Watching Succession means having its theme lodged in your head for days at a time. The song, from mathematician-turned-composer Nicholas Britell, pairs the deep thrum of a bass beat with tinkly piano music—both a meandering progression of notes that seem to searching for resolution, and an almost tinny, high-pitched chord that sounds like someone hit the piano by accident . Its a little bombastic, a little playful, and because the score eventually turns itself over to sweeping strings, more than a tad dramatic. It also never quite feels like it ends. The song moves away from its piano-smashing chord, and then back towards it, as if its drawn toward the moment of impact.

As an earworm, its inescapable. As the shows thematic spine, its flawless—a tonal guide to Successions delight in the misery of the wealthy, to its dark, cynical sense of humor. And as a way into the characters, its surprisingly useful.

Britells score loops back on itself, caught in an irresolute cycle. And Succession, which returns for its second season August 11, is a story about being caught in a trap—though whether the trap is greed, pride, or duty is sometimes hard to say.

The first season introduced us to the Roy family, a dysfunctional dynasty in control of a billion-dollar media conglomerate. Over its ten episodes, each Roy scion tried to break free of the trap—only to eventually ensnare themselves even more tightly in the web of power, control, and manipulation wielded by their terrible, witholding, abusive father, the mogul Logan Roy (Brian Cox).

In the second season—after the health scares of the first season, and Logans victory over Kendall in the first season finale—Cox has more room to play with Logans performance, twisting his awful abuses of power into the unexpected, infuriating charm of a highly effective man. Its a chance for the audience to experience what the Roy children—primarily the three leads Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Roman (Kiernan Culkin), and Shiv (Sarah Snook)—have endured all their lives: The twisted appeal of their fathers winner-take-all capitalism, his survival-of-the-fittest parenting. For all their suffering at Logans hands, the Roy scions still buy into the legend of their fathers profiteering, his ruthless negotiations, his uncanny intuition. Hes their father and benefactor, role model and tyrant, foul-mouthed and resplendent in his own glory. In the premiere, Shiv calls him an “egocentric great white,” and shes almost admiring.

But at the same time, were given a front row seat to one of Logans most ruthless plays yet—one that is contingent on crushing Kendall's spirit, to punish him for his nearly successful rebellion. The season one finale entirely alters Kendall—and appears to return father and son to an old pattern. What was implied in the first season is baldfaced in the second: Logan Roy is an abuser, and Kendall is his favorite victim.

The rest of what made Succession so indelible, in season one, is still there: Romans despicable humor, Cousin Gregs (Nicholas Braun) goofy naïveté, battalions of service staffers, the tastefully neutral color paletRead More – Source

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Vanity Fair

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