Season 3, Episode 1: ‘Secession’
The “Succession” Season 3 premiere opens with a shot of two helicopters rushing throughout the sky, with a surprising mountain panorama within the distance. It’s an instantaneous reminder of what this present is about: ridiculously wealthy folks, dashing from one ritzy location to a different, doing infinite injury management whereas residing the best lives conceivable.
For the remainder of this episode, the Roy household and their inside circle of associates spend time in non-public jets, lavish flats, luxurious inns, limousines and high-end workplaces, as they hustle to safe allies within the coming struggle between the media conglomerate Waystar Royco’s CEO Logan Roy (Brian Cox) and his rogue son Kendall (Jeremy Sturdy). Each factions know they need to mission power to win over the press, the general public and the politicians. It issues what they put on, the place they’re seen, and who they’re seen with. That’s why when the veteran Waystar fixer Hugo Baker (Fisher Stevens) meets the Roys at a non-public airport and tells them he’s secured “a pleasant room” to attend in, he instantly lowers their expectations and admits it’s not as good because it in all probability needs to be.
Provided that the cleverly titled “Secession” is the primary new “Succession” episode in almost two years, it has a number of work to do, getting viewers again in control on the place we’re within the story — all whereas reminding us why it’s such a deal with to spend an hour every week with a number of the most egocentric, meanspirited characters in TV historical past. The present’s creator and head author Jesse Armstrong, working alongside essentially the most frequent “Succession” director Mark Mylod, doesn’t waste a lot time. This episode barrels ahead, producing a lot of its stress and humor from the people who find themselves on the periphery of Logan and Kendall’s feud and are scrambling to maintain up.
Kendall, for essentially the most half, appears to have the higher hand in the meanwhile. Within the Season 2 finale, he dropped a bomb on Logan, revealing to the press that he had proof — secured by his cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun) — that the Waystar higher-ups had lined up sex-crimes dedicated by a longtime worker of their Brightstar cruise line. Relishing his second within the highlight, Ken has dozens of plans he needs to roll out instantly, to rebrand himself because the brave whistle-blower placing an finish to company sexism.
With an more and more befuddled Greg by his facet, Kendall makes a flurry of cellphone calls and takes assembly after assembly, talking a mile a minute whereas firing off lengthy sentences stuffed with nigh-incomprehensible biz-speak. (Considered one of Ken’s funniest character traits is how fluent he’s in meaningless jargon like, “I would like a clear jar,” and, “Simply feed me metadata on something that’s going to maneuver the market on me, reputationally.”) He needs to put in writing an “different company manifesto” in an op-ed for The New York Instances. He needs to usher in “some BoJack guys” to make his Twitter feed a must-follow. And he needs to rent Lisa Arthur (Sanaa Lathan), a famous feminist legal professional who makes previous billionaires quake.
However there are already indicators that Kendall is overconfident and in over his head — moreover his overreliance on Greg, who is meant to be monitoring his cousin’s media presence however to date can solely work out that Ken is out-trending “tater tots” on Twitter. Kendall’s most questionable determination this week sees him holing up on the house of his ex-wife Rava (Natalie Gold), insisting he wants the emotional grounding of seeing her and their children, but additionally inviting his occasional girlfriend and drug buddy Naomi Pierce (Annabelle Dexter-Jones) to drop by.
As for Logan, he drags his son-in-law Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen) and Waystar veterans Frank Vernon (Peter Friedman) and Karl Muller (David Rasche) to a Sarajevo airport resort, the place he plots his personal subsequent strikes whereas ducking any potential extradition. He refuses to be bled dry by this Brightstar scandal, which he sees as a chance for “chancers” who’ve suffered no actual hurt to siphon off his billions. Logan sounds the alarm with the pundits in Waystar’s pocket, warning them they’ll find yourself wanting silly in the event that they activate him now. And he surprises everybody — and offers this episode its title — by saying that he’s able to take a step again and title another person CEO.
The issue? He has no good candidates. Karl volunteers and will get ridiculed. Frank sounds a meek “ahem” and Logan rapidly says (appropriately, on condition that Frank is in fixed contact with Ken) that he’s untrustworthy, and that he’s as unimpressive as “mashed potatoes.” That leaves Logan’s sneakily bold daughter Siobhan (Sarah Snook), his anarchic jokester son Roman (Kieran Culkin), and his devoted counsel Gerri Kellman (J. Smith-Cameron). Whoever will get the job would be the face of Waystar throughout what appears to be like to be a bloody skirmish over Brightstar; they usually’ll solely be a figurehead whereas Logan retains the actual energy. (“It’s nameplates,” he shrugs, as he asks his crew to make his determination for him.)
Shiv might be your best option, however she loses out after failing on the one project her father offers her: to signal her previous good friend Lisa Arthur as Waystar’s legal professional earlier than Kendall can. In one of the crucial genuinely emotional scenes on this episode, Shiv lays out her dilemma with Lisa, telling her truthfully that she has no concept what anybody concerned with Brightstar really did, and that she wants an ally earlier than she will get crushed between two males’s egos. Alas, Shiv has arrived at Lisa’s workplace just a few hours late. Ken is shifting too quick.
Roman, in the meantime, is an early front-runner as a result of he doesn’t thoughts hurting folks or making them mad. (Requested what they need to do about Kendall, Roman says, “This isn’t a pleasant factor to say about your son however perhaps you chop him into one million items and toss him within the Hudson?”) However when he finds out Logan is contemplating him for CEO, he makes a disastrous — and hilarious — cellphone name, the place he first asserts himself after which retreats, mentioning Gerri and saying he would perceive if Logan thinks, “Possibly a few years underneath the wing of an older hen may see me crack out of the ol’ egg.” As quickly as the decision ends, Logan snaps, “Roman’s out.”
So Gerri it’s: competent, loyal, unremarkable Gerri. She has her personal memorable cellphone name this week, ringing up the White Home to remind the President’s those who an election is arising and that they’ll want the assist of Waystar’s right-wing cable information community ATN. Simply as Kendall is a grasp of MBA bluster, so Gerri is sweet at sounding nice and conversational — “Will we need to get the previous guys on the blower to allow them to simply chat for 5?” she cheerily asks her D.C. contact — whereas subtly delivering threats and digs.
Gerri understands — as Logan does — that a lot of what’s taking place here’s a sport. In actual fact, Logan will get offended by Kendall’s flip towards saintliness, as a result of he thinks what his son did was “a play,” not a second of righteous readability. It’s telling that each these males inform their folks to go to their “motion stations” because the episode begins. However the final victor often is the commander who thrives on all-out battle. Proper now, Ken appears manic. And Logan? He hasn’t seemed this alive in years.