We are barreling through this season (and I will be bereft when it ends!) and post-proxy fight, the Roys are tinkering with American democracy. As usual, we rank the winners and losers of this week’s episode with lots of spoilers.
Colder than a gelatinous prison omelette:
Well we knew Kendall was going to f-ck it up, but instead of one giant event (like the car accident), it’s death by a thousand humiliating cuts (all self-inflicted). I’m not surprised that Greg’s papers don’t mean anything as smoking guns aren’t always effective. Waystar Royco has Gerri and a full legal department to oversee everything over the years and papering everything too. The company has the resources to tango with the DOJ and it’s probably becoming clear to the government that the cost and years the case would take would not lead to any major convictions. (This kind of gives me hope that maybe Tom isn’t as doomed as everyone says he is???) Because Ken can’t snap his fingers and make the DOJ do his bidding, he has a temper tantrum. He doesn’t have the patience to build things, only to blow things up.
As expected, he of course can’t take good advice and fires the only person with some sense, lawyer Lisa. This is quite different from how Logan leads because even though he’s a bully, he enjoys the friction and can occasionally take advice from people like Frank and Gerri. Logan values brains and grit, Kendall only values vibes. (More specifically, coke vibes.) Next week is his birthday and you know it’s going to be a sad sack event.
Shiv is washed up (and I’m not just talking about her suits)
Whoever is styling Shiv this season is doing a great job because her suits are so joyless, which reflects her current existence. There’s no beauty in the Roys world, not in their homes or their clothing or their food. Everything is beige, most of all Shiv’s closet.
So she’s cold, but with a caveat: she rediscovered her passion for politics. She is absolutely a white feminist, opportunistic and duplicitous, but she is also the only one who has even an inkling of what is happening in the world outside of their door. She’s not progressive, but she can recognize a Mussolini in Armani. You can bet she ran into a lot of Jeryds (that’s his name!) in her life, explaining Plato like they discovered it. And the fact that she fought so passionately and lost because Roman got his rocks off on the guy (and her dad wants the ratings) could stir something real in her, if she let it. But will she? She has to be pragmatic: Kendall is a sinking ship, she can’t save him. If she tried to strike out on her own it would be difficult to pivot as she’s been the company’s go-to female face and she doesn’t have the business connections. Or, leave the family business and go back to politics and push Gil Eavis to the presidency. But now that she’s in, can she stand to be out again? A few weeks back, Kendall recognized that Shiv was now taking on his role next to her dad – a lap dog waiting for a treat. She needs to decide if that family photo is the beginning of her learning to grin and bear it or the last time she grits her teeth for her dad.
Caroline Collingwood, blushing bride
Engaged, unbothered and literally unreachable, Caroline sets all of the Roys into a tizzy without even being in the room. (The cast posted a lot of photos from Italy last summer, so I suspect everyone is decamping to Tuscany for the wedding of the year.)
Hotter than a stuffy Berlin bunker:
Roman’s shiny new toy
Well, it’s really only a matter of time before there’s a US president named “Jeryd.” This guy negged the Roys into giving him the crown and caused (another) crack between Shiv and Logan. Is he a Nazi? Well he gave Hitler an affectionate nickname so I think that answers that question.
Roman is an outrageous flirt and he preens and grooms himself when he’s interested in someone, which is why he slathers his forearms in lotion while he bats his eyes at Jeryd. Gerri and Jeryd? Let’s see how he juggles this.
Roman could not care less about what happens outside of his eyeline. Politics is for poors. But he does care about the circus and being entertained, so to him, Jeryd is just a really buff gladiator fighting in the coliseum of ATN.
Put some respect on his name: Tom Wambsgans
Oh you thought Tom would be cold this week because he’s a Christmas tree of sorrow? All I see is growth. Stripped of ambition, Tom is digging down into who he really is. Tom is kind of great. He has clarity about why he married Shiv (he loves her) and his place in the whole situation. He is eating all the sins. He sees exactly who Kendall is and sides with Logan and the family not for morality or love, but because he spots a loser. And it’s OK to lose, but don’t you dare call him a country f-cking mouse while you do it.
And let’s talk about Matthew Macfadyen who is putting on a clinic every week. He’s on a completely different vibration than every else in the cast, but that’s why it works. Tom is alone and when he asks Shiv for attention she gets annoyed because he’s too “obsessed” (ya Shiv, it’s PRISON) and when he turns to Greg, even his ‘friend’ asks for a favour. The way Macfadyen is able to play that sadness and peace and defeat and disappointment and love (because Tom really loves these awful people) is incredible. The layers!
How Logan got his groove back
How does an old CEO celebrate narrowly escaping a crushing number of sexual misconduct allegations? By starting an affair with his much-younger and institutionally powerless PA while he also tries to woo back his mercurial wife. Logan is a messy bitch who lives for drama, that we know. And he might not be having full sex with her quite yet, but you know he’s enamoured with her because she gets to weigh in on conversations. He was positively giddy throughout this episode. He’s frozen out Kendall, he’s bullied Connor a bit, he’s got a new guy to get him ratings and he made Shiv come to heel. It was one big game of boar on the floor for him.