Succession Season Three Episode Five,” Retired Janitors of Idaho,” directed by Kevin Bray, occurs during the Waystar RoyCo annual shareholder meeting. Logan Roy (Brian Cox) suffers delusions on a crucial day because he doesn’t take his urinary tract infection (U.T.I.) medicine. Siobhan “Shiv” Roy (Sarah Snook), Roman Roy (Kieran Culkin), and Gerri Kellman (J. Smith-Cameron) take over control of the negotiations to stop the shareholder takeover vote with senile Sandy Furness (Larry Pine), his daughter Sandi Furness (Hope Davis), and Stewy Hosseini (Arian Moayed). Logan’s massive ego is the reason why he didn’t ask for help when he couldn’t manage his U.T.I. He also doesn’t like delegating decisions to other people. Therefore, Logan can’t congratulate his daughter Shiv for ending the takeover.
SETTING UP “PISS MAD” Logan
“Retired Janitors of Idaho” sets up Logan going “piss mad” using Chekhov’s Gun principle. Chekhov’s Gun principle means if a plot device like a gun is introduced at the beginning of a story it must go off by the second act. At the start of the episode, an injured Logan limps out of his apartment building lobby with assistant Kerry (Zoe Winters) walking behind him. He mentions needing to go to the bathroom. Kerry asks if Logan wants to go back up since he doesn’t want something to happen again. Her comment refers to his severe U.T.I. problem, which is essential to the whole plot of the episode.
Logan and Kerry enter the convention center together, but he soon sends her off. Kerry acts as his spy in the convention hall. Kerry hands him a bottle of pills. She reminds him about needing to take medicine at a particular time. Logan brushes her off. A few minutes later, one of Logan’s body men checks to see if he wants water. Kerry told him it was vital for Logan to be hydrated. Not wanting to seem weak, he refuses.
After a meeting with his eldest son Connor Roy (Alan Ruck), Logan asks about the nearest bathroom. Head of PR Karolina Novotney (Dagmara Domincyzyk) tells him that the nearest bathroom is up a flight of stairs. Unfortunately, Logan can’t climb a staircase on his own in his frail state. He makes a snide remark about running shoes but doesn’t ask for help. Logan’s ego won’t allow him to show vulnerability even in front of his higher-up employees and family. Even when holding in his pee will cause him to be physically weaker.
Everything unravels quickly during the negotiations with “the Sandys” and Stewy. The Roy patriarch wants to destroy his enemies. Logan sees any small compromise as defeat, not saving the family business. Sandi wants to take away the Roy family’s private jets. Everybody asks Logan to decide whether to give up the private jets or let the shareholders vote on the takeover. Instead of answering, Logan asks Tom to help him to the bathroom.
Gerri and Shiv pester Logan after he goes to the restroom. Finally, Logan gruffly says, ” Fuck them.” Keep in mind that Logan has not visibly taken any of his U.T.I. pills or drunk any water. Logan walks away huffing, struggling to walk when Shiv questions if it’s wise to let the shareholders possibly vote them out of power.
Logan never explains himself to his family or high-level employees, which is why nobody questions him. Logan projects himself as an omniscient God that is always five steps ahead. The inner-circle believes that the C.E.O. must have some piece of information they don’t know about. Logan’s body man doesn’t respond when Logan asks him for his pills. Only Kerry knows about Logan’s U.T.I. A few scenes later, without his medicine Logan becomes delusional. Delirious Logan thinks Shiv is his wife, Marcia Roy (Hiam Abbas) and that there is a dead cat under his chair. The funniest moment of the whole episode is when the body man pretends to remove the imaginary dead cat from the room in a paper bag.
If Logan had told his family about the U.T.I., they could have avoided all the theatrics. But, unfortunately, his toxic masculinity got in the way. Logan believes any sign of physical or psychological vulnerability punctures his macho god-like persona. The C.E.O. could be hurt if the world realizes he is human.
THE PUPPET & WOMAN POWER
Shiv convinces Sandi to stop the takeover vote at the shareholder’s meeting by leveraging the fact that they both follow their father’s orders. Or, in Sandi’s case, pretend to take commands from Sandy. Without her father, Sandi couldn’t hardball Logan because she has no personal power over Waystar RoyCo.
Sandy can barely sit up in his wheelchair. He blankly stares into space, never uttering a word. Whenever Shiv, Gerri, or Roman propose a compromise, Sandi leans over Sandy’s mouth to hear what he thinks. Sandy appears to groan or moan in his daughter’s ear. Then Sandi “repeats” what her father asks for. For example, the capability to veto any Roy siblings who want to be C.E.O.
At the end of the episode, Shiv plays on the fact that Sandi pretends to speak for her father. Both Sandi and Logan are incapacitated. For the first time, both women are calling the shots. Shiv agrees to give up the private jets and gift Sandi a seat on the board. Shiv will also get a seat on the board so that both sides will have an equal amount of seats. After recovering, Logan is outraged by the agreement because Shiv didn’t destroy their enemy and that she made decisions without him. Logan doesn’t want his children to spread their wings and start to co-rule Mount Olympus. Logan sees himself as the God who controls every aspect of his kingdom.
The Roy clan won one battle. How will Logan “destroy” the Department of Justice’s charges against Waystar RoyCo? Let us know what you think in the comments below.