Succession has become more and more compelling by the episode. Like a second cousin of Showtime’s Billions, the show has increased its depravity and gone from being one of HBO’s most forgotten dramas into the summer’s best surprise. Every week brings about another Cousin Gregism (“Muchly appreciated!” he awkwardly tells Logan Roy, after waiting hours to ask for help getting out from under Tom’s abusive wing), more corporate backstabbing, Diego Maradona–level amounts of cocaine, consistently vicious humor, and new reasons to loathe the Roy family.
As those who have adopted Cousin Greg as their new lord and savior know, the show is structured around the constant maneuverings of the Roy family and who, exactly, might succeed patriarch Logan Roy and (presumably) tank his company, Waystar Royco, in some dramatic fashion. Despite the show’s anti-capitalist framework, for the characters it remains a lustful race for utter wealth and power. With that in mind—and with just two episodes to go until Succession wraps up its stellar first season—now is a perfect time to take stock of where all the characters competing for the top spot stand. These are your Succession power rankings.
1. Logan Roy
The patriarch remains on top. His standing, however, is untenable—Logan is old, just had a stroke, might be suffering from some form of dementia, and wants to invest in newspapers in 2018. For all of these reasons, he’s got a giant target on his back. Everyone—the Roys, their enemies, their employees—is coming for the throne, or hoping to serve their own interests. He likely can’t keep up with a much younger generation. He will, however, ceaselessly tell that younger generation to fuck off.
2. Marcia Roy
As Logan goes, so does his third wife, Marcia. It’s hard to get a read on her—one of the creepiest moments of the series is when Shiv tries to do a background check on her and it comes up empty, while Marcia makes it clear she knows she’s being inspected—but she appears to have Logan’s best interests in mind. (It probably doesn’t hurt that his best interests also serve her interests.) But yeah, Marcia’s steely resolve is formidably intense—if there were an HBO crossover, I could totally see her sipping sweet tea and trading death stares with Adora from Sharp Objects.
3. Kendall Roy
Since the beginning of the series, Kendall has fluctuated from being at the very top of the food chain to being at the depressing bottom of it. At the onset of Succession, Kendall seemed poised to lead Waystar into the digital age in his dad’s absence; then his dad canceled his retirement and remained CEO; then he tried to stage a coup against his father from within the company; then the coup failed; then he relapsed into hard drugs. And yet, Kendall is back on the rise after the eighth episode, “Prague,” because he’s united himself with his bud Stewy Hosseini and Sandy Furness—Logan’s biggest media conglomerate rival—in another takeover attempt that would ostensibly screw over his siblings’ fortunes. Ouch.
Also, in “Prague,” when everyone finds out Tom’s bachelor party is at this weird underground Brooklyn orgy thing, Kendall says: “Business is my fucking.” I just want to be clear that that sentence was an important factor in slotting him at no. 3 in this ranking.
4. Stewy Hosseini and Sandy Furness
If the Kendall coup is successful—a big if—they stand to profit considerably. It’s not so much piggybacking off of Kendall as just being really slimy corporate parasites (which they even acknowledged in “Prague”!). And for that, I’m coupling them together as an awful pair who could be in line for a huge payday.
5. Siobhan Roy
Shiv is on the outside looking in—politics is the yin to everyone else’s consumerist yang, though all parties are equally awful—and having a modicum of space from Logan and Waystar has made her journey since the start of the series a bit more palatable. That’s pretty impressive, considering she’s working on a political campaign for a person who really hates her father.
Unfortunately, Logan just made it clear that he’s aware that she’s having an affair with her colleague and ex Nate, while making a thinly veiled threat in order to force her to tell her boss to tone down his anti-capitalist message. That’s a tough break for her. However, considering her nickname is Shiv, I suspect she’ll bounce back with ferocity.
6. Gerri Killman
Gerri is low-key doing well for herself on this show. She backed out of taking over as CEO of Waystar because, well, it nearly killed Logan, and who the hell wants to compound the stress of an already difficult work environment? By receding to the shadows, Gerri has done just enough to serve her own interests and stay near the very top of the food chain without poking the bear. Carry on.
7. Roman Roy
When Roman isn’t masturbating from the ivory tower that is being Waystar’s chief operating officer … he really has no idea what he’s doing. The guy is a strange mix of cocky asshole and self-aware person who knows he’s only in a position of power because of his dad’s stature … which only makes him pissed at everyone.
His big thing at the moment is a space launch—think SpaceX—in Japan that, if successful, could provide a significant boost to the company. Of course, knowing Roman, it’ll probably end calamitously. (We also learned in “Prague” that Kendall used to put him in a dog cage, and that Roman was into it?! Ugh, this family.) Still, bonus points to him for going shirtless to boost corporate brainstorming.
8. Frank Vernon
I really feel bad for Frank. He may be the only sort-of friend Logan has—and even that didn’t stop Logan from firing him just to appease Roman’s ego. Frank’s now working with Kendall, but it feels like anything adjacent to the Roys will only spell trouble for him. At least he’s at a retirement age?
9. Tom Wambsgans
The good: Tom is almost aggressively obsequious to his fiancée Shiv and her family, but it seems to be working.
The bad: Shiv is cheating on him, and he’s so smitten with her (and the influence that comes with marrying her) that it’s going to crush him if and when he finds out. He also covered up sexual misconduct on the company’s cruise line, and that feels destined to come back to bite him.
The unclear: At his bachelor party, he, uh, did some weird stuff.
10. Cousin Greg
Oh, Cousin Greg. Sweet, naive, gangly Cousin Greg. He is far and away the best character on the show—hilarious and empathetic—but this ranking is not about likability, it’s about corporate ascendance. So far as we know, Cousin Greg is just a hot mess living in a youth hostel and stealing goodies from the office.
Perhaps all of Succession is a Breaking Bad–esque tale about the rise of Cousin Greg from dimwit to dictator, but in the interim, he is the Roy family punching bag—especially to Tom.
11. Connor Roy
The eldest Roy sibling is also the least effective member of the family. The dude lives in a distasteful, dystopian ranch in the middle of the desert; he’s essentially bribing an escort—who clearly doesn’t have a shred of respect for him—into marriage; he can’t handle any responsibilities (see: trying to organize that charity gala).
Connor has no interest in doing anything for Waystar, or anything outside of it. This man-child sits at the bottom of our rankings, and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon. However, Connor aside, there’s really no telling where the characters will stand by the end of the season, as we head toward Shiv and Tom’s wedding. All I ask is that Cousin Greg remains safe.
Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.