Warning: This article contains spoilers for Succession.
“Watching you people melt down is the most deeply satisfying activity on planet Earth,” Naomi Pierce tells Kendall Roy in a recent episode of Succession. She’s right—there are few greater pleasures at the moment than taking in each member of the Roy family’s self-combustion every Sunday night on HBO.
Join us as we keep track of the swift rise and fall of each character in these power rankings, which will be updated every week. These rankings are painfully subjective and based on a mix of corporate leverage, deftness of negotiation, personal turmoil and insults thrown and received. Here’s where everyone stands after Season 2, episode 6, “Argestes.”
9. Greg Hirsch (Nicholas Braun): ↔️ (last week: 9)
The youngest Roy spends the episode panicking through an utterly inconsequential and hilarious side-plot about Tom’s ill-advised slogan for his panel, “We are listening.” (“Sometimes we are listening quite aggressively,” he sheepishly tells Tom.)
He also may be about to become a pivotal power player, thanks to the publication of the New York Magazine cruise story. He’s the only one, to our knowledge, in possession of the incriminating documents. What he decides to do with them could either (ahem) steady or sink the ship.
8. Tom Wamsgams (Matthew Macfayden): ⬆️ (last week: 10)
It turns out that all Tom had to do to get his wife to notice him was speak to another woman. But while he’s restored some of the balance in his relationship, he also sits at the end of a fuse that seems ready to detonate: “There’s a trail from Mo to Bill to me,” he says frantically of the cruise fiasco.
The fact that Succession swipes many of its plot arcs from current events does not bode well for Tom: in the #MeToo era, a single accusation has often led to other victims feeling empowered to tell their stories. And you can bet that if Waystar comes under further charges, the first person they’ll throw under the bus will be the former head of parks and cruises.
7. Rhea Jarrell (Holly Hunter): (last week: N/A)
With her mysterious proverbs and self-deprecation delivered in sotto voce, Rhea had previously come off as a slick and dangerous operator. But she was reduced to a stuttering schoolgirl at the hands of Nan, who uncovered her deceptions and summarily fired her. Her attempt to walk the line between two behemoths proved untenable; her big payday will have to wait.
6. Roman Roy (Kieran Culkin): ⬆️ (last week: 8)
Roman is clearly third in the Roy child pecking order: his baffling onstage performance at the panel had a whiff of recent onstage gaffes in a real-world context. However, he still has a puncher’s chance to the throne. His proposition to Gerri that they share control of the company makes a surprising amount of sense. Logan’s health is wobbly, and everyone seems to think that Gerri will obediently slide into the background should he pass away. But while she waves Roman off, her smile as she shuts the door shows she’s at least intrigued by the idea. “Rock Star and the Mole Woman” doesn’t quite have the same ring as “Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince”—but it’s not the worst happily-ever-after pairing I’ve ever heard.
5. Shiv Roy (Sarah Snook): ⬆️ (last week: 6)
This episode really drives home how detestable the Roys are capable of acting in their quest for power, and Shiv is no exception. At one point, Shiv might have showed some moral character when confronted with a vast cover-up of sexual assault. But she’s become so desperate to win over the respect of her father that she was willing to become the face of the obfuscating party line. Logan is obviously a corrupt and narcissistic monster; are we sure that Shiv will be any better? Meanwhile, her “dinosaur” comment didn’t win her any favors in the eyes of her wounded father.
4. Logan Roy (Brian Cox): ⬇️ (last week: 1)
Logan operates best with home court advantage, and his trip to the high- altitude Argestes left him disoriented and gasping for air. It turns out his public vomiting was just the beginning of a meltdown: his vicious slap of Roman turned even the loyal Kendall against him, and it seems like there’s no way someone didn’t get video of him running and howling after Nan like a scorned lover. Even his F*ck Off ™ to Stewy lacked conviction.
3. Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong): ⬇️ (last week: 2)
There’s no better teacher of tantrum technique than Logan—but Kendall still has a lot to learn. His outburst on the plane lacked the venomous danger his father possesses; it felt like he was play-acting as a tyrant rather than being one. That unconvincing display, combined with his immediate impassioned defense of his brother following Logan’s slap, shows that Kendall still has some empathy left beneath his coked-out rough exterior.
2. Nan Pierce (Cherry Jones): ⬆️ (last week: 4)
Nan disarmed Rhea and made Logan look like an impotent blowhard: “Good riddance to bad rubbish,” she scoffed, as she drove off stoically into the night.
1. Connor Roy (Alan Ruck): ⬆️ (last week: 7)
The big takeaway from Argestes is that everyone involved in this week’s proceedings is screwed. Nan might have saved Pierce from utter ruin, but her subscriber numbers are still rock bottom. Stewy and Sandy maybe closer to enacting their hostile takeover, but the company they might inherit now has widespread sexual misconduct accusations. Logan is losing it; his three favored kids are fighting for scraps. That leaves Connor, who didn’t appear at all in this episode—and is so much the better for it.