As for Roman, he is struggling with the interpersonal part of being in charge. Because he has favors to bestow and firing power, he thinks everyone he deals with at Waystar should just take his money and do as he asks. But at a meeting with a studio executive, he first suffers through her offer of condolences — “Refused!” he jokes — and then groans when she complains about ATN’s far-right lean. Roman’s initial response is to troll, by making a snide comment about the “incredibly evolved, ruthlessly segregated” community of Los Angeles. Then he decides it would be easier just to terminate her.
When Gerri finds out what Roman did, she tries to play the mentor again, warning that he is “a weak monarch in a dangerous interregnum” and noting, “You cannot win against the money.” He snaps back, saying she is being disrespectful and adding, “I need you to believe that I am as good as my dad.” She replies, “Say it or believe it?” So he fires her too. (“Shall we get started on the paperwork? Do you want to do it yourself or do you want me to get someone a bit sharper?”)
Knowing he overstepped, Roman turns to Kendall, hoping his brother will play the Good Cop and clean up the Bad Cop’s mess. But Kendall is excited about them putting their own stamp on Waystar, and thinks these two firings may impress the markets. (“Some are saying these Young Turks might just have what it takes to turn things around,” he says, imagining what the business pundits might write.) Distraught, Roman excuses himself from the Investor Day pitch, figuring a solo Kendall will flame out and then the adults will finally step in and fix everything.
It’s a reasonable assumption too, because Kendall is in full Icarus mode throughout this episode. There are few things more entertaining in “Succession” than Kendall in a boss groove, tossing out big ideas and buzzy business jargon at a rapid clip. While Shiv is the kind of boss who hates making decisions and makes fun of everyone else’s ideas, and Roman is the kind of boss who hates interacting with anybody who is not saying “yes sir,” Kendall is a hands-on boss, urging his team to be as excited as he is about taking huge swings.
On this day, Kendall is trying to pump up the market potential of Living+, dubbing it a “price-rocket.” Talking rings around the Waystar accountant Pete (John Quilty), Kendall tries to get him to work some mojo with the spreadsheets, to see what would happen if they just, y’know, plugged in bigger numbers. (“Numbers aren’t just numbers, they’re numbers,” Pete sputters.) The gambit results in a prospectus promising such a high rate of return that Kendall, in a moment of clarity, chuckles, “It’s enough to make you lose your faith in capitalism.” He is then brought back down to earth by Frank, who threatens to blow the whistle if Kendall asks him to support a fraud.