With great power comes great responsibility, and that's not something Logan Roy intends to had off to his kids anytime soon.
Succession Season 2 Episode 5 found the Roys hunkered down with their arch rivals on the opposition's home terf, and it didn't take long for the stress to get the better of everyone.
And just as fast as Shiv announced herself as the successor to Waystar Royco, she tumbled back down the other side of that pronouncement when Logan refused to commit -- especially when it was demanded as a part of the sale.
When Succession Season 1 first began, Logan Roy was in questionable health and possibly losing his faculties.
By the time the gang hits Tern Haven, he's at the top of his game. There isn't a single iota of the issues that once plagued him, and Logan has his finger on the pulse of the entire family except for his wife.
Many men are deaf to the needs and desires of their wives, so it's not surprising that's Logan's downfall as well. But when it comes to business, he isn't faltering. He's as commanding and demanding as he ever was.
The hour began with Shiv on top of the world. There was a smirk of satisfaction on her face as she rode up the elevator to Logan's home, and she felt almost certain that the announcement was imminent.
But Logan is still cheerleading Kendall. It was Kendall who got to fly in late so that Logan could paint a rosier picture of his life than the one he's living.
Nan: You do have an interesting family.
Logan: Yeah, I apologize for the lateness of my son.
Logan: He's been volunteering.
Nan: Really? That's impressive. He has the time even in the teeth of a takeover battle?
Marcia: He's very capable.
Logan: A lot of bandwidth.
Nan: Oh, its wonderful to have such band width. After everything.
It's obvious from the outset that Logan is keeping his options open about the succession without showing his hand, and he's using everyone he can as leverage to get away from the takeover bid that Kendall set in motion.
You'd think that bid, Kendall's substance abuse issues, and the death of the waiter might have closed the door on his chances forever, but for whatever reason, Logan hasn't lost complete faith in him yet.
Logan and Frank had choreographed their visit by pairing the Roys with specific Pierce family members, but the Roys aren't used to being in fine company.
Mark: Yeah, I'm actually getting my second Ph.D. right now in Africana Studies from Brown.
Tom: Wow. So you're going to be a double doctor?
Mark: The second Ph.D.'s much harder. Yeah, five years is an absolute gauntlet.
Shiv: Oh, I'm sure. But just think, you know, once you're done, you won't have to waste the 12 seconds it takes to look up something on Wikipedia. No, but seriously though, it's quite an achievement.
From the moment they arrived, they were pressing all the wrong buttons of their hosts.
Shiv insulted Mark over achieving a dual Ph.D. Connor insulted Maxim with his lack of knowledge about the subject for which he claims to be passionate -- government. And Roman? Well, he laughs louder than everyone else in the room.
Romulus, when you laugh, please do it in the same volume as everyone else. We didn't get you from a hyena farm.Logan
Nobody was going to come out ahead as a result of visiting Tern Haven other than Logan. He had the entire family on edge playing roles that made them uncomfortable. For as bright as he is, he also overestimates his ability to manage his brood.
Rhea was pulling all the strings from aligning herself with the Roys to upping the ante for the Pierces. She was keenly observing all of their actions so she knew which string to pull next.
I especially enjoyed how she honed in on Kendall and Naomi's connection over dinner. Kendall might not have been assigned to Naomi, but Rhea knew the two would find common ground.
Since Naomi was essential to the closing of the deal, Rhea must have had faith in Kendall's ability to sway Naomi into the direction of a sale.
But other than money, we still don't know why it would matter to her. Will Rhea remain with the Pierce's after the sale, or will she move to Logan's side. Could she be interested in running Waystar Royco, and would she have a chance?
For the show to survive, the succession has to be in question. What better way to secure some drama than to throw an outsider into the mix?
We've seen what the possibility of ascension does to Kendall, Shiv, and Roman. It breaks them whether they've been named or they've got no chance at all.
Shiv: This is what happens. You're given the keys to the castle and then you get paralyzed staring into the eyes of the cobra.
Tom: They're riding me pretty hard in there. Do you think I should fight back more?
Shiv: You know, then? He smells the vacillation and then he's got you. You're done. He's juicing another lemon.
Tom: Wouldn't it be nice if you stopped beating up on me, too?
Tom: Maybe you could stop beating up on me, too?
Shiv: What? That's just nothing. That's silly. Well, no one cares.
Tom: Well, technically, I care. I care.
Shiv: Sometimes you say stupid things. He's got me second-guessing myself. I'm wavering on landing the best strategy for a deal that I don't even like. I really want this.
Tom: I know.
Shiv: Really, I want to be sitting at that table.
Tom: Hey, hey, listen to me. You are sitting at the table. You are.
It was Shiv's perceived imminence of the announcement and the knowledge of Kendall's past failure to grasp the gold ring that forced her hand. She was working a deal for which she had no interest, but she was in the game.
The excitement was palpable, and Logan's frostiness about sharing her ascension began to rankle.
Shiv and Tom were both getting guff, but Shiv's was perceived by silence while Tom was in the hot seat. Wearing the hair shirt, as Logan called it.
News and ethics were at the core of Nan Pierce's concerns about selling the company, and the more they tossed Tom under the bus, the less likely it seemed that family could trust Waystar Royco to protect their family's legacy.
And with all that Shiv says it was a deal that made no sense to her, she relished in the idea of having a prestigious arm to the conglomerate. She's been in politics. She loves swaying minds.
PGN more closely aligns with Shiv's core values, and the closer she got to having that avenue, the more she wanted to shout from the rooftops that she as the one who would be running it. Like minds and all that.
Nan: And any thought given on to whom you might hand over the keys?
Kendall: Why madam, that is very forward.
Nan: And you're no fun! We're all friends here now. Aren't we?
Logan: Well, um, Gerri is on the paperwork as a stop-gap, but even she'd be the first to admit that she couldn't really do the job.
Gerri: Well, maybe the second to admit.
Logan: Uh, there is a name, but you know, I really don't like to deal in hypotheticals.
Rhea: Mmmm. He's an enigma.
Logan: Well, one day.
Rhea: What a tease, folks.
Nan: Just whisper it in my ear.
Logan: You know, I'll start to think I'm not wanted.
Shiv: Just... You can...
Logan: Well, you know, I'm...
Shiv: Oh, for fuck's sake. Dad, just tell 'em it's gonna be me.
But it backfired. Big time.
Logan refused to back her, and even when the deal hinged on her succession announcement, Logan walked away.
I've been worried about what trying to stand with Logan would mean for Shiv, and if the look of disappointment on his face in the final scene of the show is any indication, then it's all up in the air again.
If nothing else, it might be easier for Shiv to relate to Kendall, and the siblings need to form a more united front even if one of them gets the coveted position while others are left behind.
We witnessed Roman's depravity again as his attempt to have sex with Tabitha resulted in taking his special conference calls with Gerri to another level.
Tom: Anybody get into any fun last night?
Roman: Ummm, I jerked off in Gerri's bathroom last night.
Tabitha: So classy of you.
Roman: Um, it's OK. It was actually her idea. I think I really got the old gal's juices flowin'.
Gerri: Even as a joke, that is a stomach-turning thought.
There is so much wrong with that whole scenario, but it might be healthier than asking Tabitha to play dead. The very thought that someone could get turned on by him turns his stomach.
The eye-roll by Gerri as she stood outside of her bathroom door as Roman pleasured himself seems to indicate that she's caring for him in some entirely messed up way.
She has an affinity for Roman that he shares with nobody else. If their thing is ever not separated by a telephone or a bathroom door, I'll have to walk that back.
At the beginning of the hour, Logan was asking Kendall not to get slopping during the weekend and worrying over the perception of his son. But Shiv's announcement upended the applecart for everyone.
For a moment, it was truly worrisome that Kendall would lift that whirlybird off the ground and send the series careening into an entirely different direction, but his experience with Naomi was used to show what might be his greatest desire.
Kendall appeared to be talking about himself when he was imagining an end to the madness of reigning over a media conglomerate. Take the money and run. The stress would melt away.
Naomi, who blamed the Roys for many things, must have seen his honesty, too, because she recommended that the sale commence.
But to get there, Kendall had to debase himself some more by losing control of himself and his bowels. Just when you think these characters have been through it all, there is another level they can drop to find more misery.
With Shiv floundering, Tom understanding his place in the family is not a place at all, Kendall unsure of anything, and Roman struggling not to hate himself with every fiber of his being, there are a lot of places for Succession to go even without the purchase of Pierce.
Be sure to read the full recap of the hour by clicking on the link at the beginning of the review, and check out the Succession quotes because there were plenty more than got added to this page.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.