Another week, another Succession episode packed full of WTF moments.
Episode 8 of the final season revolves around the U.S. presidential election and the battle between Democrat leader Daniel Jiménez (Elliot Villar) and Republican leader (and Trump-esque populist) Jeryd Mencken (Justin Kirk). On election night, it all plays out on the chaotic floor of the ATN newsroom.
As ATN’s chairman of global broadcast news, Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) needs good numbers, Roman (Kieran Culkin) wants his buddy Mencken to win so he can block the GoJo deal, Shiv (Sarah Snook) wants Jiménez to win so that he won’t block the GoJo deal, and Kendall (Jeremy Strong) is torn between wanting the deal to go away and not wanting a man like Mencken in charge.
In other words, the stage is set for things to get messy, and messy is exactly what it gets. From Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun) describing a horrible night out with GoJo CEO Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård) to Roman casually putting his own needs above those of the country, here are some of the most WTF lines of dialogue.
1. “I danced with an old man. He didn’t want to dance, but they made us dance. He was so confused. I drank things that aren’t normally drinks.” — Greg
Based on his description of his night out with Matsson, poor old Greg appears to be moving from one toxic workplace relationship to another. Having bonded with the CEO at Shiv and Tom’s party, Greg later describes Matsson as having treated him “abominably”, but the unpleasant details are left to our imagination.
2. “Information, Greg. It’s like a bottle of fine wine. You store it, you horde it, you save it for a special occasion — and then you smash someone’s fucking face in with it.” — Tom
If you were in any doubt as to the state of Tom and Shiv’s relationship after the horrendous argument they had in episode 7, then Tom’s attitude in episode 8 makes it pretty clear. This line comes after Greg tells him about Shiv and Matsson’s secret alliance, and Tom’s reaction proves he has no problem using the information against his wife.
3. “My team’s playing your team. It’s only spicy because if my team wins, they’re gonna shoot your team.” — Roman
Roman spends the entirety of episode 8 being massively flippant about the election, and the possible consequences of a far-right populist and white supremacist like Mencken winning the presidency. This is just the first of many jokes Roman makes that are far too close to the bone.
4. “If I lose I want it correctly characterised as a huge victory.” — Mencken
Speaking of close to the bone, Mencken’s comment about how he wants a potential election loss “characterised” is horribly reminiscent of Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud after he lost in 2020.
Credit: Macall Polay/HBO
5. “Greg, I have to be clear! I have to! If I get drowsy and I miscall Colorado, instability, right? The U.S. loses credibility, China spots an opportunity and invades Taiwan, tactical nukes, fucking shit goes kablooey and we’re back to amoeba. It’s a long way back from pond life because you failed to get me a double shot.” — Tom
This one had to be included purely for the sheer levels of drama after Greg refuses to fetch Tom a coffee.
6. “Greg, it’s medically good for your brain! It is! What are you saying, all Aztec’s are stupid? Don’t be a racist little bitch about it.” — Tom
Tom bullying a reluctant Greg into snorting cocaine with him pretty much sums up their relationship in a single scene.
7. “You hated him, Siobhan[…] Well it was complicated but sometimes you certainly hated him. And you also sort of killed him.” — Tom
If you thought Tom and Shiv had used up all their ammunition on each other in episode 7, you were wrong. After Shiv pulls Tom aside to try and apologise for their argument only to be met with silence, she tells her husband to cut her some slack because her dad just died. So, Tom responds by telling his wife she was partly to blame for her Logan’s death. Ouch.
8. “Like, is that even true? Or is that like, a new position or a tactic? Or what?” — Tom
This is Tom’s response moments after Shiv tells him she’s pregnant with his child. The two of them are so used to playing mind games, and living in a world where everyone constantly has an angle, that Tom can’t even believe his own wife when she tells him she’s pregnant.
Credit: Macall Polay/HBO
9. “Can we get fucking real? Jiménez won’t block the GoJo deal. So, fuck the guy, right?” — Roman
The longer the episode goes on, the more and more blunt Roman becomes. Here, he’s basically laying his cards on the table, making it clear he wants to stop Jiménez from becoming president because of how it’ll affect the GoJo deal.
10: “Greg, do not put anymore more lemon water or wasabi in his eyes, OK?” — Tom
This had to be included purely for how wonderfully ridiculous this whole scene is. Never sit next to Greg when he’s eating sushi.
11. “Nothing matters, Ken. Nothing fucking matters. Dad’s dead and the country’s just a big pussy waiting to get fucked.” — Roman
Roman’s bluntness is painful by this point. The only thing he cares about is the GoJo deal, and it’s hard to pick which part of this exchange is more disturbing: his comment about America or his repeated statement that “nothing matters”.
Credit: Claudette Barius/HBO
12. “Maybe we should get, like, a history guy, you know like a real brainiac, to say why this sort of thing has happened in the past, and that it’ll all be fine.” — Tom
Tom makes an attempt to brush over the consequences of ATN crowning Mencken the next president at the end of the episode, but it’s half-hearted at best.
13. “Don’t we long sometimes for something clean? Once, in this polluted land? That’s what I hope to bring.” — Mencken
Minutes after he’s been named president by ATN, Mencken is already on TV making a speech filled with racist overtones. Ken’s shellshocked expression as he watches what he’s done says it all.
Succession is now streaming on HBO Max(opens in a new tab), with new episodes airing at 9 p.m. ET Sundays on HBO and HBO Max.