Succession season 4, episode 6 recap: it’s Living+ hell in LA
Succession seasons 1-4 spoilers below
Episode six was... a mysterious choice of where to go next with the series. It was slow, it was dull, it was arguably unnecessary.
Waystar Royco’s LA launch of a new luxury retirement home product called Living+ saw Kendall nearly lose it, Shiv come out on top, Roman fire top executives and Logan’s cronies start to show their true colours as it became terrifyingly clear to everyone that the CE-Bros both plan to tank the GoJo deal, and are far from competent enough to helm Waystar Royco.
So why this now? Episodes four and five, Honeymoon States and Kill List, had done a miraculous job of launching what seemed like a thousand new plotlines, propelling the series forward. Episode six felt stagnant in comparison.
But, if we know anything about Succession, it’s that usually every single second of the show is utilised, so it figures that we just witnessed something important in episode six. But what it was is presently eluding us.
Here’s what happened in episode six, Living+.
Logan still looms large
Episode six showed that Logan is still, in fact, the most important character in Succession: time has been going extremely slowly in season four, and it’s still only a couple of days after Logan has died. The episode opens on his face – there’s a clip that he filmed just before he died, introducing a new luxury retirement home product that Waystar Royco is launching. Kendall is watching it over and over again.
The product is called Living+ – Shiv calls it “prison camps for grannies” – and they’re going ahead with its LA launch so that it doesn’t just look like the Waystar Royco team is minding shop before GoJo buys the company. The plan is that Kendall and Roman will give the presentation about Living+ as the new joint CEOs.
In the clip, Logan gets angry after one of the directors asks him to film his introduction again. He says that the people behind the camera are as incompetent as his kids. “That’s fine, that’s a Valentine’s card,” says Kendall quietly.
“New space cowboys in town”
So it’s to LA where Kendall and Roman are planning the presentation. Well, more specifically, Kendall is riffing ideas, each more crazy than the next, while Roman watches his big brother, Shiv gets worried about his mental state and Gerri, Karl and Frank worry about their golden parachutes. “He’s got that gleam in his eye,” says Shiv to Roman, with trepidation.
There aren’t many of the usual zingers in this episode: instead, it’s all Kendall with his wacky business lingo: “We’re just going to do an acoustic set, Ken and Rome unplugged”, “break the log jam”, “hockey stick, we’re pushing to the moon”, “new space cowboys in town”, he says.
He wants a pine house on stage, with clouds that he “saw in Berlin”, and he gives the team one day to do it. No one can say no, he says. “Thank you Kendall for the cool new rule,” he says, and everyone chants the phrase back to him.
Meanwhile, Roman has lunch with the head of Waystar Studios, the film branch of the company. But when its director, Joy Palmer, says something that slightly ruffles his feathers, he simply fires her. He had been sent there to sweeten her up, but ends up doing the exact opposite. Joy is experienced, has key contacts in the industry, and was someone the Roys very much needed on their side. It’s a massive mistake for Roman to fire her, and he seems to know it.
But, Kendall is very much on one – Shiv’s right about that strange gleam – and so when Roman tells Kendall about the firing, Kendall says, “that’s baller for me”.
The CE-Bros start to lose it
Gerri, however, feels differently. When she hears about Joy’s dismissal, she’s absolutely furious. She asks Roman to reconsider, as it’s going to cause the company a lot of problems. Not only does it look amateur, but legally, you can’t just fire people like that.
“You are a weak monarch in a dangerous interregnum,” says Gerri. Dad would do it, says Roman. “Oh well, maybe. But you’re not your Dad,” she replies. That really hurts Roman. “I need you to believe that I’m as good as my Dad. Can you do that?” he asks. Say it or believe it? she asks.
During the exchange, it becomes clear to Gerri that Roman plans to tank the GoJo deal. You can see the cold realisation spread across her face, and she cannot believe it: “You cannot win against the money. The money is going to wash you away. Tech is coming, we are over,” she says, exasperated.
Well, at this point, Roman loses it, as he did with Joy, and fires Gerri. But does he mean it? And will it actually stick? After all, the sibs massively rely on Gerri, although they don’t like to think so. When Roman tells Kendall about the dismissal, Kendall once again references his father. “Put on the dad goggles, it’s nothing,” he says.
Everything really is just about Logan.
Shiv makes moves
Episode six arguably belonged to Shiv. At the beginning of the episode, Shiv and Matsson end up being at the same private jet airport (it seems like a bit of a fluke, but perhaps this happens a lot in billionaire land) while Shiv’s plane refuels. He walks – barefoot of course – across the tarmac and pops onto her plane to say hello.
He asks her to stop the launch – real estate isn’t his jam. He calls her his “girl on the inside”; she calls him her “boy on the outside”, rolling her eyes. As he leaves the plane he blows her a kiss. It’s super flirty, but Shiv has her shields up, as usual, doesn’t agree to do anything for Matsson, and off she goes to LA.
It’s the first meeting between some of the Waystar Royco head honchos and Shiv realises that Roman and Kendall plan to tank the deal. The two brothers are sharing a story about how Matsson lost it on the top of the mountain, and how they’re really concerned about the Swede taking over. Kendal calls the make-believe scene “human Chernobyl”.
Waystar’s team isn’t concerned about Matsson’s behaviour: “I mean, he’s a genius. Nobody minds a genius acting weird,” says Gerri. “His reputation is priced in.”
Shiv finds it highly suspicious that her brothers failed to mention the breakdown earlier, even as a little anecdote. They’re busted. They admit they don’t want to sell. Shiv can’t believe it, but does nothing, for now.
But, she keeps on looking super competent throughout the episode. As Roman and Kendall are causing chaos in La La Land, it’s Shiv who looks like the steady hand. She convinces Roman not to go on stage with Kendall as his ideas get madder: “It’s going to be very messy. You’re out of control, he’s out of control, this is going down,” she says. Roman listens to her, and in the end, Kendall, who has even designed special pilot jackets to wear for the launch, presents Living+ on his own.
Episode six is also important for Shiv as she and Tom start to, sort of, make amends. Well, at least in their manipulative mind-games way.
They sleep together and have a biting competition at a party. Tom says he wants Shiv back, Shiv says she would follow Tom anywhere for love. But, as usual, as they play with each other you get the feeling that Shiv’s words actually slightly destroy Tom, whereas Tom’s seem to roll off Shiv’s back.
Living+ is living hell
Oh God, it’s the Living+ presentation.
Just before Kendall goes on stage Karl corners him. Kendall has been working with one of their financial officers to boost the projection figures about Living+’s profitability, to an amount that’s just not achievable.
It not only makes Waystar Royco look like amateurs, but it could drag the company into serious financial and legal issues. Karl knows it. He wants to look over the figures before Kendall goes on stage. Kendall says not to worry, that he’s sorted it. The tone between them changes and Karl – showing his true colours, perhaps for the first time – threatens Kendall about both the GoJo deal and the numbers. He says that there’s no way Kendall can fire him as the company’s chief financial officer. “You’d be f***ing toast,” he says.
“You have my d*** in your hand, Ken. But I’ve got yours in mine. So let’s get real,” he says. He also tells Kendall, “If you say anything that I don’t like up there, or make me look foolish. I’ll fucking squeal.” Kendall understands.
Kendall comes storming out to Public Enemy’s Harder Than You Think, of course. He repeats “big big shoes, big big shoes” over and over again. It doesn’t look like it’s going to go well. The team in the back rooms are wincing. Kendall’s eyes are sort of watering. But, miraculously, he goes on to sell the product really quite well.
This isn’t to say the presentation goes smoothly: he plays a clip of his dad which has been doctored so that Logan says that Living+ earnings will be doubled, to mirror Kendall’s own projections. This is surely going to become a problem down the line.
Kendall talks to the clip of his dad, and says, almost crying, “Would I take an extra year, right now, with my dad, say the unsaid? That would be priceless.”
“If I cringe any harder I might become a fossil,” says Roman. After the presentation, Matsson tweets a dark joke about Living+, which references the Holocaust. Kendall is asked about it while he’s on stage, but successfully manages to navigate it so he doesn’t overly disparage Matsson, but puts distance between them too. Matsson deletes the tweet – it’ll be interesting to see whether the comment will come back to haunt him later.
What a strange decision to have this episode here, now. We saw very little of Greg and Tom’s fantastic back and forth, and Greg seemed more lame than ever in those moments when he did speak. Connor (and Willa) were nowhere to be seen.
Perhaps the writers felt that we needed to see Kendall crumble, or felt that it was necessary to reinforce just how bad Kendall and Roman are going to be, long-term, at the top job. Perhaps it was important to be reminded of the kids’ motivations; that really, their love and hatred of their father still fuels their every move – particularly for Kendall.
As the episode ended, two scenes seem to confirm this: Kendall draws a number one in the sand on an empty beach, and then goes for a swim. Then there’s Roman listening to a clip of his dad, which has been edited so Logan says, “I’m convinced that Roman Roy has a micro dick and always gets it wrong” over and over and over again in the car. Appallingly, the harsh words seem to soothe him.
We’re hoping for a lot more fun, or at least a lot more drama, next week.
Succession is currently streaming on Sky and NOW