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Monday, May 1, 2023

Succession season 4, episode 6 recap: Waystar pivots to tech

Observe: This text accommodates spoilers for a number of Succession episodes, significantly season 4, episode six, “Residing+.”

The opening scene of Residing+, the sixth episode of the ultimate season of Succession, is sort of a jolt down the backbone. It’s Logan, captured in medium close-up towards a inexperienced display screen, in an unedited, premortem video filmed to advertise a brand new Waystar enterprise to be introduced on the subsequent traders’ assembly: a gated retirement group known as Residing+ that might deliver the “cruise ship expertise to dry land,” Logan (Brian Cox) says.

Kendall (Jeremy Sturdy) and others from Waystar’s inside circle are watching the video, and Logan can’t make it even a minute with out shedding his persistence with the movie crew. “You’re as dangerous as my fucking fool children,” he growls. Kendall winces and asks to play it again once more.

“Decrease shock, maximize satisfaction” is Residing+’s anodyne slogan. It seems like a subscription service; pay $9.99 and improve to a tier above mere existence.

“Mere existence” occurs to sum up the present state of the Roy kids. They’re mourning, however are additionally a bit numb. After the tradition shock of their Norway journey, they’re again on the semi-familiar, mundane floor of LA, the place co-CEOs Ken and Roman (Kieran Culkin) have to arrange for the annual traders assembly, whilst they inch nearer to promoting Waystar to streaming firm GoJo.

Roman, feeling disrespected by everybody he meets with, seems glum as he attends to his new CEO duties. Shiv (Sarah Snook), it seems, is obstructing out time on her calendar to cry. And her brothers are nonetheless making an attempt to wreck the GoJo sale; Residing+ begins out as only a stale remnant of Logan’s plans, however turns into their likelihood to persuade shareholders that Waystar has a future sans GoJo CEO Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård), whereas Matsson is making an attempt to claim his dominance over the Roys.

That is an episode that’s actually about resurrections — the retreading of outdated concepts, outdated relationships, and outdated pains. There are solely 4 extra episodes left to wrap up the arcs of those characters, and Residing+ is organising ever larger stakes for the final word destiny of Waystar and GoJo. It’s additionally ruminating on what it might imply for the Roy siblings to not simply survive, however thrive.

Erratic habits

Kendall and Roman name a gathering with the senior staff, citing considerations about Matsson’s “erratic habits.” Shiv asks what they imply — she is aware of about Matsson’s unusual fetishes, however her brothers don’t.

They lie that Matsson had a meltdown in Norway (it was truly Roman who did), and advised them he didn’t truly need the deal. Everybody’s confused by this. It was most likely a negotiating tactic, Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) suggests. In spite of everything, he made a proposal — a really beneficiant one.

Kendall plows forward with this shoddily constructed case. “Can we suggest a cope with an individual of this character?” he asks.

It’s a ridiculous factor to say given the historical past of Waystar and its founder — to not point out Kendall’s personal questionable habits up to now.

The farce of Ken and Rome’s reign is that they must no less than try and run the corporate utilizing a democratic course of. Logan wouldn’t have known as a gathering to ask main questions and persuade others to take his view. Logan would have barked out an order, and they might have fallen in line with out a squeak. Regardless that his sons (particularly Kendall) generally mimic Logan, they know intellectually that he was a despot. But all through Residing+, they understand that it’d simply be simpler, more practical, to easily lead like Logan. Roman feels this intensely: his typical stream of inappropriate jokes, his schtick of not taking a lot in life critically, doesn’t work so effectively when he’s the one in cost. His insecurity about not being good sufficient nor revered sufficient flares up with a vengeance on this episode; he fires one studio govt and even tries to fireplace Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron).

It’s not in Rome’s head, not completely. The board is on the verge of mutiny. In response to Kendall’s query about Matsson’s character, Gerri says. “He’s a genius. No person minds a genius performing bizarre.”

“Actually, it form of provides to the mystique,” Tom provides. (We do see Matsson strolling outdoors barefoot on this episode, probably a reference to a different eclectic tech founder, Steve Jobs; in the meantime, Residing+ appears impressed by Apple’s branding whereas evenly mocking tiered subscription companies as an entire.)

Gerri closes the ebook on the dialog, saying that Matsson’s fame has been priced into the supply. There’s a quantity at which all the pieces is permitted; Ken and Rome ought to know that by now.

In the meantime, Matsson tries to persuade Shiv to place a cease to the announcement of Residing+. Kendall and Roman are simply minding the store till he formally owns Waystar, and anyway, he doesn’t like actual property ventures — they’re not “scalable.” Spoken like a techie.

Matsson dangles a place for Shiv excessive up within the new world order — somebody who can advise him carefully. It’s the form of noncommittal bait that her father continually waved in her face, solely to govern her later. Matsson makes it sound like each a enterprise proposition and a sexual proposition, however Shiv continues to be fence-sitting about whether or not she actually desires Matsson as a companion in both realm.

Tom and Shiv are by no means, ever getting a divorce

Shiv’s livid that her brothers didn’t inform her about Matsson’s supposed blow-up — or, extra to the purpose, that they wish to torch the deal.

“Actually, we had been defending you,” says Kendall. That sends Shiv’s blood stress even larger. The three of them had a plan — to promote, get out, and purchase Pierce World Media, which nobody even appears to say anymore. Ken means that they may hold each Waystar’s information community, ATN, and purchase Pierce. (How would that even work when the 2 are ideological opposites?)

Roman apologizes, asking, “Can we do the huggy factor?”

Emotionally stunted they might be, however they do care about one another. The factor concerning the Roy siblings is that in contrast to Logan, they do apologize. However it doesn’t appear to make Shiv really feel higher.

Shiv’s assistant interrupts; she’s been reserving assembly rooms for Shiv, who’s utilizing them to take a seat in and cry alone, not simply over her father being gone, however over the dying by a thousand cuts of being ignored and underestimated by her household. Tom and Greg (Nicholas Braun) by chance stroll in on one among these crying classes; Tom’s radar is hyper-tuned to any signal that Shiv is likely to be in misery. “You’re scheduling your grief?” Tom asks incredulously. He hugs and consoles her, and so they kiss. All through the season, the 2 have been extra tender and genuinely intimate than we’ve ever seen them within the collection; they’re ostensibly on their technique to divorcing, however absence appears to have made the guts — Shiv’s particularly — develop fonder.

However Tom and Shiv are additionally now on extra equal footing than earlier than. There’s a brand new dimension to their relationship that brings them nearer. Tom isn’t her punching bag anymore; she realizes that he’s an actual particular person with difficult feelings and motives, in addition to a humorousness. Later, on the traders reception, Shiv and Tom flirt like children within the schoolyard. Shiv asks Tom if he desires to play a recreation known as “bitey.” The principles are easy: You chew the opposite’s forearm as exhausting as you possibly can, and the primary one to cry uncle loses. Surprisingly, Shiv surrenders first.

“Tom Wambsgans — lastly made me really feel one thing,” she says, sounding pleased with him.

All of this play-fighting can imply just one factor: They’re sleeping with one another once more. When Shiv admits that she and Matsson appear to have a connection, Tom tells her, “I believe I need you. I believe I would love this again.” However it’s not so easy. Tom’s betrayal final season continues to be a wedge between them.

Tom doesn’t apologize for it. He says what they’ve each identified about their relationship. His love for her wasn’t only a gooey heat feeling, however an obsession with cash and standing — having good issues in life. He betrayed her as a result of he felt he was about to lose all of that. “In the event you assume that’s shallow, why don’t you throw out all of your stuff for love,” he says. “Come and dwell with me in a trailer park.”

“I’d comply with you anyplace for love, Tom Wambsgans,” Shiv replies playfully. They each begin laughing, possibly as a result of the thought is so absurd, or as a result of the fantasy of leaving the tangle of Waystar behind — of getting unconditional love — is definitely alluring.


Portray Matsson as unreliable and ill-tempered didn’t work, so Kendall and Roman now want a plan B to dam the Waystar sale. What they want is one thing so thrilling and explosive that it might make the Waystar share worth soar, to an outlandish valuation. Matsson, they presume, most likely wouldn’t match it; he’d stroll away.

The reply is tech. Kendall desires a tech valuation on Residing+, and it’s not a nasty concept. It’s the trade of moonshots and fake-it-till-you-make-it blustering. Numerous males, and some notorious ladies, have gotten wealthy off such braggadocio. Why not Waystar?

The pitch is that this: “Maximize your bodily potential,” Kendall presents, by maximizing residents’ lifespans. Possibly the tech for immortality doesn’t fairly exist but, however they may dwell a bit bit nearer to eternally. Longevity science is a well-known fascination of tech billionaires, however it’s additionally a topic on Ken and Rome’s minds proper now. “I simply didn’t see it coming with Dad,” Roman says. “I believe folks can be very intrigued if there was one other means by way of the entire state of affairs.”

“You imply life?” asks Kendall.

“Life. Demise,” he confirms. Rome is envisioning a form of Matrix brain-in-a-vat situation. “There’s gotta be a means by way of — dying simply feels very one-size-fits-all.”

Ken is manic once more. Each time he will get energized by an concept — normally some scheme to take down his father — it has led to defeat, adopted by a fugue state of despair. However he’s heedless of previous wreck. It’s what makes him a tragic, Sisyphean character. He at all times falls, and watching him stand up once more is painful as a result of the viewers is aware of the way it’s going to finish. This time, he desires to construct a formidable stage for the traders assembly. Standing on an empty stage, he’s starry-eyed describing his plan to the underlings. “Nobody can say no,” he declares.

“He’s obtained that gleam in his eye,” Shiv says. She’s seen this earlier than — Kendall all of the sudden going off script, trying to tug off some loopy concept with out the backup he wants. Shiv convinces Roman to speak him down from these delusions of grandeur. “He has hare-brained schemes,” she says. “I really like him, however he cracks beneath stress. And I believe we should always defend him.”

Nobody sees Kendall’s imaginative and prescient. Waystar CFO Karl Muller is uncharacteristically (and understandably) aggressive about Kendall’s pumped-up earnings projections, which might land them in authorized bother, and threatens Kendall to not current Residing+. Ken is alone — his default state of being — however for the eyes on him, ready for him to self-destruct.

One way or the other, he doesn’t.

Kendall’s huge reveal is the video of Logan we noticed within the first scene, edited to make it seem to be they’re having a dialog. His siblings and the Waystar executives all cringe, however Ken forges on, pitching Residing+ as a sanctuary, with cutting-edge life extension companies, the kind normally reserved just for “tech billionaires,” Kendall says. This tech might double Waystar’s earnings — however don’t take his phrase for it. Logan’s video has been altered in order that he’s the one making the declare. It’s a intelligent transfer by Kendall to puppetmaster the puppetmaster. In some methods, he’s a spot-on CEO, hitting the proper notes of being clear, enthusiastic, and emotional, genuinely tearing up on the considered having extra time together with his father — the form of factor Residing+ might need been capable of make actual, he tells his rapt viewers.

Matsson hates the presentation, and once more asks Shiv to cease it. She suggests he do one thing about it — and Matsson’s transfer is to tweet a Holocaust joke referencing one among Waystar’s films and mocking Residing+. Matsson ultimately deletes the tweet, and the Waystar outdated guard are pleasantly stunned by Kendall’s efficiency. However Roman and Shiv are each quietly upset — dissatisfied that he didn’t fail. Did they need him to repeat the cycle of failing spectacularly, and crawling again to his household in emotional wreck? It additionally reveals how cowardly Roman and Shiv may be. They didn’t have the heart to take the large swing with Kendall, and now they don’t get to bask within the glow of a win both.

The episode ends with Kendall on the seaside, dealing with the water and the infinite horizon. The swells are excessive, however he goes for a swim anyway. In season one, he by chance kills a cater-waiter when the automotive he’s driving crashes in a river. In season three, Kendall virtually drowns — virtually kills himself — in a pool. However this time the water is restorative, like his Residing+ pitch to traders: “It’s someplace you’re actually residing,” he says.

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