The Most Recent 'Succession' Episode Felt Kinda Like A Game Of 'Survivor'

In "Kill List," Lukas Matsson outplayed, outlasted and outwitted Kendall and Roman.
Alexander Skarsgård as Lukas Matsson in Episode 5.
Alexander Skarsgård as Lukas Matsson in Episode 5.
Graeme Hunter/HBO

Sunday night’s episode of “Succession” captured so much in just over an hour. Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Roman (Kieran Culkin) and Shiv (Sarah Snook) make their way to Norway with “the Grays” to secure the sale of Waystar Royco — minus ATN — to Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård).

I can only imagine that those were wild boars roasting on the fire, a callback to the infamous “boars on the floor” episode in Season 2.

Audiences see Matsson disarm and outmaneuver Kendall and Roman throughout the negotiations, with Shiv on their heels seemingly making power plays all her own. It was a jam-packed episode, with lots of little moments that we need to put a pin in to watch out for revelations in the coming episodes.

Join Candice Frederick, Ruth Etiesit Samuel and Erin E. Evans in a chat about Sunday’s episode.


The One 'Succession' Character We're Surprised Isn't On The Kill List

Tom is NOT on the kill list? How? What is that play? I like how Tom is quietly segregated away from the people who matter in, like, every scene (the blocking on this show is fabulous). But especially at the end on the plane, where he seems so cool and collected. What does he know??? The names on the list don’t really surprise me. It’s the names that are on the list. Also: Frank and Carl’s reactions to everyone’s name here LOL. — Candice

THAT was surprising. I don’t know why they're retaining him, because Tom’s remarks (more like, word salad) about France to Matsson were…unimpressive, but um, he made it by the skin of his teeth. Lest we forget the chameleon Greg. Because what in the world?! — Ruth

Who paid for Greg’s flight? — Candice

Wait, LMAO, nah but for real. That’s a hilarious but very good question. This man is hanging on to the crew by a thread. I was trying to make Tom not being on the kill list make sense in some way. Let’s say Shiv was actually really chatty with Matsson; is there a way that financially it’d be better for him to have a high-paying job when they get a divorce? Maybe Shiv secretly doesn’t want to cut him off at the knees now. I don’t know! But also, you’re right, Ruth; Tom’s interaction with Matsson was such a hot mess. — Erin

I am very curious about the state of Shiv and Tom’s marriage, which I always thought was a play — for Tom… and kinda Shiv too. But him not being on the list, and their whole exchange this episode, is giving me a lot of pause. — Candice

So What’s Really Going On With Tom And Shiv Now?

I had to rewind when Tom flicked Shiv’s earlobe and described it as “barnacle meat.” He finally morphed into a full-on psychopath in that moment for me. Is he going to go Hannibal Lechter on her?? And then she asked him out? WHAT IS HAPPENING? — Candice

Literally, again, I was screaming. The tension between them is remarkable. — Erin

“Barnacle meat” is such a crazy pairing of words. The writers are wild for that one. My first thought was that the “altercation” was not going to look favorable in divorce court, but alas, Tom is the baby daddy (I think), so there’s that. Despite Shiv referring to the deal as “The Great Escape” on the flight, Tom is so obviously worried about his future and his best interests. When he was called “Tom of, um, Siobhan?” I thought it was a wrap. No one takes that interloper seriously. — Ruth

My gawd… if Tom is the father of that baby… I just picture that moment in “Rocky” when Sylvester Stallone runs up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He would feel like a real winner, and I absolutely cannot have that. — Candice

The Pissing Match Between Roman And Matsson Was Incredible TV

As always, I ask: Is this a play? Because I feel like everyone is doing some kind of play here — some good, most not. Roman lashing out at Matsson was reckless and was giving very “I’m rich and don’t care anymore” vibes. Meanwhile, Kendall’s face while this was all happening. Like, okay little bro, on to the next thing. Really? Was this planned? — Candice

I laughed so hard when Matsson said, “I’m trying to make you all rich,” and Kendall said, “We already are.” I’m sorry, but it was just such an obnoxious exchange that could truly, only happen between insolent rich white people. Like, imagine. — Ruth

It’s Kendall’s self-satisfied facial response there for me. — Candice

Another callback to an earlier episode: Roman talked to Matsson when he was peeing when he first met, and then this big moment, again, while Matsson’s pissing. I thought Kieran Culkin’s acting in this scene was probably the best of the series. EMMY! EMMY! EMMY! — Erin

Matsson Basically Calls Roman And Kendall ‘Unserious People’

A lot of this is high-level RWPS (rich white people shit) for me, so some of this flew over my head TBH. But what I do know is that Matsson was not here for Roman and Kendall’s “tribute band,” calling them out on the very obvious fact that they don't actually don’t know how to do business. Matsson is so confident, in his own space, and totally has the drop on these guys. But he enjoys playing them for the clowns that they are. I laughed when Kendall tried to jab him with “must be funnier with subtitles.” — Candice

Matsson’s dig at Kendall trying to run that media startup Vaulter was especially good. He knows he can’t run a business and is going to remind him every chance he gets. I also find it interesting that Roman must have said it at least five times in the episode: Dad wanted to keep ATN. He eagerly wants to honor his dad’s wishes so that made it really clear for me that he was ultimately going to go OFF on Matsson. Also, I love-hate how this show so often reminds me of real media conversations and deals that happen. Acquisition, leaders stepping down, big controversies — I’m anxious to see the fallout from those bad Logan moments — all kind of starts to blur together. — Erin

Like Shiv said, why are they (read: Roman) so hellbent on preserving Logan’s wishes? I fear Roman, particularly, is still trying to make his dad proud — even though it’s far too late for that (and he wouldn't anyway). — Candice

When Matsson and his colleagues started speaking in Swedish and essentially referred to the Roys as the inbred Habsburgs, I yelped. One thing Matsson has is the absolute nerve. Offering a dollar for the entirety of ATN? Referring to them as “a tribute band” and calling the brand “news for angry old people?” Whew. Now, Roman snapped on him, which I think was a manifestation of both grief and frustration, but Matsson really came back with an “undeniable” offer of $192 per share. – Ruth

Before he even finished his offer, I was like… he’s going to ask to buy it for just one dollar, isn’t he? Gawd, I love him. — Candice

Why You Always Have To Keep Your Eyes On Shiv’s Quiet Power Plays

It’s the way Shiv just quietly quit in this episode for me. Her two dimwit brothers are VERY busy “reading documents,” she’s walking around donning about three different coats and a permanent smirk. She also tells them to tank a deal they’re sweating over, sends pics to the enemy (Matsson), asks her silly ex husband out on a date (for funsies?). She was total chaos. Is it a play? I’d like to think so. But she was VERY busy doing the bare minimum, and I’m here for that play. — Candice

This is my favorite Shiv. I had to watch a few of her moments a couple times just to capture her facial expressions. I definitely think it is all a power play. She called Matsson out very quickly: “Fuck him and his dude-bluff” and immediately I knew she was quietly taking notes and taking names. That smirk at the end of the episode? Priceless. — Erin

When Shiv said that they were just “reading documents” in response to Kendall’s hyperbole, I snorted. Pinky seems like she’s pissed that her brothers cut her out and now, she’s determined to take them down, slowly but surely. Moreover, despite her father’s disdain for her, Shiv tries to reassert throughout that episode that her brothers will always need her. Be it her ability to appear well-adjusted when it comes to bantering with the enemy or getting the dirt on Matsson, I’m interested in seeing how her journey goes from here. — Ruth

A 'Succession' Character Sent His Love Interest Blood — And We're Flabbergasted

My God. I literally had to pause and rewind that scene. I was so confused. Does Matsson have a…blood kink? Why was he sending Ebba blood? What was the reason?! Like, I don’t think I’d be flattered to receive anyone’s blood beyond a life-or-death hospital procedure. My mouth was agape. Some folks online allege that Matsson’s story wasn’t real, but rather an attempt at faux-vulnerability. Based on the look of downtrodden shame he had on his face after Shiv asked who he sent the liters of blood to? I dunno, mans seemed serious. — Ruth

Is this the way obscenely rich white people flirt? — Candice

One thing about this show? I question everything! Was that story a joke? Like, was he testing Shiv? I just kept thinking ain’t no way. Ain’t no damn way this is real. Like, how sick can you be? He did say one thing he appreciated about Shiv was that she could take a joke – so maybe this was one of them?
Oh, also, Matsson’s hugs in the beginning of the episode were so aggressive. Like he banged everyone’s body against his. So loudly. — Erin

LOL Alexander Skarsgård is an actual mountain. Bless him.

The way Shiv just walked away from that exchange, totally chill about it. I would have been frightened. — Candice

Connor, The Eldest Son, Can't Do Anything Without Stressing About It

Tell me why he couldn’t at least handle this ONE thing without stressing out about it. Quite literally the least important thing in the whole episode. — Candice

I literally have never been so annoyed with a character in one episode. I was screaming at the TV like…this man wants to be president? Poor Willa; I can’t imagine what she deals with that man. I did have to say to myself though, of COURSE, this is the crisis of all crises for him. He’s a mess! — Erin

I literally forgot he was in this episode. Sorry to that man. But I will say, I am deeply unsurprised that Marcia’s claws are all over the funeral. I don’t know why Connor thought it was a good idea to send a photo to Roman, who has literally blocked out and refused to process his grief, after his brother explicitly told him not to. — Ruth

The Episode Opener Is A Perfect Callback To Season 1 Kendall

That opening definitely gave Season 1 Kendall: overzealous, overconfident and irrationally bold. Logan’s No. 1 boy believes he’s in control of the reins now. As I’ve pointed out before, it’s so interesting that whenever Kendall attempts to chart a new course for himself, ostensibly separate from his father, he adopts a very…culture-vulture aesthetic. The question, as always, is whether Kendall is a closer. Because every time he gets close to accomplishing something — be it a hostile takeover or a deal — he fumbles the bag. — Ruth

Well, Kendall isn’t actually capable of running any business, but he presents extremely well at doing just that. But I knew once I heard hip-hop, I thought, “Kendall is on his way to do a very bad thing very badly.” And I was correct. — Candice

I immediately wanted him to start rapping the lyrics, but just because I find it cringingly accurate of dudes … like him. In the after-show, they mention how it’s a callback to the first episode when Kendall is going into the office and thinking he’s about to be named successor. I love moments like that. — Erin

The 'Succession' Memes Around Tucker Carlson's Termination Were Right On Time

Tucker Carlson and Fox News parted ways Monday morning in a move that stunned media reporters and cable news watchers. It was pretty amazing to see so many people make jokes in reference to "Succession," especially this one, which remarks on Fox's stock dipping down after the announcement. Literally the exact same thing happened after Logan Roy died earlier this season on "Succession."

Then folks dragged in Kerry, Logan's assistant and love interest who wanted to be an anchor for ATN. Maybe she could indeed replace Carlson.

Popular in the Community