You could feel the acceleration — or panic? — in Ep. 7 of the last season of “Succession.” The question is whether that’s good or not good enough. There are only three episodes to go and a lot of stuff has to happen (meaning, crash and burn) to sort it all out. In a mixed bag of great moments (Tom and Shiv finally being honest on the balcony) and plausibly dubious plot twists (Ebba’s willingness to say that, no, the blood brick isn’t really the issue — although you’d have to say it’s more than a red herring — but the massively inflated GoJo numbers in India are a definite problem), illustrated how “Tailgate Party” soared and…didn’t.
Because it’s simply too easy (and, apparently, popular) to hail each episode of “Succession” as great without a proper bit of critical marinating — which is the problem with weekly evaluations — let’s first start with the issues that are the most trouble from a storytelling/plot standpoint.
Even if we’re to assume nobody on the planet questioned GoJo’s numbers before (which, in India, are “two-India” outsized), are we really to believe that Ebba is going to blurt out that gigantic problem to Kendall and Roman? That seemed a little convenient, no? And I think with only three episodes left in the final season, we can call that an 11th hour gambit that’s a little too helpful and too easy.
And what of the Swedes? Yeah, we know that Matsson is a loose cannon, but everybody else was previously portrayed as locked down and professional — takeover assassins if you will — and now they are just drunk and high and blowing up the deal they absolutely need? Hmmm.
The part that was earned, of course, is that now we know why Matsson is so eager to sell and wants it to happen fast. His “I need this to happen” rant on the mountain top in Norway and willingness to up the price is essentially explained there. He needs the splash of the deal to hide any bad numbers that might be revealed in India. However, the previous episodes showed that he’s in cahoots with Shiv because she’s trying to ruin it for her brothers, who are trying to tank the deal, and align herself with Mattson in getting the deal done. Fine. But Shiv is going to wait until the very end, in a rushed meeting, to get confirmation from Matsson that she’ll be taken care of? That hardly seems believable. An 11th hour “what’s in it for me” should probably have been a 4th hour type situation, yes? But then — not the same shock. And with Matsson clearly telegraphing that he’s not going to take care of her, Shiv is in shock.
The question is, should she be shocked? No, she should have seen that option coming and planned for it.
Well, I guess there is one way to believe that scene: To see the Roy kids not just as Dumb and Dumber, but Dumb, Dumber and Dumber Than We Thought. That seems, this late in the game, a little implausible.
There were, however, some excellent moments that began to rise out of the increased pacing. Let’s get to those and figure out where this season might be headed as well:
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