After that cringey interrogation, Tom accuses his colleagues—and his wife, Siobhan (Sarah Snook)—of having set him up as a patsy. Maybe they did do that. Maybe they didn’t but will now. It seems possible that Tom could be the “blood sacrifice” that the family patriarch Logan (Brian Cox) says he’ll need to end this scandal. In any case, Tom’s problems fundamentally are created by Tom. He’s a horrible person but also a horrible con man: the kind of guy who, to take one example that made him vulnerable to prosecution, commits harassment by email. “Just remember it is not a courthouse, it is a stage,” Waystar’s strategist Hugo counsels him before the hearing. “Anything goes.” Tom’s useless nib of conscience, his wavering fealty to the big lie, and his undisciplined cowardice ruin the act.
The actual Roy kids have screwed up for similar reasons before. But in this episode, as Waystar-Royco faced its greatest existential threat, they make a surprising display of mettle—sparring with lawmakers, securing a financial bailout, and neutralizing a whistle-blower. The realm of politics pushes Succession’s kids to grok what Tom doesn’t yet grasp: how great BS works.
Logan, of course, is the master. In private he screams that the scandal over cruises was “nonsense.” At the hearing, he dons his reading glasses and soberly reports that learning of internal malfeasance made for “the worst day of [his] life,” adding, “Frankly I don’t know if I’ll ever forgive myself.” He vows a full investigation and thorough prosecution of wrongdoers—and does this so convincingly that Connor Roy (Alan Ruck) whispers “Fuck yeah” in the audience. When specific questions come from senators, Logan mumbles, speaks in vagaries, and redirects to his son: a fully committed filibuster.
Next up is Kendall Roy, the troubled and oft-bumbling eldest. The actor Jeremy Strong affects a perfectly blank look throughout Logan’s testimony—which makes it all the more electrifying when Kendall livens up into a cable-news counterpuncher. Back at the Argestes conference earlier in the season, when the cruise scandal was just breaking, he’d insisted that the company take responsibility for its abuses. Now, he aggressively reroutes the hearing’s topic from Warstar-Royco’s wrongdoing to the supposed witch-hunting of the liberal Eavis, who Kendall suggests wanted a state-run media. Kendall’s bluster is as irrelevant to the hearing’s goals as it is advantageous for his own: A hack on the Fox News–like ATN hails it as “a takedown for the ages.”
Roman Roy’s (Kieran Culkin) task: to convince the Azerbaijani heir Edward (Babak Tafti) to sink royal money into Waystar. When Logan puts this assignment to him, Roman calls the ask “a stretch” and offers, “If it’s really important, I can say I’ll do it, like a fireman in a movie.” Translation: I don’t think I can do it. Yet when pitching Edward’s team in Turkey, Roman puts on a striking display of seriousness and straight talk while outlining the upside of investing in Waystar. Unfortunately the presentation is interrupted by a team of polite kidnappers; fortunately, while being held hostage as part of some sort of sectarian power grab, Roman is still able to move the deal along. The would-be investors ask all the right questions: Might the government block the deal? Might the takeover bid against Waystar interfere? But Roman, so often indecisive and mealymouthed, calmly insists that there’s no need to worry about those things.