Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Succession Power Rankings - Church and State

This week on Succession … Roman trips, Mencken flips, and Jess splits. And now, the Power Rankings:

1. Logan Roy (last week: NR): When you appeared in front of Congress, Senator Gil Eavis quoted Emerson and noted that every institution is the shadow of a single man. That was certainly true of Waystar Royco under your leadership and your funeral confirmed it was true of your entire life. Your mistresses sat side-by-side with your wives, your flunkies recorded your youngest son breaking down in tears to create a viral internet meme poking fun at his weakness, and the rich and powerful paid their respects while jockeying to fill the void you left behind. This was the world you believed in – one consumed with ambition, desire, of converting black bile into silver dollars - that helped you turn a buck and become one of the most powerful people on Earth. It is only fitting that you are now entombed in a mausoleum you picked up on the cheap, can be used as a tax write-off, and which none of your kids, save Connor, have any interest in joining you in after they pass away.

2. Shiv Roy (last week: 9): When you told Mencken you were flexible, you were not lying. On election night, you were warning that his elevation to the presidency spelled the end of democracy in America. Less than twenty-four hours later, you were assuring that same man that if you were in charge of ATN you would respect its audience’s support of him. And in order to secure that job, you told Matsson you will barely pause to deliver your child (much less raise it) to allay any concerns he had about putting you in charge, but telegraphed the same grim childhood for your offspring that your own mother put you through. These are the kinds of realpolitik maneuvers Logan would have appreciated, but can we put to rest once and for all the idea your moral compass is not as broken as Kendall and Roman’s?

3. Jeryd Mencken (last week: 2): Far be it for us to question the political instincts of a man just (sort of) elected President of these United States, but switching horses in mid-stream is usually a recipe for disaster. You are shorting your Roman stock because he could not keep it together at his dad’s funeral and were put off by Ken’s clumsy attempt to confirm your deal with the brothers was still operative. Instead, you are taking a flyer on a woman who literally worked for one of your opponents but promises she will not change ATN’s coverage of you. It is one thing to be a nativist who is skeptical about foreign ownership of American companies, it is another to assume that the cleanliness and purity you crave will manifest in someone who hates you.

4. Kendall Roy (last week: 3): You swung in for Roman when he could not go on and delivered a eulogy that served as a counter point to your uncle’s bitter screed. You nodded to Logan having been a tough brute with a dark energy, but justified it because of the geysers of money he made – for himself and those around him – while giving the people what they wanted. It was a cynical, if honest appraisal of your dad’s life work. Of course, words and deeds are two different things, a fact you came to realize quickly after your bravura performance. It is easy enough to marshal additional troops by dangling money in front of Hugo and a sense of purpose in front of Colin to secure their allegiance, but Mencken got wobbly after seeing Roman melt down and you could not reel him back in. Now, there will be a final battle between you and Shiv in front of the board of directors and we are going to find out if you are in fact your dad’s number one boy or just another Icarus who flew too close to the sun.

5. Lukas Matsson (last week: 6): American politics must seem strange to you. You assumed Mr. Scary was going to put the kibosh on your Waystar acquisition, but when you got the chance to meet him, all you needed to do was muse on the cultural influence you could provide and promise to appoint an American as CEO of Waystar in order to turn his head. Perhaps he is also aware you two share a willingness to cite “H” casually and it did not hurt that assorted Roy members were falling over each other thirsty for Mencken’s attention. With his promise to not stand in the way of the deal and barely a ripple from the market after dumping news of your funky India numbers, you are that much closer to obtaining your new bauble.

6. Hugo Baker (last week: NR): You can brief reporters on background in your sleep, but Kendall is offering you a trip to a world where he rules, not as your collaborator, but your master, holding you on a leash while you do his grubby work. In exchange for your fealty, the table scraps he offers will make you a millionaire. Naturally, you bark in agreement and prepare to eat out of the dog bowl.

7. Ewan Roy (last week: NR): The Power Rankings find it poor form to air dirty laundry in public but like your deceased brother, you are a crusty old man who does what he wants. Whatever humanizing strokes of Logan you painted by discussing your tough upbringing were washed away with your predictable rant painting him as an evil force in the world. But your criticism of him as a miser who hoarded his wealth was a bridge too far considering your entire livelihood was built on the money he earned while you shot spitballs at him from the bleachers.

8. Tom Wamgsgans (last week: 7): The thing about being a middle man is you are handed all of the responsibility and none of the authority. When things go south, the finger gets pointed at you even though you were not the one who made the big decisions. So we understand why you are exhausted. The last few weeks would test the fortitude of far stronger men. You were on the doomed flight with Logan playing go between him and his children as he lay dying. Your marriage, dangling by a thread for so long, appeared to have bounced back only to snap in a series of brutally honest arguments with your wife, who casually mentioned you are going to be a father. You spent election night in a cocaine haze being pulled in opposite directions and are now left holding the bag while violence erupts in the streets and you are the one being blamed for it all. You are not thinking clearly, so it is impossible for you to know whether Shiv’s offer of a brief respite at the triplex was done out of genuine concern or simply a pull of your string so she can use you to her advantage before cutting you loose.

9. Roman Roy (last week: 1): The Power Rankings sympathize with you, Roman. We too were asked to give a eulogy at our father’s funeral and know the pressure it places on someone, particularly when their relationship with their deceased parent was so fraught. But we live in a world where that type of challenge is not met with sneers, derision and social media ridicule, but support and love, you do not. And so, with Mencken mocking you as the Grim Weeper and Ken big brother-ing you while your head is still swimming, it is no surprise that you lashed out by crowd surfing against the tide of humanity protesting the chaos you helped unleash.

10. Jess Jordan (last week: 10): Right move, wrong timing, Jess. We hope Ken has a scrap of humanity left inside him so you can leave with a generous severance package. Otherwise, we fear your labors will not just go unrewarded, but punished.

Not Ranked: Cousin Greg. Marcia Roy. Connor Roy. Willa Roy. Rava Roy. Sophie Roy. Shakespeare Frank Vernon. Karl Muller. Gerri Kellman. Kerry Castellabatte. Caroline Collingwood. Peter Munion. Sally Ann. Colin Stiles. Karolina Novotny. A Pan-Hapsburg American-Led EU Alternative. Cat Food Ozymandias. Queasy Gonzalez.

Not Ranked:

America Decides

Tailgate Party


Kill List

Honeymoon States

Connor’s Wedding


The Munsters

Seasons 2 and 3 Power Rankings

Monday, May 15, 2023

Succession Power Rankings - America Decides

This week on Succession … Roman plays a trick, Greg avoids getting sick, and America (sort of) makes a pick. and now, the Power Rankings: 

1. Roman Roy (last week: 7): The Raisin would not play ball with your dad so ATN chased him out of the White House with a whisper campaign about his diminished capacity. You found a T. Rex in Virginia who keeps you on speed dial and is far more amenable to blurring ethical lines. So, as you saw the tide turning in Mencken’s direction, you were not above a little puppet mastering to make sure he got over the finish line. You slipped Mark Ravenhead some talking points to firm up the right wing narrative and leaned on the data crunchers to call Wisconsin for Mencken even with 100,000 absentee votes literally up in smoke. By the wee hours of the morning you were over the road and into the bar with a guy who cites Hitler casually, but you see as someone who will play ball while you motorboat democracy for kicks.

2. Jeryd Mencken (last week: NR): You were realistic enough to think about shaping a post-defeat narrative as a victory for your insurgent campaign but you over performed in the right places and with a little help from your friends, “won” a narrow, contested victory that catapulted you from obscure congressman to the most powerful man in the world.

3. Kendall Roy (last week: 1): In your heart you know Mencken’s ascension to the presidency threatens your ideal of an America where all different people live together in (relative) harmony or else you would not have a stealth security detail following around your daughter. You were willing to deny Roman the steak he craved provided Shiv could get some assurance from Nate that the Jimenez team would scuttle the Go Jo deal if ATN pumped the brakes on declaring Mencken the winner. You were even willing to be honest enough with her to admit you wanted the kingdom for yourself and worried about whether you were a good person and father. But the reward you got for showing vulnerability was learning Shiv cut her own deal with Matsson. Suddenly, you came around to the idea there is value in having a guy in the Oval Office who will return your calls and give your company privileged access to the West Wing even if he tears the country apart.

4. Cousin Greg (last week: 8): Sometimes being a toady works to your advantage. You are willing to visit some unseemly venues, consume drinks that are not typically drinks, and even cut a rug with a confused old man if it hands you actionable intel you can flip for your benefit. A night out carousing with Lukas and his crew led to your finding out about Shiv’s double game. When the Mencken wind started blowing across the land, Shiv’s threat to pull your insides out of your backside if you spilled the tea felt much less threatening. So you squealed to Kendall, and just for good measure, gave the order to press the button that set off the nuke called President-Elect Jeryd Mencken. Do you feel guilty about any of this? We doubt it. After all, as you told Lukas in a haze of vape smoke, you gotta do what you gotta do.

5. Connor Roy (last week: 9): You fancy yourself a clever political operator when in fact you lit one hundred million U.S. dollars on fire just so you could give a delusional, grievance laden concession speech that confirmed what we all knew – you are a joke, but at least you are flexible. You no longer need to worry about what your wo-man thinks of O-man because you went from “no on the Slos” to “good morning, Dubrovnik!” Enjoy Europe, Con.

6. Lukas Matsson (last week: 2): You may be able to bigfoot people on a mountaintop in Norway and RSVP your acceptance to an exclusive pre-election party four minutes before you show up, but we think the sledding will be a wee bit tougher now that the Roy boys have the incoming leader of the free world in their back pocket while you fend off the inevitable short squeeze that will come after you admit your India subscriber numbers are funky.

7. Tom Wamgsgans (last week: 10): Your head has been on the chopping block ever since Logan keeled over in that airplane bathroom and yet you find a way to avoid the axe. Perhaps it is those solid, Midwestern arches that allow you to dance away from danger or maybe it is the surge of energy you get off that bump of coke, but we know it is because you are, as your estranged wife said, servile. Sure, you paid lip service to Logan’s rules against the bigwigs muscling in on news coverage, but you could not get Greg to wrangle the kids off the electoral battlefield any more than you could fix the glitchy touch screen computers at the decision desk. So you did what you always do, you analyzed the situation and figured out who was most likely to come out on top and acted accordingly. It appears your marriage is finally over, but Roman may give you a stay of execution as a reward for calling the election for his candidate. We shall see.

8. Darwin Perry (last week: NR): Election nights sometimes hold intrigue, but you were not prepared for the literal (or metaphorical) wasabi-in-the-eye experience of Mencken vs. Jimenez. You only agreed to call Wisconsin if it was characterized as “pending” but when the time came for the caveats, the powers that be stuffed you in a locker.

9. Shiv Roy: (last week: 3): You did not need to worry about the bomb in Matsson’s numbers because you were more than capable of having your own decisions blow up in your face. For someone who cut her teeth in the grimy world of politics, you could not have played your hand more poorly. You gambled on your brothers never finding out about your betrayal and napalmed your marriage without realizing when a national election was on a razor’s edge, it might be beneficial if your husband was on your side instead of having him question whether revealing that you are pregnant is a lie or the truth. With no allies left, it looks like you are going to go scorched earth. Color us skeptical.

10. Jess Jordan: (last week: NR): By now, we thought you would have come to terms with the bargain you made. You work for horrible people and they pay you money to look past that fact. If you do not want to do it, Kendall will replace you faster than you can say “no real person involved.”

Not Ranked: Willa Roy. Rava Roy. Sophie Roy. Shakespeare Frank Vernon. Hugo Baker. Gerri Kellman. Mark Ravenhead. Cyd Peach. Karl Muller. Nate Sofrelli. Lemon-flavored La Criox Seltzer Water. Freedom Voice America. VeraNews. Shrodinger's Cat. Microwave Milk and Ginger Shots. Spaghetti and Olive Oil. American Bottled Water. Pontius Pilate. Bodega Sushi.

Tailgate Party


Kill List

Honeymoon States

Connor’s Wedding


The Munsters

Seasons 2 and 3 Power Rankings

Monday, May 8, 2023

Succession Power Rankings - Tailgate Party

This week on Succession … Ken gets a tip, Tom gives a gift, and Lukas takes a hit. And now, the Power Rankings: 

1. Kendall Roy (last week: 1): It turns out you were right. Matsson is a card trick. All you needed was for one of your in house snoops to do some digging and turn up the deets on Lukas’s frozen blood brick obsession with Ebba to learn he is unstable and a little cozying up to her in a moment of pique to confirm he is cooking the company books. You have seen this movie before. Lawrence pulled the same trick and you overpaid for Vaulter; this time, you want to flip the script with a reverse Viking and counterattack so that Waystar acquires a GoJo weakened by revelations of wonky business practices. Could it work? Perhaps. But if you fancy yourself a general fighting battles on six continents, we need to admit that a couple of the front lines do not look great. For one, you could not get Nate to bite on your offer to give Jimenez favorable coverage on ATN in exchange for using federal agencies to make the deal go away. For another, you do not realize your sister has switched teams. And, not for anything, you just pulled the same sleight of hand at the company investor conference by using meaty projections and some artful sound editing to convince the audience that Living+ will be a revenue generating machine. You envision a future with a single crown on a single head, but we are a little concerned your eyes are getting too big for your stomach.

2. Lukas Matsson (last week: 3): The thing about a charm offensive is you need to be, you know, charming. And while you were able to play the good boy for a little while, not inserting any body parts into the guacamole, telling Nate he need not fear the bleep bloop algo guys data mining the nation to death, and offering to send Tom off on an iceberg once you acquire ATN, the façade did not hold. Once you and Oskar fired up the vape pen, things went south. You lashed out at Ebba, called Ken’s Living+ numbers “gay,” and insulted the greatest city on Earth from a view of it most of us will never experience. When Shiv expressed legitimate concern about the deal (not to mention the loss she would eat if GoJo’s stock cratered when you revealed the company’s India subscriber numbers were half what the company said they were) the man behind the curtain was finally exposed – all you have is the hope that a quick deal with Waystar will paper over the bad news until the subscriber numbers tick up, probably. In other words, another card trick to keep the short sellers at bay before anyone realizes your company’s foundation is built on wet cement.

3. Shiv Roy (last week: 2): The problem with keeping your options open is that you risk being left with none. You betrayed your brothers in the hopes of taking over a post-acquisition Waystar, but when you floated the idea to Lukas, punctuated with not one, not, two but three “verys” modifying your request for a significant role going forward, he gave you the old corporate brush off of “let’s circle back.” That alone should have sent up a red flag, but you were undeterred. When your brothers, who are still not clued into the fact you are actively working against them, told you that Matsson has been fudging his numbers and you confronted him, he gave you a song and dance routine that hardly left you reassured. And so, realizing belatedly that you may have nailed yourself to the wrong cross, you tried to get some comfort from Tom only for the two of you to air all of your grievances with one another in the ugliest way possible. You have painted yourself into a corner and now your best play is hoping dumb and dumber never realize you were a double agent.

4. Ebba (last week: NR): Publicly, you have been burnishing Lukas’s reputation as a tech genius when in private you know he cannot even write basic code. In comms, this type of lily gilding is de rigueur and you might have just kept it to yourself or put it in that book you threatened to write if your nest was not feathered properly, but Lukas embarrassed you in public one time too many. Roman was naïve enough to think you are going to walk because of the fallout from your break up, but you spilled the real tea – that GoJo’s subscriber numbers in India are half what the company says they are – and may have handed the CE-Bros the silver bullet they need to put down Lukas once and for all.

5. Gerri Kellman (last week: 9): Back at Argestes, Roman pitched you on a tandem leadership team – Tarzan and Mole Woman. He would be the dashing public face of Waystar, taking big swings and making big deals while you were back at HQ sorting out the details. The reward for being, as he described you, a competent filing cabinet, would be a pile of money so high you could buy your own private island. It turns out two of those things are coming true. Roman is running the company and taking a bunch of big swings, but you are not going to be around to fill in the blanks because one of those decisions was showing you the door. You are getting a massive pay out, some of which you will use to pay those personal reputation managers to polish your image, and the rest, well, you can figure out later.

6. Nate Sofrelli (last week: NR): When the polling vibes are good you can moonwalk from D.C. to New York City and never feel the ground beneath your feet. You may be a humble public servant, but you are being wooed by a tech billionaire and the scion of one of the most influential media companies in the world to leverage your power in their favor. But you find this kind of horse trading almost as unsavory as Tom trying to bigfoot you with his endless supply of biodynamic, light and fruity red wines. You ditched the tailgate party early, no doubt hoping you did not miss the last Acela train back to the nation’s capital.

7. Roman Roy (last week: 5): We are starting to think you may be in over your head. Anything beyond deploying a minion to sniff out Lukas’s dirty laundry seems beyond your reach. You could not get Connor to quit his campaign and endorse Mencken. It took Ken asking Ebba for a smoke to get her talking about India. And when you attempted to make peace with Gerri, she was having none of it. Your impulsivity caught up to you. Not only are you losing a valuable ally who might have helped you navigate the top job, all that institutional knowledge you flushed down the toilet may end up being more costly than the check Waystar is going to write so Gerri keeps her file folder of your NSFW pics to herself.

8. Cousin Gary (err Greg)(last week: 6): Your tolerance for humiliation is only surpassed by your capacity for self-preservation, two skills we are not unimpressed with. Lukas may have dismissed you as the backwash at the bottom of the gene pool, but he took notice when you humble bragged your firing of 100 ATN international employees. It turns out appearing to care about people when you do not in fact care about people is the true skill Matsson values, but your moves are all tactic and no strategy. Ingratiating yourself with whoever you think has the upper hand at any given time is a recipe for staying on the bottom rungs of the corporate ladder.

9. Connor Roy (last week: NR): We get it, Connor. You had a lot on your plate, what with trying to parlay your meager support into a suitably prestigious ambassadorship, keeping your dad’s funeral to a tight 90, and convincing Willa to give up living in a posh Manhattan townhouse for the thrill of tooling around a middle eastern country in a car with diplomatic license plates so the cops can’t touch her. But instead of eating the carrot being dangled by the Mencken campaign, you are going to stay in the race on the off chance a better-than-expected performance might lead to a book deal and a lecture circuit tour. Seems thin.

10. Tom Wamgsgans (last week: 7): The Power Rankings were also in a toxic marriage borne out of a roller coaster courtship and engagement, so we are not unsympathetic to the beats a relationship of this sort entail. The fights are punctuated with the kind of passionate reconnection that leaves you weak in the knees but the underlying problems never disappear and quickly bubble back up to the surface. You mistook the radical honesty previously unseen in your marriage as an opportunity to show her (via an ill-advised scorpion encased in lucite) and tell her (in a series of escalating insults) what you really think. Big mistake. It may have been the late hour, the energy sapped out of you by a house full of guests critiquing ATN, or the murmurs that your job was at risk, but your fight on the balcony is the kind of thing we do not see you coming back from. In a marriage, there is a mutually assured destruction aspect to things. You each possess knowledge about the other that can nuke everything, and because of that, it is not in either party’s interest to launch their missiles unless they are prepared to destroy the earth. So, when you are accused of taking away the last few months a mourning daughter could have had with her dad and you respond by telling her she is incapable of love, question whether she should ever be a parent, and dismiss her as broken, the emotional blast radius is big enough to send you back to whatever Midwest town you came from because your career and marriage both appear to be over.

Not Ranked: Willa Roy. Rava Roy. Sophie Roy. Hugo Baker. Karolina Novotny. Shakespeare Frank Vernon. Maxim Pierce. Daniel Jimenez. Jeryd Mencken. Karl Muller. Oskar. Len. Carly Flight, The Pod Goddess. Coop. Kettle Corn. The Logan Roy Funeral Management Committee. Biodynamic German Red Wines. The Phoenix Thing. South Asian Packing Peanuts. Slim Reaper. Slovenia. Slovakia. Somalia. 


Kill List

Honeymoon States

Connor’s Wedding


The Munsters

Seasons 2 and 3 Power Rankings

Monday, May 1, 2023

Succession Power Rankings - Living+

This week on Succession … Ken makes a pitch, Lukas sends a tweet, and Roman takes some heat. And now, the Power Rankings:

1. Kendall Roy (last week: T-3): All the ingredients were there for one of your patented flameouts. The vibes that screamed “three day coke binge.” The elaborate stagecraft. The minions nervously agreeing with your requests. The costuming. The siblings’ skeptical looks. Hell, you even got dressed down by Karl right before you went onstage. And yet, when the lights shined brightest, you finally came through. You wisely decided against the eleventh-hour Potemkin village with faux clouds and went with a more conventional pitch. Sure, the flight jacket looked ridiculous, but your hokey patter with video Logan struck just the right tone. And when Mattson tried to rattle you by live tweeting your presentation, you rose above it, walking off stage to applause from the company’s deep pocket investors and the grudging admiration of the Waystar leadership team. One problem. You are taking that proverbial tightrope walk on a straight razor. You browbeat poor Pete into accepting your wildly unrealistic growth expectations so that he could make a colorable argument to investors about this new venture’s potential all while knowing the numbers are hinky and being made up for the sole purpose of making Waystar’s acquisition price higher than Mattson can afford. A bill will come due one day, but for now, go ahead and carve that number one in the sand, you have earned your spot atop the board. 

2. Shiv Roy (last week: 1): You were right to be skeptical when your brothers promised your partnership would remain equal even though they were taking the title of co-CEOs. While Mattson might be an unreliable narrator, when he told you that Ken and Roman melted down during their negotiation with him, that added to your own suspicion that they wanted to tank the deal, cut you out, and run the whole company themselves. So you called them out when they tried to sell the management team on a story about Mattson being erratic and got them to admit the whole thing was a lie. You have seen this movie before. Whether it was getting blamed for spilling chocolate milk in the Range Rover or mud on your confirmation dress, your siblings always seem to gang up on you. Now, with the power dynamics shifting, you are moving beyond keeping your options open and getting sucked into Lukas’s gravitational orbit. You know the idea of getting out clean and buying Pierce will only happen if Waystar is sold, so you got Roman to bail on Ken, kibitzed with Lukas about slipping a stick in the spokes of Ken’s bike, and hoped he would fall on his face. When your scheme went south, you told Lukas to stand down, fuming quietly while everyone patted Ken on the back, and chose to fight another day.  

3. Lukas Mattson (last week: 2): You made it clear to Shiv you did not want any part of running senior living facilities and even floated an idea or two about how she could torpedo the whole idea, but when she balked, you took the bait and fired off an ill-advised tweet that ended up blowing up in your face. First rule of Nazis - only compare Nazis to other Nazis, don’t compare a company’s idea for a retirement community to Nazis. In doing so, you validated one of Kendall’s critiques about your leadership style, with the added indignity of having to take down the message when he deflected your rant with humor and a shrug. 

4. Karl Muller (last week: T-9): You have been a CFO for major companies for more than two decades and so, you know a thing or two about a thing or two. When Pete no doubt came running to you with concerns about Kendall’s ideas for valuing Living+, the red light came on and you took the opportunity to remind Ken that while he may hold the top job, you could eviscerate him if he said anything you did not agree with. It was a completely rational response to what you expected to be a dumpster fire of a presentation that you were not going to be left defending. And yet, when Ken came through in the clutch, got the room on his side, and name dropped you as “legendary,” you reverted right back to being a supportive company man, praising Kendall and calling him "special," all while the dream of retirement on that Greek island remains as elusive as ever. 

5. Roman Roy (last week: T-3): Since you just fired the person you used to work out your kinks with, it is not surprising (although a little creepy) that you have a very special humiliation clip from your dad on a loop so you can marinate in all the bad decisions you made while out in La La Land. You misread every situation and overreacted at the slightest challenges to your authority. And yet, your brother had your back. He shrugged off your impulsive firings of Joy and Gerri, speculating that you could spin the whole thing as a couple of young turks shaking up the leadership team to turn things around. The thanks you gave him was letting Shiv convince you to distance yourself from the Living+ presentation, assuming Ken would go down in flames. When he not only made it through in one piece, but had the audience in the palm of his hand, you were left alone to second guess yourself with your dead father’s manufactured words about how you always get things wrong ringing in your ears. 

6. Cousin Greg (last week: 8): You may have set a new world record for letting the least amount of power go to someone’s head. Then again, when you have shredded highly damaging company files, made a fool of yourself in front of Congress, and narrowly avoided jail time, browbeating some random sound engineer into doing a bit of light corporate fraud so you get into the good books is not a big deal. 

7. Tom Wamgsgans (last week: 4): Perhaps you see it all slipping away or maybe you do legitimately want to mend things with your estranged wife, but instead of scoping out the leggy blondes and tall models Greg had lined up, you finally opened up to Shiv and admitted that the things you love - your career and your money - were at risk and betraying her was a way to ensure you got to keep both. You may be a phony, but that might have been the most honest thing you ever said to her. 

8. Logan Roy (last week: NR): You haunt your children from the grave. As if they needed further confirmation of your dim view of their abilities, outtakes from your intro for Living+ left no doubt they were your favorite punching bags. But Ken flipped the script and with a little Hollywood magic, turned you into his co-conspirator in selling a prison camp for grannies as a dynamic experience so exciting they won’t even notice they are being kept drunk on content while Waystar drains every last dollar out of their bank accounts. 

9. Gerri Kellman (last week: 5): For a seasoned lawyer who has made a living out of avoiding the ax, you woefully misjudged this situation. You thought you could give Roman a stern lecture about handling human resources, dismiss him as a weak monarch temporarily wearing a crown until the kingdom is taken over by a new ruler, and explain that tech is going to swallow everything in its wake, when what he wanted in that moment was a crumb of validation you refused to give him. He has the pretext of the cruise line scandal to show you the door; for your sake, we hope you kept a file folder of his pervy text messages if he decides to follow through on his threat. 

10. Joy Palmer (last week: NR): Just a pro tip, when the latest installment in the Kalispatron franchise is over budget and your new boss sweeps into town offering you a pile of money to fix it, instead of taking that opportunity to editorialize about ATN’s right-wing bent, just say “thank you” and get the franchise pump pump pumping again. 

Not Ranked: Connor Roy. Willa Roy. Marcia Roy. Karolina Novotny. Hugo Baker. Shakespeare Frank Vernon. Pete. Denny. Raj. Lana. Dr. Sarcasm. Meme Stock Frothing. Doderick and Friends. The Big Eye. Dad Goggles. 

Kill List

Honeymoon States

Connor’s Wedding


The Munsters

Seasons 2 and 3 Power Rankings

Monday, April 24, 2023

Succession Power Rankings - Kill List

This week on Succession   the kids take a trip, Lukas makes a pitch, and Connor has a glitch. And now, the Power Rankings:

1. Shiv Roy (last week: 4): Mattson may have invoked the name of that famed crime fighter Scooby Doo, but you were the one who unraveled the mystery of what was happening among your brothers and him. You have been in enough rooms with enough politicians and powerful men to see the bigger picture. While Ken and Roman were keeping you in the loop nominally, when it came time to talk turkey, you were frozen out. On the PR front, you suspected (correctly) that the anonymous leaks to the press criticizing your dad were coming from inside the company. You also sized up Lukas perfectly, sharing just enough about the wobbly state of your own personal life to open the spigot that let him riff in a cocaine haze about sending frozen bricks of blood to his ex-girlfriend. And in that moment, you pounced. First, by clinically dissecting how he needed to handle Ebba; second, by flagging Gerri and Karolina as people he could rely on to navigate that and other issues that may pop up; and third, by suggesting increasing his offer for the whole company would seal the deal. As the brain trust flew back to the States, Mattson goosed his offer by five bucks a share, you accumulated a few allies who were not even aware they are now in your debt, and you were not above a little gloating, sending Mattson a discreet photo of your brothers’ dour expressions as they saw their plans to scuttle the deal go up in smoke. 

2. Lukas Mattson (last week: NR): After slow rolling the deal while Logan was still alive, you suddenly speeded things up once he was gone because it turns out you wanted the whole kingdom, something he never would have agreed to. So you pulled out every trick from the negotiating playbook. You dragged the Roy kids to Norway on short notice (and with the late request of additional Waystar personnel) while they were still in mourning. You seemingly mocked them to their faces by joking around with your team in Swedish. You pulled a bait and switch by putting ATN back in the deal. You made them ride not just a golf cart but a gondola up to the top of a mountain to negotiate with you. And your NASDAQ master race Fulbright scholars had you well briefed to prey on Ken and Roman’s insecurities. You referred to them as a Logan tribute band. You referenced Ken’s disastrous acquisition of Vaulter. You insulted Logan to Roman’s face. You may trip on mushrooms for breakfast, but when it comes to business, you just want someone to say a number. So, when Ken and Roman refused to give you one, you threatened to go over their heads and deal directly with the board, and got enough of a rise out of Roman that he finally admitted that he hates you and will try to kill your takeover attempt. Will it matter now that you have fattened the offer and made Shiv your ally? We shall see, but when the (co) CEO threatens to toss sand in the gears and drag things out until you get bored and move on to your next flirtation, you should probably take him seriously no matter how little you think of him. 

3. Kendall and Roman Roy (last week: 1 and 2): We understand you enjoy the trappings of power. The additional support staff, sorry, “condolence assistants,” at your beck and call. The ovation you receive by literally just walking into a room. Being the sun around which everything orbits. But the learning curve of actually running the company is steep. You think reviewing briefing books is wrestling with ogres, shrug off a presidential campaign sitting in on editorial meetings with ATN personnel as a mutual back scratch and not a risk to journalistic integrity, and that does not even get into all the drama with the movie studio. So it is no surprise that your recon on Mattson did not make it much past a victory by his kicky ball team whose name you did not even bother learning. Of course, it was not all bad. Ken was not wrong in his assessment that GoJo would be a poor fit for ATN. Mattson may have dismissed it as a damaged brand of small men with large veins, but he has little understanding of American politics and the reliable source of money that comes from indulging angry, old people. And that matters when half the value of the deal will come from GoJo stock, which would suffer if ATN was converted into a sterile, IKEA-d Bloomberg knock off. The vibes from Mattson just added to Ken’s view that having struggled for so long to make it to the top, torpedoing the deal instead of closing it made more sense. And so, you pulled out a few tricks of your own to gum up the works - giving the GoJo staff a private viewing of the bloated, three-hour cut of Kalispatron: Hibernation, slow rolling things with the bankers, and leaking to the press about the bad deal mojo - but in the end, Mattson saw through it and did the thing your sister told him to do, juice the offer just enough to get the board behind it and hand you two the most Pyrrhic of victories. 

4. Tom Wamgsgans (last week: 8): You had resigned yourself to being a field guide for GoJo staff who wanted to understand the taxonomy of the mighty oaks and deadwood in the Waystar forest. When you mustered the courage to perch while Lukas and his crew mulled the future of the French Republic, everyone could see you are well out of your depth, which is concerning considering you are one of the people running ATN. But all was not lost. Sure, you had to take a bit of a verbal beatdown from Shiv, but no matter how white your shoes might be, you are not above being a doormat others can wipe their feet on so long as it keeps you in the game. Did it feel good to be compared unfavorably with a more conventionally attractive (not to mention broader shouldered) man? Probably not. But you got a dinner invitation from your estranged wife, who saved you from the firing squad and dumped Cyd instead. Considering how things could have turned out, you did not do too badly for yourself. 

5. Gerri Kellman (last week: NR): A week ago, Roman gave you your walking papers. Now, not only are you still in the inner circle, your particular set of skills in making problems go away are about to be tested. You have been tossed a few curveballs in your time, but having to clean up the mess of a boss who sent an employee liters of his blood is a whole new level of crazy. That Shiv told Mattson you were just the person to handle such a delicate task suggests the inoculation you received by working for a pathogen named Logan Roy is going to come in handy. 

6. Karolina Novotny (last week: NR): You are solid, but the only reason you will have a job if the merger goes through is that Mattson dipped his quill in the company ink, a fact Shiv is sure to remind you of when she needs to call in a favor. 

7. Connor Roy (last week: 5): While your siblings are halfway around the world deciding the future of your family’s company, you are stuck in a funeral home in Manhattan fuming over a campaign rally with white working class voters in Cleveland that you had to cancel because you needed to stop Marcia from making Logan look like a Bay City Roller. 

8. Cousin Greg (last week: NR): You came to Norway expecting it to be an international stop on the Disgusting Brothers World Tour, you know, maybe bed an Arctic fox or two while the grown-ups hashed out the finer points of a deal you had every expectation was going to happen. Instead, you got handed the typical scut work of leaking deets anonymously to a reporter about the sour vibes and being set up as Tom’s foil when he got in over his head discussing world affairs. You may think of yourself as one corner of the Quad Squad, but the rest of the family sees you as a disposable pawn to be sacrificed when needed.

9. Shakespeare Frank Vernon and Karl Muller (last week: 6 and 9 (nice)): The $192/share strike price means you could care less whether you are on the kill list. You have both strapped on your compression socks, have one foot out the Gulfstream door, and are ready to pull the rip cords on your golden parachutes. 

10. Hugo Baker (last week: 10): Gluing yourself to Ken like a barnacle, handing him a coterie of new helpers, and leading the applause when he entered the C-suite were all good ways to stay in his good graces, but your ham-handed attempt to psych out your counterpart across the Waystar-GoJo divide by dissing his choke job in the Olympics was ill-advised. Your future with the company (not to mention your spot in the Power Rankings) does not look promising. 

Not Ranked: Willa Roy. Marcia Roy. Ebba. Oskar. Ray. Andreas Bloc. Jess Jordan. Stewy Houssani. Chairman Mattson’s Reeducation Camp. Cyd Peach. Ski Jumping. Frozen Blood Bricks. Sundar's Cargo Shorts. Hanna-Barbera Business School. Old Lady France. The Great Escape. Saunas. 

Honeymoon States

Connor’s Wedding


The Munsters

Seasons 2 and 3 Power Rankings

Monday, April 17, 2023

Succession Power Rankings - Honeymoon States

This week on Succession … Connor buys a house, Shiv is going to be a mom, and Ken gets a promotion. And now, the Power Rankings:

1. Kendall Roy (last week: T-3): Your dad can haunt you from the grave with an errant pencil mark. Publicly, you wave around Logan’s side letter as irrefutable evidence of his wish that you take over in the event of his demise. Privately, that ambiguous black line looks far more like a strikethrough than an underline. You what he thought of you - that you were incapable of running things because you were not a “killer.” That he spent his life cleaning up every mess you made. That you are an unserious person. Added to that, senior management thinks you and your siblings are screw ups, sorry, “not constitutionally well-equipped” to fly the plane and yet, by dint of your name being on that piece of paper combined with a little arm twisting and ego massaging, you have inherited the kingdom. Is there an upside? Sure. You are still paying lip service to a three-way partnership of equals and tell anyone who will listen your goal is to get the GoJo deal done and then move on with a merged media empire that combines ATN and Pierce. However, your first steps in the (shared) big chair give us pause. Operation Embalm Lenin was right out of corporate succession planning 101 - a seamless generational transition supported by nostalgic photos of you and your dad and the golden ticket of a document confirming you as his successor. With the public good will engendered by your dad’s passing and the natural inclination to rally-around-the-flag in an uncertain time, you probably could have shepherded Waystar’s sale to GoJo without much ado. Instead, you opted for the post-Stalinist model of erasure. Was it driven by your own insecurity or a desire to get back at the old man even though he is no longer around? We think so, and allowing emotion to get the better of you by green lighting a whisper campaign that will portray your father as out-of-touch, erratic, and not in control in his final days is a risky gambit. Karolina and Hugo might try to spin this as a fresh start narrative, but you also know it is unlikely to sing in the court of public opinion (plus, Roman hates it). 

2. Roman Roy (last week: T-3): Even though you have been MIA from the company for months while you, Ken, and Shiv were putting together The Hundred (before bidding on Pierce), you are still technically the COO. Being listed on the emergency draft plan was just enough to give you a modest glow up to co-CEO since names on a piece of paper are coin of the realm when the king dies.

3. Stewy Houssani (last week: NR): You have known Kendall long enough to be deeply skeptical of his ability to bring home a deal that is effectively at the one yard line no matter how much he tells you that he’s twin track, dead inside but ready to dive into the work needed to make it happen. And yet, what are your options when your old pal asks you to do him a solid the day after his father dies? Your pubes have been singed before and you know all of Ken’s faults, but at this point, you just need to hope he can keep it together long enough for you to cash out your stake and move on to the next takeover target. 

4. Shiv Roy (last week: T-3): Roman has “pre-grieved” your father’s passing and Ken is catatonic behind closed doors, but you are wearing your heartbreak on your sleeve. It is bad enough you feel responsible for Logan’s death, but you are also expecting a baby, a fact you seem, at best, ambivalent about (perhaps owing to the fact your mother called into question whether you should be one when you two chatted in Italy). And when it came time to play musical chairs to decide who should take over, you are the one left without a seat. We understand the emotional trauma you are going through has you off your game, and we are not unmindful of the selflessness you displayed by not putting up more of a fight, but your contributions to the company extended well beyond the strategic review Kendall dismissed as “daddy make work.” You talked Kira off the ledge when she was ready to blow open the cruise line scandal. You locked down a settlement with Sandi just before the shareholder vote. And your left-leaning politics helped grease the skids with Nan Pierce. What you got for all this was a pinky swear from your brothers that the three of you are equal partners. Of course, Logan gave you a similar commitment back at the summer palace when he promised you would succeed him and look where that got you.

5. Connor and Willa Roy (last week: 7 and 9): A honeymoon spent in swing states was probably not the original plan, but you are not above taking advantage of Logan’s passing if it means you might get a modest bump in the polls. While we remain dubious of your chances of moving into the White House, redecorating your newly-bought townhouse so can cosplay being the First Couple of Manhattan is not a bad consolation prize.

6. Shakespeare Frank Vernon (last week: 6): This is your moment to shine, Frank. Do you have it in you to be the eminence grise Kendall needs now that he is in charge or are you eyeing the exit, ready to pull the cord on your own golden parachute?

7. Marcia Roy (last week: NR): We prefer not thinking about you and Logan engaging in intimate phone chats, but interrupting your never-ending shopping spree in Milan to flip the Park Avenue townhouse you no longer want for a cool $63 million is not a bad day’s work. That you got a chance to humiliate Kerry was just icing on the cake.

8. Tom Wamgsgans (last week: 2): If you are going to attempt to ride your bicycle across Niagara Falls, you need more than “I am here to serve” if you plan on making it to the other side. You are caught between two worlds. When you tossed your hat in the ring for interim CEO, Karl (as a friend) politely presented the negative case against you - an interloper whose patron is dead and whose wife does not even like him. Having been shot down so cleanly, you tried to make amends with the kids, but Kendall saw through your limp attempt to bury the hatchet, Shiv literally recoiled when you tried to touch her, and Roman blew you off as “Tightrope Tommy” when you tried to convince him to challenge Ken’s claim to the top spot. In the end, you were back in a familiar place, at the metaphorical kid’s table whispering gossip to Greg.

9. Karl Muller (last week: NR): Having failed to convince Frank to violate his duty as the executor of Logan’s estate by making that side letter disappear, and having precisely zero chance of serving as interim CEO, you are left to take pot shots at Tom and question whether any of the kids has what it takes to run things. Your assessment of the group was not inaccurate, but as you also know, irrelevant. The stuff you did with cable is in the 1990s rearview mirror. Now, you have your escape plan at the ready, you just need to collect your severance so you can spend your golden years on a Greek island. 

10. Hugo Baker (last week: NR): You broke the first rule of working for the Roys. You handed someone actionable intel that could be leveraged against you. Of course, you have no one to blame but yourself. Had you not blurted out insider information to your daughter so she could dump her Waystar stock just before the bottom fell out, you would not be doing covert ops for Kendall as he looks to cement his position atop the org chart.

Not Ranked: Cousin Greg. Gerri Kellman. Karolina. Lukas Mattson. Kerry Castellabate. Colin Stiles. Ron Petkus. Strap Ons. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Oskar. Peter Munion. Wonder Bread and Steak Frites. Compression Socks. Frank E. Campbell’s Funeral Home. Fish Tacos. Laphroaig. Three Gauguins. Sudoku. 

Connor’s Wedding


The Munsters

Seasons 2 and 3 Power Rankings

Monday, April 10, 2023

Succession Power Rankings - Connor's Wedding

This week on Succession … Logan slips, Roman flips, and Connor gets hitched. And now, the Power Rankings: 

1. Logan Roy (posthumous)(last week: 1): Your demise was not so much untimely as it was poorly timed. Everything hung in the balance. The GoJo deal, the strategic refocus, the fate of two of your top lieutenants, but when you are in your 80s and still negotiating multi-billion dollar deals while playing puppet master to your coterie of family members and advisors, it should come as no surprise that your ticker might stop running at any time. It turned out Gil Eavis’s observation about you was spot on. The institution you leave behind is a reflection of you. In the aftermath of your passing, the same paranoia, insecurity, and scheming that defined your leadership continued apace. We can debate the butterfly effect of your decision making; if you had not asked Ken to take the fall for the cruise line fiasco or cut the kids off at the knees in Italy, perhaps you would not be taking your final breaths 35,000 feet up in the air while a flight attendant tries to keep your heart pumping until you reach terra firma. But does it matter? To paraphrase the Power Rankings’ favorite band, you’re gone, and nothing is going to bring you back. 

2. Tom Wamgsgans (last week: 4): We continue to be impressed with your dexterity, Tom. While Logan was still ambulatory, you were nestled inside the inner circle with some fresh Greggies you roped in from the pigpen, ready to help finalize the deal with Mattson. Your underlying Midwestern humanity shone through when you were put in the impossible position of being the virtual lifeline between the kids and their dad as he lay dying on the floor of his private jet. Then you pivoted right back to sharp-elbowed infighter, directing Greg to delete the “logistics” folder from your computer while recognizing that the loss of your protector, combined with your pending divorce from Shiv, might leave you out in the cold. So, when the plane landed and you had the chance, you did what you could to console your soon-to-be ex-wife who rebuffed your clumsy attempt to comfort her but wanted you riding in the car when she left the airport. A master class of balancing the personal and professional we frankly did not think you had in you. 

3. The Rebel Alliance (last week: 3): The Power Rankings sympathize with you. We too lost our father during a period of estrangement and understand the gumbo of emotion that comes with not being able to say good-bye properly. Of course, we never described him as a human gaslight or left a message asking if he was in fact a “c” word. But we do know from emotional scars and so it was unsurprising you were at a loss as Logan’s life leaked out of him. The idea you might both lash out and tell him you loved him was completely on brand. Roman, the neediest and easiest to manipulate, refused to accept his father’s passing. Ken, barking out orders for conference calls with doctors, simply highlighted the powerlessness we all have - no matter our wealth - when a loved one dies. Shiv, whose affection for her dad curdled into a poisonous desire for revenge, was hoping the bad news was about their mom, not Logan. It was a grim tableau, but we also saw the mutual support. Ken’s level-headed thinking about next steps. Shiv’s ability to slap together a sober, but stabilizing statement for the press. Roman being deputized to call Mattson. A group hug before going their separate ways. Can it all hold together now that the chessboard has been flipped over and the one thing they each wanted since they were old enough to want things (h/t Tyrion Lannister) is there for the taking? We are about to find out. 

4. Gerri Kellman (last week: NR): You have worked for Logan long enough to know that loyalty is a one-way street. No matter how many fires you put out, if you make the old man look foolish by say, snickering at his girlfriend’s audition tape, you are going to be shown the door (albeit with your mouth stuffed with gold). But with Logan out of the picture and a muddle atop Waystar’s org chart, you may have received a stay of execution. After all, who better to provide stability than a former interim CEO with the unique ability to dance the company through rainstorms without getting anyone wet? 

5. Lukas Mattson (last week: 2): For all your bluster and grumbling about the ATN carve-out, you were still ready to make a deal. Now that Logan is dead, all bets are off. You could walk away and go back to testing mattresses (perhaps helping you sleep better) and shoveling junk food down your gullet or engage with the Roy kids knowing they are going to try to squeeze a few more krona out of you. 

6. Shakespeare Frank Vernon (last week: NR): You have known Logan Roy for 40 years, which means you also know that when it comes time to issue the press release announcing his death, it is important for you to be mentioned by name. You know, for “market confidence.” 

7. Connor Roy (last week: 7): When your dad decides to blow off your wedding day because a deal might disappear, it is no wonder you are so warped you believe that your name and wealth entitle you to be President of the United States and you can purchase a wife like most of us grab off-the-rack suits at a department store. Instead of sinking all that money into a campaign that garnered one whole percent in the polls, you should have invested it in a good therapist. 

8. Cousin Greg (last week: 6): The kids hate you, Tom now has a phalanx of mini Gregs to service him, and even before he passed away, Logan found you visually aggravating due to the clumsy way you handled the Kerry situation. You flushed a $250 million inheritance down the toilet for the opportunity to be a deck hand on the Good Ship Fuck Off. Sound decision-making is not your strong suit. 

9. Willa Ferreyra (last week: 9): They say you always remember your wedding day. When the Power Rankings got married, our (now ex) wife hurled a shoe at her mother like she was an Iraqi reporter at a George W. Bush press conference. You got married as your father-in-law was dying and the wealth you assumed Connor would one day inherit was suddenly up in the air. Memorable? Sure, but probably not for the reasons you were hoping for. 

10. Kerry Castellabate (last week: 8): You are not the first young woman to hitch her wagon to an octogenarian assuming there would be a payout for putting out. Now that Logan is gone, you can forget about being an ATN anchor and we expect you, like he, will disappear from the Power Rankings forever. 

Not Ranked: Hugo Baker. Karolina. Karl Muller. Jess Jordan. Colin Stiles. Teterboro Airport. Reagan’s Funeral (with tweaks). Catching A Foul Ball At Yankee Stadium. Loony Cake. 


The Munsters

Seasons 2 and 3 Power Rankings