Succession‘s third episode sees the Roys’ plots entangle with each other.
Battle lines are drawn, troops are aligned: it’s “Actions Stations” time for all the Roy family factions. Kendall declares his intentions to “plant a flag” inside Waystar Royco, putting Logan on the defense. Written by Ted Cohen and Georgia Pritchett, “The Disruption” is the third episode of this season’s Succession. It’s also directed by Cathy Yan, known for Dead Pigs and Birds of Prey: The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn. Kendall may fancy himself an anti-hero a la Harley Quinn, but in this episode, he discovers the price of his emancipation from his family.
The Disruption” is also one of the most thrilling Succession chapters to date. Yan builds a powder keg episode that barrels towards the Roy family’s battle with their latest foe: the US government.
The episode opens with Kendall (Jeremy Strong) talking to a reporter over shaved fennel salad about his plans to get inside and “plant a flag” at Waystar. The reporter comments on the business being family and asks Kendall if his relationship with his siblings has changed. Kendall, forcing down the salad, comments “I’m just really happy in my headspace, and I hope they’re happy in theirs.”
At Waystar Royco, Roman, not missing a beat, keeps it light by asking everyone “How’s your headspace?” Everyone’s headspace is chaotic and unsteady. There’s a lot of shifting going on around the office, as “puppet” CEO Gerri and puppet master Logan give conflicting orders to the team. Logan’s upset by the rumors that Kendall wants to come into the office. Sure, they’re just rumors, but with Gerri and Shiv’s impending company town hall, they’re the sort of rumors that like to come true.
Hugo and Karolina come in with some ideas on their public apology. They want to go with the tagline that says “We Get It.” Like “We Hear You” from season one, this slogan is out of touch, and as Shiv and Roman point out, it will probably be misinterpreted. There’s hardly time to debate the slogan as there are agents on the phone looking to see if Waystar would accept subpoena documents.
Logan wants to tell the agents to “Fuck off.” Gerri points out that they need to discuss when they’ll start cooperating with an investigation, or risk more aggressive action from the government. Tom may joke with Greg that Logan wants them to take cyanide pills (they’re just Tic-Tacs), but everyone at Waystar is feeling the pressure and looking for a way out of conflict.
Tom may joke with Greg that Logan wants them to take cyanide pills (they’re just Tic-Tacs), but everyone at Waystar is feeling the pressure and looking for a way out of conflict.
Later that night, Kendall and Shiv reunite at a gala. They exchange a cool “Hey.” Kendall apologizes for some of the insults at Rava’s. Shiv says they’re on the same team, but she’s hoping to change the organization from within, instead of throwing rocks from outside. Kendall thinks she’s making the wrong choice; Shiv calls him out, saying it’s his ego that’s influencing his decisions.
Shiv reports back to Logan. She tells him that she doesn’t think Kendall will come in. Logan hints that he’s hurt that Shiv didn’t want to sit down and say nice things about him (she passed this off to Roman, who stumbles and can only muster up an old fishing trip). Logan asks Shiv “Do you trust me?” and she immediately responds “Of course,” before following up with “On what.” Cox and Snook are scene partners made in heaven, walking the fine lines of Logan and Shiv’s relationship of father/daughter, and company founder/newly minted president. They’re brutally honest with each other, and Shiv is not afraid to call her father on his denial that he knew about all the seedy business with cruises.
Later, Shiv returns home to find a drunk and upset Tom. He met with a lawyer who thought it looked likely that someone in Tom’s position would go to jail. In his misery, he has had what he calls a dumb idea: he should offer himself to Logan as the fall guy. Shiv thinks it could play out, and if he avoids jail, Tom will earn a lot of trust from Logan just for making the offer. Shiv thinks it’s just the alcohol talking, but Tom makes the offer to Logan the next day. Logan’s impressed, but Tom has an ulterior motive and makes an outside call.
Ken’s riding high from the attention he’s getting from Twitter and the popular late-night comedy show The Disruption with Sophie Iwobi—think programs like Full Frontal with Samantha Bee and Ziwe. Indeed, Ziwe Fumudoh herself is perfectly cast as Iwobi. Kendall isn’t bothered by her nightly roastings; rather he’s elated and emboldened, storming Waystar to the dismay of his lawyer Lisa (Sanaa Lathan).
It’s town hall day, the perfect opportunity for Kendall to plant his flag … which he does by blasting music to play Shiv offstage as she attempts to deliver a heartfelt speech about enacting change from within. She leaves the stage, fuming at Kendall’s sabotage. Shiv storms into Kendall’s office, sees the speaker boxes scattered across the room, and spits in his notebook.
If Shiv’s going to reform the company (and family) from within, it seems she’ll have to take out Kendall. So she makes good on Logan’s wish, drafting a public statement dragging Kendall for his addiction issues and his problematic past with women. She also tries to force Roman and Connor to sign the letter, who decline as they feel it’s a “Times New Roman firing squad.”
With no family left beside him, Kendall heads to The Disruption. He misinterprets Iwobi’s nightly roasting segments as love, thinking all he has to do to win her over to his side is meet her; hence, his appearance on the show. He tries to sway the producer away from discussing the letter, but she declines, as the audience would notice if Iwobi didn’t address it. Kendall forces a smile, but his new reality hits him: he’s not in on the joke, he is a joke, to both Iwobi and his family. He retreats to an empty server room, avoiding a battle he’s already lost.
If Shiv’s going to reform the company (and family) from within, it seems she’ll have to take out Kendall.
Logan’s won the first skirmish by way of Shiv’s letter and Roman’s heartfelt interview (the father/son fishing trip was in truth taken by Connor and Roman). All seem well at the Waystar Castle. Suddenly, the FBI shows up at the gates, with a search warrant in hand. Logan wants to tell them to “Fuck off”. Gerri tells him these are the ones you cannot tell to “Fuck off”, and Logan reluctantly lets them in. The raid goes live. Shiv watches it unfold on TV, and Tom interrupts his dinner with advertisers to tell them the building is being raided. And Kendall, alone in the server room, sees the news on his phone, a smile spreading across his face.
- Best Use of phrase “Action Stations!” – This episode Roman had the honor to shout this in the office of Waystar Royco.
- Best New Game: “Good Tweet/Bad Tweet” as Kendall and his crew surf Twitter to find either pro or anti-Kendall Tweets. It’s no “Boar on the Floor,” but provided some insightful moments of Kendall’s obsession with society’s perception of his attempts to reform Waystar.
- MVP of the Episode: Ziwe Fumudoh as the host of the fictional comedy show The Disruption with Sophie Iwobi. Casting as Iwodi was an excellent move. Fun fact: Fumudoh’s Showtime show Ziwe and Succession share a composer – Nicholas Britell!
- Most Iconic Line: Tom’s vivid Midwestern-themed warning to Greg – “The DOJ is going to be like a combine harvester in a wheat field of dicks.”