[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for Succession, Season 4 Episode 5, “Kill List.”]
What could be lovelier than a trip to Norway, to discuss a bold new era of business while looking out on beautiful forests and expansive mountain ridges? A lot of things, if you ask the Roy siblings at the end of Succession this week. The post-Logan summit gets ugly for nearly everyone involved, as Alexander Skarsgård’s Mattson continues to skillfully play the Waystar Royco team — at this point, seemingly for his own amusement.
The episode opens in New York, with Kendall arriving for his first day as co-CEO to the tune of Jay-Z’s “Takeover” (when it comes to needle drops, this show does not miss). But after entering the office to some applause, Ken and Roman’s time as the most powerful men in the building gets cut short by a summons from Mattson.
Gathering Waystar and GoJo’s top execs together at a mountain resort is good news for the pending sale of Waystar, but it does also mean that the next few days will lead to some epic jockeying for status and approval, because the one guarantee that comes with acquisitions like this is that not everyone will still have a job, post-sale.
So while “the old guard” of execs fret over who from Waystar might be expendable, given the current executive lineup at GoJo, Roman and Kendall are preparing to face down Mattson: They’re primarily concerned that he might ask questions about the movie studio , which is being kindly referred to as a “cash incinerator” thanks to a huge studio tentpole that currently needs reshoots. (“Sleepy robot in a cave — how is that a quarter bill?” is a very fair question, one so many people outside the film business might also ask.)
However, Mattson isn’t interested in movies — instead, he wants ATN, the news network that Logan wanted so badly to maintain control over, carving it out of the original acquisition deal. Succession has never been shy about drawing parallels between ATN and Fox News, but the brutality of Mattson’s comments about the news network serve as a kind of obituary for the embattled real-life network: “It’s not complicated — it’s a lot of yelling… Small men , big veins, fat wallets… Long term, I don’t think news for angry old people works. Good parts, bad brand.”