This recap of Succession season 3, episode 5, “Retired Janitors of Idaho”, contains spoilers.
You could never sympathize with Logan Roy, but “Retired Janitors of Idaho” made me understand him a little better. Or, at least, it made me understand why he hates his kids so much. It goes without saying that they’re all deeply awful, obviously, but it also turns out that they’re all utterly useless. Thanks to a bout of confusion thanks to an unchecked UTI, Logan isn’t able to advise them in a crucial moment, and they all just fall to pieces, basically. Even long-time company executives like Karl, Frank, and Gerri don’t know what to do, other than try and sacrifice one another, of course. The sheer strength of Logan’s personality hasn’t just kept the company growing in power and prominence, but it also seems to have kept it running on even the most basic of levels. The entire family would have probably been ousted by shareholders years ago otherwise.
Succession season 3, episode 5 recap
Throughout three seasons of Succession, all of the Roy clan have tried to better themselves – not in a meaningful moral sense, but in terms of their role within the company. They’ve all wondered, either quietly or aloud, what their futures might look like both during Logan’s tenure and after it. But it’s becoming increasingly obvious that Logan is simply maneuvering them where their idiocy will do the least damage. At this point, I don’t even think it’s about favoritism or even the show’s titular line of succession. I can’t imagine that, even on his death bed, he’d hand the company over to any of them. Why would he? None of them have any skills whatsoever.
This comes into particularly stark relief in “Retired Janitors of Idaho” because Logan becomes dangerously delirious right on the cusp of the annual shareholders meeting in which it’ll be decided whether Sandy and Stewy have managed to oust the Roys. Leaving the matter to a vote will be razor-thin at best and hugely detrimental at worst, so a campaign is being waged on two fronts. On the one hand, everyone is hoping that the media attacks Shiv and Tom orchestrated against the president’s mental faculties will pressure him into keeping his DoJ dogs on a tighter leash regarding the cruise investigation (quite the opposite, as it turns out), while the Roys try to finesse a deal with Sandy and Stewy that’ll keep the family in majority ownership but also provide a seat at the table. This is all complicated by the fact that nobody can quite make out what Logan is agreeing to and what he isn’t, and the fact that some of the conditions being put forward by Sandy and Stewy are needlessly petty at best and openly hostile to the Roys at worst.
Shiv sees this as an opportunity, at least eventually. Once it becomes clear that Logan isn’t going to recover from neglecting his UTI medication, at least not soon enough to actually make a cogent decision, Shiv goes straight to Sandy’s daughter, Sandi, and proposes an additional two seats on the board – one for Sandi and one, of course, for Shiv. She’s very pleased with herself about this, as she knows she’s making a decision that Logan wouldn’t approve of, but she underestimates his recovery speed. When she eventually returns like a conquering hero and finds Logan alert, he mutters offhandedly that it wasn’t the decision he would have made, and then firmly puts Shiv in her place. “I’m trying to talk to Gerri about something important,” he says. “Stop buzzing in my f*cking ear.” In other words, the grown-ups are talking.
I mustn’t neglect to mention that “Retired Janitors of Idaho” also makes a fool of Kendall. With Logan sidelined, he storms in like he’s there to save the day and starts berating his siblings into getting things done, and absolutely nobody pays any attention to him whatsoever. Later, he hijacks the shareholder’s meeting for a pitiful speech in which he tries to get a moment of silence for the victims of sexual abuse that have died under the auspices of his family’s company, and just as he’s listing the victims by name, his mic gets cut off. Finally, and perhaps most damningly, he’s invited to a conversation with Logan where he’s left to sulk in a dowdy office only to eventually be told that Logan has already left the building. When Kendall tries to call, Logan blocks his number for good.