Today, we look at how an early episode of Succession shows Kendall in his natural state – total disarray
This is “All the Best Things,” a spotlight on the best TV episodes, movies, albums, etc.
This is a Year of Great TV Episodes, where every day this year, we’ll take a look at great TV episodes. Note that I’m not talking about “Very Special Episodes” or episodes built around gimmicks, but just “normal” episodes of TV shows that are notable only because of how good they are.
A tricky thing for me in this list is that I’m making my starting date 1950 and my cutoff date 2019. I’m not really missing much from the 1940s, but there are certainly a number of great TV episodes that I’ll be missing from 2020 onwards, including the excellent final season of HBO’s Succession, which finally revealed who “succeeded” Logan Roy (Brian Cox) in the family media empire that Roy’s offspring were constantly fighting over during this acclaimed multi-Emmy-winning series (it won the Best Drama Series Emmy for three out of its four seasons, and the only time it lost was because the voters lost their minds and picked the final season of Game of Thrones over it which is, well, you know, madness).
Luckily, though, the first half of the series still took place in the 2010s, so I can celebrate the early episodes, at least, like Season 1’s “Which Side Are You On?,” which shows the first showdown between Logan and the oldest son of his second wife, Kendall (Jeremy Strong).
Kendall had been his father’s righthand man for years, and when the series begins, Kendall believes that his father is preparing to either retire on his 80th birthday and name Kendall as his successor in their media company, Waystar, or at least name Kendall as his “official” heir. Instead, his father asked Kendall and his siblings to alter their trust to give Logan’s third wife more power in choosing his successor. Right before this shocking decision, Logan had a stroke.
Kendall then had to officially take over the company, and while he did a pretty good job, he also brought instability into the company by accepting some money that could open up the company to a possible hostile takeover. Paranoid upon his recovery from his stroke, Logan believed that Kendall was plotting against him, and went over the top about how he would not be retiring any time soon, which, of course, led to Kendall ACTUALLY plotting against his father, choosing to push for a “no confidence” vote in this episode, after striking a deal with his younger brother, Roman (Kieran Culkin).
Logan is irritated that he can’t speak to the President. He is told that it has to do with a possible terrorist attack, but his paranoia makes him assume that the President is just distancing himself from Logan. As it turns out, though, there IS a possible terrorist attack, and due to a precautionary “no fly” zone over New York, Kendall is unable to return to New York in time for his own meeting calling for the “no confidence” vote (he was out getting the support of a powerful, but secluded, shareholder).
Logan was tipped off to Kendall’s plan, and in an extremely awkward scene, Kendall had to make his pitch for the no confidence vote on a cell phone while running on foot to get to the company’s headquarters (as he had to take a cab all the way from Long Island). With his father in the room (refusing to leave the room, which is the typical protocol for a no confidence vote), Logan cowtows the others into obedience, and when Kendall arrives, he has failed – his father then fires him and Kendall’s mentor, Frank (Peter Friedman), the company’s former longtime COO, who helped Kendall with the plot.
Kendall walking in a daze as the President duly calls Logan back is just exquisite…
Susan Soon He Stanton wrote the episode, and Andrij Parekh directed it. Of course, show creator/showrunner, Jesse Armstrong, had a strong hand in the basic plot of the episode.
Sadly for Kendall, this wouldn’t be the last time he was left in a daze at the end of an episode of this series.
Okay, if I’m going to have 338 more of these, I could use suggestions, so feel free to email me at email@example.com!