Succession: “Belligerent Zucchini”

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S1: Guys, this is succession. This is HBO, if you don’t want to hear me talking about Logan Roy talking about. Then don’t listen to this. There are bad language words in this show.

S2: Hello.

S1: Welcome to the belligerency episode of Sleep Money Succession. I’m Felix Salmon of Axios Emily Peck is here from fundraise. Hello, this is a special one, people, because we have the one, the only Ed Lee of The New York Times. Hello. And you. You are the spiritual godfather of this show. You. This show makes no sense without you.

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S3: I’m very honored.

S1: Seriously, thank you for coming on the show. Thank you for coming on the show for this particular episode. Because if we need explication and untangling of media corporate machinations, this is the episode that we need them.

S3: Timing was perfect.

S1: Timing this one perfectly. We’re going to talk to you about board seats and annual meetings and Rupert Murdoch and Sumner Redstone. And yes, we’re going to love it. Imaginary cats and pissed mad kings of England as well. I need to ask you. I have no idea anymore. Like, what is your

S2: job these days?

S3: Wow. I didn’t see that one coming. Yeah, I have a new job. I am now checking the part of management. I have a title call, the assistant editor and I am part of this new experimental group called Trust and Innovation. And what is it? What the hell does that mean?

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S1: Is something which they set up within, like 18 to try and mollify shareholders?

S3: Well, not not quite. So, you know, not quite so brazen is that it’s more look, remember Innovation 1.0 or innovation report that A.G. Sulzberger worked on? I guess you could argue this is sort of the next iteration of that. All right. So how do we modernize the report in a way that is keeping up with what’s going on so that we can make sure we’re not alienating readers and engendering trust with everybody?

S1: I have I have the answer for you.

S3: You have the answer.

S1: I have the answer. All you need is a slogan saying, We hear you. We’re here for you.

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S3: We are here for you. You know what? I’ll run that up the chain. I have a feeling you probably will not go for that, but it’s definitely, definitely an idea.

S1: Stay tuned for Ed Lee on Slate. Many succession. OK, so let’s just jump straight in here. Succession decided to go full on Sumner and Shari. Yeah, yeah.

S3: My goodness.

S1: I did not see that one coming. I have to admit,

S3: you know, I didn’t either, but look real life drama like it’s always going to be the best anyway. So they kind of, you know, you’re going to take from you’re going to take from what what’s happened in real life and what the drama around that. So surprise me, but didn’t surprise me.

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S1: Emily can you explain? Explain the belligerent vegetable?

S4: So this is Felix and Ed are talking about sandy and sandy, who in this episode, Sandy won. The old was in a wheelchair and was the belligerent vegetable that couldn’t speak, and his daughter Sandy, too, was basically the sandy whisperer as well. He, the vegetable, would whisper in her ear and then she would translate his wishes to everyone else. And I didn’t even think of this until Felix and Ed started talking about it. But this is supposed to echo Sumner Redstone, the old he’s he’s passed away.

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S3: Yes, he’s he’s gone. He’s dead. It’s over. All right. He died. Yes.

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S1: He lasted way longer than anyone thought he was.

S4: He ran Viacom as a vegetable as well, and his daughter, Shari, was his whisperer, apparently. Now I would ask Ed to pick it back up.

S3: What’s great is that there’s so much one to one, right? Like in this episode and in real life. I mean, yeah, Sumner was in a wheelchair. He couldn’t speak. He actually had an iPad, so to speak for him. But the real story around that was like, well, only Sherry could understand him, apparently. So this is what’s brilliant about this Andy part is that like, Oh yeah, he’s only his daughter really understands him. She’s the only one who can interpret his true wishes. And of course,

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S1: his true wishes is turns out that his daughter gets a board seat. Oh, of course, I royko.

S3: Yeah, he gets a board seat and all the control that he had. Oh no, this is. He wants me to have it. I know we’ve had a fractured relationship, but like, really like, we’ve reconciled. This is where this is what he really wants, and I feel really fortunate to be part, you know,

S1: so I have I have questions in this fictional universe. The first question being like, how did Sandy Junior, how is she not one of the three board seats to begin with?

S3: Yeah, no. That’s actually a question I had as well. I mean, you have to sort of suppose certain things right in there in their relationship, right, that she was sort of left off of it in the first place because they didn’t really quite explain it or they didn’t. They kind of glossed over a little bit like the other thing that’s entirely possible is that, you know, the old man wheelchair, like he still had the control regardless, like she might have a board seat or she might have some chairs, but he’s the one who really has the control. Right? So everything’s or begins and ends with him, whatever piece of whatever thing that she had didn’t really matter. Right. So she still needed his his OK, write, his stamp of approval to kind of get that control.

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S4: And the board seat wasn’t even her idea. Felix it was shivs idea to sort of pull out that last minute deal towards the end. I mean, Sandy Jr. was basically just carrying out her father’s wishes, which were basically just to screw the the Roy is. That’s the the main conceit of this episode, right? It’s like they’re trying to make a deal with Sandy and Stewie before the the famous shareholder vote occurs and everyone loses everything or something like that. And then Sandy keeps just asking for more humiliating things like not using the corporate jets anymore and not having a Roy Childs be CEO, etc..

S1: Because because in Stewie’s wonderful words, and this is the first time that we see any kind of clear blue water between Sandy and Stewie, who’ve always just been sandy, and Stewie has been like the Sandy and Stewie show, and now we can see the Sandy and Stewie are not entirely aligned where Stu is on the phone to Kendall, who he knows he can’t trust and who he kind of hates, and he was very angry about. And he’s like being like all vulnerable, vulnerable and honest and shit to Kendall.

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S2: We are a very complicated coalition, and Sandy’s the angriest fucking vegetable. All right. Listen, I can salvage this. I’m on my way to talk to them. Good luck. Fucking belligerent 17 years.

S3: It’s the angriest fucking answer. It has to be the best line in that episode. So I think so far this season? Absolutely. And but you’re right, Felix. I thought that was a really interesting, dramatic moment, right? Because it was always sandy to me. They were like one was sort of the arm of the appendage of the other, right? But then finally, Stewie comes out as sort of like the fuck. You know, this is not basically not cool. And they’re all kind of alone. They’re all trying to find alliances. Strangely, I think Shiv is the only one who sort of sort of sorted that one thing out. But even then, you’re like, huh? Like, that didn’t quite that, I thought was also the other kind of unreal, not unrealistic, but sort of the dramatic. Flourish as Emily, as you pointed out, it was her idea for for the old man’s daughter to to join the board right and for them to form some kind of weird alliance. And then she comes out as like, Well, you know what? Yes, but what is it? A Roy child cannot be on the video ever. Yeah. And I exactly right, which was that threw me for a loop, actually, but was a brilliant move, was actually brilliant corporate move, I think.

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S1: Well, well, it seemed brilliant. Seemed brilliant to show if it did not seem brilliant to Logan and it was half way towards the completely unacceptable proposal that Sandy had on the table at the beginning of the episode, when Gerry and Frank like walk in the city, I mean, Carl, I can remember walking all the angry, and Gerry is like asking for the moon on a stick, and it’s ridiculous. They want for board seats. How could we possibly imagine giving them four board seats? And then in the end, they got their fourth board seat and everyone’s like in shit. But this is a great triumph. We gave gave them four board seats. The one thing which kind of dilutes that a little bit is that they got an extra box. They shave, basically tried to get herself on the board at the same time. And so that was the big question, which one of the questions I had for you ad because you understand boards a hell of a lot better than they do. To what extent is absolute number of seats important versus percentage? Like how much does like giving Chevron offsetting board seat make a difference to the fourth board seat? The findings do it.

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S3: Finally, it makes. It makes no difference. It makes as far as I’m concerned, it makes no difference. I think I think Shiv kind of screwed that one up. I mean, it’s like it’s I think it’s good that she gets a seat at the table, certainly. I think that’s sort of a minor. It’s almost like. You know, what we’ve been seeing in the for their first three or four episodes is sort of the kids maneuvering around each other and they can’t ever fight, they can’t find alliances, right? And whatever sort of power this party gives Shiv, it’s not. It’s like it’s pyrrhic at the end of the day, right? So she wins something relative to her siblings, but she doesn’t really win.

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S2: That’s because I

S1: so I thought of it the exact opposite way. So I want you to expand on this. Sure. For me, the only question is. There’s no point in being a minority of three on the board or a minority of four on the board, so long as Logan can still get whatever the hell he wants. The only thing that matters is the ability to get a majority of the board to potentially out vote Logan. And that’s why the countervailing force of having the shift boards board seat is it makes it that much harder for Sandy and Stewie to put together a coalition of any kind of majority on the board.

S3: And I see what you’re saying. So you think that her presence on the board all of a sudden sort of gives Logan sort of the counterweight that he needs to offset whatever whatever the sandy crew might end up doing?

S1: Exactly.

S3: Usually, you know, it’s the controlling holder who says, this is how I want you guys to vote. And so then the board votes that way. All the sudden you have these four four people on the board who are not in any way beholden to you, right? So they can do what they want. I think Shiv being there, yes, can be a countervailing force for Logan, but I think it’s like there’s this kind of nice dramatic setup to that which if she could sort of switch sides right, she could align herself with the four if she wanted to just to screw over her dad or if she feels like she’s not getting what she wants.

S1: I think we think that’s a done deal. Do we think she is going to get that board seat? She didn’t do that clever thing with her dad, where she was like, Well, you know, an extra board seat for me, O’Connor, just to make it look like he had a choice. But of course, he’s never going to put Connor on the board. Do we think it’s going to go to her?

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S4: I don’t know. I mean, this episode. You think so? Logan? Logan yells at her at the end of this episode and is obviously displeased with the deal that she has made. And that was one of my questions again for ED was like, And you too Felix is this or is this not a good deal? Logan clearly thinks it is not, but also he is pissed, mad for most of the episode, so I don’t know what to believe, but it did seem like Sandy and Stewie needed to make a deal. So it’s it. I don’t know. Did she have to do with

S1: Logan, right? Though, like Logan had like a known unknown right? He was like, Why are they so keen to make a fucking deal? All of a sudden, what do they know that I don’t, you know, like why did Sandy and Stewie suddenly like in the very last minute go from asking for the moon on a stick and full fat for them and corndogs and toenails slogans? But, you know, for the royals. And then suddenly turn around and be like, OK, we have deal space or whatever they called it.

S3: That was a weird moment. I didn’t quite get that either in terms of what that they were relenting or something, or if there was some other element that, like we had the other shoe hadn’t dropped yet in terms of. Yeah, I

S1: think the other shoe that’s one of the shoes has yet to drop. One of the things that really struck me about this particular episode is it it cleans up the two previous season cliffhangers, right? So the cliffhanger at the end of season one was, Oh my god, there’s going to be this huge proxy fight between the Roys and Sandy and Stewie, who’s going to win that proxy fight. And then season two was there’s this huge fight for control of the company now between Kendall and Logan. You know, it’s not going to win. Who is Logan going to keep control? And what we now have halfway through season three is both of those storylines being resolved that the proxy fight goes away with the kind of compromise where Sandy is. Do we get board seats but no control? And Kendall becomes a completely pointless side. You know, woke meet Muppet, who everyone thinks that you

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S3: woke me up, Muppet. That’s good. I like that. But I mean,

S4: Kendall was working. He calls himself the puppet master at the beginning of the episode, and he is like working both channels. He’s on the phone to both the but and he’s the one who told show off. But he’s the one who told Shiv in the beginning to, like, make an alliance with Sandy Jr. that they had shared interests as like daughters of olds, you know, pissed, mad slash unconscious men. That was his idea. Like, and he he did push them to a deal, even though they’re telling him to fuck off like right.

S1: But he got no benefit.

S3: He got, but he does

S4: get a benefit because he is on the board.

S3: I think there’s a question, though, of and I don’t know how deeply the writers are taking this, but it’s not necessary clear that Kendall is on the board, right? I get the sense that they’re following sort of the Murdoch sort of structure where the kids own shares in a trust that control certain shares of the company, but that they’re they themselves are not actually on the board.

S1: That’s what I just like.

S4: Rogers Communications voting in that in that board meeting, Roman’s vote mattered because he was on the board.

S3: That could be that could be right. So, yeah,

S1: yeah, we’re on the board. It’s funny the the way that there’s a certain amount of sort of strategic ambiguity that the writers are giving themselves. Yeah, but also like they’re very good at not giving us the full sort of exegesis of like. This is how the board is constructed and this is how many voices there are because no one need to say that out loud in real life. And so they’re just like, you’re just going to have to come.

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S3: Yeah, but this is the stuff that I’m like. I always like sort of like gnashing my teeth. Well, wait a minute. Like how? Wait a minute, this person. Where do they? Where do they get this? Like, how are they? Are they on the board or are they not on the board? I just was assuming that there was this sort of, you know, like I said, this Murdoch structure at play on on the ROI side and that there was a similar structure at play on the sandy side, right? And the Sumner structure was that like he owned shares. He he he controlled the trust that controlled the board in the Murdoch case. There is a trust that the family sort of owns that controls a certain section of the votes that control the board. Right? So I mean, I know real life is actually more complicated. So I was just sort of like riffing off of that idea in terms of when I saw these two. But to answer the question in terms of like, who really won here? Yeah, I kind of feel like we’re clearly kind of lost, but I kind of feel like the ROIs ultimately lost. I feel like I feel like they lost so much power in this deal that it’s the sandy side that like, Oh, they’re the real, you know, sort of Machiavellian in this deal.

S1: But the thing that this brought to mind, like it is very rare for one mogul to sit on another mogul’s board by feel this did happen with like John Malone on News Corp. For one.

S3: This is. There we go. Like you, brother. So like there, this really famous maneuver that John Malone sort of pulled on Rupert Murdoch back. I want to say I was in the 90s where this is when News Corp was. One company hadn’t split up yet. And Murdoch still had these controlling shares. But apparently John Malone, who wanted DirecTV of all things, which is what it was. A piece that part of the Murdoch empire at the time quietly bought up controlling shares in News Corp at one point. Amount did enough that he could actually challenge Rupert because the controlling shares were actually openly traded, and it’s still are like you can just go buy them. And so he didn’t know it until it’s too late. Murdoch didn’t know it till it’s too late. And so then Malone cut this deal. If Murdoch were like, You know what? Fine, I’ll give you back the shares. I’ll sell you those shares in exchange for DirecTV. It’s like, you know what he did? And Murdoch had no no out but to like, fuck it. Fine, do it. And then they put it. After that maneuver, the Malone maneuver, like News Corp, finally put a poison pill in there in their bylaws where like, you know, you couldn’t own a certain percentage more than a certain percentage of the Class B or the controlling shares. So he was finally able to do so. This reminded me so much of that where, like Sandy, is the Malone, I guess, in this sort of corporate drama.

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S1: Or maybe she I don’t know whether to have had any of the he or she. Well, yes, I maybe maybe she will, but will be happy with, like Waystar. You know, they’ll be like the Waystar Royko demerger and the and sandy will make the will have Waystar and the Logans will have Royko and

S3: the Shealy Sandy. I, we don’t know enough about her, right? If she really is the Shari Redstone character like she’s out for power, absolutely right. She wants to like, finally, like be a mogul, be sort of in charge of something after so many years under her father’s thumb. But it’s not clear the way they wrote her, like what her real motivation is. I don’t know. Maybe I missed, missed it or didn’t see it, but what do you guys think?

S4: Can you remind listeners of what happened ultimately with Shari Redstone, because she did ultimately grab power right and do some maneuvering? There’s like a MeToo tie also kind of reminiscent of what’s going on at Waystar Royko Sumner Redstone.

S3: It’s actually kind of fun that the show did this where they finally sort of merged these two stories these two sort of family ideas, right, like the Redstone family and the Murdoch family, even though in real life than it ever really had that much business dealings. So in real life with with Sumner Redstone, you know, towards the end of his life, he he was in a wheelchair, he couldn’t speak and he had the votes. He controlled the company. And Sherry, like, really, she didn’t have anything. She had sort of a piece of a piece. And so it all came down to what did Sumner want. So Sherry sort of somehow reconciled with her dad after many years of of them being at odds with each other. And as he was sort of in his wheelchair and unable to speak, she was the one at his side sort of interpreting, saying this is what he wants. And basically. And here’s the here’s you know, no one has reported this out one way or the other. She somehow just got it without any kind of paperwork. It was not clear that Sumner ever signed over his shares to her. It simply, she said, this is what he wants, and then they did it right. And so that’s what she did towards the end of his life. And then when he died, finally, his will was triggered. And yes, she got the portion that she was supposed to get in his will, according to his will, and did have official control, but until he died. We don’t really know what he was actually saying other than Sherry. So she usurped power right before his death. His death triggered things in her will that like technically diluted all the power. But like she, she had just enough of the right allies in terms of how his powers, how his shares were split up amongst like grandchildren and other children that like and lawyers that like she effectively had control, which is the reality today. In the case of sandy and sandy, it’s again, I don’t really know like what the daughter wants, what her relationship with her dad is, other than it’s probably just as complicated just as screwed up as she is with Logan, right?

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S1: I did like that scene where the two daughters meet in the hotel, you know, corridor, basically, and there is this kind of feeling of the next generation doing the deal and taking over. They’re both clearly competent. They understand each other. They can put this thing together in a way that Carl and Frank and Jerry and Stewie couldn’t. It’s an open question whether such a deal was possible, if Logan had been compos mentis. But maybe that’s just, you know, for the best, you know, like, it’s time for Logan to disappear off into his wheelchair and let the next generation be a bit more competent than he is.

S5: I don’t think it’s right, how your dad sidelined you in all this, and maybe it’s appropriate for me to have somebody like minded on the board just. So how about a fourth seat on the board for you? You can tell him that you screwed it out of us and my dad was losing his shit and then nearly killed off four seats. That’s yeah, that’s a lot of seats. You will like them. Yeah, yeah. Well, it’s it’s it is one more than three, by my count. So, Waystar, four ballots will need an extra one.

S6: For me. I see.

S5: He won’t love that. OK, well, look, just tell him that the fucking the markets will never let me or my brothers be CEO. Oh, come on. Do you believe that? I just care if your dad believes it. Look, I should go see if I can sell it, but this is this is good with Logan. I can sign. Can you sell it,

S3: which is sort of the narrative that we wanted in real life that never really happened. I see from Sherry finally got control, but like ViacomCBS, which is a which is the Redstone company, I mean, it’s way past its prime right. It’s nowhere near where is in this world. The companies that we’re talking about seem sort of are still on the cusp of like being OK or still being in charge of things and having a lot of power.

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S1: While we’re still on the subject of corporate machinations and stuff to annual meetings like this still happen with lots of people up on the dais and people in person. And like you and sitting in the front row and like, is that still a thing or is that a sort of dramatic like we kind of needed that that conceit for the drama of the show?

S3: So it depends on the company. Like, in truth, like the News Corp of the world or like the ViacomCBS is the world. Their annual meetings are pretty humdrum, right? It’s such a formality. The people who do show up are the crazy people. Right? And like, there’s always like some guy who’s like this long time investor who like, gets up to the mic and asks him ridiculous question about, you know, whether it’s climate change this or, you know, I remember one of the News Corp meetings like someone set up. Climate change is not real, right? Like, I’m so glad Fox News is is on the case. I was like, I’ve tried things like that happen. And the thing is the votes are already sort of counted. So it’s just like this weird formality. Other annual meetings, though, like the Disney one, is a huge deal where like they make it like a real circus, like a real show and like they make a huge presentation and all these other people come and do their thing. And of course, Berkshire Hathaway. Their annual meeting is famous for being sort of feel

S1: like if if Carl wanted to sort of just vamp and run out the clock, you’d be like, OK, I’m going to start taking questions. And there would be no shortage of people asking questions, and you could just answer questions instead of having to make sure that

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S4: Vamp Carl Vamp,

S3: then it’s I think like, Am I right? But no, they’re there. When News Corp split and right during the hacking scandal, that annual meeting was a circus that there was a lot happening there. There was all the reporters we all showed up. Like I flew out to L.A. for that, I remember. And you know, all the crazies were there as well. But like, it was like it was this very sort of like tense sort of meeting right where they had to take questions about the hacking, about the split, about like, who knew what when? And one guy even flew in from Australia, who was this sort of famous sort of kind of gadfly and sort of the News Corp investor circle who like sort of like hounded Murdoch with at the mike over everything, basically. Yeah. So annual meetings can be can be an affair? Definitely. Ninety percent of the time, they’re not.

S4: So also, when you’re saying that people had sometimes have like hostile questions for leadership, I felt like when Kendall usurps the stage at the end of this episode and starts like moment of silence for the victims of my company like it and they would they they pan to the audience and everyone. The audience was like rolling their eyes at him, like no one seemed to be on his side at all.

S2: You know, I’m not actually, I’m not actually scheduled to speak today. I would like to say this. I’d like to ask you all to please join with me in a moment of silence for all the victims of crimes that took place on our watch. Kieran Mason. Oh, my God. My God.

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S1: Even if they were sympathetic to him, it was obviously just so pathetic because he has no idea how, you know, because he can.

S3: Well, that’s the thing. Like he he was sort of on a roll for like like an episode or two and then like totally broke down and it reminded me of the the towards the end of the first season. Remember, like when he like he had that accident and like he just comes crawling back to his dad and like, you know, it’s like his dad sort of has it over him. And so it’s it’s like he fucks up again in this weird way, right? That he just sort of. He’s he’s definitely the most tortured Roy, for sure. I want to say,

S4: although shifts coming up now like looking pretty tortured because it’s like she can do no right under her father’s watch. It’s like she thinks she’s done a great deal here and he’s just like, You suck, like, get out of my face that buzzing around me.

S1: Yeah, but like, she’s now got like the respect of Colin, Frank and probably Jerry. You know, like the people who are actually running the company are looking at and going, well, you know, you did actually managed to pull a deal out of here when we were incapable of doing it. So I think she’s she’s not just another useless Roy kid.

S4: But can we talk about other stuff in this episode because I thought this was, yes, this episode was basically like a zany rejoinder to anyone who thinks succession isn’t a comedy anymore. It was like a screwball episode from start to finish in so many ways. The Rabbit. We can start there. The dead cat under Logan’s chair like him saying to Carl at one point, they’re like, What? Why is everyone being mean to Carl and Logan’s? Like, I’m the only one who can be mean to Carl, which just say, Cracks Me Up is so affectionate and weird, but I just delighted in so many of the details the madcap like when they kept walking up to the stage where Carl was. And you think he’s getting bailed out by the next person or was a frank and then they just like, kind of like, are smiling at each other but saying terrible things to each other. And then Frank has to go back out and keep talking, you know, like he’s just stuck out there and the whole corporate smile. I enjoy that so much.

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S3: Yeah, that torture is pretty good, which, you know, I mean, it’s sort of emblematic of just really like how companies are run. You know, there’s always that it’s going to be the whipping whipping people, the whipping boys. You’re like, Have to do that song and dance. Yeah, you’ve already cited all the best lines. Felix, I feel like there are.

S1: There are so many good lines. The fucking Hercule Poirot of piss. I mean, I mean, yeah, which I need to ask. Like, I am not an expert on urinary tract infections, but is that remotely like do they make you go mad?

S3: That I don’t know. No, I didn’t Google that.

S4: I can you that Bill Clinton just had a UTI. So we know that and he landed in the hospital. So we know that it can be serious for old men that I can tell you that right?

S1: And Conor did say that Ronald Reagan had won and nearly nuked Belgium.

S4: Is that even remotely true? You know, it’s

S3: like, I feel like Jesse Armstrong, the show runner just has like a full book of these lines that he’s just where he just waits to use and drop in the most extreme, you know, sort of lines that he’ll just sort of drop in at just the right moments and he’s got to have a book of these lines somewhere. I’m almost certain he does. And that the writers room, right? They write the episodes, they discuss the structure he comes in and sprinkles in all these lines for. And I’m sure all the actors are looked at with every script. They’re like, Do I get one of these lines like, where’s that line that I have for this episode, right?

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S1: Yes, can come. I mean, I do want to talk a little bit about like the physical infirmities of Old Man, which is definitely a large part of this episode. Logan has one of his episodes, and he does seem to be curiously binary. Logan, like he’s either on the verge of death and completely incoherent. And, you know, from season one, episode one onwards, or he’s more or less fully in control of everything and doesn’t show any weakness. And he seems to bounce back and forth in stark contrast to Sandy, who last time we saw him, I think, was fine.

S2: Totally healthy.

S1: Yeah, exactly. Out there, and just like, you know, King of the world and

S4: he was at a sex party

S1: and having a sex party right there

S4: it was at. Tom’s Bachelor party was basically this like sex party underground and the

S1: sandy was it.

S4: He was like in a room at the Bachelor party, and everyone was like, What? Old man, like, why are you at the sex party? And he was like, perfectly chill and fine with it. But now and then

S1: and then, I remember remembering that in this sort of internal timing of the of the show like we are.

S4: Yes, not that long ago.

S1: What? Maybe like 10 weeks? I don’t know. From the beginning of season one. And he’s suddenly, like, become a vegetable. Like when he was plotting with Stewie to take over the company he was, he was far from a vegetable. And maybe that’s why the Sandy Stewie coalition is fraying a little bit. And maybe that’s why Ken comes out and says, I know you’re financing starting to wobble, which is, I think he says at the beginning is the the thing that has changed, the thing that Logan smells. The weakness on that side is sandy senior just having a big stroke or whatever it was caused this

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S3: to the Logan because he he’s also an old man. He can sort of Cheyna. I know you’re about to lose a guy like, so I’m going to come in like, take this up. I mean, remember in season one, like, you know, Logan was in a hospital room, like in a coma, right? Something like that or unconscious to the point of like they don’t know what the hell was going to go on. And that’s what sort of sparked this whole succession. Yeah. But in the case of Sandy, it’s like, I agree, like it really came out of nowhere, like to the point where it felt a little bit like a device, right? Like, it was like, Oh, we’re just going to sort of put him in a wheelchair and unable to Edmund his daughter will be like, Of course, when I saw that, I was like, Yeah, of course, this is sherry, right? This is this is the Redstone’s.

S4: I mean, that’s what what it is to get very old. Like it? Slowly, things get worse, and then all of a sudden, they’re really, really bad. That’s that’s usually kind of how it goes at the end times for people. And the weirdness is that these companies allow these in our country, I guess allow these very, very old gentlemen to be in charge and have so much power, but they’re frail and like can like go M.I.A. And their brains at any time. It’s really.

S3: Which actually brings up a great great point, though, like, you know, CEOs of major corporations, whether you’re like a family dynasty or not, they all have like this insurance, right? Like the company pays like this massive insurance sort of to, you know, that’s why I like CEOs, can’t like travel by themselves. They have to always have security, et cetera, because it’s a liability for the company. And so they they have all this insurance. I don’t know that this is actually would be a good story. Like, I don’t know if this insurance includes things like, you know, age and mental illness, you know, essentially because it showed if you think about it, because there are CEOs who are 80 plus years old. Well, in the case of Murdoch, like 90 now, right? And Sumner was in charge into his 90s as well. So that’s not good for a company that’s just not Warren Buffett. Warren Buffett, there you go, right?

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S4: Can the shareholders like like if you if if it got out that Logan, the CEO of this big company, was basically like unconscious and out of it at this big moment, the shareholder vote, and they couldn’t make any decision. And the company does this deal while he’s out of it, and the deal is bad for shareholders theoretically, like, isn’t there like you could they could get sued for that. Yeah, right?

S1: As Matt Levine will tell you, everything is securities fraud.

S4: Yeah, well, they do. I mean, the kind of is it is easier to be out of it at that moment

S3: because every company is at any moment sort of selling investors on the idea that the company is good, right? That it’s not just solvent, but that it will be even more solvent tomorrow. Right. And so every moment of a company is just this at this pitch. Right. And so if at any moment that pitch is false, then you could sue as a as a shareholder, right, as a as a part owner of that company. And so you didn’t tell me Logan was was debilitated. You didn’t tell me that like, you know, he was basically mad and so that he could

S1: go up there and tell them, he’s Barbra Streisand

S3: is exactly right. So, I mean, that’s that would be sort of another interesting plot point if they ever want to incorporate it, right? Because you could have, like an activist, come in, you know, and use that as leverage in kind of a suit they don’t need to watch.

S1: Which also does explain why Logan was keeping his UTA so secret, and even Schiff didn’t know about it. You know, presumably Marsha knows about it, but she was. She was gone from this episode, but it came back. She only had a couple of lines, but Sid’s back, and I’m so happy that it’s back that one. The fact she did have. She has a great line where Connor’s like crowing to her about getting put in charge of the European cable operation.

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S2: So here I was thinking about European cable and then boom, open sesame. Can you believe it? It is hard to believe

S1: the other old man, of course, in this episode is Ewan, who’s much more on top of everything than like his than Sandi Senior or Logan, and it’s decided to give all of his money to Greenpeace.

S3: Well, we kind of knew that early on with his with the lawyer, right? Like the lawyer that he got for Greg, you’re like, he’s weirdly crunchy, right? Like, there’s. It’s like, what is what is this like? What’s going on here? And like for a while, I thought, like he would be some kind of more of a mastermind behind behind stuff or had more power. But no, he just ended up being sort of like a frou frou crunchy guy, which is fine.

S1: So nothing wrong, which is fine. But like, I really I want to get I don’t know if it’s going to be this season, but when you and guys and Greenpeace gets all of his shares, like instead of selling the shares, does Greenpeace become this amazing activist investor and try and get a board seat and all of that kind of stuff?

S3: That would be amazing. That would be amazing if Greenpeace became the activist. You know, waste out, right? Go like, that’s better than reality, right? Like, that was such a great scenario. Right? I could. Someone should advise them, right? It’s like that can be like a definite flop or going forward.

S4: But Greg is going to sue Greenpeace. So I have a little bit

S2: of a development, apparently. I can’t technically sue you. And while he’s still alive, but I can’t sue Greenpeace, you’re going to sue Greenpeace. Like your style, Greg, because you think you’re going to go after next. Save the children.

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S4: I don’t know. I like I did, like when you and spoke truth to Greg and was like, You need basically, you need to grow up.

S2: I’m giving all my money to Greenpeace. Great. What? Even my part. That was the first part. Why? Why is that the first part? I mean, how do you how can you tell? I mean, because because Greg, your life is not a bagatelle, because you are putting yourself in the service of a monstrous endeavor because. Because you need to take yourself seriously, could

S1: you and is objectively wrong about that Greg’s life objectively is a bagatelle.

S4: Oh, but he doesn’t want it to be, he says. You have to take yourself seriously, kid. Like it’s time to grow up. Stop.

S1: Trifling about that was that wonderful bit where he tries to, like, crouched down next to Jerry and have some kind of a conversation with her, and she’s like, Just go away. I have no

S2: time.

S1: He’s like, He’s like, this little annoying nap. He’s like, Go to her.

S4: But he runs the notes from Shiv to to Frank. Yeah, he’s

S1: he’s a note runner. He runs the one, the one useful thing that he’s done in over three seasons is to be a note runner. I know I

S3: kind of want to cause Greg to have sort of I wanted him to have some kind of a weapon at some point. Right? He sort of ripe for that. And it’s like it’s been taken out of his hands now, at least, you know, in this, because that was a whole conceit, right? Like, he was just this bumbling sort of character who, like, could somehow potentially have a lot of power at one point because of his his grandfather, right? Like, that’s why that existed at all. I guess they why they even tolerated his presence because they’re like, I don’t know about cousin Greg. Like, he’s the X Factor, potentially in all this. And then that now that’s sort of gone right now. He’s sort of relegated to like less than Tom.

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S4: But he also with with Tom, Tom and Greg have like one of the more sincere, weird, almost romantic like relationships on the show. You can listen to me talk about this more on Slate’s The Waves podcast. I think it came out last week, but they have some like weird

S3: effects of bromance they throw like, yeah, there is a tortured bromance between those two that

S4: are mostly coming from Tom towards Greg. I think more than anything.

S3: Right, exactly.

S1: But like over the past two episodes, we’re now seeing like a whole new relationship blossom between Logan and Tom. Yeah.

S3: Because remember, some of them sort of dangle himself out there. But yeah, let’s go

S1: whack me on their head like I’m a dead

S3: trout. Yeah, I will. I just I want struggle. Exactly right. Yeah. Tie me up. Do what you want with me. You know I’m your I’m your slave. And I think Logan was genuinely toxins like, Oh, really? Like, like, what’s your play? It’s like, No, there’s no play, you know? And then it’s like, Wow, thank you, Tom.

S1: You know, it’s I will take you to the bathroom with me. It is very late. Louis can say, isn’t it like the way the like? He’s like the the the most chosen person is the person I choose to accompany me to the toilet.

S4: And they have a nice moment because Logan calls him son. And I mean, he’s totally out of all his meds, but he calls him son. And Tom says, Anytime, papa. And he looks all like touched. It was like, This is what passes for, you know, emotional attachment.

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S1: It does seem weirdly more genuine, like the relationship between Tom and Logan seems more genuine to me than the relationship between Tom and Shiv.

S3: Oof. Yeah, I would. I would agree with that. I would definitely agree with that. Like, it’s somehow something happen. It’s almost like because Logan knows that like Tom can’t get anything. What is he going to try to? He can’t win anything, right? So it’s almost like it sort of takes that equip part out of the equation so he can just be like a person with him. Maybe that’s sort of the idea,

S1: the way that he interacts with his wife and like, can never be an equal with her. But you know, he’ll have these moments of sort of weakness and then turn them into just like like what we saw in this episode. Like you say, Oh, you know, I’m very proud of you and I’m really into, you know, you all of a sudden. And then he suddenly turns into this sort of total cringe like, I need to impregnate you before before I go into prison makes sense.

S4: So she’s not alone.

S3: He’s trying to step up as a man for one kind of thing.

S2: Tom, are you keeping a shadow log watching the phases of the moon to see when I’m most brutal? No, I just like, counted the days on my car. It’s not going, my god. No, it’s not. Come on. I’ve got like six more ovulation windows until all sex is present sex. I said I didn’t like the timing, but I think the timing is good. Like nine to 12 months is kind of what I’m hoping I might serve. I think it’s a good slot. What put one in? Four when you’re out? No, no. It’s it would keep you wet. Like not company, but I might need something. Shiv, OK, otherwise what is the point of all this? Where are we heading?

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S5: Well, I don’t want to be your fucking incubator for when you’re in prison doing chin ups and reading

S2: now, making it sound horrible. And it’s not horrible. It’s nice. It’s supposed to be nice.

S3: Oh, it’s so she

S2: has no

S1: desire to have Tom’s babies. Yeah, she told him. Of course. Tom, of course, wants to be the father of a. Roy, you know,

S3: well, it’s his only way to sort of lock himself into the family, right, because otherwise whatever it’s like, it’s paperwork is divorced, so he doesn’t have to be there. But as soon as genetics comes in, it’s like, Oh, he’s locked in forever. So that’s that’s his.

S4: You guys are so cynical. I thought Tom just legit wanted a child’s. I don’t. But you’re probably right. He just wants to cement.

S3: Yeah, but I think that it’s remember like, everyone’s trying to play the game here. That mistake, as a viewer is to be lured into the idea that any one of these people are being genuine at ever because there’s going to be those moments where they’ll dangle it out there just so you can feel some affection for the person. But really, now they’re all they’re all playing to win.

S1: I want to talk very briefly about Roman, who like Shiv, obviously had a big triumph. Kendall, obviously, like, you know, every time he can’t go any lower, he goes lower, lower, like kind of came through, like showed that he could be a vaguely competent person who talks to the president on the phone. Everyone’s like, Yeah, you’re saying the right thing, giving him lots of thumbs up, like he only had one thing to do, but he kind of did it.

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S3: He pulled it off. Yep.

S1: Yeah.

S4: I have a theory about Roman in this episode relates to Jerry, because at the beginning of the episode, when Jerry readily asserts the idea that no Roy child will ever be the CEO, it really upsets Roman, who says something to her, like, How could you do this? Like, you don’t know who’s really on your side? Jerry being the master manipulator, whatever hears that and then very intentionally like lifts Roman back up, she goes out on stage at the shareholder meeting and like adds a line about like our brilliant chief operating officer Roman Roy. And they show him like reacting to that being like, all excited. He got the shout out. And then it’s Jerry’s idea to put Roman on the phone with the reason. It’s not Roman’s idea. It’s no one else’s idea. This is Jerry, right? That’s right. Masturbating and manipulating Roman to keep him to keep his status good. Like this is their alliance. Basically, you know what I mean?

S1: And her line is great. Her line is, if any, if anybody here is a bootleg Logan, it’s Roman.

S4: Yeah, she’s laying it. I’m really thick to keep their alliance straight because she knows she needs.

S1: That’s like how many families can you tell, like being a bootleg Logan? It’s a compliment, but I’ll take it.

S4: He’s like, Great. Yeah, and also, is that a win? I mean, the reason is stepping down. He doesn’t like convince him otherwise or anything. He just takes the news, right? Is that it’s such a great thing. They don’t want there. Yeah.

S1: I mean, like, there wasn’t much that Roman could really say on that call, but at least he he did sort of like do a decent facsimile of being an executive. The thing that I have in the back of my mind, though, in terms of the siblings is I don’t know if you remember last episode, Kendall teased what is certain to be a future episode when he went up to Josh Aronson and said, I’m going to have a big, fucking nervous breakdown of a party for my 40th. The natural reaction to that was, Well, obviously this is going to be like Kendall falling apart again because number one, he’s said it’s going to be a spoke very down to like he’s still addicted to drugs three. But like at this point, dramatically, he’s already so low. They’re like, What is the dramatic purpose in bringing him maybe even lower? I don’t know what’s going to happen at this Kendall’s 40th birthday party, but I I’m looking forward to that one.

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S3: Well, he’ll clearly take to the stage and do some rap, right? Like, oh, do some white men rapping elder the O.G. healthy OG, right?

S2: Yes.

S3: I think ultimately, if the idea is that like he’s so brought low that like he has nowhere else, right? Like such a caged animal, whatever you want to call it, or whatever metaphor best suits sort of the situation. Like he could become like some X Factor, right? Like, I don’t know if he’s got something else up his sleeve. I don’t know if, like, you know, there’s something we don’t know about where he has some power somewhere where he could sort of really implode the Royko family. Somehow in real life, we had this very anticlimactic James Murdoch stepping down from the board of his family’s company just this past year, right? And it’s sort of like at that point, like, yeah, sure, whatever, you know, it was sort of somewhat minor news, but it was also we knew this was happening, but it was the clearest break he’s ever made from his family. And I saw him recently at the Tribeca Film Festival, which he owns, which he owns now. And for the whatever it is that 10, 15 years I’ve been covering that family, I have never not seen James Murdoch in a suit right of some sort. And here he came out on stage. He was like sort of moderating a panel he had like sneakers, jeans, some kind of funky polo shirt on sunglasses. And he looked as happier than I’ve ever seen him, ever.

S1: He definitely does. But that’s never going to happen in this family.

S3: No, they’re too. They’re even more craven. They’re even more sort of the whole.

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S1: Even even Connor has managed to get himself a job at Royko now, you know, like what, Connor?

S2: Well, exactly.

S1: He’s going to take Willette to Brussels to run the European cable coverage. Let’s finish up here with some favorite lines. I think my favorite line comes from, I think Roman gets at this this episode that isn’t imaginary cat. Now, can you please fuck off?

S4: That’s a good one. I love. Colin, running with the imaginary cat. I love that because Colin heretofore has been such a like menacing kind of presence, you know, very. I took him seriously, but then he’s running with the fake cat in a paper bag and like, that’s the end of that with me and Colin.

S3: I mean, it got so crazy. It got so crazy. You’re after so well, not my favorite line. I think you stole Felix, which is the vegetable line.

S1: So, yeah, that came from Stewie, right? Which is it’s rare for Stewie to get like the lion of the episode, but like he, it’s one of those ones that that repeats. He calls he he goes, We are a complicated coalition and Sandy’s is the angriest fucking vegetable. And then he and then and then in the next line, he calls him the fucking belligerent zucchini,

S3: the belligerent zucchini. I think

S1: belligerent zucchini

S3: that you can’t get better than that because it’s like this great sort of, you know, it’s it doesn’t make any sense how like you can somehow imagine

S2: Emily.

S4: Well, as I said, I like the rabbit plotline a lot. So my favorite line, the babysitter, is asking what she’s going to do bagel like she. You’re not supposed to feed rabbits, bagels. And he says, Kendall says those rules of her fuck heads who are going to go to Tampa and leave a rabbit with a Big Gulp and a dozen cinnamon raisin, a little is not going to hurt like

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S2: those fucking Big Gulp part

S4: is the idea doesn’t cinnamon raisin epics like the kind of worst bagel?

S1: Wow, this has been this has been intense. Ed Lee, we love it. When you come on this show so much, you are the font of all knowledge.

S3: I love being here, guys. Always.

S1: So next week we have after the godfather of Slate, many succession this week, Adelaide. Next week we have the godmother of Slate, many succession. The one and only taffy brought Sagna is going to come on. It had better be a good episode.

S2: Count on it.

S1: We need to. We need an episode worthy of taffy.

S3: Toffee is amazing, so I’m sure it’s going to be great.

S4: Perhaps the only person who could follow Ed

S2: POW Wow

S1: and of course, back on Saturday with regular state money. But until then, thanks for listening.