Succession season 3 premiere recap – “Secession”

October 18, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
HBO, Weekly TV
4

Summary

“Secession” finds the Roy clan more physically and emotionally divided than ever, as everyone chooses their sides for what is sure to be an upcoming war.

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4

Summary

“Secession” finds the Roy clan more physically and emotionally divided than ever, as everyone chooses their sides for what is sure to be an upcoming war.

This recap of the Succession season 3 premiere, “Secession”, contains spoilers.


Kendall Roy begins the Succession Season 3 premiere hiding in a bathroom, and eventually in the bath itself, sinking into its cozy emptiness like he’s imagining himself being submerged. Perhaps, I wondered, he’s sparing a thought for the waiter whose death he caused. More likely, he’s wondering how he can survive the upcoming war with his father. And it’ll be a war, no doubt. After publicly pinning the blame for a series of covered-up deaths on Logan, Kendall finally saw a real opportunity to try and wrest control of Waystar-Royco away from his aging, ailing father. But every battle has casualties. This one has had a few already. But when Kendall eventually clambers out of the tub and presents himself to the world, it’s hard to imagine he’ll be one of them. Kendall Roy is, for the first time ever, winning.

Succession season 3 premiere recap

He’s not winning in life, obviously, at least not yet. He has to throw his PR guru Karolina out of the car when he suspects she might not be totally confident in his approach, his staunchest ally is Greg, of all people, and his new base of operations is his ex-wife’s house. But he’s winning the battle. Logan is being carried around in helicopters and planes, forced to choose between a shortlist of non-extradition countries before eventually settling on Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, basically a geographic embodiment of brutal civil war. Logan is in hiding. He needs to step down as Waystar-Royco’s CEO, even if it’s only temporarily, which means he has to find a replacement. As soon as that drop of blood hits the water, the sharks start circling.

It’s funny, really, how desperate everyone is to stab their own family and friends in the back just to secure a damning position that has been made clear is performative anyway. Logan will continue to pull the strings, so his own children are climbing over each other just to be his puppet. We’ve come to expect nothing less from the Roy clan over the past two seasons; their father’s capacity to love them is determined only by their capacity to be used by him. Even in their attempts to prove to him they can handle the job, he can’t resist the opportunity to torment them. Karl and Frank don’t get a look in. When Roman calls Logan to tell him that he wants the job and can handle it, Logan immediately rules him out. Besides, it’d look better if a woman was to fill the position anyway. Shiv can handle it and has actively pursued it since the beginning of last season, so Logan gives it to Gerri instead.

Each side’s ships are already taking on water. Kendall is calling everyone, either to try and recruit them or torment them, while Tom is feeding details of the inner-circle meetings back to Shiv. Whenever two characters are alone with each other, they say the opposite of what they said to Logan. It’s all a ruse. A performance. Most of them know this, but some are so used to play-acting they can’t tell where their character ends and they begin.

Kendall is especially guilty of this. He wins the war’s first skirmish by hiring sought-after attorney Lisa Arthur (Sanaa Lathan), one of Shiv’s personal friends, but he’s too obsessed with his own image to listen to her advice. It doesn’t help that Greg is feeding him reports of his social media “meme-age”, and the fact he’s trending above Tater Tots on Twitter, but at least Kendall actually knows that the court of public opinion will ultimately decide who goes to the gallows. Logan still sees the media as a monolith, one he controls because he owns so much of it. But times have changed since broadsheets and network news. Now, your epitaph will be written in 280 characters.

One has to hope that Kendall’s New Media savvy will be enough; that his bravery in actually telling the truth about his father will win him enough smart allies to fight his war for him. When he speaks with Logan on the phone, even through a proxy, it’s clear he’s ill-equipped to match his father head-on. He doesn’t have the toughness. That’s why he has to submerge himself in an empty bathtub, and why he has to believe in the cool image he’s trying to cultivate on Twitter. It’s really only Roman who sees through him. He thinks self-destruction is the only way this ends for Kendall. And he’s probably right. The question is who he’ll take down with him when he implodes.

You can catch the Succession season 3 premiere, “Secession”, exclusively on HBO.

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