The presidential election could swing either way this week on Succession… and so could the Roy family, honestly.
It’s election night, and Tom is feeling pressure to deliver big ratings for ATN. (He’s also getting no sleep, he tells Greg, due to “marital strife.”) Greg reveals he partied with Matsson and Oskar late into the night and asks Tom if he knew about Shiv and Matsson’s “business alliance.” Uh no, Tom did not know about that. ATN’s resident elections analyst Darwin tells the staff that Mencken is overperforming in exit polls, but it looks like Jimenez will edge him out. Shiv is nervous about the state of the nation, but Roman tells her to relax: “My team is playing your team. It’s only spicy because if my team wins, they’re gonna shoot your team.” Shiv calls Matsson and spills that Jimenez is the likely winner, advising him to release his funky India numbers tomorrow to get ahead of the story. But Matsson says he talked it over with Oskar and Greg (?!), and “maybe we keep my terrible secret a secret.” He also stirs his cocktail with his bare finger, which… ew.
Roman is concerned that if Jimenez wins, he’ll just wave the GoJo deal through. So Kendall calls Nate and tries to mend fences, promising Jimenez that ATN will be “fair as f—k” tonight. (He also gets a call from Rava who’s worried about an SUV following them, but Kendall admits “it’s probably mine,” since he wants to protect Sophie after that ugly incident on the street.) Roman heads to Mencken’s watch party, where the candidate tells him even if he loses, he wants to shape the narrative that he overperformed and he’ll be back next time — and he wants ATN’s help pushing that narrative. Meanwhile, Tom is running on fumes, so Greg offers him a little powdered pick-me-up. What could go wrong? Tom bullies Greg into joining him for a bump (“It’s medically good for your brain!”) before taking a call from Connor, who complains that ATN isn’t mentioning him at all: “Maybe everyone voted for me. We don’t know.” Well, we do know, because as soon as the polls close, ATN calls Kentucky for Mencken, removing that last sliver of hope for Connor. “F–k Kentucky,” Willa decides.
A coked-up Tom freaks out when an ATN anchor’s touchscreen malfunctions on air, sprinting down to the control room to berate the director. Shiv is more concerned, though, about reports of a fire bombing at a Milwaukee vote center that might have torched absentee ballots in a crucial swing state. Roman shrugs it off as a false flag, but Shiv marches down to the ATN studio, followed by Roman and Kendall, with a nervous Greg trying to herd them away. Shiv pulls Tom aside and tries to apologize for their fight last night, but Tom just fires back: “You scared that I’m going to blab about you and Matsson?” She reminds him that her father just died, but he reminds her that she hated Logan, “and you also sort of killed him.” A stunned Shiv then blurts out that she’s pregnant, “by you.” (!!) Tom wonders if that’s even true, “or is that a new position or a tactic?” A devastated Shiv walks away with tears in her eyes, leaving Tom standing there dumbfounded. She tells her brothers that they just can’t trust Tom anymore. Hmmm.
A humbled Connor asks Roman if Mencken’s ambassadorship offer is still on the table, but Roman says that ship has sailed. It’s looking good for Mencken, though: He has enough votes to win Wisconsin… if you don’t count the hundred thousand votes missing due to that fire. Roman wants to call the state for Mencken, but Shiv insists every last vote should be counted. (Roman’s response: “Meh.”) Roman mentions that if Jimenez wins, he’ll let the GoJo deal go through… and Shiv realizes that’s why he and Kendall are pulling for Mencken. (Ken sheepishly admits, “I’m a realist.”) They call in Darwin, who concedes Mencken’s lead in Wisconsin is insurmountable without the burned votes. Shiv floats the idea of a re-vote, but Darwin says that’s exceedingly rare. She calls all of this “bulls—t,” and when Mark Ravenhead goes on ATN blaming Jimenez supporters for the fire, she pushes Roman to put an opposing viewpoint on the air. “I don’t necessarily feel good about this, Rome,” Kendall confesses, but all Roman can offer him is “Shucks.”
Shiv pulls Greg into a side room to grill him about his night out with Matsson, suddenly pivoting to ask: “Do you find me attractive, Gregory?” (Greg stammers: “I don’t think of things such as that.”) Shiv warns him that “if you try to f–k me, I’ll kill you” — and when Greg wonders what’s in it for him, she tells him she won’t pull out his internal organs by force. Roman lays it out for Kendall: If Mencken wins, he’ll block the GoJo deal. So Roman pushes Darwin to call Wisconsin for Mencken, pulling rank as Waystar’s co-CEO. The pollster is hesitant, so Roman suggests they could say the call is “pending” and put Darwin on the air to explain the nuance. They get sidetracked, though, when Darwin is blinded after getting wasabi in his eyes, thanks to Greg’s bodega sushi. (Greg does try to help by pouring lemon La Croix in his eyes.) Plus, Connor comes to the ATN studio and offers to concede in Mencken’s direction, so Roman puts him on the air to say it’s looking like Mencken will win and the Con-heads should support him… before he goes off on a rant highlighted by him saying, “I’m a billionaire. Sorry.” Gee, we wonder why he didn’t win.
The ATN anchors call Wisconsin for Mencken, and with Jimenez taking Michigan, he and Mencken are tied with 262 electoral votes. Only Arizona and Alaska are still outstanding, and Darwin says the data shows Arizona is going red. That’d be enough to give the presidency to Mencken, Roman says, and he’s ready to make the call — but a shellshocked Kendall says no, wondering if they should revisit Wisconsin. Roman laughs that Kendall is “going to big brother it” like he always does, and cautions that if Mencken wins without their help, “we’re like the most d–kless eunuchs in cucktown.” Kendall fears that if they call it, they’ll throw the election to Mencken, adding that “one of those guys pushed my daughter.” But Roman isn’t sympathetic: “We’ll be in the West Wing. Nothing matters.” Kendall turns to Shiv, telling her he’s not sure what to do. He admits he wants to ditch the GoJo deal because he thinks he can run Waystar himself, and he’s threatened by Roman’s cozy bond with Mencken. He also shares he doesn’t feel like a good father, but Shiv assures him, “You’re a good guy,” pushing him to do what he can to stop Mencken. He asks her to see if Jimenez’s camp will also pledge to block the GoJo deal, and Shiv says she will — but she just pretends to call Nate while dialing a disconnected number.
She tells Kendall and Roman that Jimenez is willing to consider nixing the deal, but Roman contends Mencken is a sure thing. Shiv insists their dad Logan would let the electoral process play out, which draws a hearty laugh from Roman: “He did whatever the f–k he wanted.” Kendall decides to call Nate himself, and Shiv tries to stop him, but he calls anyway… and we see his face fall as he turns to Shiv in confusion. (He also pulls Greg in for a quick consult.) He confronts Shiv, asserting, “You lied,” and telling Roman that she’s working with Matsson, too. She denies it, but it’s enough to convince Roman and Kendall to call the election for Mencken. Shiv pleads with them: “This is about the future of the country.” But Roman counters: “No, I think this is because you broke up with your boyfriend.” Though Shiv says it’s a huge mistake, Roman tells Tom to call the election for Mencken. ATN makes the announcement on air, and a triumphant Mencken gives a victory speech vowing to provide “something clean in this polluted land.” He also calls Roman to thank him for putting him over the top — as rival news networks blame Tom for calling the race prematurely.
Matsson calls Shiv, bewildered by Mencken’s win (“This is cray-zee!”), and she promises to fix this… but we’re not so sure she can. On his way home, Kendall calls Rava and asks if he can see the kids, but she tells him they’re sound asleep. He’ll see her tomorrow, though, at Logan’s funeral. After hanging up, he mutters to his driver: “Some people just can’t cut a deal.”
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