Succession Season 3 Episode 1 “Secession” recap: The war is on

Succession Season 3

The season premiere doesn’t miss a beat as sides are chosen, and strategies are planned.

It’s been a full two years since the last time we saw the uber-wealthy Roy family trying to backstab one another. But if the first episode of the show’s latest season is anything, it’s proof that Succession hasn’t lost any momentum. It’s nastier, funnier, and darker than ever.

When season two ended, the future of Waystar Royco and the patriarch of the Roy clan, Logan (Brian Cox), was on the brink of a catastrophe. Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Logan’s number one boy, was supposed to be the sacrificial lamb for Waystar’s cruise ship scandal. But instead of going with his father’s plan, he turned on him and exposed all the crimes that the company has been trying to hide.

The premiere of the third season of Succession sees the aftermath of Kendall’s bombshell press conference. Still feeling the high of his move against Logan, Kendall quickly thinks about his next strategy. He’s got Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun) and Karolina (Dagmara Dominczyk), the PR head of Waystar Royco, in his pocket — though the latter gets kicked out right away when she appears to be indecisive about whether she wants to join Kendall’s revolution or not.

While Kendall is on his way to find a place where the press can’t find him (it’s his ex-wife’s apartment by the way), Logan calls him to offer a deal as long as he retracts his statement. Kendall being Kendall, of course, rejects it without thinking twice. He thinks that what he’s doing is progressive, that it’s good for the world and for everyone. When Greg tells him that most of the reactions on the internet are super positive (he’s the trending topic on Twitter ahead of tater tots), Kendall’s confidence is up to eleven. So confident that he even has the balls to call Frank (Peter Friedman), Shiv (Sarah Snook), and Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron) to jump ship.

Meanwhile, on Logan’s side, everyone is also scrambling to consider their next best move. And by this, I mean not just the move for Logan, but also for each of them individually. They might be siding with Logan at the moment, but their gestures and facial expressions certainly inform us that they’re not all a hundred percent with him. Shiv, the only Roy daughter, tells Roman (Kieran Culkin) that right now she’s thinking she should be backing Logan, but she also admits that what she’s actually thinking is that their dad is toast — hinting at her brother that if anything goes south, she might go with the other side. Snook’s performance in this episode, as Shiv tries to make sense of the situation, and especially of what all this will mean to her position in the company. is hitting all the right notes. It’s both calculated and enigmatic, and her line delivery is always on point.

Succession (HBO Max)

Logan is clearly furious because of Kendall’s blindside, but he’s not thinking straight in controlling the damage. Gerri’s idea of cooperating with the DOJ gets thrown aside because to Logan, “This is war” and no cooperation will bring him to victory. After sending Shiv, Roman, and Gerri back to New York — and also Connor (Alan Ruck) and Willa (Justine Lupe) back to hold the fort — Logan, Shiv’s spineless husband Tom (Matthew Macfadyen), Waystar Royco CFO Karl (David Rasche), former COO Frank, and Hugo (Fisher Stevens) flies off to Sarajevo, and the first business they do is choosing the interim CEO.

Roman, Gerri, and Shiv’s names all come up. But it’s Shiv that gets the honor — at least for a few hours until she fails to retain Lisa Arthur (Sanaa Lathan), a lawyer Logan wants to represent him. Turns out, Kendall already has her as a part of his entourage. With Shiv messing things up, Logan decides to appoint Gerri to be Waystar Royco acting CEO. It’s a strategic decision on Logan’s part because a) Gerri is the most capable out of the other characters, and b) she’s not his family, so if Waystar goes down, she’s the one whose reputation will get wrecked and not Logan’s kids.

Succession hasn’t lost any momentum. It’s nastier, funnier and darker than ever.

Back in Rava’s apartment, things are not looking exactly great for Kendall, though he certainly doesn’t think so. He hires two skilled PR people, Berry Schneider (Jihae) and Comfrey (Dasha Nekrasova), but doesn’t listen to any of them. His session with Lisa gets interrupted when Rava shouts to Greg after he and Kendall’s girlfriend Naomi Pierce (Annabelle Dexter-Jones) opens a bottle of wine she’s given by her godfather. It’s a mess, but Kendall is not really aware of any of it because his head is so high up in the sky that he assumes nothing will go wrong.

The episode ends with Logan walking fast out of the hotel to get some air while looking frazzled and perhaps even feeling a bit defeated after he finds out that the lawyer he wants will be working with Kendall, and after Shiv is nowhere to be found — you all probably can guess where she’s going. How the next chapter of this family war will go on remains to be seen, but based on the first episode, season 3 of Succession is gonna be a juicy war with lots of casualties.

Episode Superlatives:

  • The most awkward reunion: Kendall and his ex-wife Rava. She was not in any episodes of the second season, but surprise surprise, she comes back this episode. When Kendall asks her if she thinks he will win the war or not, she says, “I don’t know,” but with a tone that informs us that she doesn’t think Kendall will win. That Kendall ignorantly brings Naomi, his now-girlfriend, to the apartment where Rava and his kids sleep, is making things all the more cringey.
  • The clown of the episode: Shiv. She thinks that she’s gonna be the CEO and that she will ace the task of getting Lisa to represent Logan, but the reality is, Shiv is not as smart and savvy as she thinks she is. It’s honestly not a surprise to see her fail so easily. What makes her a clown, however, is not just her failure to get Lisa, but it’s the fact that she has to hear the truth about her not being the interim CEO from Roman, who delivers the news with a song.
  • The weirdest name: Comfrey. I really have no clue why did they name this character Comfrey. In the dictionary, Comfrey is a Eurasian plant of the borage family, with large hairy leaves and clusters of purplish or white bell-shaped flowers that can be used to treat inflammatory conditions caused by joint pain and general wounds, but also at the same time is poisonous and carcinogenic. Maybe we’ll find out soon, but right now let’s just say that it’s a weird name.
  • The most iconic line in this episode of Succession comes from Karl: “This is the full Baskin Robbins 31 flavors of fuck right there.”
  • The MVP of the episode: Naomi Pierce. She doesn’t really do anything. But why should she? She isn’t gonna be affected by whatever the outcome is. She’s just there, bringing dinner and telling Greg to do things and drinking Rava’s wine unbothered with whatever is going on.

Succession Season 3 Trailer:

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