As for Roman, he struggles with the personal side of being in control. Since he has advantages to give strength and fire, he believes that everyone he does business with at Waystar should take his money and do what he asks. But in a meeting with a studio executive, he first struggled with an offer of condolences—”No!” Flirting — and then groaning when she complains about ATN’s far-right leaning. Roman’s initial response is to troll, by making a sarcastic comment about Los Angeles’ “incredibly sophisticated, ruthlessly segregated” society. Then he decided it would be easier to end their relationship.
When Jerry finds out what Roman has done, she tries to play mentor again, warning that he is “a weak king in a dangerous interregnum,” and noting, “You can’t beat money.” He comes back to say she’s disrespectful and adds, “I want you to believe I’m as good as my dad.” She replies: “Say it or believe it?” So he fires her as well. (“Shall we start the paperwork? Do you want to do it yourself or do you want me to make someone more straightforward?”)
Knowing he’s over, Roman turns to Kendall, hoping his brother will play the good cop role and clean up the bad cop’s mess. But Kendall is excited that they’re putting their own stamp on Waystar, and he thinks these two approaches could impress the markets. (“Some say these young Turks might have what it takes to turn things around,” he says, imagining what business pundits might write.) Distraught, Roman excuses himself from showing up for the Investor Day speech, figuring Kendall’s lonely personality will ignite and then the adults will finally step in. And they fix everything.
It’s a reasonable assumption, too, since Kendall is in full Icarus mode throughout this episode. There are few things more entertaining in “Succession” than Kendall in his boss’ groove, throwing out big ideas and buzzy business terms at a rapid clip. Whereas Chief is the type of boss who hates making decisions and scoffing at other people’s ideas, and Roman is the type of boss who hates interacting with anyone who doesn’t say “yes sir,” Kendall is a hands-on boss who urges the team to be as excited as he is to take a swing. Huge.
On this day, Kendall is trying to increase the market potential of Living +, calling it a “price rocket.” Ringing in a recent buzz around Waystar accountant Pete (John Quilty), Kendall tries to get him to work some magic with spreadsheets, to see what would happen if they were, you know, plugged into bigger numbers. (“Numbers aren’t just numbers, they’re numbers,” Pete rambles.) The gambit leads to a prospectus promising such a high rate of return that, in a moment of clarity, Kendall chuckles, “It’s enough to make you lose faith in capitalism.” He is then brought back to Earth by Frank, who threatens to blow the whistle if Kendall asks him to support a scam.
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