Kendall’s much feted birthday party has come and gone in a blaze of Tiny WuTang, sibling discord, and midlife disappointment, as I think we probably knew that it might. As episode seven ends, the dynamic between the siblings seems to have shifted again, and as such, the Roys are all over the place: Kendall’s depressed, Shiv’s feeling ousted, and Connor, much like Valentina on RuPaul’s Drag Race, would like to keep it on, please. The only clear winner for the moment is Roman, who stands atop them all with streaming platform GoJo in his grasp, goblin of amorality that he is.
Of course, aside from the complex familial dynamics at play, at the end of the day, what we have here is Kendall throwing himself a party in which he built himself a treehouse and planned to fly in on wires (mercifully we were spared an L-to-the-OG moment). As you may have guessed, this is a perfect environment for insults to flourish, so here are this week’s ten best:
10) “Horse didn’t want you to fuck it?”
Roman Roy to Connor Roy
Great bit of classic Roman Roy bestiality banter to ease us in!
9) “Cold and inhospitable. That seems to check out.”
Shiv Roy RE: her mother’s vagina
Would it be a Kendall Roy birthday party (billed as “THE NOTORIOUS K.E.N.: READY TO DIE”) without an immersive theatre experience? Probably not, but I don’t imagine the guests were expecting an inflatable giant vagina on entering.
8) “A 40-year-old man who rebuilds his childhood treehouse should immediately go on the sex offender register.”
Roman Roy RE: Kendall Roy
I’d imagine that the Succession writers have a pile of about 60 jokes for Roman to make about his older brother building a treehouse at his birthday party, but this one was a great pick.
7) “Hey Ken, may we please step inside your mental disorder?”
Roman Roy to Kendall Roy
6) “Dad wants to buy you so he sends wingéd dildos to schmooze”
Kendall Roy to Lukas Matsson RE: Shiv Roy and Roman Roy
Kendall obviously lost out to Roman in the Cool Boy Impressing Cooler Boy stakes this episode – Roman, after all, let Lukas piss on his phone (and a moment please for Alexander Skarsgaard, who played the role of “tech weirdo” like he was born for it) – but this was a very funny line. I also liked his description of everything dealer Reece: “He is not a good guy.”
5) “I don’t wanna be a dick but I have a watch.”
Kendall Roy to Naomi Pierce
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The coldest moment of the episode!!! Like, I know Kendall is going through some shit but at least pretend to like the watch, man. It’s not hard. You don’t even have to wear it! Just say it’s nice! Please!
4) “The dance of the sugar plum failure.”
Roman Roy RE: Shiv Roy’s dancing
There is, apparently, no telling what Shiv Roy will do with a glass of clear liquor, a grime remix and a familial grievance.
3) “The old meat wardrobe”
Roman Roy RE: Tom Wambsgans
As this list attests, Roman was kind of on fire this episode, and while this description of Tom was basically a throwaway line it was very well observed and made me think of Tom as one of the pieces of singing furniture in Beauty and the Beast, which feels really weirdly on point.
2) “Connor Roy Elected President (of shitting his bag.)”
Kendall Roy RE: Connor Roy
This episode was largely very, very sad, and Kendall having an entire room at his party dedicated to ripping on his siblings was, on reflection, one of the most understated parts.
The Roys bond over savagery, and while Kendall’s public image is based on distancing himself from the family, his personal desire to be closer to them has become more and more palpable in recent episodes. It was very fun, then, to see the three younger siblings coming together for what is pretty much their one common cause: laughing at their older brother for “shitting his bag.”
1) “That’s like a haunted scarecrow asking out Jackie Onassis.”
Tom Wambsgans to Greg Hirsch
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What I am learning via writing this column is that Tom is my favourite character in Succession, and that Matthew Macfadyen could read out the shipping forecast and make it funny, hateful, and heartbreaking all at once. Tom once again takes out his inferiority complex on Greg, and even though this is a very mean thing to say (and also wrong! Cousin Greg is famously a babe!), it is also that most excellent of things: a true zinger.