TV Recap – Succession S4E7: ‘Tailgate Party’

‘Twas the night before election day when all through New York city

Not a person was stirring, aside from Tom whose mood was quite shitty.

Tom is tired. Very tired. His recently reignited rendezvous with Shiv have seemingly been cutting into the precious sleep he requires to run ATN during this integral election lead up, and make sure that the media conglomerate’s number 1 right-wing man, leader in the polls Jeryd Mencken, is getting the coverage he needs to sweep the election. But Tom is trying his best and surprises Shiv with a homemade (by the house chef) breakfast, despite his anxiety about the tailgate party being thrown at his house later that night going well.

Meanwhile, the effects of ATN’s more conservative backing of Mencken have begun leaking into Kendall’s personal life as he discovers during a frank conversation with his ex-wife, Rava, that their daughter has been threatened and bullied due to her father’s association with ATN. Running hot on his streak of wins and inflated ego, Kendall berates Rava about her lack of protection of their kids, implying his aggression is what is needed in their lives. Which may work, if he was more involved in his children’s lives, as pointed out by Rava.

With loads on everyone’s plates leading up to the tailgate party, the Roy siblings unite over coffee to discuss the finalising details of their father’s funeral, namely, who will be giving the eulogy in front of America’s elite. With the star of the show Kendall faux-reluctantly throwing his hat in the ring, it’s mutually decided that the decision won’t be made until someone who really feels like they should put their hand up to do it.

The non-cholent nature of the eulogy conversation is soon given life when Kendall and Roman tell Shiv to invite political advisor and former Shiv-flame, Nate Sofrelli, to the tailgate party so the Roy-Boy’s can get into his ear with some dirt on Matsson in their endless quest to butcher the WayStar/GoJo deal. Agreeing to invite Nate to save face in front of her brothers, Shiv is swift to inform Matsson about their plan and demands him to come to the tailgate party under the guise of an invitation from Logan before he passed, in order to mingle with the political and media elite and ultimately save the deal.

Shiv then reaches out to Tom, apologising if she “broke his dick” last night. The sexting exchange between Shiv and Tom precedes the continuation of ATN’s clean up led by Tom. Charging in literally hot and heavy, Tom fakes sadness about the impending doom for 100 employees on a mass video call, before fist pumping the air off-camera while Greg goes through the monotonous semantics of terminating the employment of the 100 ATN staff digitally in front of him.

As the final hours countdown before the tailgating, Shiv places Tom on ‘wine duty’, tasking him with making sure the people are drinking and happy while Shiv parades Matsson around the party. For everyone else, this is a night to celebrate and destress before a pivotal day. But for Kendall and Roman, this is their biggest opportunity to destroy Matsson’s reputation and begin taking back Waystar RoyCo for themselves. Following Kendall’s continuously manic lead, Roman works on finding as much dirt on Matsson as possible, whilst Kendall gets into Nate’s ear about aligning the politician’s he represents with the future rebranding of ATN.

However, Nate’s attendance at the party doesn’t sit well with the tired Tom, despite his telling to Shiv that he has no problem with it. The all-sex-no-worries entanglement between Tom and Shiv once again begins to show tiny cracks. But, those cracks are exacerbated when Matsson loudly arrives with his crew whilst Kendall has the party take a minute silence for his dad at the first tail gate with out Logan in attendance. Sideswiped by Matsson’s arrival, but still playing it cool for the crowd, Kendall welcomes Matsson just as news about an issue the Swede has with his timid PR manager, Ebba, becomes the gasoline for the Roy-Boys that could sway disfavour towards the tech billionaire in the eyes of everyone at the party.

As Roman continues to find dirt on Sweden’s finest, he receives a call with an offer where Connor steps down from his run as President in order for votes to swing in another direction (a benefit to ATN), in return for a cosy, international ambassadorship. While the idea of international political power is intriguing to Connor, locations such Eastern Europe or the Middle East seem less enticing than the final offer of Oman. With Roman pressing Connor to make a decision, his pride and his number one fan, his wife Willa, persevere in keeping the presidential dream alive.

Successfully working the room with Matsson, Shiv presses him for some take on all the give she’s been offering. With Shiv’s allegiance swaying further away from her brothers, she swings for the fences by implying that she wants to be CEO of the company when the deal goes through. But Matsson’s response isn’t necessarily what she was looking for, as his hesitation, and his allusion to the fact that Tom may be on the firing line when he takes over, puts the first instance of doubt in Shiv’s mind about her future in the company.

The tides then turn for the Roy’s when Kendall and Roman console Ebba after she is berated by a high and drunk Matsson and his cronies. At her tipping point with the crew, Ebba divulges information to Kendall and Roman that completely shakes the foundations of the deal. Due to an ‘error’, the number of subscribers to Matsson’s platform in India is significantly over-counted, by millions. Fake numbers mean fake money, and Kendall uses this to his advantage to try and one up Matsson, who after admitting that the India problem is real to Shiv, believes she has the power to sweep it under the rug while the deal goes through.

The back-and-forth wheeling, dealing and information stealing comes to a halt for Shiv when she is confronted by a very tired and frustrated Tom. After a night of hearing rumours of his head on the chopping block, and Shiv’s lack of defending him in those conversations, the two decide to clear the air once and for all, leading to a highly emotional and berating argument that slices through the tense air like a samurai blade. Nothing is left on the table, from cheating, betrayal, manipulation, and lying about love, Tom twists the knife when he declares that Shiv is not fit to be a mother. The night comes to an end as Tom kicks everyone out of his house, and he finally gets to go to sleep.

But not before Kendall has one more big idea, and confides in Frank, man-to-man, about the possibility of going ‘reverse Viking’ on Matsson, and not just tanking the deal, but buying out GoJo and building an empire far bigger than Logan could ever imagine. Just look at me now, Dad.

There are only 3 episodes left this season, and with the tease of a 90-minute finale coming from composer Nicolas Brittell this week, it seems like strapping yourself in for a wild ride is the only way to survive the onslaught ahead.

Succession is streaming now on BINGE.

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Nick L'Barrow
Nick L'Barrow
Nick is a Brisbane-based film/TV reviewer. He gained his following starting with his 60 second video reviews of all the latest releases on Instagram (@nicksflicksfix), before launching a monthly podcast with Peter Gray called Monthly Movie Marathon. Nick contributes to Novastream with interviews and reviews for the latest blockbusters.

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