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.
“Dundee,” Season 2, episode 8 of Succession, featured a jaunt to Scotland for Logan’s funeral—I mean, plaque reception—and a dizzying array of one-on-one confrontations. Shiv versus Rhea. Connor versus Kendall. Logan versus Marcia. Marcia versus Rhea. Greg versus Ewan. Each encounter was more head-spinning than the previous one—here’s where everybody landed after the dust settled.
8. Tom Wamsgams (Matthew Macfayden): ↔️ (last week: 8)
Tom has a real talent for always making the wrong decision. He empowered Greg and in the process created his own worst enemy. He jumped to news just as it was cratering and becoming overrun by Nazis. And now, he’s offered his allegiance to Rhea right before it seems she’s about to combust. Shiv was the only thing keeping Tom afloat all this time—and following his meek betrayal, their bond is as weak as it’s ever been.
7. Greg Hirsch (Nicholas Braun): ↔️ (last week: 7)
Greg is suddenly faced with one of those hypothetical logic puzzles you’d argue about over dinner but never, ever dream of facing in reality: would you take $250 million or a quickly accelerating corporate career? Personally, I hope he takes the money and instead turns to stand-up, where he’ll do bits about his sand mites and sand mite-biting midges, and then leave the stage by announcing his “Gregxit” as the crowd soundly boos him off.
6. Connor Roy (Alan Ruck): (last week: N/A)
Every aspect of “Sands” is going wrong, from critical reception to box office returns to actresses disappearing on sexcapades to the insect-infested sand itself. Connor may “love a project,” but he’s not going to be the next Hal Prince anytime soon.
5. Kendall Roy a.k.a. Ken.W.A., a.k.a. Kendall Lamar, a.k.a. Extremely Rich the Kid, a.k.a. Wu-Tang Bland (Jeremy Strong): ↔️ (last week: 5)
Kendall doesn’t have bars, but he also doesn’t NOT have bars? I would be extremely lying if I said I didn’t wake up the next morning humming “L to the Oh-Geeee” under my breath.
It’s been pretty obvious through the show’s whole run that Kendall desperately wants to be his father—but it seems he’s mostly inherited Logan’s worst tendencies. His obsession and then rejection of Jennifer (who seems like an absolute catch for Kendall, an insecure middle-aged addict-slash-murderer) mirrors his father’s previous exploits, minus the harp. His egomania and hunger for power have led him to tacitly back Rhea, even though she doesn’t remotely have his best interests in mind. The man who was set up as the protagonist is neither hero nor anti-villain; he’s merely insufferable and inconsequential.
4. Roman Roy (Kieran Culkin): ↔️ (last week: 4)
In an episode stuffed with delicious one-liners, Roman was far and away the MVP. He delivered a spot-on cokehead-automaton impression of Kendall, he accidentally bought the wrong soccer team for his father; and he made a proposition to Gerri that landed halfway between proposal and kidnapping. His other greatest hits of the week: “I could rim with vim”; “What-up prick-licks, it’s me, Dr. Moron”; “Sock it in the net sack, you crazy kickball bastards.”
3. Logan Roy (Brian Cox): ⬇️ (last week: 2)
For such a renowned businessman, Logan proved shocking persuadable throughout his homecoming. “She doesn’t drink…She’s liberal,” Logan tells Shiv about Rhea, as if he discovered those facts himself as opposed to his children yelling them at him the day before. He wanted to leave the party, but Marcia easily lured him back; he wanted to discard Rhea, but Shiv steered him right to her at the last second. With the exception of not financing Willa’s play, Logan is no longer in full control of decisions.
2. Rhea Jarrell (Holly Hunter): ⬇️ (last week: 1)
Watching Rhea for most of this episode was like watching an elite quarterback scramble out of the pocket under pressure, or a martial arts master calmly disarming one challenger after the next. Every Roy child, as well as Marcia and Tom, took their best passive-aggressive shot at her—and all she needed was a few choice words to Kendall and Roman to quell the tide. She told each exactly what they wanted to hear: to Kendall, that he possesses an ironclad worthiness despite missteps, and to Roman, that he contains vast untapped potential.
But then she walked straight into two traps: first, the surprise party, which Marcia knew that Logan would hate; and then, the CEO position itself, which, thanks to the cruise news, will be a terrible role to have extremely soon. Rhea has no reason to stick around, and when the next round of allegations drops, you can bet that she will take off like a “flighty little sparrow,” as she herself put it two episodes ago, rather than watch a disaster of a company sink into the sea.
1. Shiv Roy (Sarah Snook): ⬆️ (last week: 6)
It was rough in the early going for Shiv, who spent all her time canvassing her brothers with the alarming zeal of a Ryan Murphy high school class presidential candidate. What started as a concerted attack only led to two man-babies mansplaining anger to her.
But while her involvement in the cruise fiasco was previously dumped on her as punishment, it also enabled her to realize that whoever won the CEO position was simply lining up for the guillotine. Her fourth-quarter decision to play the high road with her father while sending Rhea to her probable doom was a masterstroke.