Succession season 3 opens with helicopters, because this is Succession. Logan Roy soars among the gods, remote and elemental. Kendall hides in a bath.
Gerri wants to cooperate, because everybody cooperates sooner or later. But Roman is quick to reject any suggestion of talking to the authorities, probably anticipating his father’s predictably bullish attitude.
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But that may go to his head. Kendall is smart enough to call Arthur, but too self-involved to listen to her. His head’s in the clouds with talk of changing the climate, while she tries to bring him back to earth with words like “subpoenas” and “warrants.” Even if Kendall’s sudden righteousness is genuine, the law has been broken and the sword of Damocles that is the Department of Justice hangs over both factions.
Karl and Frank immediately shoot their shot, and are immediately shot down. Roman asks Shiv what she’s thinking — and the maneuvering begins. Shiv indignantly insists she backs their dad, but it’s clearly open season on Logan and the top job.
The games begin
As season 3 picks up in near real time, Logan seems uncharacteristically quiet, almost diminished. He’s lost his wife, his son just turned on him, he can’t find his daughter, and his life’s work is threatened like never before. The heavyweight may actually be on the ropes.
As Team Kendall’s first (only) player, Greg’s first (only) task is to “slide a sociopolitical thermometer up the nation’s ass” — i.e., check Twitter. And Kendall may’ve beaten Tater Tots to be a top trending topic, but good meme-age alone isn’t going to win the day. This isn’t just a war of words in penthouses and boardrooms: Even if the winner is decided behind closed doors, they’ll be anointed by stockholder confidence and public opinion. Image and reputation matter. Optics. Narrative.
But despite this initial appearance, the roles may be reversed. Logan is, for once, adrift, while Kendall seems to be in charge of the situation, even throwing Waystar’s PR guru Karolina out of the car. His bombshell means no one knows which way to go — literally — but it’s Kendall who establishes a base more quickly. Sure, it’s his ex-wife’s home and he’s oblivious to her dismay as his new squeeze shows up and cracks into the good wine. But it’s better than Logan winding up marooned in Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina (a town that knows a thing or two about civil war).
It’s ironic that everybody is so desperate to climb over one another’s corpses to claim a role that Logan himself derides as a “nameplate.” It’s still his hand jerking around whichever puppet strings itself up.
The court of public opinion
Is Kendall for real?
The scandal means Logan is tainted and a new broom is needed, even if it’s only an interim broom. But the CEO role is very much back in play, and everybody immediately begins circling, probing, and of course sharpening the knives.
As the episode ends, nothing is decided. The chess players are still fighting over the same pieces. And Logan’s rage, for once, may be impotent. “We’ll go full fucking beast!” he yells, but he’s still an old man in a strange city, lost in the dark….
Season 3, episode 2, Mass in Time of War, airs next Sunday, Oct. 24.
Season 2 ended with media magnate Logan Roy dispatching his nervy son Kendall to be a blood sacrifice by taking the blame for a scandal engulfing their company. But Kendall turns the tables, publicly blaming Logan — effectively declaring war on his own father.
Then comes the real battle. Logan calls Kendall, but the wayward son ducks the conversation. Here we see a little more of the old Logan, and the old Kendall: Logan angrily threatens to grind his son’s bones into bread and Kendall can only mutter something about a bean stalk. Even when he’s in the better position, the younger man simply can’t match his father’s force, strength and will.
- When Kendall faces himself in the mirror, is it just me willing him to start rapping?
- Frank lists the worst things the company and family have faced: Tabloid suicides. Argentina. The Tiananmen accommodations. The black cloud after Sally Ann (a previous Logan affair, also mentioned in season 2). But according to Karl, this scandal is “the full Baskin-Robbins: 31 flavors of fuck.”
- Greg can’t stop yelling “No comment!” Like many of the characters, he just can’t keep his mouth shut. Kind of a problem with that big secret weighing on him (that he supplied the smoking-gun papers to Kendall).
- “The Raisin” is such a great nickname for a fictional president. It’s evocative enough to be funny but vague enough that it could refer to any politician ever.
- When Shiv casually lobs a declaration of love at her amoebalike husband Tom, he calmly replies, “Thank you.” Is Tom actually growing a spine?
- Has Kendall forgotten that he killed a guy — and Logan knows?
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