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Succession S02E02 – “The Vaulter”: Recap, Episode Analysis & Guide

On this week’s episode, our brief synopsis is as follows: “Roman and Kendall compete to “fix” Vaulter in their own ways. Greg wonders if ATN is the right fit for him.” Vaulter was the Tech/Media firm that Kendall bought in season one, yet it now looks like things aren’t going so hot for them and Logan is ready to see what’s really going on. This was an episode filled with deception and cutthroat-ness, so let’s jump into the abyss that is the Roy family.

Roy Birthdays Aren’t JUST for Fun

We start episode two at a theme park of sorts for Kendall’s daughters birthday. After an extremely awkward hug between the two, we see Roman and Kendall being called to a meeting with their father. After the two brothers walked off, Shiv is also asked to join the meeting with their father. She almost looked fake shocked as she was asked, but she definitely knew this was coming. Shiv quickly asserts herself in the meeting and gives her two cents on what the Rpy’s should do with the current situation they’re in before Logan sends Roman and Kendall off to fix his Vaulter issue. Neither look particularly amused to be given the task but both leave in hopes of receiving the “cookie” that Logan promises for the son who can fix his problem. Shiv and Logan also get a moment before we cut to the credits, which leaves us watching her leave her dad with a newfound swagger that we have not seen her with yet throughout this show.

Kings, Queens, and Odd Peasants

Our first post credit scene starts with Tom and Shiv. Tom is trying to convince his wife that they should put a massive painting of themselves on an empty wall in their apartment before he goes off on a tangent about contextualizing Shiv’s “thing.” She quickly chimes in that she doesn’t have a thing, but Tom rattles on mentioning that he is a king and she is a queen, so it shouldn’t really matter if one “f**** the odd peasant” as long as their plan stays in tact. This gave me serious House of Cards vibes when he mentioned a plan, but I was distracted immediately by Shiv denying Tom’s advance for sex before work. Something about the two of them just makes me very uncomfortable and I am not so sure that their marriage will survive season two.

From here we hop to Vaulter as Roman and Kendall enter the premises. They have a brief discussion with Laurence who is confused by what’s going on. Kendall of course is trying to sugarcoat it and make it seem like something it isn’t, but Roman isn’t having any of that. Roman is very blunt with Laurence though and tells him exactly what is going on, which also reveals that he is not taking the joint COO position very seriously. We also learn in this scene that they’re hunting for KPI’s (which for those non business folks equals Key Performance Indicators) and Metrics to prove that Vaulter is still performing at a high level as it was when Logan originally purchased them back in season one. This of course brings us to our favorite duo in Tom and Greg, who’re finally reunited in the halls of ATN. This scene was great, and we got the line from the season two trailer here where Tom tells Greg to “not be an ass****” after he states that ATN is completely against his morals. We also learn that this was the one thing that Greg did not want to do within the Waystar/Roy Enterprise conglomerate because of those aforementioned morals.

Mr. (Possible) President

Shiv has always been a badass, but this episode was where she truly cemented herself as a cutthroat within the Roy Family. Nate approaches Shiv after what I’m assuming was a speech or event for Gil. He wants to talk to her about their affair and how they never had the discussion on who they were telling before Shiv absolutely wrecks him in front of a random man who is passing by before walking off. Then we see Gil, the man Shiv works for who is currently running for president, who seems to be extremely happy about current polls. He pulls Shiv aside and tells her he needs to start thinking about appointments just in case he does actually win, and offers her the Chief of Staff role. This was where I thought the first massive wrench could be thrown into the plot of season two. I thought that maybe Gill will win, and Shiv will then be faced with screwing her dad over to work for the president or screwing the president over to work for her dad. As we get late rinto the episode however, we find out that this will more than likely NOT be the case.

Jump to Tom back at ATN, who is interacting with his new coworker… or boss… or maybe something else? I was somewhat confused by this appointment for him, and almost saw it as a joint role similar to the one that had just been given to Kendall and Roman. Tom really seemed to be getting laid into by Cyd. She has that line about “latte sipping douchebags with $100 haircuts” that seems to jar Tom a bit, but he quickly bounces back with some of his own retorts. He almost looks to be completely missing the point of his new role in Cyd’s eyes, but in reality he probably isn’t too far off in thinking that it’s all just whatever Logan wants to see (and that may even work in his favor somehow as well). Apparently Cyd also gets appointed a “Tom” every four years like clock work, but this particular partnership seems to be off to a rocky start. As soon as the two are finished taking shots at one another, Tom heads out to Greg before sending him off on a mission to snuffle out the waste and trim the fat of ATN.

Vaulter, Take One

Kendall is diligently combing through some Vaulter documents as Roman sits and watches from the other room. Laurence mentions something about how they need to continue bringing all of the paperwork/analytics into Kendall and to “drown him” with all of it. Obviously this is super shady and really got me wondering about the company throughout the rest of the episode. This seems to be bugging Roman as he didn’t really think either of them would be working apparently, and decides to call Jerry for her help. That call didn’t go over so well for him, and we see the first tinge of worry on Roman’s face that Kendall may be the one who figures out this problem for their father. Roman then notices a handful of employees and decides to show his resourcefulness by taking them out for some beers before we cut back over to Shiv and Logan.

Right as the father-daughter duo begin talking, Marcia (Logan’s wife) walks in. Logan shoots some small talk her way before sending her off to make sure that the alexa is unplugged because he doesn’t need bezos spying on him too. Marcia clearly knows that he is sending her out to talk personally with Shiv, and has a slight look of concern on her face. After she leaves the room, Logan delves into his plan for Shiv which turns out to be a three to four year timeline that Shiv is not even remotely a fan of.

This brings us back to the Vaulter topic, and with Logan, Roman, and Kendall all sitting around a table discussing their plans of attack. Kendall basically says that they need some more guidance or “adults in the room” at Vaulter. That with accounting teams, analytics teams, etc. they can get Vaulter back in the direction they originally saw them going. Roman comes out hot with his take, which is to gut the whole thing. He uses the fact that he took the workers out and mentions they told him they were going to unionize soon. Logan ultimately likes Roman’s idea more and tells him he wants him on the proxy battle. Logan then assigns Kendall the task of gutting Vaulter, which looks like it may be something he cannot handle. This, of course, leads us to poor Kendall in the bathroom who is taking a bump of coke as he attempts to hype hype himself up.

Connor Roy for President – 2020

As we head to Connor and Willa’s house (apartment) warming party, we finally find out that this whole presidency thing with Connor is a serious goal of his. Who knows how far into season two this will actually carry his character, but for the foreseeable future it looks like we will continue to get the incredible jokes about him and his presidency that the rest of his family cannot stop making. Shoot over to Tom and Greg, and Greg explains to Tom that there is a piece of ATN that is still completely analog. He suggests that if they completely digitize it all it would be more efficient, which leads Tom to ask how many people he would get to fire for it. Greg answers 30-50, which leads us to a very strange (yet funny) line from Tom in “50 skulls is a lot of skulls.”

Shiv and Roman then begin a conversation about Vaulter, which leads us to Roman’s true intention behind gutting Vaulter. He knows that it was Kendall’s “baby” and wants to watch it burn, plus it is an added benefit that he gets to watch Kendall burn it himself. This cuts us over to Kendall who is outside staring at the sky and being awkward yet again. Shiv walks over to him and cracks a joke to start the convo, yet rather quickly lands on the Vaulter topic. She tells Kendall that she doesn’t think gutting it is such a great idea and we jump back over to Roman who now is not sure if he made the right decision about Vaulter. This section of the show ends with Shiv wanting to talk with Tom. She proceeds to tell him her dads proposition to run the company and then says that she doesn’t even want it. This of course brings back the “plans” from the beginning of the episode, which apparently is for Tom to have that head position. Shiv may have a serious problem with her lying to Tom this season, yet some truth may have been spoken when she said “she would be deleveraging power to not accept it from her dad.”

Kendall with the Double, Double Cross?

Kendall tells Laurence the truth about his dad wanting to gut Vaulter. He also says he knows that he was suckered in with false numbers and that they have not been doing as good as their numbers say. Laurence then states that they had a few down months and facebook changed their algorithm (which “facefu****” them, LOL), but that basically they were on the up and up now. Kendall asks for full access before Laurence makes a joke about how double crossing Logan is Kendall’s favorite thing to do. Kendall quickly replies that he is “of the opinion that my dad can be persuaded he is making a mistake.” I really wanted Kendall to get a W here, but does anyone else really see Logan to be that type of guy? Kendall then tells Laurence he knows about the unionizing and needs everyone to cool it on that front. He also asks to talk to those who are about to sign union cards, which laurence retorts with, “everyone here f****** hates you.”

THis leads us to what I saw as a really great scene for Kendal (or so at the time). As he stands in front of the Vaulter employees and talks about keeping things in house and convinces them all to wait on unionizing, he actually seemed like a really great leader. It also made him look like his old self again, which was a refreshing thing after his uncomfortable, unemotionally robotic performance for the last episode and a half. All seems to have gone well here before we jump over to Greg looking at places to “store himself.” However, as he is trying out a bed in an extremely small area of the apartment, he receives a call from Kendall and tells his realtor guy on the way out that this place “is a maybe.” Greg shows up to Kendall’s place before Kendall dives into how he bought five of these apartments a while back and is renovating them to flip for some profit. He then generously offers Greg to stay in one until they do flip, which Greg takes as a joke at first. When Kendall tosses him the keys though, he starts freaking out and proceeds to high-step his way around the apartment. I was super stoked for them both until Kendall mentioned how they should start hanging out… like tonight… like to throw a party. So clearly Kendall is just using Greg here and wants a place where he can essentially throw parties and make them look like they aren’t his, even though we find out later that they clearly are 100000% his.

Romans “Dinner” Party

At one point earlier in the episode, Roman mentions to Shiv that he and his current lady friend would like her and Tom to join them for dinner. THis is where we currently are within the episode, and not even 15 seconds into their dinner party Roman pulls Shiv off to talk business. He tells her about the rumors of Kendall not gutting Vaulter before asking if he should tell their father. Shiv says no and that Roman should let it blow up in Kendall’s face, which makes Roman grin as he states how much he loves watching that happen. To me, this was clearly Shiv keeping Roman off of Kendall’s back, and I think she is trying to maneuver something between the brothers to fix Vaulter as a way of showing Logan that she can do this job without some of the things he mentioned he wanted her to do earlier in this episode. Roman then asks if he should worry about Tom, which makes Shiv chuckle. Poor ol’ Tom.

We actually get to see this “dinner party” in action now, but it swiftly turns into the roast of Tom. He had just finished explaining his idea of how he wants to digitize ATN, which I for sure thought Roman was going to steal by the way, before Roman absolutely rips into him for his taste in suits. After some rifting by Roman, Shiv joins in on the roast as well. Tom isn’t having it one bit though and Tom tells Shiv to “f*** off.” After some smirks on both the faces of Roman and Shiv, we cut to Tom and Shiv arriving home later that night. Tom instantly says he is going to sleep in the guest room tonight before Shiv tells him that they’re just tangle up right now, but that she needs him. She mentions that he is the only one she can openly talk to about all of this stuff before she jumps into another conversation about her plans with running the company/leaving Gil. Tom suggests that she should run things from the background, which ends up being an idea she really seems to like.

Kendall vs. Vaulter, Round Two

Now we see Kendall doing some stuff at Vaulter, and I thought here he was having some data from Vaulter moved up to comb through again. Turns out, he was having his new team move in because he is actually gutting them after all! This gave Kendall his savage card back, and it looks like a backbone is finally returning to the eldest member of the Roy siblings. Turns out, Kendall never had any intention of keeping Vaulter open and just wanted to see where the true monetization areas were within the company. He gutted everything outside of those, set up his team on the 7th floor, and even stole all of those ideas he asked the team to think up a day or two earlier. As he is about to leave, one of the Vaulter team members spits in Kendall’s face before he replies, “is that all you’ve got?” I loved this scene because it showed, what I hope to be, the rise of Kendall again. This leads us up to the party Kendall wanted to throw with Greg, and maybe the best line of season two thus far. “I’m just looking for p**** like a techno gatsby,” which I am not even sure I (a 26 year old male) fully understand. Kendall does look to be somewhat holding it together but Greg is not a fan of this party or the people humping in his room.

And So Shiv Begins

From here the episode begins to make its close. We start with Gil and Shiv as they walk down the street. Gil is stopped by a random man and completely sweet talks the guy. He says once all this work of his is down that he will meet him and buy him a beer, which come on… like that would ever happen, before the two shake hands and head their separate ways. The second they are back in their SUV, Shiv makes a joke about sanitizing hands to Gil. And this is where it all hits the fan. Shiv and Gil start trading blows, and Nate even throws a super lame jab at shiv as well. Shiv begins talking about the deal Gil made with her father before we get the good ol “I’m out, no you’re fired, no I actually just quit you dumb bitch” from the two of them.

We cut back to Kendall one final time as he meets with Logan to discuss the Vaulter ordeal. He tells his father that he gutted the company, got the unionizing people off their backs, and a few other things that his father wasn’t expecting. Roman pops his head in and jokingly asks if this is something he needs to be a part of before Logan tells him to start looping him in on all of the proxy work, which looks to really jar Roman. Logan tells Kendall that he did good before telling him to make himself comfortable in what I think was his old office.

As Kendall eerily stares into the camera, we fast forward to him on the back of the motorcycle again. I find it disturbingly hilarious that Logan still does not trust Kendall to ride on his own, but that’s besides the point. His chauffeur pulls over at a convenient store and Kendall heads in. He asks for a pack of cigs, which, based off the look in the prior scene and everything his dad just said, I took as him maybe attempting to start sobering himself up. I can’t recall any time we have ever watched Kendall smoke, so maybe he will be trying to replace those urges for coke with some cigs? Either way, the most interesting part of this scene is when he clearly steals some batteries off the wall and chucks them into the garbage can outside the instant he walks out of the store. I couldn’t tell if this was some sort of power move or reason to feel alive, or if he has just lost his marbles and did it to spite the store owner who clearly was paying no attention to Kendall. From here, Kendall hops back on the motorcycle one last time as the camera pans up into the sky and the credits roll.

And that’s a wrap folks. Be sure to join us back next Monday for a recap of the third episode of Succession, and in the meantime go check out all of our other content as well. We have countless summaries on other shows, podcasts, and media related topics that will keep you busy for hours on end. Thanks again for the read!

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