Like all great relationships, the story of Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen) and Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun) of Succession includes the age-old question: “Have you ever visited the California Pizza Kitchen?”
Succession follows the double-crossing ensemble at Waystar-Royco, a media company that drives those in power to backstabbing, lies, and deceit as everyone vies for their share. It’s a sharp dramedy, alternatingly hysterical in its absurdity and bone-chilling in its realism, and by no means are Tom and Greg the most important players in the high stakes, white collar game.
However, over the course of two seasons (and likely in the third, premiering this week), they’ve perhaps become the most beloved — as outsiders at Waystar-Royco, Tom and Greg found each other early and began to rely on one another, even as they constantly balanced on the precipice of betrayal.
The second season of Succession doubled down on Tom and Greg’s shenanigans, keeping the two paired throughout a jaunt across the Atlantic, a chaotic deposition, a corporate conference, and many (many) fights among the Roy family. Despite the affection both seem to harbor for the other, Succession never lets us get too comfortable. Every seemingly genuine moment is offset by an icy comment or an outright act of treachery, and, as easy as it is to want to see Tom and Greg run off into a safe sunset, that is not the show we all signed up for.
Ahead of Season 3, set to premiere on Sunday, October 17th, we’ve rounded up 10 times we couldn’t take our eyes off of Tom and Greg — for better or for worse.
01. The Origin Story
“Would you kiss me, if I asked you to?” Tom asks Greg during — and one can’t stress this enough — their very first conversation. Standing on the baseball field alongside the Roy siblings, Logan, and some stray grandkids, Tom and Greg have their meet-cute. (Meet-ugly? Nothing ever feels cute or safe in the world of Succession.)
Greg has all but stumbled into the inner sanctum of the Roy power struggle, where Tom is already begging for scraps from Logan, other executives, and his fiancé, Shiv. The back-and-forth that follows between the two features Tom teasing Greg with requests — “Would you kiss me if I told you to?” — and laughing with glee as Greg falls for it every time. The start of a beautiful friendship.
02. Cousin Greg Gets a Big Boy Job
Continuing his accidental upward spiral, Greg emerges from Logan’s office, wide-eyed and dazed, with a job offer in hand. There, he encounters Tom and asks him, “Do you know when I start? I figured everyone might’ve been talking.” Tom, of course, does not know the answer, and teases Greg, deadpanning, “Yeah, everyone was only talking about you, Cousin Greg.” Little does either party know what awaits them.
03. The Breakup
In Season 2, Tom and Greg find themselves stuck in a snack room/safe room while the office goes into lockdown. Overwhelmed by the wheeling and dealing, Greg attempts to extricate himself a bit from Tom’s grasp by proposing an “open business relationship.” Leaning in, Tom replies by asking, “Are you… are you attempting to break up with me, Greg?” It’s a testament to Matthew Macfadyen’s performance that the smug, insecure Tom comes across as genuinely heartbroken by the idea of Greg leaving him for another department. It’s almost easy to feel a bit of sympathy for him. Until…
04. The Water Bottle Fight
Tom snaps, overwhelmed by the threat of an active shooter, Greg’s proposal of seeking opportunities elsewhere, and, presumably, his framing of an “open business relationship,” which echoed Shiv’s proposal to Tom following their wedding. Despite the fact that there are other unlucky employees sitting in the locked room, Tom begins pelting Greg with plastic water bottles. When the security guard tries to interfere, Tom yells, “This is executive level business!” and resumes his activities. “Stop, Tom, you’re my best friend!” poor Greg yells back. It would be sad if it wasn’t so damn funny.
05. The Blackmail
Greg the Egg has a rare moment of clarity during the crumble of the Waystar-Royco cruises division and harbors a bit of “leverage” for himself. Despite clear orders of the opposite, Greg holds onto some paperwork that implicates Tom and details his involvement in some exceedingly shady activities.
Greg eventually plays his hand, and in one of the great moments that keeps Succession viewers guessing, Tom doesn’t snap on Greg. He’s hardly mad — instead, he nearly bursts with pride. Greg is characteristically flustered when Tom beams at him with the affection of a parent seeing a child with the training wheels off. “Where did you hide the copy, Greg?” he asks joyfully. “I’ll never tell,” Greg replies with a shaky laugh, and Tom can’t contain his excitement. His protege learned from the best. (read: the worst.)
06. The Bachelor Party
Every episode of Succession has its moments of darkness, but Tom’s bachelor party (Season 1, Episode 8) is one of the most depraved. Greg is trying to keep Kendall out of trouble, taking drugs just so Kendall (Jeremy Strong) won’t; rather than comfort Greg, who has never done cocaine before, Tom casually remarks that Greg might die. Greg is terrified. Tom is miserable. The bachelor party has only succeeded in making Tom question his relationship, but in true Tom fashion, he over-exaggerates his excitement over a truly chaotic hookup.
07. A Loyal Boar on the Floor
In a truly unforgettable sequence, Logan (Brian Cox) stages a sadistic game in hopes of rooting out the source of a leak at Waystar-Royco. Greg, Tom, and a fellow executive named Karl are subjected to a humiliating test in which they are instructed to act like pigs and fight over a piece of sausage.
It’s a genuinely unsettling scene made more memorable by the fact that Tom could have taken this opportunity to throw Greg under the bus, but chooses not to do so. Is there a chance that Tom made this decision based on the information Greg was holding over his head? Certainly — but regardless, it’s touching when Greg quietly thanks Tom over breakfast the next morning.
08. Two Bros in Europe
When the boar are no longer on the floor, Greg and Tom continue to find a relative safe space with one another throughout their time in Europe. “Greg, it’s good to see you, man,” Tom says, mentioning that Greg had been so busy with Kendall in recent weeks. “A girl starts to wonder,” he adds. The conversation is less dramatic and performative than usual. In roles that often yield to both parties being subjected to all forms of colorful verbal harassment, it’s a welcome moment of calm for the dopey duo.
09. The ATN Promotion
When Tom continues to put down roots at ATN, Waystar-Royco’s Fox News-inspired television branch, Greg attempts to put his foot down. “It’s kind of… against my principles,” he tries to explain to Tom. “Don’t be an asshole, Greg, you don’t have principles,” is Tom’s reply. “I’m… against racism?” Greg counters. Ultimately, the battle is lost — within seconds, Tom is able to talk Tom out of his fears. (“Everyone’s against racism,” Tom scoffs.)
10. The Deposition
Both Matthew Macfadyen and Nicholas Braun were nominated for Emmy awards for the second season of Succession, and it can easily be argued that their respective deposition sequences in Season 2, Episode 10 clinched their spots in the list. Greg arrives first, fumbling through answers with stilted phrases and confirming his job title by saying, “If it is to be said… so it is.” He’s told he can speak to the deposition team normally, but, spoiler alert, he does not.
When Tom arrives behind the mic, Senator Gil Eavis (a fantastic Eric Bogosian) paints one of the best portraits in #TomAndGreg lore. He shares that on the night of March 12th, Tom sent Greg no less than 67 emails, all of which said the same thing: “You can’t make a Tomelette without breaking some Greggs.”
This moment is the first the viewer hears of this, and it goes unexplained — we never find out why Tom did this, but the picture of him executing what he thinks to be the funniest joke of all time is just about perfect. Between Matthew Macfadyen’s reaction, the fade to Nicholas Braun in the background, and Eric Bogosian’s steadfast delivery with some of the funniest dialogue of the year, it’s clear why Succession swept the 2020 Emmy Awards.
Like Senator Gil Eavis, I now yield back the balance of my time ahead of more desperate, darkly funny antics from everyone’s favorite dramedy duo. Enjoy some Cajun Chicken Linguine, Tom and Greg. We here for you.
Anyway, we’ll leave you with this. The jury rests, Your Honor: