Alexandra Lange
Architecture & design critic

State Rooms for Shitty Behavior

Courtesy HBO.

No amount of decor can cover the truth in Succession: It’s not the furniture, it’s the humiliation

In Season 2, Episode 4 of the HBO series Succession, someone fires a gun.

This is far from the first gunshot (in the previous episode, for example, the top managers at Waystar Royco, the fictional Murdoch-esque media-and-entertainment company, were flown to a castle in Hungary for a team-building retreat which involved hunting wild boar). But this gunshot, fired in the offices of ATN—the company’s Fox News-y cable network—sends members of the inner circle into a different sort of panic.

“I’m in the wrong panic room,” says the venal, hapless Minnesotan Tom Wambsgans (played by Matthew Macfadyen). Tom, you see, is an executive married to Shiv Roy (Sarah Snook), Titian-haired princess of Waystar Royco. No one, including Tom, thinks he is good enough for her, and here is physical proof: a white-walled breakroom with snacks and a laminate countertop that’s neither sealed nor secure. Tom recognizes that his wife and her father, company founder Logan Roy (Brian Cox), aren’t in his room. They are in a better one.

Panic room hierarchy serves as a neat shortcut into the Roy family’s architectural psychology. This is not a show that merits deep reading of throw pillow choices or kitchen island family dynamics. What matters most is: Who’s in the room?

Continues: Curbed