succession season 3 episode 1 recap

Succession Season 3, Episode 1 Recap: Secession

Because Succession is one of our favorite shows ever (and because it's good for SEO), we'll be recapping Season 3 here on our blog every week. Don't forget to check out our Never Trust a Narcissist collection to enjoy while you delve into the psychodrama of the Roy family this season! 

Succession Season 3, Episode 1 Recap: Secession

Here we are at Season 3, Royco fam! Pour yourself a big glass of wine (may we suggest a mug?) and get your therapist on speed dial, because the Roy family is back! 

We left off in Season 2 with the Roy family and their executive team on the Yacht Trip from Hell, throwing each other under the bus and jockeying for power. Who would Logan pick to be his successor? The answer is always Not Shiv, mind-blowingly unbeknownst to her (you think after nearly four decades in this family, she'd have figured out how it works by now). Who was going to take the fall for the sexual assault and subsequent coverup? It was decided that it would be Kendall, until he got up at the press conference and instead of reading the prepared remarks, going off-script and completely throwing his father and the entire Waystar-Royco company under the bus on live television.

We pick up Season 3 with Logan in a helicopter, looking out over some mountains of undetermined provenance. Is he in Aspen? Los Angeles? Where are we? We're in unknown time and space here. 

Then Kendall is in a fancy bathroom, deep breathing, knees weak, arms spaghetti, there's vomit on his Armani suit already, Carbone spaghetti. He seems to be having kind of a panic attack: his hands are shaking, he's practicing deep breathing exercises, and then he kind of sinks into the huge bathtub like he's trying to dry-drown himself. Greg the Egg is at the door, concerned. 

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Back to Logan and the fam, off the helicopter in some desert. Fisher Stevens (good to see him getting work in the perfect role as a smarmy asshole consultant) and the whole yacht crew assemble, frantically whisper-yelling over the deafening helicopter. Logan storms off to the van and all the adults are scrambling to figure out his mood and the next steps. Gerri and Fisher Stevens are the only ones with any answers, and Logan's own children have no idea what's going on. This is a great metaphor for the show at large: everyone's talking in circles without saying anything, everything is lost in translation, and no one has any idea what's happening except for the overgrown 75 year old toddler pouting in the idling car. 

Back in New York, Greg, Kendall, and Waystar-Royco PR Exec Karolina make their way to the waiting SUV as Karolina comes to her senses when they climb in and it hits her that um..... she works for Waystar-Royco as their PR person and Kendall just completely blew up the entire company on live TV. When she waffles on loyalty, Kendall kicks her out of the car in full view of the reporters and cameras. I don't think we've seen the last of Karolina, the ultimate professional, at least in front of the cameras. She's got lots of behind-the-scenes dirt to spill. 

We're back to the private jet lounge in whatever weird desert Team Logan has landed in. Shiv and Roman have a little interaction that again showcases the abject loneliness of growing up in a dysfunctional narcissistic family and not being able to trust even your siblings in time of crisis. They dance around each other, not being sure if the other one is double, triple, or quadruple crossing them and planning to run straight to daddy Roy to tattle with the first sign of disloyalty. 

All of a sudden, Logan snarls, "DID YOU KNOW?" to his progeny. We think he's asking if they knew about the whole abuse-and-coverup scandal that's about to sink his company, but he's asking if they knew if Kendall was gonna betray him at the press conference. This shows us that at the time of the most dire, desperate, dangerous straits his company has ever weathered, when thousands of people's jobs and livelihoods lie in the balance, the thing that Logan Roy is thinking about is not the company going under and his ten jillion employees getting laid off but, of course, himself. Is anyone surprised?

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We're back in the car with Kendall and Greg the Egg, who've picked up loyal assistant Jess at some point. Kendall is explaining marketing jargon to Greg with more marketing jargon, and Greg, of course, has no idea what he's talking about. Kendall sees "Dad" pop up on his caller ID and we see him shrink to his terrified four year old self in front of our very eyes. He tosses the phone to Jess like it's on fire, and forces her to be the messenger between him and Logan. "He's kind of laughing, but.... not like... nice laughing," she relays to him. 

Back at the godforsaken private jet terminal, Logan et. al. is having a strategy session. Gerri pitches a well thought-out, well-planned, actually perfect way to get out of this mess that would mitigate the damage and honestly, they could just end the show here if they followed Gerri's plan. Of course, that would never happen because Logan is a messy bitch who lives for drama and will never back down, apologize, or admit fault, so he's looking for other ideas. Roman pitches an insane idea that would cost hundreds of millions in litigation, bring government regulators raining hellfire on Waystar-Royco, and be a PR disaster like the world has never seen, or in his words, "chop Kendall up into a million pieces and dump him into the Hudson." My husband pointed out that while Gerri's idea is ready to execute, Roman's is the rambling, "just-throwing-this-out-there" of an "ideas guy" who's never had to actually do anything before - it'll be someone else's job to figure out how to execute all the zany plans that Roman keeps spouting off.  The camera pans the table as everyone else's eyes widen and they try to keep their jaws from dropping to the floor during Roman's pitch. It's truly insane and the worst idea ever, but Logan sagely nods and considers it. Is this Roman's revenge for Kendall locking him in a dog cage as a kid? Unclear, but Roman isn't fit to be a Kindergarten line leader, let alone the CEO of a global conglomerate. 

This is Logan Roy's true downfall, and no one in his inner circle can see it. They all think they can outwit him and manipulate him into making them the CEO, but no one can outplay him at a game where he makes the rules and changes them at his will. His downfall is that when presented with two options, he will always choose the messy, self-destructive one. Even if someone sits him down and explains to him that Gerri's plan is the clean, sane one that will save face and the company and wash their hands of this so they can all go back to being selfish rich people without any cares in the world,  he doesn't care. He wants revenge, he wants Kendall's blood, and as a bonus, he wants to avoid admitting that Waystar-Royco did anything wrong. He also loves conflict and loves a fight. The Roman plan gives him all the dysfunctional shit he loves in one clusterfuck of a package. 

We get a GREAT line when Karl, whose name I honestly forgot, (he's the blonde guy), mentioned food and Logan roaring, "Food?! SWALLOW!" And implying that no one needs to eat because they all have.... saliva?? Seriously. 

Greg tells Kendall that he's the number one trending topic on Twitter ahead of Tater Tots and is being followed by A pope, not THE pope. We get a nice little foreshadowing of loyalty when Kendall cold calls everyone who's currently with Logan. Frank, who's already been shown to have zero loyalty to anyone (can you blame him?), stays on the phone with Kendall the entire time, looking terrified, saying nothing, but not hanging up. Gerri's phone goes straight to voicemail, which makes me think that she's blocked Kendall - her phone wouldn't be OFF during this time of corporate crisis. Shiv answers but hangs up on him almost immediately. No one is loyal enough to Logan that they tell him that Kendall has called them. That's another reason I think Gerri blocked him - it gives her plausible deniability. She doesn't have to tell Logan that Kendall called her cause she technically never received a call from Kendall anyway. She doesn't want to ignore Kendall's, either - blocking him for now and sending him straight to voicemail means that later, she can tell him she was in a no-service zone at the time or something. She's diplomatically playing both sides of the fence as much as she can. 

Logan's not having too much luck with phone calls, either. The President won't take his calls, and whichever White House liaison who gets stuck with the job is evasive on whether the DOJ or State Attorneys General will or won't prosecute. Gerri tells the person to fire the Attorney General, which I feel like might come around and bite her in the ass later, especially since she was on speakerphone with everyone in the van. 

Logan freaks out and decides he can only fly to countries with non-extradition treaties and lands on Sarajevo - but the Maldives was on that list? Like... you could be in the Maldives for a few weeks, Logan. Think about it. It turns out that the powerhouse female attorney they want to represent Logan in the Kendall fight is a friend of Shiv's, so all of a sudden he starts being nice to her, and pulls her aside to start CEO talk again. She oh-so-stupidly falls for it. I can't believe it. Why is she so dumb? I think she thinks she's being smart, like she knows the game and is playing it, but we all know that he's just stringing her along again. Her assignment is clear: get the lawyer to represent Logan, and he'll think about letting her be his successor. 

Before they all depart in separate planes, real life hits everyone in the face again. Connor brings up Willa's scorched earth play reviews and says maybe they can do a marketing push for hate watch tickets. Willa looks at him, dead behind the eyes, and says, "Yeah, maybe." 

Tom and Shiv snap back to reality and remember, oh yeah, remember that weird picnic on the beach at the end of Season Two where Tom said he'd rather be unhappy without Shiv than unhappy with her when he found out she cheated on him on their wedding night? And then Shiv elected to throw him under the bus with the whole cruise coverup? They awkwardly agree to talk about it in New York, and have about as much romantic chemistry as Roman and Shiv do. Shiv also lies to him about Kendall calling her. What do you do when you can't trust your siblings OR your spouse? Yikes. 

OK, we're back to Kendall. He acts surprised that Waystar-Royco cut off his office access, which.... duh. But he can't believe it. You can hear him thinking, "But my name is on the building!!" He pulls up outside a building right outside Central Park and where could he be? Certainly not Logan's place. Nope, it's the gorgeous Rava, his perfect ex-wife whom I love. 

Can we all agree that Rava is too good for Kendall? She's very kind to him, but a little reserved. It's verrrrrry clear he was expecting a jubilant homecoming and for her to tell him how proud she is of him for publicly telling his dad to fuck off, but... she doesn't. She seems pleased and a little surprised that he stood up for himself, and tells Kendall that she always told him he was either going to do it this way or move to a monastery, but you can tell he was expecting more from her.  It makes you wonder how many times, when they were married and Logan was horrible to him or to her or to their kids, Rava told him to stick up for himself. And now he has, and she's kind of moved on. She admits she hasn't watched the video and he tells her she really should. "Can I do this? Can I?" He asks her. "I don't know, Ken," she replies. It's getting a liiiiiittle awkward. 

Back on the dueling private jets, there's more CEO drama. Honestly, this part bores me a little. Logan is going to drag out the succession intrigue until his dying breath, and none of these morons realize it's his fun little game and they're just pawns in it. They get so caught up in the drama and call and text each other back and forth and fight about it, and honestly, yawn. It's apparently down to "Woman" (Gerri or Shiv) or "Experience" (Gerri or Roman) or "Kid" (Roman or Shiv). Roman having "experience" is laughable because from Season 1, it seems like the only thing he did in his office all day was pleasure himself and finish on his floor-to-ceiling windows during business hours, but I digress.

Back in his ex-wife's apartment, Kendall is being the fucking worst. It reminded me of the pitch meeting from Season 1, when he bought those dumb sneakers and all the cool art girls HATED him. He won't let the marketing people get a word in edgewise - you can see them calculating the rate increase in their heads. One of them literally says "fuck you" to him in a joking (I think) manner. 

Logan is running scared and is stuck with Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, the two executives he most hates and least respects, and Tom, the son-in-law he openly contempts, in Bosnia's finest airport hotel. Oh how the mighty have fallen. He's back on his bullshit with the CEO drama and gets an epic phone call from Roman, who tells him that maybe an "older hen" can take him under her wing and teach him the CEO ropes, and, I quote, "If it ain't Romy time, maybe it's Crony time." Logan storms out of the bedroom and shouts, "ROMAN'S OUT! HE'S OUT!" Now, I can't tell why this phone call angered him so much. Is it because he can tell that there MUST be some hanky panky happening between Roman and Gerri and it grosses him out? Is it because Roman nakedly wants it too badly? Or is it because Roman is so clearly playing the game, and it makes him angry that he's not pretending to hide it more? Whatever it is, it's now down to Shiv and Gerri. 

Shiv heads to Lisa Arthur's firm and Lisa is not having it from the second she walks in the door. Shiv really thinks she can manipulate and charm people but... she's not charming? At all? Lisa is stone-faced throughout Shiv's little song and dance and basically tells her that Kendall is hiring her, so Shiv should get lost. Shiv, not used to being told no, condescendingly calls her "honey" and storms out. God, these Roy kids are such shits. 

Gerri and Roman are in a hotel room, and Gerri is still wearing her skirt suit with slouchy suede boot look and... she was wearing it earlier, too, did she have it on from the yacht? What a weird outfit. Roman keeps trying to make the moves, and Gerri's completely ignoring him. Not dominatrix ignoring him, just ignoring him. Logan calls to inform Gerri that she's the CEO and Roman makes it all about him. "You're my boss now? Oh. Wow. Can I tell Shiv? I wanna tell Shiv." He barely even congratulates Gerri on this HUGE news to her. I'll say it again, these Roy kids are really just rotten to the core. 

Can we point out how shitty it is that Logan can't even break the news to his own kids that he didn't choose them? He leaves it to Gerri to tell Roman, and god-knows-who to tell Shiv. 

Shiv gets the news, mockingly and cruelly, from Roman. She turns the car around and we don't find out where she's taking it. I assume Kendall's, but she wouldn't know he's at Rava's, right? I feel like it MIGHT be Kendall's but they might surprise us with a twist. I think maybe Shiv might be launching her own separate attack against Logan AND Kendall, giving us a Game of Thrones scenario in which they're all battling each other.

Anyway, we're back at Rava's and it's increasingly weird that Kendall and his entourage are still there. They could have rented a suite at the St. Regis or the Four Seasons or ANYWHERE, but he wants to flex to Rava what a big, important business boy he is. He picks a passive-aggressive fight with her about the men's razors in her bathroom, and when she asks WHY he was in her bathroom, says that he "doesn't want to take a deuce in the same bathroom the staff uses." Seriously, Kendall. Like 1) implying that you can't deign to use the same bathroom as the lowly staff 2) talking about your bathroom schedule to a woman you're trying to impress, can you be ANY less attractive. She kind of dodges the question by saying that men's razors are less expensive and he's even more of a passive-aggressive asshole by saying, "What, I don't give you ENOUGH money?" with a smirk on his face. 

Then of course, he asks if it's okay that he invited his fuck buddy Naomi over. Which, WHY. Why would you invite your fuck buddy to these sensitive, confidential discussions with your potential new attorney. At your ex wife's house. But of course she shows up, and he introduces her to Lisa Arthur. Then we hear Rava lose it at Greg - turns out that Greg opened up a precious bottle of wine that Rava's godfather gave her. Greg protests - Naomi told him to open it. Naomi walks in with two glasses and a big smirk on her face. We get the impression that Naomi knew that a) Greg is dumb and will do anything she tells him to b) if she didn't know this was a gift, she at the very least knew it was a very expensive bottle of wine, and purposely told Greg to open it, knowing he'd do so without question. Naomi is the worst. Rava, ever the goddess, composes herself, smiles, and says, "It's fine. It's like when someone breaks something beautiful and it reminds you that nothing lasts," then walks out. Kendall, a Logan Roy in training, has no remorse and doesn't feel bad at all - he loves the tension and that the women are fighting over him, high-fiving Greg over it. 

Meanwhile, the episode ends with Logan finding out that Kendall hired Lisa Arthur and storming out of the Bosnian Holiday Inn or whatever. Where the hell is he going? I swear to God, I thought he was gonna get hit by a bus, Mean Girls style, but he doesn't. He walks out of the hotel and stands in the front, staring off into the distance at something. The departing flights from the nearby airport? We don't know. I guess we'll find out next week!  

Final Thoughts: 

I hope the whole season isn't going to be a game of who's-gonna-be-CEO. Logan even admits in this episode that to him, a CEO is just a nameplate. It means nothing to him. Which was kind of shocking for him to say out loud, because it means everything to his children and it means a whole lot to his executive team, too. The shuffling of players around the chess board is already boring to me, because there will never be a resolution as long as Logan is living and breathing. As anyone who's broken free of a dysfunctional narcissistic family knows, the only way to win the game is to decide that you're no longer gonna play it. 

Tom had a little moment of clarity when he asked Shiv if she's sure she wanted the responsibility despite all the battles Waystar-Royco is facing. The CEO is in charge of cleaning all that up - do they all forget how Rhea, so desperate for the CEO position that she was willing to sleep with Logan, had to be publicly responsible for those messes like what, 3 weeks ago? And it was such a shitshow that she immediately resigned? 

Stray Observations:

  • Where's Marcia?!? Well, we came straight from the yacht and she wasn't there, so it makes sense she wasn't here, either, but she was an interesting character and I hope they're not done with her yet. Logan is an oddly asexual character for such a jerk, and I wish they'd explore his relationships more. The Rhea thing felt weird and sexless, even though it was an affair.  A scheming new trophy wife would be a good addition if they're done with Marcia. 
  • They make it clear in this episode that Logan never physically harassed any employees but honestly, he seems like the type of guy who definitely WOULD have back in his day. 
  • I was really feeling bad for Kendall in Season 2, but this episode really turned me around and back to how I felt about him in Season 1. He's back to being the same old spoiled idiot. 
  • Frank and Karl talking on the plane about all the scandals they've weathered with Logan over the years while Tom listened in wide-eyed, was so funny. 

Best Quotes from Season 3, Episode 1 of Succession:

ROMAN: Dad? Want me to ride with you?

LOGAN: Wanna suck my dick!?!? *slams door in his face* 

-- This is what the Roy children get when they try to make their father feel better or treat him with kindness or compassion. It kind of makes sense why they're all so smarmy, snarky, and nasty to everyone - when they try to be nice, they're told by their dad to perform oral sex on him? Jesus, I kind of don't blame them. 

GREG: *banging on door* Kendall? Are you okay? Say you're okay, or I'll have to break the door down and I don't know if I'll be able to? 

-- I would pay money to watch Greg try to break a door down. 

GREG: NO COMMENT! NO COMMENT!!!

KAROLINA: You don't have to say that, Greg. Just don't comment.

-- Can we get an entire spinoff of Greg trying out different jobs? 

ROMAN: Everything's high risk if you're a pussy. 

-- *groans* ugh, all the bros who unironically loved "Wolf of Wall Street" are gonna use this as their personal motto now, aren't they? 

LOGAN: "FOOD?! SWALLOW!!"

-- I know I talked about this above, but this is just so classic narcissist, I can't. I was once accused of "only being hungry when you're around ME" when I asked a narcissist in my life if we could stop for coffee. My husband reminded me that the same person believed that lunch was for losers. I think in real life, Logan's kids, especially Shiv, would have raging eating disorders from having grown up in his household. 

ROMAN: "If it ain't Romy time, maybe it's Crony time." 

-- No words.

RAVA: "It's like when someone breaks something beautiful and it reminds you that nothing lasts."

-- Team Rava!! Season 1 was really sad cause you saw sparks of Kendall having a human side and loving his kids, and it was clear he and Rava loved each other, and that his self-destructiveness and inability to stand up to his family really ruined things. You can see here that she felt it, too, but it's long gone and she's so over it.