First: Yes, Logan is still dead.
Second: Shiv is pregnant.
The show gives us a whiff of that news in the cold open (Shiv portrayer Sarah Snook was pregnant in real life while filming this), then we head to Logan’s penthouse apartment for what could be deemed a post-mortem bottle episode as virtually all of the principles angle to take over Waystar Royco.
Much of the episode is screened through the prism of Kendall (Jeremy Strong), who enters the lobby of his dad’s building to hear one of the company’s PR pros, Fisher Stevens’ Hugo, shouting at his daughter’s voicemail. She’s really put the strap-on to him, (hopefully) metaphorically speaking. Exiting the elevator into Logan’s penthouse, Ken’s surprised to see his stepmother Marcia (Hiam Abbass) receiving mourners. She was supposed to be shopping in Milan forever, as we were informed in the season premiere.
“We spoke every morning and afternoon, so I came as soon as I heard,” the third wife explains. “We were very close. It was complicated. But we spoke intimately every evening.”
He joins Roman (Kieran Culkin) and Shiv, who’ve gotten different versions of the Marcia meet-and-greet, as vice-chairman Frank Vernon (Peter Friedman) suggests “looking at the china.” Tom (Matthew Macfadyen, PR head Karolina Novotney (Dagmara Domińczyk), general counsel Gerri Kellman (G. Smith-Cameron) and CFO Karl Muller (David Rasche) follow Frank into the kitchen, to et away from the kids, who disagree about how to handle Matsson. Gerri holds her own against the men. “I think you’re a corporate legend,” she tells Karl. “What you did in the ‘90s with cable? Huge!”
In fact, she’s again this episode’s MVP. To Tom: “Oh, you’re sick with grief? You might want to put down that fish taco. You’re getting your melancholy everywhere.”
In the upstairs library Frank, who’s one of the estate’s executors, shows Karl and Gerri a “rather worrying” piece of paper he’s discovered in Logan’s safe. Undated with all kinds of hand-written addenda, it indicates that at some point the old man wanted Kendall to succeed him – but is the name underscored, or crossed out? It’s impossible to tell. They agree it has no legal standing and “joke” that it should get accidentally flushed down a toilet anyway. The term “not germane” is repeated by all.
Meanwhile, we find out what that Hugo business was about. He confesses that his daughter sold Waystar stock just before the Logan news went public. A total coincidence! But he can’t recollect what phone records will show. Also, Connor and Willa show up, and in no time, Marcia has agreed to sell them the apartment for $62 million.
Kerry comes out of the elevator. With a wavering voice, the dead man’s mistress tells his wife she got her message not to show up, but has to get some of her things from upstairs. “They’re in a bag,” Marcia says. Security man Colin blocks Kerry’s way to the staircase. A maid hands Kerry the bag. Roman comes into the foyer, asks if she’s okay. Roman, who’s insultingly fantasized about Kerry’s oral skills in the past, says he wants to help and tries to get her private number. The bag drops, spills contents on the floor. While on their knees picking up stuff, Kerry babbles something that sounds like Logan was making arrangements to marry her. Colin’s guy takes Kerry out the back. Roman tells Marcia that was unnecessary.
Roman points out that he actually has COO experience, is close to Matsson and reveals he had recent communications with Logan. He and Shiv agree it doesn’t feel right for the CEO to just be Ken. In the library, Ken makes his pitch to the executives for him and Roman to be recommended as co-CEOs, Karl cites that both of their recent contretemps with Logan makes them damaged goods. Gerri toots her own horn. Roman suggests we all know Dad had soured on Gerri.
Ultimately, Roman buys the idea that the board and the markets might see Kendall’s pitch for himself as “same-old but with a vibe-y new banner.” And the executives come around when they realize they can package Kendall as a co-leader with Roman, who still has an official title as Waystar’s chief operating officer. Shiv is cut out of this leadership group.
“It feels like I’m the only one who lost something that they actually f—g wanted here and it’s not coming back,” she says. Her brothers insist that she is still a part of an unofficial triumvirate, but while she has them make “a Dad promise, on yesterday” (referring to how they all bonded in their shock and grief), she is so upset by the mini-coup that she falls down a small set of stairs while fleeing the house. We’ll see if that has any effect on the pregnancy, still a secret from everyone, including Tom – but I hope not.
Ken and Rome enter Logan’s home office with Karolina and Hugo. The boys study his desk. “Did you know he did Sudoku?” Roman asks. “I…I think I knew that,” Kendall says. Hugo and Karolina want to go over coms points for Monday’s market openings, to help solidify the new bosses’ position. Strategic choice is between embalming Lenin by emphasizing the boys’ connections to Logan, or take on any issues about their competence by stressing how the kids have actually been running the company as their dad lost his focus toward the end. Hugo and Karolina in unison: “No!” Then Hugo details how far they could go in trashing Logan’s reputation — though they wouldn’t. Roman and Ken agree now’s not the time to s—t on Dad. Rome thanks the PR team then says, “Maybe don’t bring us this disgusting shit ever again, OK?” Later, Ken tracks down Hugo. “You know the stuff, the bad Dad stuff?” he mentions. “It’s what he would do. He’d want this, for the firm. So action that. But soft. No prints.” Ouch. Kendall is completely ill-suited for the role he has strong-armed his way into, but he is without a doubt his father’s son.
My highlight: The kids may be on the verge of breaking apart, but they’re a great comedy team when poring over the obituaries: “A complicated man” (Kendall: “Threw phones at staff.”); “a sharp reader of the national mood” (Roman: “He’s a bit racist.”); “He was very much a man of his era.” (Kendall: “Again, racist. Also, relaxed about sexual assault.”) The three really get a big laugh out of “well-connected,” which they suggest is a euphemism for “pedophile” until Kendall quips that his father “wouldn’t even hug his grandkids.”