Something smells rotten inside the Roy family’s palatial summer estate as the second season of Succession begins.
The Roys have retreated to the home in the wake of the devastating series of events that bound them ever more tightly together at the end of season one. They might all hate each other, but there are several wild cards in the mix that any one of them could play at any time to take out any other member of the family. Everything from the dark and murky records of horrible occurrences on board the family company’s cruise ships to former golden boy Kendall’s role in the death of a hapless waiter in the season finale could be thrown down on the table with great flourish at any time.
But it’s not the stench of all those secrets that’s haunting Succession’s characters. No, it’s a bunch of dead raccoons in the chimney, decaying and crawling with maggots. When patriarch Logan Roy (Brian Cox) sees the horrific sight, he insists that all of the expensive food the family brought with them be thrown out. Lobsters and shrimp and steaks are chucked in the trash, and the family orders pizza.
And although the home is a summer residence, the episode (named “The Summer Palace,” naturally) takes place in the eerie cold of winter, underlining the sense that this family is out of time and out of place, but there’s really nothing that can be done to dislodge them. The Roys rule from their palace, and everyone else must bend around them.
That probably makes Succession sound like a super-depressing show to watch in an age when the rich just get richer, but trust me, we’re having a great time here. What makes it bearable is that the Roys are half-formed people who keep throwing themselves at each other in hopes that the resulting conflict will suddenly make them become human beings, never quite realizing that what’s holding them back is the staggering amount of wealth they possess, wealth they will never give up.
So who was winning and losing that fight this week? Well, we have some great contenders, starting with…
Winner: Shiv Roy
The first time we see Shiv (Sarah Snook) in season two, she’s on what appears to be a very expensive honeymoon, traveling aboard a sleek, jet-black yacht. The next time we see her, she’s all over the opening credits, which have been subtly retooled for season two to focus much less on Kendall, her older brother, and much more on her.
Does this mean we’re getting a Shiv Season? Sure seems like it! (I also submit that Succession will thus have a season for each Roy sibling, and I’m really not looking forward to the Connor season.)
We heard a lot of chatter in season one that Shiv was old man Logan’s favorite, but we didn’t see a ton of evidence to support this fact. Yet we get oodles of it in “The Summer Palace,” when Logan tells his only daughter that she’s his choice to succeed him as CEO. He has to play a whole bunch of mind games to get her to accept, because that’s just his way, but she eventually accepts nonetheless.
She might be the youngest of his four kids, and she might have the least relevant experience and she might be a political liberal (at least in the vague sense of all rich liberals). But she’s the one Roy kid who has mostly kept her nose clean and who is least tainted by the association with her father’s name. And even if she’s still working on the presidential campaign of a senator who’s taken direct aim at Logan Roy and all he stands for, that might make her an even better choice to head up Waystar-Royco when Logan is finally ready to step down (or when he dies).
Is Logan telling Shiv the truth here? Or is this just another mind game? I’m inclined to say that he is telling the truth, but let’s be honest — he could change his mind in an instant. But even if it’s a mind game designed to keep Shiv close to him when she might otherwise be pulling away, the fact that nobody else in the family knows what he’s told Shiv adds yet another gigantic secret that could blow up at any time. It’s delicious setup for the season to come, and it ably suggests we are now in The Season of the Shiv.
Winner: Shiv’s hair
Look, I can’t believe she went and got the power cut mere days after her wedding either, but maybe she was just sick of the longer locks and wanted them chopped off. Just look at this ‘do! I had to stop myself from turning this entire article into praise for her hair.
Losers: Kendall and Roman
The opening 10 minutes of season two are a long sequence of Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) being summoned from his detox efforts, so he can go on TV and tell everybody how wrong he was to back a corporate play against his father at the end of season one. Kendall was the face of that play, but after a car accident led to the death of a waiter and Kendall scuttled away (very Chappaquiddick), he was thrust back into his father’s embrace.
All of this is to say that when season two opens, Kendall looks like shit. He’s gaunt and pale, with dark circles under his eyes, and as we’re reintroduced to Succession’s other characters — who are all watching him and mocking him on TV — they’re happy to admit he looks like shit, too. Kendall, who in season one seemed like the confident, business-savvy guy who could take his father’s company into the future, is as low as he’s ever been. Is it any wonder he’s fallen so hard off the wagon that he’s asking Cousin Greg to procure drugs for him? (Cousin Greg does a terrible job.)
Such a scenario would typically be Roman’s time to shine, as the other son heavily involved in Waystar-Royco, but with Logan’s attention turned toward Shiv, Roman (the oily Kieran Culkin, who is so good at finding unusual physicality to add to all of his scenes) is stuck working as co-COO with Kendall, with the two trying to turn the company into the kind of legacy media behemoth that might survive the tech onslaught.
And even if Roman isn’t at as low of an ebb as his brother, it’s clear that on some level, he has no idea what the company’s future should be. Logan, that blustering bear of a staunch conservative, wants to fight the future. Roman wants to heavily deinvest from everything but the news and play the stocks. That approach couldn’t be any further off his father’s core desires.
(If you’re a play-along-at-home type when it comes to Succession‘s parallels to the very real Murdochs, it’s worth noting that a version of Roman’s plan — pull the family out of everything that’s not news and sports — is what the Murdochs really do seem to be doing.)
Everybody treats Gerri, Waystar-Royco’s general counsel, like they can take her for granted, and… honestly, they probably can. (She even tags along on the family getaway. Yes, that’s because the point of the getaway is ostensibly to strategize for the war against the hostile takeover. But she probably has other things she’d rather be doing!) Still, she’s so funny, and I feel bad every time someone all but tells her to eat shit.
Fortunately for all of us, J. Smith-Cameron was promoted to a series regular this season, so I think there will be much more Gerri to come. Hooray!
Loser (thinks he’s a winner): Tom Wambsgans
Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) is just so happy with the current state of his life, now that he’s married to Shiv and climbing the Waystar corporate ladder, that he can overlook the whole way she renegotiated herself into an open marriage on their wedding night (not precisely what Tom might have preferred) and the way that he is almost certainly going to find himself the dead weight she sheds in a few years.
Similarly, his new job in TV news is exactly the sort of thing that seems great right now but will probably become an albatross as TV news further deteriorates. Tom, like so many other members of this family, is tied to a way of life that’s dead or dying, but he can’t escape it because everything he has is now tied up in it. Wheeeee!
So Tom Wambsgans doesn’t care about the whole “dead or dying” thing. Everything’s coming up Tom! He’s gonna be working in TV news! He’s married to the woman of his dreams! Everything is great!
Winner (who thinks he’s a loser): Logan Roy
Considering the pilot of this series ended with a health scare for Logan Roy, one that very well may have claimed his life, and considering that the episodes following said health scare were all about his children scrambling to get to the top of the heap to succeed him, it’s kind of remarkable how much more this man has cemented his power in just 11 episodes.
There are still reminders that he is a very old man who is on the mend from a near-fatal health scare, but for the most part, he’s terrorizing his children and any contractors who have the misfortune of working for him.
And yet I don’t know if Logan would term himself a winner. It’s clear that what he wants most of all is to never be questioned and always be feared, but also somehow have those two things be compatible with unconditional love. He’s a kind of Old Testament god, raining fury down on everybody around him and sulking when he’s not given the gratitude he thinks he deserves. It’s a toxic combination that makes him perhaps the most dangerous ticking time bomb of all.
Loser: Anybody who doesn’t have as much money as the Roys
Succession typically doesn’t make a big deal of all of the working folks who make the Roy family’s lives run as smoothly as possible, but every so often, we see glimpses of them. In this episode, those glimpses take the form of a montage featuring workers getting the summer palace clean and shiny for an unexpected visit from the family, and throughout the Roys’ visit, director Mark Mylod makes sure to include occasional sightings of these workers in various shots.
They are the unseen force behind everything, who will never be paid what they’re worth, and the show’s inclusion of them is pointed. Here are all of the men and women, mostly of color, who let this family indulge their every petty wish and whim. The world bends itself to the Roys’ desires because these people make sure that it does. But the Roys believe themselves to exist in a vacuum, without the benefit of outside help. So it has always gone for the rich.
The Roys have enough money to be able to pay for their every material need to be met. But that also means they have more time to stew over perceived slights. When those raccoons turn up in the fireplace, Logan takes it out on the contractor who fixed up the house, accusing him of planting the dead animals as a statement of some sort on the Roy family legacy.
And then Logan refuses to pay, on a job the contractor estimates at $300,000. That’s chump change for Logan, but for everybody else, it’s the difference between solvency and bankruptcy. It’s a nightmare that is tossed off casually, in the middle of a much larger story.
That Succession centers on the Roys and not those they crush really bugs some people, who wish it were more forthright in its criticisms of unchecked wealth. But that’s what I like about the show. It celebrates wealth in the way American pop culture always has — but it also always understands who’s being flattened beneath the family’s boots. It’s a dark, yet beautiful, vision of the world.
Speaking of which…
Because Succession is back, baby! This show is so good, right? What a great premiere, huh?
11 Exercises to Fix Rounded Shoulders and Sculpt Beautiful Posture
Modern life takes its toll on our posture when we spend hours sitting and neglect the position of our spine. Poor posture leads to an imbalance in our muscles which means that they can’t support the body properly. Luckily, this can be fixed by doing a set of effective exercises. Moreover, they can help you to reduce back pain, stop headaches, increase energy, and improve circulation and digestion.
Bright Side is ready to help our readers achieve a beautiful and healthy body, and found 11 simple exercises that can be done at home by anyone. At the end we included a small tip, as a bonus for those who enjoy massage.
1. Upper trapezius stretch
It’s better to start from your shoulders first to relax your upper muscles. An upper trapezius stretch is just perfect for this.
Initial position: For this exercise, you can stand or sit on your yoga mat, whatever you like. Keep your head straight.
What to do:
- Slowly move your right ear toward your right shoulder. When you do this, it’s normal that your left shoulder might lift as well. If it does, bring your head back to the initial position and try to relax your left shoulder.
- Put your right hand over your head and place it on your left cheekbone. Don’t push your head down with it, it should just lie there. This will stretch your upper trapezius muscles very gently.
- Calmly breathe and sit in this position for 30 seconds.
- Slowly remove your hand, come back to the initial position and repeat the same on the other side.
The Superman exercise engages your upper and lower back. It helps you fight lower back pain and prevents a curved spine.
Initial position: Lie face down on your stomach, on your yoga mat.
What to do:
- Extend your arms and legs. Keep your neck neutral.
- Keep your torso stationary and lift your arms and legs up toward the ceiling. Try forming a “U” shape with your body.
- Hold the position for 5 seconds, lower your arms and legs, and go back to the initial position.
- Repeat 10 times.
The bridge works out glutes and strengthens the lower back, which is important for good posture.
Initial position: Lie on your yoga mat, bend your knees, and place your feet hip-width apart. Place your arms by your sides.
What to do:
- Engage your buttocks and raise them up, creating a straight line with your body. Your shoulders should be on the floor.
- Hold this position for 10 seconds and slowly lower your body back to the initial position.
- Repeat 15-20 times. Give yourself a rest for 30 seconds after every 5 reps.
4. Reverse shoulder stretch
This is an effective exercise to stretch your back and shoulder muscles and remove tension and pain in them.
Initial position: Stand on a yoga mat, with your feet wider than your shoulders, place your straightened hands behind you, and lock your palms together.
What to do:
- Bring your shoulder blades together and start putting your arms up. Try to feel the tension in your spine and shoulder muscles.
- For more spine stretch bend forward and bring your locked hands up. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds.
- Slowly return back to the initial position.
- Repeat 20 times.
5. Foam roller exercise for upper back
A foam roller will help you to relieve pain in your back muscles, fix rounded shoulders, and improve your overall posture.
Initial position: Get a yoga mat and lie on it with your hips apart and your feet on the floor. Place your foam roller right under your upper middle back, in your shoulder blade area.
What to do:
- Bring your hands behind your head, this will support it. Bring your hips into a bridge pose, and hold your balance, supporting your body with your legs.
- Inhale, push your body from your heels, and roll on your spine. Stop when the roller reaches the top of your shoulder blades.
- Exhale and roll back until the roller reaches the bottom if your rib cage.
- Repeat this for 30-45 seconds.
6. Cat-cow exercise
The cat-cow exercise is perfect for stretching your back, lower spine, and core muscles.
Initial position: Stand on all fours on the yoga mat, place your hands right under your shoulders, and knees and feet hip-width apart. Keep your toes pointing toward your body. Your spine should be natural and straight, no bending or arching.
What to do:
- Cat position: exhale and engage your abdominal muscles. Arch your spine up toward the ceiling, bringing your head to your chest, aligned with your spine. Hold this for 10 seconds.
- Cow position: slowly start bringing your stomach toward the floor and try to feel the tension in your lower back. Bring your shoulder blades together. Hold this for 10 seconds and go back to the initial position.
- Repeat 15 times.
7. Kneeling hip-flexor stretch
The kneeling hip flexor stretch will help to remove tension from your pelvic and lower back muscles.
Initial position: Kneel on a yoga mat, bring your right leg in front of you, and bend it at a 90 degree angle. Your foot is flat on the ground. Support yourself by standing on your left knee that is also bent at 90 degrees.
What to do:
- Slowly start bringing your right knee forward and brace your core. Engage your glutes and keep bringing your hips forward.
- Your left knee is already bent at more than 90 degrees. Keep your spine straight, don’t bend it forward or backward.
- Hold this position for 10 seconds to feel the stretch in the muscles then slowly return to the initial position.
- Repeat 10 times for both sides.
8. Bird dog exercise
Bird dog helps to remove back pain, strengthens the core, and promotes proper posture.
Initial position: Stand on all fours on the yoga mat, your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Your spine should be straight and neutral.
What to do:
- Raise your right hand and your left leg at the same time, bringing them parallel to the floor.
- As you do this, lengthen your neck and bring your chin to your chest. Look down at the floor and remain like this for 10 seconds.
- Return to the starting position and then repeat the same exercise with your left hand and right leg.
- Repeat 10-15 times.
9. Forearm plank
Plank is not only effective at burning fat, but it also helps to strengthen the spine muscles, it prevents back pain, and it helps to improve your posture.
Initial position: Place your forearms on the yoga mat and align your elbows below your shoulders. Your arms should be parallel to your body at about shoulder-width distance.
What to do:
- You can clasp your hands together for more comfort. Correct your neck and spine by looking at one spot on the floor somewhere about 30 centimeters in front of your hands.
- Pay attention, so that your head is in line with your back.
- Hold this position for 20 seconds.
10. T-Spine windmill stretch
The t-spine windmill stretch can help you fight pain and tension in your lower back and trunk. Moreover, it works out your shoulder muscles.
Initial position: Lie on your side on a yoga mat and bend your knees and hips at 90 degrees. Extend and stack your arms together on your right side.
What to do:
- Raise your left arm up and then place it out to the left, opening your body up. Right now, your shoulder blades should be on the floor and your legs should remain in the same position.
- Hold it for a couple of seconds and return to your initial position.
- Do 30 repetitions on each side.
11. Tight shoulder massage
A simple tennis ball can help you to remove pain in your shoulders in different areas and relax them. All you need here is a tennis ball and a wall.
Initial position: Stand next to the wall and face it. Place a tennis ball on the wall and lean on it. Your chest should push the ball inside your shoulder.
What to do:
- Start making a circular movement around this muscle and try to find a trigger point.
- Hold a ball on this point until you feel that the tension and pain are gone.
- Keep doing this until you relax all of your trigger points.
- Repeat on the other shoulder.
Bonus: Thai massage is amazing for your back and shoulders.
Thai massage is an ancient form of massage that uses stretching and gentle pressure on the body to relieve muscle and joint pain, and balance your body. This massage helps to make muscles more flexible and removes chronic stiffness. For better results in achieving a healthy back and good posture, you can try this type of massage, focusing on your spine muscles.
Exercises can be effective, but it’s also important to pay attention to your posture throughout the day and strive to keep your spine straight. Do you have good posture? Maybe, you have a couple of exercises that help you relieve back and shoulder pain? Let’s share in the comments!
Illustrated by Alena Tsarkova and Marat Nugumanov for BrightSide.me
8 Top Technology Trends To Watch In China
This is a preview of 2019 Technology Trends Report in China from Business Insider Intelligence and EqualOcean. Chinese high tech firms have been leading the way in innovation for many technologies, such as 5G. These technologies are either currently undergoing or about to undergo major phases of change.
View at DailyMotion
Why Iran is attacking oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz
The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow waterway that lies between Iran and Oman. Dozens of tankers carry oil through the 21-mile-wide passage each day. This flow of oil represents 20 percent of the world’s supply.
Most of the tankers traveling through the Strait of Hormuz are bound for Asia. But an attack on any tanker there, regardless of its destination, can affect the price of oil everywhere. That’s because oil is a globally traded product — a drop in supply from the Persian Gulf can drive up prices from other sources around the world. After two tankers were attacked in June, the price of Brent Crude — oil sourced from the North Sea — jumped by nearly $2 per barrel.
The attacks in June weren’t the only incidents in Hormuz in recent months. Several other oil tankers have been seized, attacked, and harassed. These tankers — and this narrow water passage — have become a center of conflict between the US and Iran. It’s a conflict with the potential to escalate in one of the world’s most important oil chokepoints, sending the global economy into a tailspin.
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