[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for Succession, Season 4 Episode 4, “Honeymoon States.”]
Perhaps the most important moment of Succession this week is when, in the discussion over how to proceed in the aftermath of Logan Roy’s death, his children are asked how recently they spoke with their father. “48 hours ago” is the answer, a stark reminder of the fact that this show is operating within an exceptionally tight timeframe, one which finds the events of “Honeymoon States” occurring just the day after Logan died, and only two days after Connor’s Leonard Cohen karaoke funtimes.
Oh, also, after Roman says “48 hours ago,” Frank says “And how’d that go?” Because even if Frank wasn’t in that private lounge, he’s not wrong for guessing that any conversation between Logan and his offspring, just prior to his death, would be a little fraught.
It’s a bit of a slap, that moment, but Shiv, Roman, and Kendall have no choice but to push forward, because the gathering that occurs in Logan Roy’s penthouse just the day after his death is one of the most important in Waystar Royco history: The company needs a new interim CEO, one to see the sale through, and would you believe more than one person on this show thinks that they’re the right choice? Shocking, to be sure.
“For some of us, it’s a sad day, but for others, it’s coronation demolition derby,” as Shiv says, and nearly everyone either has the chance to put forward their reasons for why they’re the best choice to take over. The one person who maybe has an advantage is Kendall, because a “piece of paper” has been found in Logan’s safe naming him as the one to take over. It’s undated, and marked by a penciled line that might have been an underline or might have been a strike-through. But it’s more than, say, Shiv’s got going for her.
Everyone’s got their arguments as to why they should take over, but with the benefit of the piece of paper (a very Sorkin-y expression), Kendall, Roman, and Shiv come up with a plan for the board that two of them like a whole lot better than the other: Kendall and Roman step up as co-CEOs. Their reason to not include Shiv in the power play is that “two is fucking and three is some weird orgy for hippies” — and Roman’s the COO and Kendall’s name’s on the piece of paper. But they do make Shiv fervent promises that after the events of the day before, their bond is on a whole new level now, and she’ll be included in everything and they won’t screw her over. (You can almost hear Ron Howard’s voiceover during this scene: “The Roy boys did, in fact, screw her over.”)