Money, mind games & manipulation; season 3 of Succession remained gripping as ever

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By Charlie Roberts, Third Year, Civil Engineering

The second season of Succession ended with the Roy family patriarch, Logan, choosing his son Kendall as the ‘blood sacrifice’ to be held scapegoat. But then, on a bombshell akin to that of the season one finale, Kendall turns on his father, laying the blame on him at the press conference, proving himself to be the ‘killer’ that his dad said he wasn’t.

Cue the iconic opening credits: the childhood film stock footage rolls, the camera pans across a modern New York skyline, and Nicholas Brittel’s brilliant score erupts; the grandeur of the piano and violins drawing you straight back into the world of the Roy family.

Brian Cox as Logan Roy/Courtesy of IMDB

And so, season three picks right back up in the aftermath just minutes after the press conference. Throughout the ensuing episodes, Kendall forms a mutiny from his dad, who for much of the season, struggles as Waystar RoyCo faces raids from the FBI and loss of confidence from stakeholders. Looking to move the company forward, Logan pursues the acquisition of another company and this forms the basis for the final three episodes, which are very much the crescendo of the season.

The style of the show is beautiful, the now to-be-expected incredible locations and sleek outfits perfectly evoking the superrich world of the Roys. The first half of the season takes place mostly in the straight-edged settings of the business world, while the more spectacular locations are really showcased in the last few episodes, with the night-life of the rich elite shown in Kendall’s absurdly lavish birthday celebrations. And then following this, Logan’s ex-wife Caroline’s beautifully-set wedding; a more classy, stately affair, with everyone dressed impeccably, framed within gorgeous vistas of Tuscany.

Courtesy of IMDB

But behind all this excess, the show maintains its razor sharp focus on the broken Roy family dynamic. While Kendall attempts to take control by means of opposition, Shiv and Roman battle their way up from the inside. Kendall’s distancing of himself from his family, alongside the guilt he still feels from his deadly antics at Shiv’s wedding, drags him to an all time rock bottom.

His 40th Birthday party is the perfect example of this. No matter how he tries to smother himself in attention and extravagance, no amount of money can solve his problems, as he breaks down over piles of gifts left for him. With things coming to a head in Tuscany, his siblings helm an intervention, but he’s been brought up with such a cynical, cut-throat mindset that he thinks they’ve got an angle - like Logan tells him in season one, ‘Everybody’s got a game.’

Courtesy of IMDB

With each of the siblings still vying to succeed their father as CEO, each season so far has involved a different child being promised the top position. ‘Number one boy’ Kendall was lined up in the first season, Shiv being introduced to the business in season two, and now Logan is shown taking a perverse Roman under his wing in this time round.

However each time, their future as leader of the company slips away from them in a manner befitting their specific character flaws. It’s sometimes hard to tell whether Logan is truly trying to test if they’re up to the job or if he’s just toying with them. And as a side note, though the show has been renewed for a 4th season, it seems unlikely this theme will continue and centre on (presidential candidate) Connor Roy running for Waystar CEO, no matter how much we’d love to see that.

Courtesy of IMDB

There’s something tragic in seeing these three, who seemingly have everything, be unable to achieve the only thing they want. We see Roman desperate to be respected as a viable candidate, Shiv still bitter from having the rug pulled out from underneath her last season, and Kendall dead-set on his only option now being to ‘kill’ Logan. But above all of this, they really just want the affirmation of their father.

Aside from the siblings, the Gregg-Tomlette bromance continues, with a fantastic scene involving the two of them talking about prison food over a meal at a diner in the middle of the night. They’ve come together as two outliers of the family and their comedic one-liners provide respite from the more intense scenes.

Courtesy of IMDB

The acting is absolutely superb and each of the cast members builds on their characters from the previous seasons – when watching, it’s hard to believe these people don’t actually exist (outside of the Murdoch family at least). This great acting is facilitated by great writing and the true brilliance lies in show-runner Jesse Armstrong’s dialogue: gripping, punchy and often hilarious, but all the while remaining grounded and not overly-theatrical.

The season finale climaxes with a confrontation, after which all is revealed with a simple tap on the shoulder. At first it is shocking, but after reflecting on each of the character’s journeys across this season, it appears right; everyone gets what they deserve.

And one thing remains sure: Logan always wins.

Featured Image: IMDB


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