Only one Roy understands the other given such an unhealthy dynamic between them. With a father as manipulative as Roy Logan (Brian Cox) it’s almost impossible to break the cycle, but as the episode’s title suggests, they’re rehearsing an alternative. Per hour, without much advantage.
Shiv (Sarah Snook), Kendall (Jeremy Strong), and Roman (Kieran Culkin) remain united, but with justified suspicion that Logan will find a way to tear them apart again. And obviously, it will be via the youngest, who is visibly doing what he needs to but is scared to death of losing parental approval. “You are sponges in need of love”, sums up Connor (Alan Ruck), being accurate in the definition. “The good thing about having a family that doesn’t love you is that you learn to live without them,” he says.
The Roys’ sociopathy prevents them from reacting to each other’s most important truth and the sadness of their older brother’s statement. He, who is so despised by his father that he is not even part of the manipulation game, knows that not even his brothers love him. He lives with it, including marrying a woman who is only with him for the money. He knows, but he sees that Shiv, Kendall, and Roman haven’t learned that yet. The manipulation game is precisely denying them what they want, unless “giving in” is turning the tables.
As a general, Logan is ruthless and invincible. He knows exactly what’s going on and how he can buy his time, but what’s the fun of losing the chance to see his kids suffer? Vale then invades the disconnected karaoke session that unites the four and, as Shiv rightly accuses, uses the moment to gaslight his offspring. And of course, he gets what he wants. Roman gives in when he hears that he is needed by his father and after Connor’s wedding, in the next episode, he must team up with Logan to resolve the negotiation with Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård).
Shiv is finally seeing that weak Tom (Matthew McFayden) has nothing. His passive-aggressive attitude of not owning up to what he’s doing no longer fools her and just irritates her being stuck with him and Logan. Only Kendall is without new motivation, following the trauma of being a punching bag for her father and brothers for so long.
Logan doesn’t want a successor because he can’t be replaced. Anyone who threatens him is annihilated. His lack also exists, but as he himself states that his children “are not good people”, it is almost as if he was praising them.
As we’ve seen, Logan came out on top in this episode and likely the next as well. Another show from the entire cast, but few hints at how the drama might end.