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‘Succession’ Episode 9 Precap: Who Will Hold Up Worst Under Congressional Scrutiny?

Is the answer Tom? It’s probably Tom.

HBO/Ringer illustration

This week, the gang is heading to Washington to be publicly interrogated by Congress about the Waystar Cruise Lines scandal, a.k.a. the “death pit.” Which member of the Roy clan will be most likely to break under the questioning of Gil Eavis and his colleagues? Our staffers have some ideas.


Andrew Gruttadaro: Let’s break down the last time Tom Wambsgans was scrutinized over the Brightstar scandal, two weeks ago in “Return”:

Kenneth Chan: In terms of records and document-keeping …

Tom: … Uh huh.

Chan: Well, we need to locate all written information relevant to this investigation and safeguard it from destruction, negligence, malfeasance. … Are you aware of any document destruction that might hinder our inquiries?

[Tom begins to sweat.]

[Tom begins to look extremely nervous and scared.]

Tom: I … I … I think, um … You know what? I’ve just, I’ve just realized: We’re gonna be here for a while and I wanna give you, uh, my best attention but I really need to pee!

[Tom runs out of the office despite the lawyers’ protests.]

Tom is—how can I say this?—extremely guilty. Though he had no part in covering up Brightstar’s years of criminal activity, he gave orders to destroy documents relating to those crimes to Cousin Greg—who then signed his own name when signing out the documents in question. But moreover, Tom is—how can I say this?—not good at talking. In Season 2, he’s constantly been put in situations that require him to verbally and cleverly maneuver, and those moments have resulted in people staring at him blankly or turning him into a boar on the floor. He does not have the confidence or quick thinking to compete with the sharks of Succession’s world, nor the lack of morality that allows a person like Logan Roy to power on as if he’s done nothing wrong. He is an unthreatening, uncunning slice of Midwestern pie—and if he’s put in front of a congressional committee, they’re going to eat him alive.


Kate Knibbs: There’s a pretty good chance any of the Roy kids will break under congressional scrutiny, but my money would be on Connor. He cares the least about the Roy dynasty, and he’s also proved himself to be prone to giving … unflattering diatribes about politics, and being in “the swamp” might drain him of the little discretion he possesses. Plus: Shiv already had her blurting-stuff-out fuckup this season, Roman is actually too smart to break, and Kendall might embarrass everyone by doing some sort of “I’m Just a Bill” beat-box remix, but he’s too devoted to Daddy to really spill something. Connor, meanwhile, might hear the word “subcommittee” and spin into a rant about how, like, fraud is actually good and his whole family does it and you should vote for him.


Charlotte Goddu: After wholly failing to negotiate a Gregzit in his men’s room chat with Logan, Cousin Greg finds himself mired even more deeply in the ethical disaster that is Waystar Royco. His greatest weakness—which isn’t an issue exclusively in congressional hearings but will certainly apply there—is that, unlike the cutthroat, morally bankrupt people that surround him, Greg is, at heart, a stoned kid in a mascot costume. He hasn’t yet fully gained the skills he needs to survive in the milieu he’s now locked himself into. Don’t look forward to strategy, wit, or finesse; a mumbly, circuitous testimony is the best we can possibly expect from him. And what’s he gonna do if he gets in trouble? Pull some kerosene-macerated incriminating cruise documents out of his pants? Greg has the material to get himself out of a tight spot, but might lack the cunning to use it.


Michael Baumann:

Rep. Smith (D-Wisconsin): Mr. Roy, we’re here to talk about alleged coverups of crimes committed on your company’s cruise line.

Kendall [with an unsettling smirk on his face]: Umm. ... Yo. What up?

Rep. Smith: That’s good to hear, Mr. Roy, but I do have a few specific questions.

Kendall [voice getting deeper]: Umm … yeah, we are aware of these allegations … and like, we’re … doing some digging of our own.

Rep. Smith: I have here an email sent from the head of your cruises department to your associate Mo ...

Kendall: [Sweating profusely and chugging glass of water.]

Rep. Smith: … detailing settlements with former employees—is this hush money, Mr. Roy?

Kendall: Umm … I think the important thing to take into consideration, with these documents, is, we’re looking into it. Obviously, the ethics, and the best practices, and the ROI, and chill out.

Rep. Smith: I’m not sure your executives showed good judgment.

Kendall: [Spins around in chair, discards suit jacket and puts on a black robe and powdered wig.]

Rep. Smith: And I find it very disappointing.

Kendall: [Stares vacantly into space.]