‘Succession’ Season 4, Episode 5: The Gang Goes to Norway
Spoilers for Succession ahead.
Wherever you go, there you are.
And wherever the Roys go—whether it be Hungary or Scotland, the English countryside or the Tuscan countryside—there they very much are. The destination episodes have resulted in some of the most memorable moments in the series: Kendall performing an original rap for his dad. Kendall accidentally killing a guy. Kendall admitting to his siblings that he accidentally killed a guy. Boar on the floor! (And you thought your offsites were bad.)
I was anticipating their sojourn to Norway this season, in part because of something Nicholas Braun, aka Cousin Greg, told me when I interviewed him for GQ‘s March cover story on Jeremy Strong. “We went to a hotel in Norway this season when we filmed there, and [Jeremy] hired a boat for us to travel down a river to get to this incredible old Nordic hotel that was refurbished recently, but has been there for hundreds of years,” Braun said, sounding a bit like Greg in Kendall’s thrall. “Just endless amounts of great times have come from Jeremy’s Rolodex of stuff.” Life imitates art imitates life.
Succession season four, episode five opens with Kendall riding to the Waystar RoyCo office in Manhattan and listening to Jay-Z to pump himself up—a callback to the first time we see Kendall in the pilot, riding to the office and listening to Beastie Boys to pump himself up. When he actually gets inside and everyone erupts in applause, you can’t shake the feeling that he’s not so much a CEO as he is two children stacked on top of each other inside a Brioni suit.
This feeling does not dissipate by the time the gang—which includes all three Roy children, Gerri, Karolina, Hugo, Frank, Karl, and miscellaneous Waystar RoyCo staffers—gets to Norway. Lukas Matsson, the billionaire tech CEO of GoJo played by Alexander Skarsgård, still very much wants to buy Waystar RoyCo, which they don’t want to sell to him for less than $144 billion. He also wants ATN, which they don’t want to hand over at all.
But, before the negotiations, the GoJo and Waystar RoyCo teams meet up to see how well they mesh. Things are, par for the course, awkward. They sauna. They do molly. They talk about Cousin Greg in some Scandinavian language, the only word of which I caught is “Hapsburg,” which can’t be good.
Anyway, we’re all just here to talk about the blood thing, right?
Shiv gets some one-on-one time with Matsson, who admits to her that stuff got kind of weird when he and his last girlfriend ended things.
“After we broke up, because of some things that we said, as sort of a nasty friendly joke about what I shouldn’t do, I sent her some of my blood,” he says. “Half a liter, frozen blood brick. Well she got a bit weirded when I did that but I just kept doing it again and again and again and then it became not a joke and not a joke again. And now it’s apparently not a joke.” Also, that woman was the company comms director, Ebba.
In exchange for this entirely fucked up revelation, Shiv gives him some free PR advice. And in exchange for that, Matsson tells her that she reminds him of her father. Is it sincere? Obvious flattery? Either way, Shiv—who, again, is pregnant—seems to be developing a bit of a crush. To which we must offer some ancient words of wisdom: get it together, girl.
As for the actual negotiations, it’s slightly painful to watch Kendall and Roman do their thing, until it’s really painful. Kendall, after a change of heart, does his best to tank the deal by planting stories with the press about the meetings going poorly and showing the GoJo team the obviously shitty latest installment of their Kalispitron movie series. Roman does his best to tank the deal by yelling “I fucking hate you” at Matsson on the top of a mountain and accusing the tech CEO of killing their father.
It’s during this scene that we also get to see Alexander Skarsgård ask the brothers: “are you Scooby-Doo’ing me here?” The line is great, and pure Jesse Armstrong—you could just as easily see it showing up in Peep Show.
By the time our heroes all shuffle back on the PJ, dejected, it comes as a true shock that Matsson still wants to buy WayStar after all, and for a cool $192 bill. With that, the staff cuts start to roll in. Karolina, Gerri, and Tom will be retained. Hugo, Frank, and Karl are on their way out. Farewell Hugo, Frank, and Karl—I still have no idea what your jobs were.
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