“Succession” is now undoubtedly a sure-fire television hit. While season one was a bit of a slow burn in terms of catching an audience, the second season has seen universal critical acclaim, bigger ratings and dedicated viewers dissecting everything from Shiv’s hair to the brilliant theme tune. With its second season, “Succession” has delivered one of the strongest seasons of television I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. In my opinion, it’s the best show on television right now, and season two proved that every episode. Therefore, picking the best moments from this season proved incredibly difficult, so I’ve tried to narrow it down to 10 from across the season.
Season Two, Episode One “The Summer Palace”: Logan’s Offer to Shiv
“Remember this, this slant of light. Remember this, this is it.” Logan’s (Brian Cox) offer for Shiv (Sarah Snook) to become his successor was the highlight of the premiere. “You’re the one,” Logan tells Shiv at the family’s summer house in the Hamptons. After the events of season one, it’s natural that Logan would (at least appear to) want Shiv to take over. Shiv’s been shown to be smarter, sharper than her siblings and politically savvy. Shiv’s reaction to Logan’s offer was played perfectly by Snook, from initially scoffing and dismissing Logan’s offer, to treating her father with suspicion, to then breaking down with tears in her eyes, questioning “Why did you never ask me?” Like Roman (Kieran Culkin) and Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Shiv has also wanted to be CEO all along. While it was a great moment to watch, Logan’s mind games throughout the scene immediately made clear that Logan can never be trusted.
Season Two, Episode Three “Hunting”: Boar on the Floor
“There are no fucking rules!” One of the best things about this season has been the greater role Logan has been able to play. Logan’s been front and center this season, highlighting that he is the most terrifying character on the show. Logan’s monstrous nature was fully on display in “Hunting,” in which a corporate retreat to Hungary that was meant to “boost morale” ends in grown men on the floor oinking for the sausages. Brian Cox’s masterful delivery makes Logan seem completely paranoid and unhinged in these scenes, towering over Kendall while interrogating his employees. The ‘Boar on the Floor’ game that Logan invents there and then only stresses what a tyrant he is, and how he uses his power to humiliate his employees. It’s a brilliant scene, as it showcases how well the show blends humor into these dramatic Shakespearean-style scenes. “Have you played it before?” Tom (Matthew MacFadyen) anxiously asks Karl (David Rasche) before later shouting, “That’s my fucking sausage!” in some of the season’s funniest moments. This episode proved the extreme lengths to which Logan can control his employees, and put Logan at the centre of this season.
Season Two, Episode Four “Safe Room”: Tom and Greg
“A person can definitely fit through that window — a small person, an attack child!” The show’s funniest partnership, Tom and Greg (Nicholas Braun), share some of the season’s highlights this episode. A shooter at ATN leaves Tom and Greg in the “wrong panic room,” where Greg attempts to suggest he works in another department. “Are you attempting to break up with me?” Tom asks, clearly unwilling to lose his only friend. It’s Greg response that “It could be like a business open relationship” that causes him to lose it though. “I will not let go of what is mine!” Tom shouts, the poor guy. Not only does Tom have zero control over his open marriage or his lowly position in the Roy family, but he now faces losing the only relationship he can exert control in. It’s sad but ridiculously funny, in true “Succession” fashion. “This is executive-level business!” Tom yells as he lobs numerous water bottles at Greg. It’s one of the funniest moments of the season and highlights how beautifully twisted the Tom and Greg relationship is. Thankfully the break-up is thwarted by Greg’s blackmail, leaving the pair to share more memorable moments throughout the season.
Season Two, Episode Four “Safe Room”: Kendall and Shiv
“It ain’t going to be me.” If Tom was having a bad day this episode, then Kendall takes the crown. There are essays to be written on how compelling and tragic Jeremy Strong’s performance as Kendall is, but for now, the moment he shares with Shiv at the end of the season’s fourth episode says it all. “I would just ask that you take care of me. Because if Dad didn’t need me right now, I don’t exactly know what I would be for.” It’s a rare, vulnerable moment shared between the siblings, as Kendall acknowledges the hollowness of his current existence outside of doing his dad’s bidding. The surprise and concern that quickly washes over Shiv’s face when Kendall hugs her is perfect. The acting in this scene immediately makes it one of the stand-out moments of the season, though poor Kendall will have to suffer more before his life gets better.
Season Two, Episode Five “Tern Haven”: Shiv’s Moment at Dinner
“What a weird family.” Tied with the finale, “Tern Haven” is probably my favorite episode of the season, mainly because it highlights the strength of the characters in the show. Plot-wise, this episode is pretty light. The Roy family visits the Pierce family to convince them to sell PGM. Yet with that, we get to meet an interesting collection of characters, from the head of the family, Nan (Cherry Jones), to Naomi (Annabelle Dexter-Jones), who immediately strikes up a bond with Kendall. The best moment of the episode though is Shiv’s unravelling at dinner. Insecure and anxious as the camera narrows in on her, Shiv utters “Oh, for fuck’s sake, Dad, just tell them it’s gonna be me.” It’s painfully awkward to watch for everyone involved, especially seeing the once-confident Shiv faltering under her dad’s scrutiny. It’s the type of agonizing moment the show does so well, which means it had to be included on this list.
Season Two, Episode Seven “Return”: Kendall’s Visit
“Do you think I should maybe say something to them?” Whenever Kendall experiences the slightest bit of happiness, you know it’s going to be taken away. This happens in “Return,” where Logan punishes Kendall for questioning him by bringing him along to the family home of the boy he accidentally killed last season. Just a nice, loving reminder that Logan can bring Kendall down anytime he wants. It’s one of Jeremy Strong’s finest moments when Kendall enters the house. It’s heartbreaking and horrifying to watch. Like Kendall, the viewers don’t get to sit in and see what Logan says to the family. We wait on the other side of the wall in the kitchen, family photos all around, while we sit with Kendall’s anguish. The only repentance Kendall can offer is carefully washing up a glass and shoving some notes through the letterbox later. Other shows would have brushed off the lasting emotional consequences of Kendall’s actions, so I really appreciate that “Succession” took the time to display the crucial impact it has had on his character.
Season Two, Episode Eight “Dundee”: Kendall’s Rap
“My boy Squiggle cooked up this beat for me.” Yes, it’s time for more praise of Jeremy Strong. That he can go from acting in the saddest scenes of the show to the cringiest shows how versatile he is. Give the man an Emmy already! Kendall’s rap is probably the most memorable scene from this season, and I’m obsessed with it. It’s terrible, yet great. I experienced a lot of secondhand embarrassment watching this scene, and Tabitha (Caitlin Fitzgerald) described the experience best: “It is burning my eyes, but I cannot look away.” What makes the scene is not just Kendall’s earnestness (L to the OG!), but the reactions of the cast, which are hilarious ( and apparently all genuine). Jeremy Strong describes this scene as “the desperation of a drowning man, not waving but drowning. But Kendall thinks he’s waving.” Someone give Kendall a hug please (and Jeremy Strong every award in existence).
Season Two, Episode Nine “DC”: Tom’s Testimony
“Is that someone known to you?” Poor Tom. Watching his testimony in “D.C.” is hilarious, from denying he knows Greg (who’s sitting behind him) and explaining his use of using humans as “foot-stools” as “target-oriented incentives to enhance optimal performance.” Despite the distress Tom’s under, this scene highlights how good Matthew MacFadyen’s performance has been this season, as he makes you feel sorry for Tom while you’re laughing at him. “You can’t make a Tomlette without breaking some Greggs” has got to be one of the best lines uttered on television ever. In a tense episode, Tom’s testimony provided some needed light-relief.
Season Two, Episode Ten “This is Not For Tears”: Roman Saving Gerri
Kieran Culkin has been doing amazing work as Roman this season, but I picked the season finale as his character’s best moment. This episode really demonstrates the growth in Roman’s character and shows that his experience in Turkey has changed him. Not only does Roman show maturity and business sense, but he’s honest with his father about the deal he managed to get, enough to admit it’s too risky to take it. This continues when he sticks up for Gerri (J. Smith Cameron) and shuts down any conversation of her being the company’s ‘blood sacrifice.’ Roman and Gerri are the season’s most unexpected yet delightful pairing, and it’s impossible not to enjoy their odd relationship. Therefore, Roman protecting Gerri was a great moment that underlined the significant development both of their characters have made this season. Here’s to more of the Rockstar and Molewoman next season.
Season Two, Episode Ten “This Is Not For Tears”: The Final Scene
“He loves the broken you.” Jeremy Strong’s acting process as Kendall has been described as “hugging the cactus,” with Strong living Kendall’s internal pain and guilt throughout the filming process. As a result, Kendall’s journey has not only managed to be miserable, but it has resulted in Jeremy Strong giving one of the best performances in television history. The season finale managed to triumph season one’s and, considering that had a wedding, a car crash and Tom saying “wedding-y” multiple times, that is quite an achievement. The best moment, of course, is the final one, where Kendall turns on Logan. It makes sense that Logan would pick Kendall as the necessary ‘blood sacrifice’ in order to save the company, and it makes just as much sense that Kendall would then turn on his father in one of the most satisfying scenes of the show. The use of the word “but” in a sentence has never caused such a shock as it did here. “This is the day his reign ends,” Kendall declares, tearing up his cue cards and tossing them away like they were nothing. (Is it bad to be proud of him?) Watching on TV, Logan cracks a slight smile. His son has achieved what he thought none of his kids could do. Who’s a killer now, Logan?
Sarah is a bookseller and English Literature graduate who watches too much tv in her spare time. Her favourite shows include Succession and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Sarah is particularly interested in period dramas and women’s history.