Kendall and Shiv go toe-to-toe in “The Disruption” as Logan’s usual way of doing things proves suddenly unsuccessful.
This recap of Succession season 3, episode 3, “The Disruption”, contains spoilers.
Kendall Roy is many things, and has been for a while, but it was only in “The Disruption” that he morphed into a David Brent tribute act. Lunching with a journalist, Kendall wondered aloud if him ordering a shaved fennel salad would be part of the write-up, in true “Brent mused…” fashion. The problem with Kendall – the most pressing one, anyway – is that he has become obsessed with his public image after divorcing himself from Waystar and being featured in a recent monologue by TV satirist Sophie Iwobi (Ziwe). He has a knack for reframing every comment made about him, good or bad, as a positive thing, as though being “part of the conversation” is all that matters, even when you’re the butt of the joke. Amid all the chaos at Waystar, he wants to believe he’s being depicted as a hip new alternative to his aging dinosaur father. His PR team rightly recognize he’s looking for a new version of the same masochistic punishment his father has always provided for him.
Succession season 3, episode 3 recap
Speaking of Brent, that infamous “I think there’s been a rape up there!” bit gets a redo courtesy of Shiv, who thinks that Hugo’s plans to downplay the cruise accusations read as too cavalier: “It’s like, yeah yeah, we get it already, stop moaning about the rapes.” This isn’t something that can be brushed under the rug. And these are plans for print ads, which already seem archaic. Kendall might be delusional, but at least he’s always online. Logan’s whole thing is refusing to march in step with modernity, trying to brute-force his way through new problems, even though he’s too old to lead the charge now and can’t bully a trending topic anyway. Even someone like Gerri has more of a finger on the pulse than he does, but she’s too mistrusted to be able to utilize it to any real effect. So, too, are Logan’s children, who are also, as it happens, probably too useless anyway.
As ever, a lot of this comes down to the same issue. The kids all want Logan’s approval, and he isn’t willing to give it to them. At present, he isn’t willing to give anyone anything; he threatens to punch Kendall on the nose if he arrives at the offices in person, and tells the FBI to “f*ck off” when they try to subpoena documents. None of this is in Logan’s best interests, but nobody can tell him no.
Waystar is a sinking ship, though perhaps that’s not the best choice of words given the accusations, and everyone is privately trying to choose a side. Either way, it’s a gamble. Logan is too old-school, too ill, and buried under too much dirt for anyone to be confident in his success, but Kendall is too self-obsessed and frantic to instill much confidence in being able to take him down. The kids at least have to consider the company’s future post-Logan, since the odds are that one of them will be running it. But people like Cousin Greg and Tom, family by distant relation or marriage, are in a tougher spot. Tom is basically doomed to follow Shiv’s lead, but Greg has other options. His problem is that he’s too stupid and spineless to commit to any of them. He’s seduced by Tom giving him “a new office”, which is just a store cupboard, and Kendall giving him a new watch, which he has to pay for himself.
So desperate is Tom to please his wife and father-in-law, in fact, that he willingly offers himself to Logan as a sacrifice – an idea approved by Shiv, obviously – for the whole cruise debacle, which Logan smirkingly thanks him for, realizing that Tom isn’t even savvy enough to try and bargain for something in return.
Most of “The Disruption”, though, is concerned with Kendall and Shiv going toe-to-toe, being arguably the most capable of the Roy children and thus the most likely to take the reigns of the company in Logan’s absence. They’re both fighting for the same thing and pretending like they have the same goal, but it isn’t so much about rebuilding the company from the inside as it is settling decades-old petty sibling rivalries. Kendall’s grand return to the Waystar offices is anticlimactic, just as Shiv’s sabotaged speech at a town hall is disastrous. They both poke and prod at each other until the nastiness gets turned up to a degree that even Roman and Connor won’t co-sign. It’s Kendall who comes out looking foolish, and Jeremy Strong is able to engender some real sympathy for him as he’s torn apart in an open letter from Shiv and by Iwobi on “The Disruption”.
Sympathy is also earned by Roman, who delivers a convincing story about a fly fishing trip to Montana with his father in order to help buff Logan’s public image, only to later realize that Connor took him on that trip and Roman had simply rewritten the memory in his mind to better suit the idealized version of his father he’s still servile to – Logan, in response, calls him a faggot. By the time the FBI kicks the door in you’re thankful for a reprieve from all the dysfunction. Just because Kendall smugly watches the whole thing on his phone, though, doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to be any better off. With Logan as a father, odds are that none of the kids ever will be.