The Succession Season 2 Roy Family Power Rankings: Episode 9

7 minute read

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Succession.

Join us as we keep track of the swift rise and fall of each character in HBO’s Succession in these power rankings, which will be updated every week. These rankings are painfully subjective and based on a mix of corporate leverage, deftness of negotiation, personal turmoil and insults thrown and received.

Succession often swipes its plotlines from zeitgeisty events—from whistle-blowings to unionization efforts to gunman scares. This week was no different, as the Roys were shepherded into a tense congressional hearing not unlike the real-life ones that centered on Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford. Here’s where everyone stands after Season 2, episode 9, “DC.”

9. Tom Wamsgans (Matthew Macfayden): ⬇️ (last week: 8)

Matthew Macfadyen and J. Smith-Cameron in 'Succession.'
Matthew Macfadyen and J. Smith-Cameron in 'Succession.'Zach Dilgard/HBO

In the wake of episodes like this one, it’s difficult to even envision the beginning of Tom and Shiv’s courtship—or how Shiv fell for a groveling, gutless man with terrible instincts, terrible work ethic and a foot perpetually in his mouth. Wamsgans got absolutely wrecked by Gil Eavis at the congressional hearings, stuttering through a meek justification for “footstooling” and even delivering his own version of Bill Clinton’s “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is” moment when asked if he knew Greg. (He even got sucker-punched by the Atlantic, which called him a “smirking block of domestic feta.”)

When Hugo suggested Tom take the congressional stand, he was just trying to save his own skin. But if Hugo had a do-over, he would probably go up there himself rather than endangering the company with Tom’s thin-skinned incompetence.

8. Greg Hirsch (Nicholas Braun): ⬇️ (last week: 7)

Alan Ruck, Nicholas Braun in 'Succession.'
Alan Ruck, Nicholas Braun in 'Succession.'Zach Dilgard/HBO

Greg is now publicly connected to the Thanksgiving file-shredding incident. Given his terrified reaction to the prospect of jail, it wouldn’t be surprising if, after being ejected by Logan, he went straight to prosecutors, wielding his iPhone recording and crumpled documents, to rat out Tom and cut a deal. It’s a tough call for him to make—but leaving a man with only $5 million can make him do reckless things.

7. Gil Eavis (Eric Bogosian): (last week: N/A)

Eric Bogosian as Gil Eavis in 'Succession.'
Eric Bogosian as Gil Eavis in 'Succession.'Zach Dilgard/HBO

For a supposedly formidable presidential candidate, Gil’s performance at the hearings was decidedly lukewarm. His takedown of the hapless Tom should barely be considered an accomplishment. He failed to divert Gerri or Logan from their bland talking points—and then got pile-drived by Kendall, a man who previously flailed in front of low-level talk show hosts.

But his worst sin was to crow to Shiv about his victory before it happened, which directly led to her extricating his star witness from future hearings. While Succession constantly skewers the Roys’ entitlement and idiocy, it doesn’t treat their political adversaries with any less contempt.

6. Connor Roy (Alan Ruck): ↔️ (last week: 6)

Alan Ruck as Connor Roy and Brian Cox as Logan Roy.
Alan Ruck as Connor Roy and Brian Cox as Logan Roy.Ursula Coyote/HBO

The whole “Connor runs for president” plot has been put on the back-burner as of late, so it’s good to know that he actually has some supporters. (For what it’s worth, there are plenty of stanbases with far worse names than the Con-heads). He also deserves credit for cheering for his family with nearly the same enthusiasm that Drake showed at the NBA finals.

5. Rhea Jarrell (Holly Hunter): ⬇️ (last week: 2)

Holly Hunter (center) in Season 2, Episode 9 of 'Succession.'
Holly Hunter (center) in Season 2, Episode 9 of 'Succession.'Zach Dilgard/HBO

If this is the last we’re seeing of the inimitable Holly Hunter, let me be the first to show my heartfelt gratitude for her arc. Rhea was a mesmerizing and often baffling character, all tightly-pursed lips and darting eyes; she accused Logan of not caring about anything, but never revealed any sort of value system of her own aside from being a boss. She was formidable for most of her run, but her biggest mistake was to be seduced by the Roys in the first place.

4. Roman Roy (Kieran Culkin): ↔️ (last week: 4)

Kieran Culkin (second from left) in Season 2 Episode 9 of 'Succession.'
Kieran Culkin (second from left) in Season 2 Episode 9 of 'Succession.'Zach Dilgard/HBO

Roman performed about as well as anyone could have expected on his Turkish adventure, given the mutinous circumstances, his inept companions (the “Bum Boys” Karl and Laird) and his history of buckling under pressure. Roman was well-prepared (even with regard to Turkish oil pipeline cooperation), and his charisma and confidence allowed him to drive the deal all the way to the one-yard line. But between him and his goal is a power-grab hostage situation that ended on a shameless cliffhanger—a Succession rarity. It’s unclear whether the situation is a legitimate crisis or just a ruse by Eduard to secure a better deal. Either way, Roman, the Lovely Bastard, is in trouble.

3. Logan Roy (Brian Cox): ↔️ (last week: 3)

Brian Cox as Logan Roy
Brian Cox as Logan RoyGraeme Hunter/HBO

Logan spent the episode like any efficient boss should: delegating his dirty work, one greasy chore at a time. While we’ve seen Logan make many unilateral decisions in the past, this episode provided a glimpse of how one version of Waystar Royco’s future could pan out: with him carefully choosing specific tasks for each kid. This week, Kendall played the attack dog; Shiv, the strong-arm; and Roman, the sweet-talker, each to perfection.

But apparently their combined efforts weren’t enough, so Logan teased a “blood sacrifice” at the episode’s end. Who could that be referring to? It’s probably not Tom, given that Logan never really considered Tom his family. A few episodes ago, he didn’t show any hesitation in tossing Tom away during the Pierce negotiations, and this episode, he actually reinforced Tom’s distance from the Roys by telling him, “Your mom and dad should be so proud.”

Neither Roman nor Shiv have any real ties to the cruise scandal. So that leaves two primary candidates—the first being himself. Over the past few weeks, Logan has shown a startling amount of introspection and self-doubt; he seems to be genuinely grappling with the best way to pass the torch. What if his last ingenious gambit is a self-sacrifice? Removing himself from the picture, after all, could be the easiest way to keep the company within the family.

But Logan has never done the noble or selfless thing, which brings us to Kendall. His secret murder and addictive tendencies make him, in the eyes of his father, forever damaged goods; he was leading entertainment operations at the time of the creation of shadow logs; and there’s no way Logan has fully forgiven him for his hostile takeover attempt. It would be extremely on brand for Logan to coax Kendall back into the inner circle and then cruelly reject him yet again. When Logan pointedly used Kendall as a shield during Gil’s inquiry, was it a warning of what’s to come?

2. Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong): ⬆️ (last week: 5)

Jeremy Strong as Kendall Roy in 'Succession.'
Jeremy Strong as Kendall Roy in 'Succession.'Zach Dilgard/HBO

Kendall has trouble fitting in: he looked painfully unhip next to younger and savvier colleagues like Lawrence Yee, and overeager and underprepared within Waystar’s septuagenarian board culture. Instead, he excels as the defiant and off-kilter outsider—which is exactly the role he was able to play on Capitol Hill. While Gil expected little resistance, Kendall parried all of his remarks and launched a deft offensive of catchphrases and talking points. His unique, hesitant speaking style makes him sympathetic; he even won over Naomi Pierce, who showed up to support him looking incredibly chic in a burnt sienna blazer.

Logan’s ominous statement might put Kendall in a vulnerable spot—but Kendall is still operating under the mentality that he has nothing to lose, and he’s on the rebound because of it.

1. Shiv Roy (Sarah Snook): ↔️ (last week: 1)

Sarah Snook as Shiv Roy.
Sarah Snook as Shiv Roy.Zach Dilgard/HBO

While viewers were celebrating Shiv Roy online for her girl power and backless turtlenecks, she was out here in the streets intimidating witnesses and covering up sexual assault.

Shiv has once again found her mojo—and her ruthlessness. Out of the three siblings, she was given the toughest task: to first to wheedle Gil’s plan out of him despite having zero leverage, and then to prevent a witness from coming forward. But she played both encounters with brutal precision, swerving between menace and sympathy with ease. One day, Shiv might show regret for the depraved things she has done to fuel her ascent. That day is not today.

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