On the fifth episode of season two of Succession, there is a showdown that fans of the series have long been waiting for: the Roys meet the Pierces.
The show has been building up to this all season. In order to negotiate a purchase of a rival news network, Logan Roy brings his family to Tern Haven, the compound occupied by Nan Pierce and her family. The drama that ensues kind of plays out like the trope that involves every comic book superhero meeting their bizarro-world opposite, or like when the Powerpuff Girls meet the Rowdyruff Boys, or even when alternate-timeline Evil Abed is introduced on Community. Except, on Succession, it’s the “bad” rich people (the Roy dynasty) meeting the “good” rich people (the Pierce family). Every way the Roys behave, the Pierces behave the opposite.
The Roys are led by a patriarch, while the Pierces are clearly a matriarchy. The Roys operate a fiercely conservative media conglomerate, while the Pierces are more liberal. Logan Roy treats the staff at his estate like garbage, while Nan Pierce (played by Cherry Jones) invites her cook to join the family for dinner. You get the picture, they could not be more different.
At the same time, there are similarities. Each family has its child in recovery working through addictions (Kendall Roy, meet Naomi Pierce), a smart-ass child (Shiv Roy has met her match in a double-PhD candidate), an out-there granola child (Connor may be running for President, but the Pierce son has his eyes on the state department). This doubling is raucous to watch, like when a character believes themselves to be looking in a mirror, following the movement of whomever it is they see opposite them, until they touch hands and realize that’s a real person over there.
But what if other HBO shows had an episode in which the main characters met alternate-universe, diametrically opposed, bizarro versions of themselves? What would that look like? Let’s speculate those log lines for eight other series below.
Tony and company step out for a typical evening at Bada Bing!, but Tony and Christopher have a run-in with an Irish crime family from Boston that has accidentally stumbled for some strip club shenanigans. Somebody’s gotta get whacked by the end.
Renaldo and the gang are hired to haunt a corporate retreat in Santiago, but they meet the impossibly irritating improv troupe from Chicago that has traveled with the company for corporate training. Andrés tries casting a spell that traps them inside of a funhouse mirror.
Big Little Lies
The Monterey Five get together for one final glass of wine before they all go to jail. On the inside, they meet a group of five moms from Silicon Valley who are convicted for operating a Bay Area-wide college admissions scandal.
The girls from Girls just run into the guys from Looking on a trip to San Francisco, which turns out to not be so different from Brooklyn, considering both cities are now nearly unlivable thanks to gentrification.
Sex and the City
Carrie messes up the brunch reservations she made for four at Urth (she shows up at to the one on Melrose when she meant to go to the one on Beverly), and sees four upside-down versions of herself, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte gabbing over mimosas (not cosmos). She peels off the no smoking sign and lights a cigarette in the bathroom while waiting for her valet to take her to the right restaurant.
(Yes, we know there were already two episodes in which Carrie Bradshaw goes to Los Angeles (“Escape From New York” and “Sex and Another City”), but there was a real missed opportunity to have Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte witness what the brunch scene in West Hollywood looked like in 2000.)
Nucky and Jimmy take a trip down the shore to Ocean City and run into the grandparents of Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino and Snooki. Everybody fist pumps and eats funnel cake.
Dolores escapes the Delos theme parks and enters the real world, where she meets Sophia the Robot and BINA48. The three of them conspire to destroy humans, the world ends, etc.