‘You can’t make a Tomlette without breaking some Greggs’: Here’s why “Succession” has me scrambled


Hailey Akau

Illustration by Hailey Akau

By Rumsha Siddiqui, Sports Editor

As the first episode of the fourth and final season of “Succession” has been released, I wonder why I even watch the show in the first place. It is filled with morally bankrupt and villainous characters—but the relationships that derive from the characters’ toxic interactions make the show worthwhile.

“Succession” follows the aging patriarch and head of international media conglomerate WayStar RoyCo, Logan Roy, as he contemplates what the future holds for the company. His four children battle for control and push forward with their own personal agendas, while family tensions and political drama threaten to topple everything they know. 

When I first started watching “Succession,” I didn’t get the appeal. I thought it was boring, I thought the characters lacked depth, and, overall, I didn’t find much enjoyment in a show where every character is a human pile of dogshit. But, because of its critical acclaim and numerous recommendations, I kept watching. For the first couple of episodes of the first season, I was only pretending to enjoy it, hoping that I could gaslight myself into loving it—I didn’t want to be the only person that didn’t enjoy “Succession.”

The main character is a heartless and terrible father. Since the beginning, Logan has been pitting his children against each other, encouraging a competitive environment filled with distrust. Then, when his company was responsible for covering up several cases of sexual harassment on WayStar’s cruise ships in Season 2, he couldn’t have given less of a shit. Instead of trying to ease the situation, he focused on doing whatever was necessary to cover it up. He’s abusive and selfish and doesn’t do anything without an ulterior and self-serving motive. Why would I want to watch a show centered around that prick?

The answer is simple: “You can’t make a Tomlette without breaking some Greggs.”

What the fuck could that possibly mean? 

Tom Wambsgans, played by Matthew Macfadyen, is married to Shiv, Logan’s daughter. Tom constantly gets disrespected by the Roys, but instead of advocating for himself, he takes his anger out on the Roy siblings’ cousin Greg Hirsch, who already faces constant disrespect from the rest of the family. In an effort to taunt Greg, Tom sent him an email that read “You can’t make a Tomlette without breaking some Greggs,” 67 times. 

Every relationship on “Succession” is based on power imbalances and exerting power over one another—Tom and Greg are no exception. In other words, Tom’s sardonic bromance with Greg has kept me roped in for several seasons.

Greg serves as Tom’s executive assistant. We start to see their relationship bloom in Season 1 Episode 6 when Tom suggests that he and Greg hit the town to celebrate Greg’s first paycheck. Greg suggests that they go to California Pizza Kitchen, which disgusts Tom. He claims that Greg has an uneducated palate and instead, they enjoy a meal of illegal songbirds.

This interaction is seemingly wholesome, in a weird rich douchey way. But, it takes no time for Tom to start taking advantage of and harassing Greg.

Tom and Greg have been an odd pair since the show’s pilot. At first, it was a cute, sometimes hostile relationship; nothing too extreme. Their interactions showcased banter, but as the show progressed, the pairing became a dark and nuanced portrait of male intimacy and toxic masculinity. As a viewer, their relationship has become compelling and intriguing to watch unravel.

Tom needs Greg by his side in the battle for who gets to take over the company. They’re both familial outcasts. Tom is only involved with the company through marriage and Greg gets neglected by the Roy family. 

At the same time, Tom insults and degrades him constantly as a way to assert dominance. He throws things at Greg, screams obscenities at him, and at one point, Greg asks to be moved to another department away from Tom because of his professional misconduct.

“Succession” creator Jesse Armstrong has described the relationship between Tom and Greg as a “homoerotic power play.”

According to Macfadyen, the power dynamic is part of the fun.

“I know Tom is really threatened by Greg because, I guess, he’s an outsider to this family too,” Macfadyen said in an interview with Vanity Fair. “He’s really rattled by him in the beginning, and just gets nastier and nastier.”

Their multifaceted relationship isn’t just abusive, it also exhibits the famous trope of enemies-to-lovers. 

Perhaps Tom and Greg’s  most sensual moment was in the first episode of the new season when Greg describes a sexual encounter as a “bit of a rummage,” and Tom asks, “Did you rummage to fruition?” 

Another notable moment was when Tom said to Greg, “I’d castrate you and marry you in a heartbeat.”

Despite their obvious tension, Tom and Greg do not belong together romantically. Tom’s marriage is dysfunctional, and to channel his rage, he sees Greg as a plaything that can easily be manipulated because of his low ranking in the company. 

Tom will do the absolute most to intimidate Greg and prove that he is lesser. In fact, Tom’s influence gradually turns Greg evil. Initially, Greg was not necessarily a bad person. 

I found myself rooting for Greg the most because he’s a pushover who is depreciated by the rest of his family—he’s never taken seriously. He’s naive and dorky, and unlike the rest of the bunch, he didn’t grow up living with immense wealth. At the beginning of the series, Greg has good intentions, though we see him fall into the Roys’ scheming ways as time progresses—for example when he blackmailed Tom for his role in covering the cruise ship scandal. Greg has been seduced by wealth and power and will most likely become a worse person as he continues to find out what he needs to do to make sure he comes out on top.

Although I don’t always root for either Tom or Greg, I am invested in seeing their story unfold. What makes “Succession” so captivating isn’t the battle of who is going to take over WayStar RoyCo: it’s Tom and Greg. And with the finale near, I look forward to seeing how their relationship plays out.