Succession is a fictionalized take on corporate America, specifically the modern media landscape. The Roy family and their company, Waystar Royco, own a conservative network, ATN, that is sort of like Fox, but not. They buy out websites like Vaulter, which are sort of like Buzzfeed, but not. And like our own world, where the 24-hour information cycle is king, the Roys are constantly hitting up their contacts with the wealthy and powerful down in D.C., like ATN regular guest, Michelle-Anne. But who is Michelle-Anne on Succession, and what are her connections to the elite?
Warning: Spoilers for Succession Season 3, Episode 3 follow. Since the Season 3 premiere, Waystar Royco founder Logan Roy has been rocked by scandal. His son and heir apparent, Kendall, turned on his father and implicated him in the cruise ship scandal from Season 2. As Kendall was eager to get the Department of Justice in to ask him questions so he could take down his father, Logan wanted to go all the way to the top and get the president of the United States on his side.
So far, the president (who fans will note has remained nameless) was proving tough for Logan to get in touch with. But as Logan rounded back to New York City in Episode 3 to meet things head-on, he decided he needed to make a direct connection. Luckily for him, White House aide Michelle-Anne was in New York, paying a visit to the ATN set for a guest segment on The Bunker. Logan could quickly meet with her for a few, right? Tom was happy to walk him downstairs to meet her once she finished her segment.
The fact that no one saw it fit to warn Michelle-Anne about the meeting was probably the first sign it wouldn’t go well. Michelle-Anne was startled and more than a little displeased at being ambushed. Moreover, although she was being treated as an equal by the charming billionaire owner of the station on which she is a regular fixture, the White House aide knew she had the upper hand.
Logan insisted he doesn’t want anything from her, but followed quickly with demands. (Obviously, he did want something, or she wouldn’t have been in that room.) Mostly, Logan wanted to know that nothing would happen to him and that no one would come after him if he “hangs tough.”
Michelle-Anne was not fooled, noting Facebook was full of photos of Logan and “the boss” at CPAC and DAVOS. (That the president attends CPAC suggests this is a Republican leader, though the series is meticulous never to say that.) This means his scandal “hits a demographic” they have to worry about. Recognizing a no when he heard it, Logan got tougher, sneering that perhaps ATN’s coverage might not be so favorable toward the president in the future, to which Michelle-Anne sneered back saying the White House was already unhappy with how ATN covers them.
It’s a short meeting, and it seemed like Logan won. Michelle-Anne left having told him that if he lowers the temperature, aka gets the story off the front page, then the White House may let him slide. But by the episode’s end, the repercussions of Logan’s choice to involve Michelle-Anne at all started coming back to bite him. Word of Logan’s actions made the rounds in the West Wing, and the deputy attorney general decided he has to look like he’s getting tough with the Roys. As Episode 3 comes to a close, the FBI is at the door. The temperature is not lowering.
Succession Season 3 continues with new episodes every Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and streams directly following on HBO Max.