Tuesday October 8, 2019

HBO Max has picked up Search Party from TBS.

Showtime has ordered a 2nd season of Couples Therapy.

Fox has ordered a full season of Prodigal Son.

Nick Jonas is joining The Voice as a coach.

Ratings for The Walking Dead continue to slide.

Offline downloads are now available from Hulu, letting subscribers save content for later viewing when they’re away from a Wi-Fi connection. The new feature means that Hulu is finally adding a convenience that both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have offered for quite some time now. Downloads are launching on iOS and iPadOS today, with Android to follow “soon.” But there are caveats. The most important one is that, right now, offline downloads are available exclusively to customers on Hulu’s No Ads plan. This step-up plan costs $11.99 compared to the service’s base $5.99-per-month subscription. So immediately, a whole lot of Hulu subscribers won’t have access to this feature. Ouch, yes. But it makes sense for Hulu’s business model and creates more incentive to opt for the pricier plan if eliminating ads wasn’t enough for you. Second, there are somewhat strict restrictions on your timeframe for actually watching the stuff you download. ‘Viewers can download up to 25 titles across 5 different devices and will have up to 30 days to watch their downloaded content. For watched content, the download will expire two days after starting playback. After downloaded content expires, viewers can renew an expired download when online, if that content is still available on Hulu.’”

The producers of 60 Minutes are bringing a new program to Quibi, according to a Tuesday morning announcement. Titled 60 in 6, the new weekly show will rely on dedicated correspondents and producers, launch in April 2020 and, according to the release, ‘deliver 60 Minutes’ brand of storytelling tailored for a new platform and a new audience.’”

Jeff Daniels will star as former FBI director James Comey in a miniseries from CBS TV Studios. The project, which CBS Studios locked down a year ago, is based on Comey's memoir A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership. Additionally, Brendan Gleeson (Mr. Mercedes, the Harry Potter franchise) will play Donald Trump — who fired Comey as FBI director in May 2017 and is a major figure in the book. A Higher Loyalty takes its title from what Comey says Trump demanded of him during the investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.”

The hits just keep on coming! “Nitro Circus is teaming up with yet-to-be launched mobile streamer Quibi to create Life-Size Toys, hosted by Nitro Circus co-founder Travis Pastrana. In Life-Size Toys, Pastrana and the “Nitro crew” will build giant versions of treasured millennial toys. At the end of each episode, the team will attempt a stunt using the custom-made toy — from a toy car taking on a professional rallycross course to an air rocket that can launch a grown man into the sky.”

Ronnie Ortiz-Magro is under an emergency protective order, which LAPD issued immediately following his arrest for an alleged domestic violence incident with Jen Harley. Law enforcement sources tell us the 'Jersey Shore' star must now stay 100 yards away from his on-again, off-again girlfriend and mother of his daughter, Ariana. If, for whatever reason, Ronnie has belongings at Jen's place in Vegas, he must have police escort him. The order is in place until Oct. 11 ... which will be one week after his arrest.”

“Group Nine — the digital media company formed by the merger of Thrillist, NowThis, The Dodo and Seeker — just announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire women’s lifestyle publisher PopSugar. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but The Wall Street Journal reports that it’s an all-stock transaction that values PopSugar at more than $300 million. PopSugar was founded by husband-and-wife Brian and Lisa Sugar in 2006, and previously raised $41 million in funding from Sequoia Capital and IVP. Group Nine, meanwhile, just announced a fresh $50 million in funding from its backers Discovery and IVP, which it said would be used to grow its commerce business and for strategic acquisitions. Brian and Lisa Sugar are both joining Group Nine’s executive team. Brian Sugar and Sequoia’s Michael Moritz are also joining Group Nine’s board of directors. Earlier this year, there were reports that Group Nine was in talks to acquire a different women’s lifestyle publisher, Refinery29, which was ultimately acquired by Vice Media instead.”

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Per Variety, “It’s been 15 years since Jennifer Aniston signed off as Rachel Green on Friends. In that time, she’s received plenty of other offers to star in a TV show, but she hadn’t been tempted by any of them. ‘I was doing so many films at the time,’ Aniston says on a recent afternoon, sitting in the living room of her Bel-Air mansion, as her two dogs — Clyde and Sophie — scamper around her. ‘So I never thought, “Oh I’m nostalgic.”’ And she didn’t think anything could compare with the professional experience of Friends anyway. ‘If I was going to go back anywhere, that’s where I would want to go. Meaning in my mind.’

“Next month, Aniston returns to the medium that made her into a household name and an international star (with box-office hits such as 2011’s Horrible Bosses and 2013’s We’re the Millers). In the Apple TV Plus drama The Morning Show, she plays a veteran anchor, Alex Levy, who finds herself in the spotlight after her famous male colleague, Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell), is fired over sexual misconduct allegations. Aniston is an executive producer on the series along with Reese Witherspoon (who plays Bradley Jackson, a local newswoman who takes over the newly vacated co-anchor chair).

“The original pilot for The Morning Show, which focused on the cutthroat world of morning TV, was completely re-written after Matt Lauer was fired from Today in November 2017. And while Carell’s Kessler, the disgraced anchor on The Morning Show, bears some eerie resemblances to Lauer, Aniston insists that the show is a work of fiction.

“Still, she studied old episodes of Today and GMA to find rhythms of her character, and she spent time grilling Diane Sawyer, Willie Geist and Gayle King about their early-morning routines. She even re-watched Today on the day before Lauer was fired. ‘Did he know? Did he not know?’ Aniston asks. She felt disgust at the news of his abusive conduct. ‘I was so devastated,’ Aniston says. ‘It’s such a strange thing; it felt oddly like my dad did something terrible. I trusted him and had been interviewed by him. He was there for so many moments in my life. And when ‘Friends’ was ending, it was Katie [Couric] and Matt interviewing us.’

What was it like producing The Morning Show”before the Me Too became a national movement?
The show got picked up. We sold it to Apple with an outline. Then, about four months later, the whole s— hit the fan and, basically, we had to start from scratch.

Did that change your process for building the character?
I work with this wonderful [acting coach] named Nancy Banks. We read. We think about her. We think about what her physicality is. Here was the big kicker for me. [Nancy] would take me places that I was not sure I wanted to go emotionally. So if I was bumping up against something, she would say, “Well how does this feel…” Almost like therapy. I also lost having a life, because Sundays were always spent with Nancy for four or five hours, going over the week’s work.

Because it was shot like a movie?
A series of movies out of order and the most dense material.

Were all the episodes done out of order?
Most of them were. We’d shoot this and then we’d say, “Well, we’ll throw in some of Episode 104.” And while we’re adding a scene from 107, you have to go, “Where was I and where will I have gone by then?”

Friends must have been so different.
“Friends” was like going to see a play for three or four hours. And it was just laughing and wonderful fun. And this is fun. It’s just a lot harder. My bandwidth had to expand so that I could take in all the information.

I know you spent some time with Diane Sawyer. What other journalists did you model Alex on?
All of them.

Did you watch Today episodes when Katie Couric was on?
I actually watched those live when I was growing up. But yeah, it was very interesting. I went to the DVR that I had of “Today” before Matt Lauer was fired and then the day he was fired, because that was so fascinating to see. Mitch Kessler is not based on him at all. He’s just sort of the archetype of all of the men that he’s representing.

There’s a scene where Mitch’s wife leaves him to go to the Hamptons that reminded me of Lauer.
Yes, sure. Who doesn’t live in the Hamptons on the East Coast? Who isn’t going to go to Amagansett or somewhere fancy for the weekend?

Are all the characters in The Morning Show”meant to be fictional?
All fictional, but also kind of highlighting aspects of the archetype of a charming narcissist, of a generation of men that didn’t think that was bad behavior. That’s just the way it works. And men are flirts and women are coy and find it flattering. And thankfully, with the sacrifices of these women who have come forward, this isn’t going to happen anymore. It’s wonderful that you’re accountable and you have to check yourself.

Did you ever work with Harvey Weinstein?
I did one movie, Derailed, with Clive Owen.

Did you spend time with Harvey?
I had to. There was the premiere dinner. I remember I was sitting at the dinner table with Clive, and our producers and a friend of mine was sitting with me. And he literally came to the table and said to my friend: “Get up!” And I was like, “Oh my gosh.” And so my friend got up and moved and Harvey sat down. It was just such a level of gross entitlement and piggish behavior.

Did he ever try to bully you?
He knew better. I remember, right when [his ex-wife] Georgina’s clothing line Marchesa was starting. That’s when he came to visit me in London while we were shooting. He’d be like, “Ok, so I’d like you to wear one of these to the premiere.” And I went through the book, and at the time, it wasn’t what it is today. It was not for me. He was like, “You have to wear the dress.” That was my only bullying. And I was like, “No, I will not wear the dress.”

And he accepted that?
Well, what was he going to do? Come over here and make me wear it?!

Do you think that the Me Too movement has led to permanent change in Hollywood?
Absolutely. I think there’s still room for improvement, but I think that kind of behavior is done. I think people have had the s— scared out of them. It’s also this big pendulum. Everybody has this new playbook and everybody’s trying to figure out what the new rules are. But what’s so wonderful about doing this show is that it is so unapologetically honest in terms of topics and the situations. It’s basically showing all sides. It’s showing how things are said behind closed doors during Me Too, that no one else has the balls to say in front of the world.

Have you been inspired by the wave of female empowerment that’s happening right now in Hollywood?
I think it’s an incredible moment. Look, there are unsung voices, unsung talent that has yet to be discovered. Our eye is now on that prize. You have to make people think it’s not a choice anymore. This is actually the new normal, as it should be. And I think it’s going to get better and better. Our show has six female producers. As a woman who has been in this business for 30 years, it’s been great and it’s been tough. And now here we are. We have the first show bought by Apple.

Did you have any reservations selling The Morning Show to Apple?
Yes and no. But I have to say the “no” outweighed the “yes,” because we knew what we were doing — even though they didn’t have walls yet or telephones.

How did you meet with them if they didn’t have walls?
They came to CAA. There was really something exciting about being the first at Apple. Apple is pretty awesome. They make cool stuff. Why wouldn’t they maybe make cool television? And they are all about quality, not quantity, so that was really appealing. And in spite of their comical secrecy, it’s been worth it. Who doesn’t want to be part of the Wild Wild West?

You’ve signed on for two seasons of The Morning Show. Could there be more?
If there’s stuff to talk about and if we’re not dead tired from it. I literally went into my covers for two weeks when we wrapped.

Why did you decide to return to TV?
It wasn’t until the last couple of years when these streaming services were just sort of exploding with this amount of quality that I actually started to think, “Wow, that’s better than what I just did.” And then you’re seeing what’s available out there and it’s just diminishing and diminishing in terms of, it’s big Marvel movies. Or things that I’m not just asked to do or really that interested in living in a green screen.

The movie business has changed dramatically.
It’s changed so much. I think we would so love to have the era of Meg Ryan come back. I just think it would be nice to go into a movie theater, sit cozy. I think we should have a resurgence. Let’s get the “Terms of Endearment” back out there. You know, Heaven Can Wait, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, Goodbye Girl.

Do you think that all this content that the streaming services are producing is the new future of Hollywood? Or do you think that this is a phase?
I don’t know. I’m shocked this is where we are, but excited that this is where we are. I didn’t see it coming. I remember not understanding. What the hell does streaming mean? They’re like, “It’s there all the time.” So tuning in on Thursday nights at eight o’clock is not a thing anymore? Or you’re not going to the bathroom on a commercial break and someone yells, “It’s back on!” That doesn’t happen anymore? It’s kind of sad.

Were you surprised that WarnerMedia spent so much to buy the streaming rights to Friends?
I’m shocked. I’m amazed. And you’re welcome.

Why didn’t you ever do a Friends movie?
Because our producers wouldn’t want it, wouldn’t let us. Look, it’s not been without our desire to, because our fans have wanted it so much.

So there were points when the six of you would have done it?
It depends. I mean, we haven’t all sat in a room. But would we have loved to have done something together? Yeah. It would have been fun. We could have redesigned it for a couple episodes. But whatever. Maybe it’s better this way, but we’ll never know.

On Netflix, it feels like Friends is still one of the most watched shows in America.
I know. It’s a phenomenon that I am amazed by. To have a whole new generation of children adoring the show as much as they did back in the day when it was airing for the first time is incredible. I want to know what people love so much about it, because there wasn’t any of this. Now most people’s consumption is the [phone] screen, which I’m very conflicted about. If you can’t drive until you’re 16 and you can’t drink until you’re 21, why should you be allowed to have social media? Like to have a distraction that prevents you from learning to connect with people?

Do you think there should be an age limit for social media?
I don’t know. I don’t have kids. I just know that I’m watching my girlfriends’ children and they’re all struggling because of social media. Do you know that mental health has gone through the roof? And primarily what they’ve discovered, it’s because of social media. It’s compare and despair, over and over again. Do they like me? Do they not like me? Am I good enough? It’s hard enough as it is being a kid without the damn “likes” or “not likes.” I wish they would remove the “like.” Why do they need them? Why do we need a comments section, where these trolls with no lives try to be hurtful?

But going back to Friends, I think the reason that it still continues to be popular is that the its thesis was that you don’t need a romantic partner if your friends are everything. That was an idea that was ahead of its time.
Right, right, right. It makes you happy. Even when I stumble on it, it makes me happy. I love it and I’ve also forgotten most of it, so it’s really fun for me to rediscover.”

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Per The Ringer, “[t]he arrival of the first official update on the fate of Breaking Bad’s core cast—unless you count the Cinnabon Gene scenes from Better Call Saul—occasions plenty of reflection on the show and its influence. It’s a time to think about how Breaking Bad changed visual storytelling on TV, employing directors like Rian Johnson to help realize its sun-drenched Albuquerque landscape. And how creator Vince Gilligan, also writer and director of Friday’s follow-up film El Camino, has expanded and adapted Breaking Bad’s narrative universe. And, of course, how El Camino protagonist Jesse Pinkman single-handedly revived the term ‘bitch’ in popular culture.

“From a craft and storytelling perspective alone, Breaking Bad marks a significant turn in the history of modern television, with legions of imitators still flattering its legacy nearly five years on. But Breaking Bad was also an inflection point in the rapidly changing TV industry, whose high-level machinations have transformed the way consumers watch in a disorientingly short period of time. The logistics of viewing El Camino alone serve as a telling indication of how TV has changed, and of Breaking Bad’s role in accelerating that evolution. Breaking Bad, of course, first aired on AMC, a small network known for airing classic movies that had just begun branching into original series. El Camino, too, will eventually be shown on AMC, though not until a date in ‘early 2020’ that has yet to be determined. First, however, it can be found where many viewers originally discovered Breaking Bad in the first place: streaming on Netflix.

Breaking Bad debuted in 2008, just six months after Mad Men. The latter was a natural extension of AMC’s reputation for vintage appeal, easing audiences in with a story set in the ’60s. Breaking Bad was a bigger risk. A contemporary crime story, the show would cement AMC’s transition from movie hub to prestige cable network. The pivot was a savvy one, and well-timed: Just as cable was becoming a dated novelty for the occasional millennial to rediscover and explore, AMC found a more compelling hook for potential subscribers. It was one of the first companies not traditionally known for self-produced entertainment to see an opportunity in financing its own ventures, with critical hosannas as effective advertisement. Clearly, it was not the last.

“At the time, AMC had the advantage of a relatively sparse marketplace. With a small budget—Breaking Bad’s iconic setting came from tax considerations, not a pre-existing love for the New Mexico desert—the channel could make a disproportionately large impact, essentially tying HBO in its contributions to the new Golden Age’s de facto Mount Rushmore. But others soon took notice of AMC’s successful playbook, and began to replicate it at a much larger scale. The field couldn’t stay empty forever, and AMC’s discovery ignited a much larger gold rush.

“Ironically, AMC’s soon-to-be competitor was also a key contributor to its success. Before Netflix began to invest billions in its own trove of originals, it licensed various back catalogs, often leading to a symbiotic, scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours arrangement for which Breaking Bad became the poster child. The so-called “Netflix effect” is now a well-known phenomenon; Riverdale jumped in the ratings for Season 2 after finding its teenage audience where they were already conditioned to go, and You went from obscure Lifetime offering to bona fide sensation after a run on the service. Before either of these examples, though, Breaking Bad set the mold.

“From Mad Men to media darlings like Girls, the conversation around most prestige television far exceeds a show’s actual viewership. Breaking Bad was different, though not at first. Rather than starting strong and shedding fans as the magic wore off, per the “keep doing what works until it doesn’t” school of American broadcast, Breaking Bad began with a modest following of a couple million before crescendoing with more than 10 million viewers for the finale, a number that would get only more impressive as TV continued to fracture into hundreds of series at dozens of outlets. Some of this rise correlated with Breaking Bad’s increasing intensity, quality, and ambition. It also had outside help.

“Back in 2013—before Orange Is the New Black, before Stranger Things, before Queer EyeBreaking Bad became early proof Netflix’s convenience served as its own marketing mechanism. In a Variety op-ed at the time, writer Andrew Wallenstein speculated, ‘Should Netflix be paying studios for content or the other way around?’ Breaking Bad’s success implied such deals could be mutually beneficial: Netflix got material to flesh out its interface, while AMC got a fresh wave of eyeballs. Breaking Bad was also exactly the kind of story that stood to benefit most from this setup. With a plot so intense and suspenseful, viewers could catch up via rapid binge on Netflix, then immediately switch to a week-to-week release on AMC to see what happened next.

“Clearly, this dynamic had a built-in shelf life. In the years since Breaking Bad’s conclusion, subscribers could and did experience Walter White’s entire moral decay on Netflix alone. And over the same period of time, the Netflix effect became more and more of a one-sided benefit. Fellow behemoths like Disney are no longer content to let a different company profit from their labors and have built streaming services of their own. Meanwhile, consumers have grown savvy enough to simply wait for shows like The Good Place to materialize on a streaming service, without a corresponding bump in the ratings. You was even swallowed whole to become a Netflix original in its second season—not that many of its enthusiasts will know the difference. If a show is on Netflix, most will know it as a “Netflix show,” a truism for which Breaking Bad served as the canary in the coal mine.

“AMC’s fortunes, too, have changed. Better Call Saul and the late, great Halt and Catch Fire have carried on the spirits of their predecessors, whether literal or spiritual. But in a world where it’s bidding against the likes of Netflix, Apple, and Amazon, the one-time scrappy upstart hasn’t been able to keep up, doubling down on blockbusters like The Walking Dead while niche favorites like Lodge 49 strain to find an audience. The network is hardly struggling; it’s just inevitably drowned out by the deafening volume of Star Wars series and Hot Emily Dickinsons, give or take the occasional Killing Eve, a satellite brought in-house for Season 2. AMC is still certainly a player, just not the dominant kind its early success seemed to suggest.

“There’s an easily legible symbolism in El Camino’s migration to Netflix. The service has thus far been a capable steward of the movie’s rollout, and by extension, Breaking Bad’s cultural footprint, booking the movie in select theaters and drumming up hype with a steady stream of teasers. But El Camino’s release is as much a victory lap for the Netflix era of television as a throwback to Breaking Bad’s moment of monoculture adjacency, cementing the medium’s shift in power from the cable box to the internet. As goes Jesse Pinkman, so goes the nation.”

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From Decider:South Park‘s Matt Stone and Trey Parker are sorry. Kind of. Following last week’s (October 2) blistering takedown of China’s human right violations and Hollywood’s complicity in them, the Comedy Central show was scrubbed from the Chinese internet. In true South Park fashion Stone and Parker begged for forgiveness in a statement claiming that they too ‘love money more than freedom and democracy.’

“A recurring joke throughout Season 23’s “Band in China” revolved around Winnie-the-Pooh. The fictional Disney bear that was banned by Chinese censors after bloggers repeatedly compared the bear to President Xi Jinping. As expected, that led to South Park literally and graphically murdering the honey-loving bear at the end of its latest episode. And that didn’t go well.

“In response to the savage episode that heavily criticized the Chinese government for its censorship practices, said government deleted almost every South Park episode, clip, social media account, and even fan pages from the country’s internet. According to The Hollywood Reporter, all mentions of the show have been erased from China’s Twitter-like social media service Weibo as well as the streaming service Youku.

“Stone and Parker knew what they were getting into when they made the controversial episode. After all, they named it Band in China. The result is right there in the name, and true to form the creators don’t seem to care that they’ve actually been banned in China. In a statement tweeted by the official South Park Twitter handle, the creators wrote ‘Like the NBA, we welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts,’ before adding ‘Xi doesn’t look just like Winnie the Pooh at all. Tune into our 300th episode this Wednesday at 10!’

“Season 23’s Band in China felt like a return to form for the series. The episode revolved around both Randy Marsh and his son Stan trying to sell products to the Chinese people, knowing that they were the greatest chance for making a profit. For Randy that meant selling ‘tegridy, his brand of weed. And in Stan’s case that was selling a music biopic for his recently formed metal band that was Chinese censor-approved.

“As silly as all of this sounds, what Band in China really was, was a ruthless examination of Hollywood’s hypocrisy when it comes to China. The episode repeatedly targeted Disney in its wrath. Though Hollywood, one of the United States of America’s biggest industries, talks up a big game about the importance of freedom and acceptance in art, more big blockbusters are being intentionally edited to please Chinese censors in an attempt to make money overseas. This is happening while the world at large is well aware of the Chinese government’s long history of human rights violations. And as South Park reminded viewers again and again, from Star Wars to Marvel movies, all of your favorite franchises are at least a little bit complicit. Looks like South Park is officially back.”

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Per Vulture, “[i]t’s tempting to think of Succession’s Shiv Roy as someone worth rooting for, if only because the people around her so clearly aren’t. Her father has no moral compass. Her brothers are, respectively, an addict, a slimeball, and a nincompoop. Her husband, as evidenced by his testimony before Congress in this week’s episode, DC, has as much of a spine as your average sidewalk slug. The fact that Shiv is competent, astute, and frank about her ambitions — and on top of all that, a woman who has to deal with all these ridiculous men — makes her one of the few Succession characters that you’re almost, almost tempted to admire. (The fact that she can rock a backless dress doesn’t hurt either.) I mean, when you take a ‘Which Succession character are you?’ quiz, you want to get Shiv as your result, right? 

“But as Succession heads into its season two finale, DC reminded us that we definitely should not admire Shiv, or want to be anything like her. In the most distressing scene in Sunday’s episode, Shiv (played with sneaky ruthlessness by Sarah Snook) convinces Kira (Sally Murphy), a victim of sexual harassment and abuse in Waystar Royco’s cruises division, not to testify before Congress about what she’s suffered. By doing so, Shiv Roy proves once and for all that she is a true Ivanka, a woman who rah-rahs feminism in theory but is really only invested in doing her daddy’s bidding, regardless of the ethical lines that get obliterated along the way.

“When Shiv learns from her old boss, Sen. Gil Eavis, that Kira will be called as a witness, Logan and Kendall immediately decide that Kira has to be stopped. Against her better judgment, Rhea decides to handle it with Shiv. ‘This doesn’t feel right,’ Rhea says as they head to a city playground where Kira agreed to meet. ‘No,’ Shiv says, completely missing the point. ‘It’s lady duty, soft skills shit work.’ What’s wrong, in Shiv’s mind, is that she’s been asked to handle a ‘lesser’ task, not that she is about to intimidate a fellow woman and a witness, which, in addition to being unethical, is also illegal.

“When they arrive at the playground, Rhea changes her mind about meeting Kira. That’s because, even though she’s not perfect, Rhea tends to ingest at least some moral fiber at breakfast every day. When Rhea tells Shiv that she doesn’t have to go through with the confrontation either, Shiv corrects her: ‘If she speaks and she’s compelling, then that’s it for my family’s company. So, yeah, I do have to.’ That’s the moment when the true Shiv, the one who values her father’s company and her status within it above all else, emerges. (It’s also the moment that finally convinces Rhea she can no longer have anything to do with the Roys or their business endeavors; by the end of the episode, she’ll walk away from Waystar, Logan, and the CEO job.)

“Shiv’s manipulation of Kira is unsubtle but masterful. She starts out by trying to seem like she’s on Kira’s side. ‘I’m here to listen,’ she says, even though she doesn’t ask Kira any questions about what happened to her. She plays the ‘woman-to-woman’ card, removing her heels as if to suggest they’re on equal footing, then complaining about how much she hates wearing them. (Shiv Roy: She’s just like you. She gets it.) The pattern in Shiv’s herringbone suit dress even resembles Kira’s, though Shiv’s ensemble is more chic and probably ten times more expensive. Their clothes are a reminder that they’re both women, but otherwise live in different worlds.

“When Kira responds skeptically, Shiv makes a point of noting that she doesn’t trust her dad. She also says that she wants to clean up the operation in the cruises division, too, and suggests it’s something that they could do together if Kira doesn’t testify. But the move that ultimately proves to be most effective is brutal honesty. After Shiv acknowledges that she isn’t trustworthy and has her own personal agenda, she reminds Kira that so do the senators encouraging her to testify, then she lays out what her life will look like if she speaks out: Kira will be the center of media attention for a few days, but that will fade and nothing will change. The fact that she was sexually harassed by Lester McClintock — a man with the nickname Mo, as in ‘Mo Lester’ — will hang over her for the rest of her entire life. People will call her a slut. They’ll never see her for who she is without thinking first of what she said before Congress. Her assault will be the first line of her obituary, Shiv says in frank but chilling words, and it will be the last.

“What’s interesting about Shiv’s faux ‘honesty’ is that it really is honest. If Kira goes public, there’s a distinct chance that no significant change will come of it. That’s something that, as women, both of them know as well as they know that high heels hurt. Of course, testifying before Congress about her experience would, ideally, put another dent in a misogynistic machine that needs to be broken. But what Shiv says sounds so plausible to Kira that it’s easier to believe she has more to lose than gain.

“It’s easy for us watching at home to believe, too. There are very strong shades of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford in this situation with Kira, and the fact that this episode airs on the one-year anniversary of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation by the Senate only drives that point home even further. Before Ford came forward last year, she feared the exact scenario that Shiv lays out on the playground: ‘Why suffer through the annihilation if it’s not going to matter?’ she told the Washington Post at the time. If you were a friend of Kira’s, it’s very possible you might give her the same advice that Shiv did. The difference is that a friend would genuinely be trying to protect her. Shiv is not. It’s disturbing how similar those efforts can sound, even when the motivations behind them are so opposed.

Succession is a dark show, obviously. But there’s something about this moment that is extra-dark. There is zero comedy in it, not even a wry remark to put a button on the scene. It reminds me of what Logan did to Roman a couple of episodes ago: Shiv’s conversation with Kira, and the fact that it has the desired effect, lands like a slap.

“There is one tiny instant when Shiv seems like she might feel a sliver of remorse for what she did to Kira. It’s after her father congratulates her. The camera holds on her face for a moment after Logan walks away. She is smiling, but then her face straightens up for a moment. The smile fades and she appears to be contemplating something, but — snap! — in a millisecond it’s gone.

“Shiv did what she needed to do. She made her daddy proud. I wonder, though, if she should be worried? I swore that in the distant background I could see other women watching Shiv talk to Kira, and that one of them was holding a camera as though she were filming the conversation. We’ll see what happens in the finale. But if Shiv’s attempt to undermine a fellow woman winds up being exposed by a woman, that would offer nice poetic justice. It’s easy to stop one lady from blowing a whistle. But Shiv hasn’t considered that there are always more ladies and, potentially, more whistles.”