Rhea is good. She's very good at manipulating the Roy kids by playing to their insecurities.
But on Succession Season 2 Episode 8, she learned she's no match to their years of cunning, and even when they aren't all on the same team, an outsider is going to lose.
Set against the backdrop of Logan's hometown, he, too, got manipulated into naming his successor.
Shiv's attempt to rally her brothers to her side of thinking was rather slow-going at first.
With each pass she made to them that they had to band together to fight against Rhea, Rhea inserted herself into the situation and played on their insecurities spectacularly.
Shiv was right, though. Rhea was whittling down the shortlist of candidates for Logan's succession, and with such a shallow pool of talent for such a significant job, Rhea had included herself for the job.
Dead set against the idea, Shiv still hoped to redeem the coupon that Logan dangled naming her for the job.
But as happens on this smart series, events transpired that threatened the business at its core, and with that in mind, Shiv abruptly changed course and backed Logan's choice of Rhea for CEO.
Logan and Rhea were both unwitting idiots in Shiv's plan, but protecting the family name at all costs is more important than seeing a stranger in the hot seat.
Nothing is ever without an angle, though, and Rhea is going to have hell to pay as a result of the Cruises debacle's added layers.
When a whistleblower can't be bought off, then you know the stakes are very high. And one came forth in the Cruise affair that poses a threat so significant the Waystar Royco top brass were shooting mayday missiles into the sky.
But it is so utterly fascinating watching all of it unfold -- from Shiv's initial exasperation at her brothers' inability to see her reasoning about Rhea to Rhea's jockeying the field in her favor to executive committee bristling uncomfortably under the new accusations.
It couldn't have happened at a worse time, either. Not that learning of the complaint was going to ruin the good time had by all as they walked down Logan's memory lane in Dundee, but that Logan was taking the walk and how it affected him.
Logan's stories of his depressing childhood weren't exactly on the money, and that threw the kids somewhat. Shiv and Connor were incredulous that Logan's stories of defecating on the floor were based on a false reality.
Connor: It's interesting that dad's agreed to go back to Scotland for this dedication dinner.
Connor: He didn't have it easy.
Shiv: Umm hmm.
Connor: He had to shit outside, right? Sometimes I think I'll never truly understand dad until I shit outside.
But Logan isn't keen on pomp and circumstance, and he's even less keen on revisiting the past. Unfortunately, Rhea didn't know that when she turned his honor into pagaentry.
At Shiv's urging, Kendall offered up to Rhea a memory that topped all others when he suggested she toast not only to Helen, Logan's mother but to his sister, Rose, as well.
While we never discover what occurred between Logan and Rose, we ultimately learn that even if Logan has been carrying guilt around his whole life, he wasn't to blame.
But before that, bit by bit, the ammunition against Rhea began piling up. Marcia confronted Rhea about sleeping with Logan. Kendall pushed the Rose agenda. And Shiv pointed out that Rhea doesn't drink -- a small point, but still a lie that left Logan feeling deceived by Rhea's whole package.
Watching the Roy children posturing for their father's attention was kind of painful. Kendall's evolution and urge to be seen favorably by his father probably the most.
Rhea: I'm sorry. I have to ask. Why are you trying to fuck me?
Kendall: Trying to fuck you? What do you mean?
Rhea: Rose? We both know what that was.
Kendall: If anything, I'm just mildly offended on behalf of my sister and Frank, Gerri. And I wonder about the optics, but hey, my dad knows. So, yeah.
Rhea: Even so, I don't know how you've done it, frankly. What with everything you've been through.
With everything Kendall has been through over the last year, it's not surprising that he sees any future success pinned to his father's approval.
Jennifer: Has anyone ever told you that you talk about your dad, like, a lot?
Kendall: [laughs nervously] Uh, OK. Uh, no. I don't think they have.
Kendall has become somewhat obsessed, though, with his father, and it's doing him no favors. His immediate lust for an actress in Willa's play that he hoped would earn him favor from Logan was rough, and L to the OG threatened the very foundation of the firm in Roman's eyes.
I think this might be the end of the company. We might get sucked into a black hole of embarrassment that we never get out of.Roman
Connor, too, is clinging to his father's side. His stunted growth as a result of the breakup of his nuclear family was on full display.
Connor: Tell us a story, though.
Connor: Yeah, from back in the day.
Logan: Oh yeah. What? You want a bit about old, fucking Rosebud? Rosebud is a dollar bill. It's whatever it took to get me the fuck out of here.
Connor: Good story, dad.
Requesting a story from pop while driving through Dundee and his recorded message going full-on dad's a superhero revealed him as not just a spoiled, clueless wealthy kid but a floundering man-child.
He's overplaying his hand with Willa just to keep a companion, and it's bleeding him dry financially. It's hard not to feel for the guy.
All of the recordings revealed something about the person who recorded it, and Roman's inability to connect emotionally with his message suited him perfectly.
Interestingly, now that he's discovered something for Gerri, he's relaxed a lot about the succession and his place in the lineup. It could make him a more viable candidate. His confidence is growing, and it suits Roman very well.
Roman: Oh, and one more thing real quick. Should weeee get married?
Roman: You know, not that. An equivalent. The think. Like I abduct you and force you to live with me.
Gerri: That's not equivalent.
Roman: Then you kill me. You chop my dick off, you know? Something. I'm kidding, but you know what I'm saying. You eat me. I eat you. Like they do in Germany. Anyway, it's a lot to think about. I get it. So let it [wiggles fingers by his head]. Bye.
He's still interested in what's to come, and he's eager to know what the execs think of Rhea, but he's not browbeating himself about it. And his unexpected proposal to Gerri, while played off with his signature style, was genuine.
There is no doubt in my mind that Roman is in love with Gerri as much as he can be in love with anyone. If nothing else, it proves he has great taste. He's interested in her mind, and that's kind of hot even with his other proclivities.
Sure, he bought the wrong team in a bid to impress his father, but in the end, it didn't hurt him all that much, and he created a tether to the money man who could swoop in and save Waystar Royco. That's well worth the investment in dad's rival.
It might not be long until Roman feels as comfortable in his skin as Shiv is in hers. Despite her desperate efforts to get back into pole position, her message was wholly Shiv, telling Logan to f*ck off and enjoy his party.
Calling a truce with Logan for the night allowed her to better assess the situation, and with her place on the "what the f*ck are we gonna do" committee, she pivoted her position when Gerri announced that the new face of Waystar was going to be in shreds over the Cruises debacle.
Using sentimentality as the reason not to go with one of his kids played right into Logan's hands.
And Logan was all kinds of sentimental. He was seeing places and faces he'd not considered in a long time, and it weighed on him. He'll feel played when he learns about the whistleblower, but he'll understand why Shiv did it, too.
Even while being as ornery as ever, Logan was showing a softer side on the Dundee trip. His history was getting to him, and his brother, Ewan, was pouring salt into the wound.
Their relationship is hot and cold. They can turn it on and off in an instant. One moment they were reminiscing about birdwatching as kids, and the next Ewan was throwing insults into his brother's face.
Ewan: All those years blaming yourself for Rose?
Logan: I'm not interested.
Ewan: That really wasn't your fault. This though? This is your fault. This empire of shit. Time to pay up.
Ewan also forced Greg's hand. It seems he's still holding a grudge over his grandson working for his brother. The softness in Logan appeared when Greg tried to submit his verbal resignation.
Logan: I like you, Greg.
Greg: Oh, oh, oh, OK. Right.
Logan: I do. I like you. What did he say?
Greg: He threatened to cut me off.
Logan: He won't do that. He's too much of a fuckin' coward. That's why his whole life has amounted to nothing. But you know, in the end, it's up to you, kiddo. Mmm?
Logan: Uncle Fun or Grandpa Grumps.
But Greg and Tom are still outsiders. So is Marcia. Anyone by marriage isn't as on the inside as they'd probably like to be, and I'll be interested to see where they all shake out as the chips fall around the Cruises chaos.
The upcoming episode synopsis shows that the whistleblower complaint is getting the full attention of congress, especially when a victim surfaces. And Roman's heading to Turkey to pitch Waystar going private.
With only two episodes left this season, there is a lot of ground to cover. Hit the comments and share your thoughts on Succession!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.