Succession is back and it’s as venomous and brilliant as ever
If the first season of the most toxic show on television introduced us to some of the most venomous, self-serving snakes in the form of Logan Roy (Cox) and his offspring, then the second is shedding season. Kendall (Strong), wayward son turned daddy’s broken boy in season one, returns as the husk of man he thought he was, and is now reduced to suffering the humiliating consequences of his forced volte-face. Shiv (Snook), so desperate to strike out on her own in season one, discovers that peeling away is not as easy. Roman (Culkin), meanwhile, still spits withering insults at anyone and everyone, but the show makes it clear – he’s not the same anymore.
In fact, it seems no one is the same anymore. It’s almost as if the poison has become too much even for the Roys. They’re no longer viciously hurling a never-ending, yet ever-inventive barrage of abuse at each other for fun while desperately trying to seize control of Logan’s multi-billion dollar empire. No, instead they’re doing that now while being forced to unite to make sure there’s even an empire left. The results make the show more caustic and more watchable than ever. Just wait until you witness cousin Greg (Braun) take part in Logan’s sadistic, compulsory ‘Boar on the Floor’ game, or watch the uxorious Tom die on the inside every time Shiv makes their marriage a little bit more open, or pity Ken and his puppy dog eyes when Logan breaks him just a little bit more.
That’s the secret of Succession’s enduring success. The more the season progresses, it shows that new skin or not, snakes are still snakes. And yet, perversely, you continue to care for the Roys and their ultra-rich problems even if they don’t care about anyone but themselves. Because, after all, they may be snakes, but they’re still human.