Despite a rocky start, HBO’s Succession has, over the past few episodes, slowly emerged as one of the most purely entertaining shows on TV. Focusing on the family Roy, whose cantankerous patriarch founded the global media conglomerate, Waystar Royco, the series balances its clever satire of the uber-wealthy with emotionally charged domestic drama. You end up caring about the fate of these rich assholes, no matter how rich and asshole-y they may be.
Last night’s episode featured the most Succession-y set piece on Succession yet: a bachelor party for Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfayden), the hapless betrothed of Shiv Roy (Sarah Snook), which takes place in an Eyes Wide Shut-like funhouse somewhere inside an abandoned train tunnel. It was the apotheosis of the season, hilariously revealing the craven realpolitik of its central characters, while lampooning the absurd extravagances of the 1%. It also incorporated one of the most ridiculous (and ridiculously fitting) sexual acts ever documented on mainstream television.
To recap the episode, and get at a general sense of where the Roys are at late in the season, I’m asking and answering the following question: who won the crazy sex party?
Let’s break it down, character by character.
Most memorable previous party experience: relapsing in a big way by smoking crack with some yokels in a living room covered in wolf posters. (-100)
Goal going into the crazy sex party: not to OD(?) Then to close a deal with Angela, a representative of an art startup, Dust.
Extracurriculars: Champagne; at least three or four lines of coke; a desire for ketamine.
What goes down: Angela tells him to fuck-off (-100); he gets Greg to snort two lines of his coke (+50); he ends up joining forces with Sandy and Stewie in an effort to aggressively takeover Waystar Royco (+75).
Also, did he have sex at the crazy sex party?: No (-50). But he also didn’t try. (+25)
Total score: -100
Most memorable previous party experience: Pleasuring his then-girlfriend with her phone (+25), which is vibrating from a call she’s receiving from a waiter she gave her number to. (-25; kind of a lot.)
Goal going into the crazy sex party: to make his daddy proud (-25) by making a deal with Sandy to buy his local TV stations.
Extracurriculars: Drinks, no drugs.
What goes down: He embarrasses Kendall in front of Sandy by bringing up a childhood game called “Dog Pound,” (+50) which involved Kendall locking him in a cage and forcing him to eat dog food (-75); encourages Tom to cheat on his sister with a blonde (+25, because it’s Tom); cockblocks Stewie (-25) in order to set a meeting with Sandy (+50); secures a verbal consideration from Sandy, which will ultimately mean nothing (-25).
Also, did he have sex at the crazy sex party?: No (-50), but it looked like he really wanted to (-25).
Total score: -100
Most notable previous party experience: being too full from ramen to enjoy a tasting menu with his boss, Tom (-50).
Goal going into the crazy sex party: to make sure Kendall doesn’t do to many drugs, in order to curry favor with Logan.
Extracurriculars: a few drinks, and some sacrificial coke.
What goes down: Kendall goads him into doing two huge lines of blow in order to fulfill his promise to Logan (-75); Kendall does a bunch of blow regardless, so he doesn’t fulfill his promise to Logan, anyway (-50).
Also, did he have sex at the crazy sex party? No, (-50) he looked scared (-25).
Total score: -225. Greg never wins anything.
Most notable previous party experience: ruthlessly castigating the help at a charity gala (-50).
Goal going into the crazy sex party: it’s hard to tell whether Connor Roy ever has real goals, or if he simply has ideas of what his goals could or should be (-25).
Extracurriculars: molly and cocktails.
What goes down: he glibly litigates the whole “Dog Pound” controversy for Kendall and Roman (+50); eats molly and, in typical Connor Roy fashion, proceeds to profess his love to the women/prostitutes (?), and ends up receiving a stern warning for such (-150).
Also, did he have sex at the crazy sex party?: No, (-50) but not necessarily for lack of trying (-50). That said, he does have a chicken pot pie waiting for him at home from Willa (+50)
Total score: -75.
Most notable previous party experience: standing in the VIP section of a club with Greg, bottle service and no chicks, simply because it feels like the rich person thing to do. (-100)
Goal going into the crazy sexy party: to have sex. Or, well, whatever he feels is permissible from his fiancé, Shiv.
Extracurriculars: many drinks, presumably.
What goes down: he makes eyes and chats up a cute blond (+50), before taking her into a side room, where she goes down on him (+50), he splooges in her mouth, she comes up to kiss him and HE SWALLOWS HIS OWN LOAD (-1,000). Then he brags to Greg about it, passing it off as this crazy sex thing (-500), but even Greg—stupid, impressionable, possibly virginal Greg—isn’t buying it (-500). Meanwhile, Shiv continues to sleep in a bed with her hunky coworker, Nate (-200). If there was one phrase to describe the status of Tom Wambsgans on Succession, it would be "gets a blowjob but ends up swallowing his own cum."
Also, did he have sex at the crazy sex party?: Yes (+50), but he swallowed his load. So, no? (-50).
Total score: -2,200.
The Fly Guys
Most notable previous party experience: unknown.
Goal going into the crazy sex party: to celebrate (+50) with their friend (-50), Tom, who is their friend (-50).
Extracurriculars: nothing? They never entered the party.
What goes down: N/A.
Also, did they have sex at the crazy sex party?: No (-50), but they did not enter the crazy sex party.
Total score: -50.
In conclusion: the Fly Guys won the crazy sex party. The lesson here being: sometimes it is better to sit out the crazy sexy party than to have gone in and enjoyed the crazy sex party at all, given the likelihood of swallowing your own load.
All photos courtesy of HBO.