HBO’s Succession season 3 premiere recap: Secession

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 12: Sarah Snook, Arian Moayed, Brian Cox, Jesse Armstrong, Kieran Culkin, J. Smith-Cameron and Alan Ruck attend the HBO's "Succession" Season 3 Premiere at American Museum of Natural History on October 12, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 12: Sarah Snook, Arian Moayed, Brian Cox, Jesse Armstrong, Kieran Culkin, J. Smith-Cameron and Alan Ruck attend the HBO's "Succession" Season 3 Premiere at American Museum of Natural History on October 12, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images) /

Season 3 of HBO’s Succession pretty much begins where season 2 left off, but with a brief recap. As you surely know, season 2 ended with a major rift crystallizing between Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) and his father, Logan (Brian Cox). Specifically, Ken publicly announced that Logan is “a malignant presence” in the family media business empire (Waystar Royco), adding that Logan is a bully and a liar. Ostensibly, the problem is a major cruise ship sexual assault scandal, but Logan no doubt has other scandals that could put even further strain on the company, and on himself. So the premiere finds Logan boarding a company helicopter, alternating between damage-control and retaliatory mode.

Meanwhile, Ken is with Waystar Royco’s main PR specialist, Karolina (Dagmara Domińczyk), and Greg Hirsch (Nicholas Braun). Initially, Ken is lying dormant in an empty bathtub, yet springs into action after this much-needed breather, suggesting he is not yet totally overwhelmed. However, after Karolina says he violated his duties in the company, Ken tells her to leave the limo. To Ken, she is no doubt more concerned about the media, which says Logan knew everything on Brightstar Cruises and was working to cover up criminal activity.

The most memorable line from this “Succession” episode?

With tensions high, Logan’s yesmen assure him that Kendall is only mentally ill, and surely his behavior must only spring from his drug-addictive lifestyle. However, Logan is likely smart enough to see through that, even if his verbal outbursts lack nuance or sophistication. Over the phone, Logan warns Kendall that he plans to grind his bones to make his bread, which is probably the best line from the episode.

Being more even-tempered, Waystar’s Gerri Kellman (J. Smith-Cameron) offers to call the Department of Justice (DOJ) about the company starting an internal committee to deal with the scandals. However, old habits die hard and Logan suggests destroying Kendall rather than cooperating with legal investigations.

Whole lotta callin’ goin’ on

How high up can Logan reach? Well, he wants to call the President of the United States (also an instance of Logan flexing how much power he has when he can essentially have the President on speed-dial). Moments later, Kendall calls Frank Vernon (Peter Friedman) and offers him a job. Then Gerri talks to senior White House aide Michelle-Anne (Linda Emond) and Siobhan “Shiv” Roy (Sarah Snook) receives a call from Kendall, who no doubt wants her to shift alliances to him and away from Logan (Shiv later tells Logan she wants him safe, though she certainly has a rocky history with her dad, much like every one of her siblings.

After that effort seemingly fails, Ken then calls on-again, off-again lover Naomi Pierce (Annabelle Dexter-Jones). Obviously, there is some panic on all sides, with Greg saying “This is like O.J. Except, I mean, if O.J. never killed anyone.” In fact, Logan’s entourage plans to venture to a country with no extradition treaty with the United States, settling on Sarajevo.

Can any relationship on Succession be patched up?

Few if any relationships on Succession seem particularly stable. For example, Connor Roy (Alan Ruck) and his love interest, Willa (Justine Lupe), are in an awkward place. Because their play is getting critically panned, Connor is encouraging Willa to work on a “hate-watch” angle regarding their failed creative venture. Also, Tom (Matthew Macfadyen and Shiv are still on shaky ground. So, when Ken visits ex-wife Rava (Natalie Gold) to say he challenged Logan for her and the kids, it almost seems like a ploy to win back her affection.

Meanwhile, Logan says in a private meeting that he’ll step back as CEO, at least for the moment. This, of course, leads to speculation over who will take over, at least temporarily. Some are subtle in their suggestions, others are bold. For example, CFO Karl Muller (David Rasche) offers to be CEO. However, Logan narrows it down to Roman (a loyalist who has proven himself somewhat to his father) or Gerri, who comes across as a moderate who knows how to get things done.

So, who’s it going to be?

On the phone, Shiv tells Tom to hustle to get her in line as CEO. Roman straight up tells Logan via phone call that he should be the chosen one, but if he’s not, he suggests Gerri. Logan decides that Roman is out, maybe because the call made Roman look vulnerable. Behind the scenes, Shiv meets high-powered Attorney Lisa Arthur (Sanaa Lathan). However, she declines to give Shiv legal advice, revealing that she’s actually on Kendall’s side.

Elsewhere, Roman flirts heavily with Gerri, saying no one would know if they were to have sex. Of course, Gerri’s probably smart enough to know there’s always a way for people to learn, and that any perception of sexual impropriety would be bad for Waystar’s image amidst a sex scandal. Instead, she wants to talk about whether Roman is legally in the clear to avoid scandals, were he to become CEO. However, that topic gets sidelined after Gerri gets the call confirming she is to be the new CEO of Waystar Royco!

More relationship stuff?

Succession may have revealed the new-and-improved CEO, but that doesn’t mean everything is settled. On the relationship front, Ken asks Rava if it’s okay if Naomi Pierce comes over to her place, which is sort of Ken’s temporary headquarters. Although Rava agrees and Ken suggests he’s detached himself from Rava, it’s definitely possible Naomi is a classic psychological tool to make Rava jealous.

At the same time, Kendall is certainly not only going after Logan to appease Rava. He tells Lisa Arthur that Logan is the devil and that the man runs a crime ring. He also trusts Lisa Arthur to the extent that he says he’ll be her puppet. Upon hearing that Kendall has Arthur in his camp, Logan plans to consult a lawyer named Layo Upton.

What are your thoughts on this Succession episode? Let us know in the comments!

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