Greg could have lingered a bit before heading downstairs. He could have talked to Jess some more, or gone to the bathroom, or argued with Tom. It’s possible none of these things would have stopped the Roy family from trading a presidency for a stupid business favor, but there was a chance. “It’s not going to change anything if I don’t go…” Greg says, trailing off. Even with all the power in the world at his fingertips, he still thinks he’s a lackey.
To say that all of Greg’s story to date has built to culminate in the one minute and 40 seconds he spends on his way to mission control might be an exaggeration. As talented as a storyteller as Jesse Armstrong, this show started long before the 2020 election took place, and it seems unlikely that he could have known the context in which Greg would end up making his most damning move. However, the moment does it feels like some kind of culmination, the natural if horrible end point for a goofy character who has spent years faltering and working his way through every situation.
As a culture, we spend a lot of time imagining what evil looks like, and we often theorize that the people pulling the strings behind the scenes to make the world a worse place are very smart. But sometimes, as “Succession” demonstrates, evil is dumb as hell. Sometimes the man behind the curtain is not a magician at all; he sometimes he is cousin greg with the launch codes.
“Succession” airs new episodes Sundays at 9pm PT on HBO and Max.