As Logan gathers his defense, he leans on the show’s fictional US president, an invisible Republican he derisively calls “the grape.” Ultimately, raisins are grapes, and grapes are meant to be stepped on. Or cultivated, when the old ones stop giving juice.
As the election nears, Logan – who owns a Fox-type wired news network with kingly conservative power – begins auditioning candidates, including a skillful quasi-fascist played by Justin Kirk. For Logan, the leader of the free world is, as he puts it in Season 1, essentially an “intern”. This may explain his contempt for the presidential ambitions of his eldest son, Connor (Alan Ruck): Connor’s dream is not just absurd, it is a slum.
Is there someone good in all of this? Shiv, once a modestly principled political consultant, has ideals she will hold on to for a little longer than other Roys, before throwing them like a champagne flute on a waiter’s tray. Roman is an irresistible pixie, but his perennial joke-no-joke mode makes him all the more dangerous underhand, like an internet meme lord circa 2016.
Beyond the family nucleus, you get to the characters who are just morally weak like you or I might be if they were thrown into this world. Shiv’s husband, Tom (Matthew Macfadyen), is an upstart with a tormented awareness of his dispensability. Greg (Nicholas Braun), a cousin of a poorer branch of the family, is deliciously wiggly, a worm that constantly twists to avoid the hook and possibly wiggle a few inches higher on the fishing line.
Greg’s misfortune makes him sympathetic, but is he honorable? His grandfather Ewan (James Cromwell), Logan’s bitter brother, tells him in the new season that he is “in the service of a monstrous enterprise”. Ewan may be a moralizing rebuke – he’s the most principled and least likeable character on the show – but he’s not wrong.
This is the “Succession” for you. The best lack charisma, while the worst are full of panache and intensity.