After winning this category last year, Cherry Jones is looking to accomplish something no other person has in Best Drama Guest Actress: win back-to-back trophies for different series. She claimed the prize last year for “The Handmaid’s Tale” and is nominated this year for her role on HBO’s “Succession” as Nan Pierce, the head of a rival media company that the Roy family is looking to acquire. For her episode submission, Jones has chosen the episode “Tern Haven.”
The episode begins with the Roy family having to spend the weekend at the estate of the rival Pierce family as Logan (Brian Cox) is looking to acquire their fledgling media company, PGM. Logan is being assisted under the table by PGM’s CEO, Rhea Jarrell (Holly Hunter) They are greeted by the Pierce’s led by matriarch, Nan, who welcomes them in a very open manner. The two families go to the main house for drinks and Nan gives a warm and welcoming toast for the gathering. Tensions do start bubbling between the two camps in their interactions with each other.
At dinner that evening, things get even more tense. Nan watches as other members of the family start poking into the lives of the Roy family and criticizing the politics being pushed by their right-leaning news network. Nan tries to ask Marcia about growing up in Beirut but Logan jumps in and quickly extinguishes that conversation, much to Marcia’s chagrin. Nan then turns the conversation to business matters and asks Logan if he’s chosen who he wants to take his place. Logan plays coy about it and dodges the question, causing Shiv (Sarah Snook) to reveal that Logan had chosen her to take his place, catching everyone off guard. Nan then guides everyone outside to go stargazing.
The next morning Nan meets with several members of the Roy family to discuss the proposed acquisition. She is very blunt about the fact that she doesn’t like Logan or his politics but admits that selling is the only way to keep PGM afloat. Rhea says that PGM deserves more than what Logan is offering, causing him to up his bid to $25 billion, which Rhea accepts. Nan gives her conditions, which Logan is amenable to until she says that she wants Logan to publicly announce Shiv as his successor. Nan explains that Shiv is a much better fit for what they would like to see in management. When Logan declines, Nan says that he can’t put a value on what her company does and Logan replies that he just did. Nan kills the deal and the Roy family leaves. After landing in Manhattan, Logan gets a call saying that Nan has come around and agreed to the offer.
Could this performance lead to Jones’s third win? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.
Jones is really compelling as she goes toe-to-toe with Logan. She comes across as very motherly but shows that she also has an extremely shrewd business sense to her. It’s the final scene where you really get to see her shine. Seeing the way she asserts her demands on Logan makes it seem like she knows exactly what she’s doing, at least until she demands Logan to publicly name Shiv as his successor.
She’s one of those actresses that just brings an incredible gravitas to the performances she gives. Prior to her win last year, she earned her first Emmy in 2009 in Drama Supporting Actress for playing President Allison Taylor on “24.” She also has spent years doing work on Broadway which netted her two Tony Awards for Best Actress in a Play: “The Heiress” in 1995 and “Doubt” in 2005. That kind of clout could easily translate to another win.
As good as she is in her scenes, it feels like her character could have gotten one more scene in the episode to give Nan a more complete arc. Even though it doesn’t have to do with the actual performance she gives, it could be something that affects how voters view the performance.
There is a possibility of vote-splitting since Jones is nominated alongside her fellow guest star, Harriet Walter. “Succession” fans within the TV academy may not know whom to vote for.
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