Season 6, Episode 11: ‘Succession’
“Michael [expletive] Prince is operating for president.”
There you may have it, as summed up by Chuck with all his regular verbal panache. After a season of indirect references and sotto voce hints, Mike Prince’s grand plan past all his different grand plans is revealed, with a bumper sticker studying “I LIKE MIKE 2028.” Behind the seizure of Axe Cap, behind the creation of the Prince Checklist, behind the moonshot play for a New York Olympic Video games, behind this episode’s introduction of common fundamental earnings within the type of Prince-funded “Mike cash,” behind each hard-to-parse interplay together with his right-hand man, Scooter, and his spouse, Andy, there it’s. Mike Prince, billionaire, needs to turn out to be Mike Prince, president of the USA of America.
You possibly can all however really feel the shock waves roll by means of the characters who sensible as much as this plan in actual time. For starters, there’s Wags, who introduced Prince a plum cope with the Chinese language authorities solely to observe the bossman blow it up as publicly as doable over human rights violations, and who wonders why Prince would provide a job to Chuck Rhoades, of all individuals. The transfer in opposition to China is an try to carve a path as an moral billionaire; the job provide is an try to take an enemy off the board for good.
Then there’s Taylor and Philip, the characters who theoretically give this episode, “Succession,” its title. (I’m inclined to imagine it’s a cheeky reference to tv’s different story of the life of the wealthy and shameless; it’s a bit like that meme of the 2 Spider-Males pointing at one another.) They spend many of the episode jockeying for place as Prince’s inheritor obvious, though neither can fairly fathom why he has chosen to call a successor in any respect.
Taylor’s pitch entails the proverbial “transfer quick and break issues” method. Philip’s method is extra methodical. However when the mud settles, each of those wunderkinds notice they’re higher off presenting themselves as a workforce of two, during which the strengths of 1 complement these of the opposite. This appears to unencumber house of their brains to lastly puzzle out the why of Prince’s maneuver, and that why comes emblazoned with the presidential seal.
Lastly, there’s Chuck and Dave. Rhoades has arrange store in an previous workplace straight out of “Mad Males” — full with an growing old secretary rumored to be one of many boss’s sexual conquests — maintained by his father for tax functions. It’s right here that he’s ensconced when his newest transfer in opposition to Prince — a digital billboard outdoors Prince’s residence that offers a operating tab of his private fortune — turns into a viral sensation. It’s right here the place Scooter and Kate Sacker come to encourage Chuck to hitch Prince’s workforce, a suggestion he predictably declines.
When Prince’s “Mike cash” plan is rolled out, ostensibly with the Brooklyn borough president (performed by Joanna P. Adler) on board, Chuck encourages Dave to tug the plug by reclaiming all of the land Prince purchased in service of his Olympic bid, on the grounds that with the Video games now not in play, he’s violating the compact below which he bought the parcels.
It should be a kill shot since Prince had been relying on leveraging the land and a private-public partnership to bankroll his common fundamental earnings scheme. However Prince then makes the very un-billionaire transfer of promising to completely fund the “Mike cash” initiative himself. When Dave and Chuck put their heads collectively to puzzle out why he would exit to this point on a limb, there is just one conclusion they will draw, and it comes soundtracked by “Hail to the Chief.”
Operating parallel to all of that is the shock story line to which we had been launched final week: Wendy Rhoades’s e book. Seems it’s a nonfiction effort of kinds: “Rewards of the Ruthless: How I Make Wall Avenue Killers,” a chronicle of her tenure as Axe/Prince Cap’s efficiency coach. The e book consists of very thinly disguised variations of all of your favourite merchants, from the timid Tom (a Tuk analogue) to the hard-charging Lance (Victor all the best way).
Wendy makes an attempt to melt the blow of the e book’s existence by giving just about everybody an advance copy to allow them to weigh in on their very own portrayals. The concept is to contain them as, basically, co-conspirators as an alternative of springing the e book on them after the actual fact — successfully daring them into libel lawsuits.
However Wendy finally places the kibosh on the e book herself, burning it up together with her Buddhist priest by her facet. She realizes this wasn’t an try to vent her bile however to service her ego. “Ultimately,” she says, “it’s a journey that solely results in needing extra, which is strictly what I don’t want.” If solely some other character on this present would notice the identical.
To the same old “Billions” soundtrack staples — your Bruce Springsteen’s “Badlands” and so forth — this episode provides the playfully raunchy tune “Chaise Longue” by the British indie-rock darlings Moist Leg. Crank it up, of us.
“A person in your place can’t afford to look ridiculous,” Wendy quotes at Ben Kim when he, Tuk and Bonnie angrily confront her about her e book. “I wasn’t going to cite ‘Godfather’ at you,” Ben replies, however he has to confess that she’s proper. Cue the Nino Rota.
Chuck refers to Prince as “Greg Stillson from ‘[The] Lifeless Zone,’” a reference to the Stephen King e book during which a psychic units out to cease a wildly harmful presidential candidate by that identify. Prince could also be fictional, however have a look across the political panorama: Greg Stillsons are one factor this nation nonetheless manages to provide in bumper crops.
Am I the one one who wonders why Victor, Prince Cap’s most intimidating dealer, isn’t in line for successor alongside Taylor and Philip? It’s bizarre to see him grouped alongside the likes of Ben Kim and Tuk as an alternative of with the alphas.
That mentioned, I used to be happy to see Sarah Stiles return as Bonnie, one other Sort A dealer, when the crew confronts Wendy about her e book. I’m nonetheless holding out hope she joins Mafee and Greenback Invoice at their breakaway agency.
Heilemann additionally earns this episode’s wrestling reference, during which Prince compares him to the chrome-domed monster George Steele, recognized additionally because the Animal. Sadly, Heilemann doesn’t appear to have a inexperienced tongue from consuming turnbuckle padding the best way the Animal did.
Prince’s aversion to obscenity is so pronounced on this episode — his exclamations embrace “Dang it!” and “Mom husker!” — that when he refers to Chuck as “that son of a [expletive]” ultimately, it has an actual impression. Will this cease me, personally, from dropping f-bombs in well mannered dialog on a regular basis? Most likely not, however it’s one thing to replicate on.