No Real Person Involved: Succession Season 2 Finale Recap (Spoiler Alert!)

“L to the O-G … dude be the OG A-N he play-in’ …”

Succession is all about success — the excess of success — and, in this season, a masterpiece that zeroes in on and exposes the dirty deeds of the 1%.

The initial premise was juicy enough: Logan Roy, a Rupert Murdoch-esque titan in the sunset of his life, ponders who will shepherd his global media and entertainment empire into the future while ruthlessly clinging to power. The subplot, equally enticing, is the often dysfunctional lives of his family—the delicious tension over who could it be? growing steadily each episode.

Eldest son Connor is isolated and aloof (and not trying to lead the company but rather run for president); second son Kendall is fiercely loyal, puppy-doggish, but tragically flawed; third son Roman is a sharp but apathetic playboy; only daughter Siobhan is a coy, politically savvy, and loyal minion poised to take over. But towards the end of last season, we thought it might be Kendall (until Logan derailed and blackmailed him); for a second this season I thought it could be a Roman and (lead counsel) Gerri dual-ticket. Everyone is foaming at their rich little mouths to carry the torch and the glory—and it’s rather fun to watch society’s elites sweat a little.

The show has navigated a complex web of family, business, news, and politics, pitting brother against sister against spouse against outsider, while the undercurrent brims with the same subtle, yet profound revelation: is being filthy rich really even that great? After all, what’s the point of earning success if you can’t really enjoy it?

Sure, the entire Roy family shuttles to and fro via private sedan and jet and enjoys privileges most could only dream of (Connor once casually asks Logan for $100 million), yet demons abound. Aside from virtually no anonymity, the Roy’s humility has all but disintegrated—their world puts pressure on them most of us will never know and in the process, they lose touch with reality and appreciate virtually nothing.

Once, a friend of mine miraculously scored tickets to Howard Stern’s 60th birthday bash at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York. We basically got access to this ritzy party for free, ate their fancy oysters, drank their top shelf martinis, and were treated to the performance—a roast of Howard by his friends, musicians, comedians, and a slew of other entertainers. Just feet below me the New York media elite bustled about; people like Katie Couric, Jimmy Kimmel, David Letterman, and Barbara Walters mingled with celebrities like Tracy Morgan, Lena Dunham, Sara Silverman, and bands like Train.

It was easily one of the coolest nights of my life. We got to be famous without being famous. I thought to myself, How many of these people just hours ago rolled over in bed, got vertical and grumbled, “Damnit! I gotta go to Howard’s thing tonight!!”

Celebrity can enrich life, but usually with the wrong things. If you’re famous for being famous or by proxy it’s even worse. Beware, in these cases, of an undeserved sense of entitlement and apathy. The Roy family in Succession are essentially Howard Stern’s party guests—wealthy and glamorous beyond their wildest dreams but completely unfazed by life’s wonder. They’re spoiled by having everything, so that nothing is unattainable, compelling, or exciting anymore.

Living above the fold also has its darker ramifications. In the season two finale the Roy’s parent company finds itself embroiled in scandal—a cover-up of sexual misconduct, corporate malfeasance, death, and more—and Logan’s employees, family, and closest allies are being questioned by a Senate subcommittee. He needs a head on a stick; the board thinks it should be him, reminiscent of a Moonves or Ailes. Whereas it seems Logan himself committed no act of sexual misconduct, he did apparently know about the scandal in his cruise division and authorized its cover-up.

“NRPI” is the justification: “No Real Person Involved” meaning cruise worker, dancer, wait staff, or someone else whose life or death “doesn’t matter.” Logan covered-up the car crash where Kendall unwittingly killed a young waiter (not an RP) presumably in exchange for his obedience. This is how the Roy family business operates: there are Real People, powerful people like them, and then there’s everyone else underneath.

Perhaps the only redeeming character, or at least the one whose arc seems to feature the most growth, is awkward but hilarious cousin Greg. Although he starts out entitled and lazy, he eventually matures, self-reflects, and secretly saves some incriminating documents in case they ever need to see the light of day. Fans might agree—Greg’s story is far from over.

In the climactic scene when we think son Kendall’s gonna be the fall guy—saying, as a firm’s top executive, that he knew about the misconduct and tried to conceal it—he actually flips and rats Logan out.

If you were glued to this season like me, it was an arm-raising, verbal moment of triumph when Kendall finally stood up to his dad.

All we see is Logan’s face, calmer than it should be, with a slight smirk.

Is Logan somehow behind this or did he have no idea?

I guess we’ll have to find out in Succession season 3!



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