Succession: Cousin Greg May Just Be The Biggest Schemer Of All

Cousin Greg appears buffoonish and naive on HBO’s Succession, but he’s positioning himself to gain the trust of his most powerful relative, Logan Roy.

Nicholas Braun as Greg Hirsch in Succession

Warning: Spoilers for HBO's Succession.

Cousin Greg appears buffoonish and naive on HBO’s Succession, but he’s positioning himself to gain the trust of his most powerful relative, Logan Roy. In "Hunting", the third episode of Succession season 2, Greg makes two critical decisions that can be viewed as minor power moves rather than major mistakes.   

In Succession, Logan Roy (Brian Cox) runs the media company Waystar Royco. Brash and manipulative, he fully understands how to stay one step ahead of the competition and critics, including his four children: Connor (Alan Ruck), Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Roman (Kieran Culkin), and Shiv (Sarah Snook). In Succession season 1, Logan’s grandnephew Greg Hirsch (Nicholas Braun) awkwardly attempts to ingratiate himself into the Roy family. In contrast to the aggressive and calculating Roy children and their partners - such as Shiv’s husband Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen) - Greg appears to be passive and lacking the appropriate knowledge to keep up with the Roy family business dealings. But during the Succession season 1 finale, Greg gently informs Kendall that he’s collecting evidence about the Roy family’s dirty little secrets. In Succession season 2, Kendall sets up Greg in a penthouse; a telling decision.

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Related: Succession Season 2 Review: HBO’s Broken Billionaires Saga Just Keeps Getting Better

The Roy family dynamics have changed significantly in Succession season 2, allowing for Greg to further use his relatives’ shortcomings as leverage. After a deadly car accident, Kendall has become the family’s black Sheep and follows his father’s orders. During a corporate retreat to Hungary in "Hunting", Roman is shamed by Logan after a failed attempt to personally orchestrate the acquisition of Pierce, a media organization. Meanwhile, Connor continues to embarrass the Roy family by using social media to announce that he’d rather go to jail than pay taxes. Meanwhile, Shiv remains in America and takes advantage of her open relationship with Tom. The collective Roy family chaos overshadows Greg’s steady character development as he keeps an eye on Logan's steady maneuvering.

In Succession season 2, episode 3, Logan discovers that there’s a rat amongst his inner circle, a mole. The episode revolves around his attempts to shame everybody into absolute submission. Greg is nervous because he not only briefly met with a Logan Roy biographer (innocent as it may have been), but also revealed that information to Tom. "Hunting" builds towards a bizarre climax in which Greg and Tom are forced by Logan to play a “game” called “Boar on the Floor,” which is essentially Logan's attempt to identify a mole. But Greg doesn’t crack, and Tom doesn’t rat him out. They need each other for practical reasons: Greg needs Tom’s support as a fellow outsider; and Tom needs Greg as a Roy family ally, someone who can help stabilize his position if something goes horribly wrong. After all, Greg has insider info that Tom can use to his advantage, if need be.

Greg and Tom need Logan’s trust more than ever. In "Hunting," Tom uses Shiv as both a shield and source of information. They're so close that Shiv can imply the facts without outright stating them, evidenced by her weekend fling admission. But given that Tom refuses to confront Logan out of fear, that makes Greg a logical candidate to use familial loyalty as a means to overcome his immediate concerns. Moving forward, it makes sense for Greg to request a private meeting with Logan to lay all the chips on the table, even if he needs to gloss over specific details about the biographer meeting. Meanwhile, he can organically gain insight about Shiv from his friendship with Tom.

Shiv fully expects to be Logan’s successor, and Roman - who is dismissive towards everybody - desperately wants that same status. The Succession wildcard is Kendall, the family scapegoat who currently needs to follow Logan’s orders while making low-key power moves. And the card up Kendall’s sleeve is none other than Greg - the man, the myth, the awkward Roy cousin who can blackmail everybody while pursuing Logan's trust.

More: Succession Renewed For Season 3 At HBO

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