Succession Season 3, Episode 3 Recap: The Disruption

Succession Season 3, Episode 3 Recap: The Disruption

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 3 Recap: The Disruption

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! 

OK, I'm gonna say that this was the best episode of season three so far, and in the running for best episode of Succession ever. Let's get started, shall we? 

We open on Kendall in a bright, airy restaurant somewhere in Manhattan, speaking to a reporter for what we can assume is a New York Magazine or Vanity Fair or maybe a New York Times style profile piece. My first note was that he's too dumb to have a PR person with him. EV-ER-Y-ONE at Kendall's level should/would have a PR person if not at the table with him and the reporter, one table away, within earshot and ready to leap up and cut in if their client said something cringe-worthy or the questions veered into the wrong territory. Kendall, however obsessed with his own image he is, doesn't have a Karolina on hand to be there for this major interview. A small detail, but one that shows how little he knows about the structure of a business beyond just putting out pithy tweets. 

Kendall is his usual cocky self, thinking he's being smooth but just being awkward ("Open the kimono?" Really?). All of this doesn't seem to hurt him, however, because the context we glean from the rest of the episode is that Kendall came across pretty well in the profile. 

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Then we head to Waystar-Royco, where there's already an uncomfortable power struggle between Logan and Gerri. Logan's throwing wrenches in Gerri's plans, bitter that she's actually trying to get work done as CEO and not merely just act as a figurehead. Dopey Karl is in the middle, taking direction from Gerri then going to ask Logan what he should do. 

It's interesting to see the tone shift between both of them - he's petty and disrespectful towards her where he used to at least let her speak, and she's able to voice her opinion without dancing around the issue and choosing her words so carefully. 

We learn that Shiv got her President job that Logan promised her. Everyone's talking about Kendall's article, and the way they're so angry about it makes me think that it made him look good and the rest of the Roys look bad. They get word that Kendall is planning to come to the Waystar-Royco offices, and everyone loses their shit. In the midst of this, an assistant informs Logan that the Feds are on the phone, asking him to accept service of a subpoena - he tells them to fuck off.

A side note that this is insane, right? Would the Feds call you or me and politely ask us to accept service, first? No! The rich do things differently, I guess. 

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Tom meets up with Greg, and we get some incredible quotes from him. Does he improvise these, or do the writers put them in? A combine harvester in a wheat field of dicks is just *chefs kiss* perfection. 

I had a different view of this scene after finishing the episode. At first, I just thought it was standard Tom-verbally-abusing-Greg-for-fun fare, but once we see the rest of the episode, I think Tom pulled the "this is your new office" thing to get Greg away from prying eyes and ears and genuinely offer him a chance to attend that meeting with the lawyer. Did Tom know in this scene that he and Greg are not the core family members, that they're both royally fucked and will be thrown under the bus and into jail, and was he trying to help give Greg a way out, too? Whatever his intentions, Greg opts out cause Kendall's gonna give him a fancy watch that night. Oh, Greg. Just wait. 

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Hugo, Karolina, Shiv, and Roman are having a meeting where Hugo asks Shiv to do an interview where she gives warm, fuzzy memories of dear old Dad. To Shiv's credit, she flatly turns him down. I guess now that she's got the job, she has to do less ass-kissing. Roman is, yet again, the only one left, so he agrees to do the interview. They don't even think to ask Connor. WHEN ARE WE GETTING OUR CONNOR ORIGIN STORY?!? 

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Now we're in a stretch limo with Kendall, Greg, perpetually smirking Naomi, and assembled friends and hangers-on. They play a game of "good tweet/bad tweet" and some of those bad tweets hit Kendall a little too close too home. We see him go dead in the eyes when his comms person reads ones about his mental illness and daddy issues. The old flicker of feeling-bad-for-Kendall comes through, until he turns around and yells "Fuck the Patriarchy!!!" to the cameras. 

We're at the benefit and Shiv is there to tell Kendall to stay away from Waystar (but really, I think it's to get the scoop on what he's up to, under the guise of doing recon for the company). She sees old flame Nate, so he's still around. 

Kendall offers a non-apology for the sexist rant about his sister's teats in the end of episode 2 - "I threw a couple of ugly rocks," but no "I'm sorry" to be seen. Shiv pitches back his idea from last week, but Kendall's not buying it. 

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Roman does interview prep about the Daddy dearest interview and literally looks to be in physical pain when trying to recall memories of him and his dad. What do you and your dad enjoy doing together? NOPE. When did your dad help you when you needed him? NOPE. What's a cherished father-son memory? NOPE. He throws out something about fly fishing in Montana and leaves. 

Roman has learned the cardinal rule of growing up in a narcissistic family: to protect yourself, you can never, ever show vulnerability. His impenetrable sarcastic, turn-everything-into-a-sardonic-joke shell shows some cracks in it at times, but he recovers quickly and patches over it with more sarcasm or self-deprecation. I don't think it's that he doesn't have these memories of Logan (but if he does, there's not many). It's that to publicly talk about something that shows genuine feeling or vulnerability shows weakness, and that weakness will be used against him in countless ways by the rest of his family.

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Shiv heads to Logan's and he's pissed at her for not doing Roman's interview. He really has some balls, doesn't he? He treats his kids like shit, plays with their emotions like a cat with a string, they still do almost everything he asks to the detriment of their lives and marriages, but he gets mad when they won't do an interview to lie about how warm and fuzzy a dad he is.  

Logan tries to play Shiv like a fiddle - "Every time I don't see you out there saying something, I think, 'Does Shiv even like me?'" - but she's not falling for it. She's there to ask him about the cruise division - to get an honest answer on what he did and didn't know. The papers show that Logan was copied on all these emails - Shiv knows that he knew. 

We get a real Narcissist's Prayer  response from Logan - "I didn't know at all, but if I got the emails I didn't see them, but if I saw them I didn't open them, and if I opened them I didn't read them, and if I read them it's not a big deal anyway, this is all bullshit." 

Image via No Context Succession

This scene made me think of Poor Tom. He was almost certainly assigned to cruises by Logan himself. We now know that cruises is where all of Logan's pervert, shady friends traditionally worked, and the atrocities and crimes were a running joke at Waystar for years. By the time Tom was on the scene, Logan absolutely knew what was happening, and maybe even saw the criminal charges on the horizon. Why assign your future son-in-law to such a dumpster fire? One would think that Logan would want to keep family away from all this.  Logan, on the other hand, did it on purpose. He'd have a close-to-the-family scapegoat that wasn't actually a family member, a pawn to throw to the wolves when the time came. It also gives him power over Shiv and Tom - leave the nest, and I'll unleash the cruise information and Tom will go to jail. 

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Now we're in Kendall's loft - it opens on him and Naomi chugging out of airplane liquor bottles. This is going to get really bad for Kendall, isn't it?

We get a fantastic Ziwe cameo as Kendall makes everyone watch him get savaged on the big screen, forcing laughs and hiding their cringes. Kendall makes it clear he is NOT paying for Greg's $40k watch.

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Tom is sad and drunk when Shiv gets home. Their scenes together make me so sad. They speak in circles the way Shiv does with the rest of her family - they can't be honest with each other. Tom offers to throw himself in front of the sword for Logan, and Shiv willingly accepts, showing zero concern for him. 

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Kendall's in bed, masochistically rewatching the Oedipussy clip on repeat. He decides he's going to go into the office. I was confused by Jess still seemingly having a desk and working at Waystar. How is she Kendall's number two but ALSO allowed inside the mothership? 

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Tom finds Logan and offers to go to jail for the cruise debacle, in so many words. It's the first time Logan has ever look in his eyes at all, or seen him with any modicum of respect. 

After their meeting, Tom goes into his office and mysteriously makes a meeting with a man named Rex Hendon. My theory: Tom is going to flip on all these fuckers.

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Logan does a quid pro quo offer with the President's aide, the one Gerri had on speakerphone in the car in episode 1. They agree that Logan's network will back off the President IF the Feds back off Logan. This is going to get him in so much trouble, right? 

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Hugo, Karolina, Roman, and Shiv are prepping for the big employee Town Hall. It seems that Waystar employees are very unhappy with everything going on at the company, and the Town Hall is supposed to address any issues, raise morale, and be Shiv's big coming-out as President.

Unfortunately, all of the real questions submitted by employees are soundly rejected by Shiv and Roman, so Hugo and Karolina will have to make some up. 

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Kendall's in the car on the way to the office and his attorney is PISSED. She tells him that the subpoenas matter more than this palace intrigue bullshit, and NOT to go. Kendall brushes her off. He seems... unwell. Dare I say.... manic? He's so concerned with the window dressing, the shallow display of how he comes off in tweets and magazine profiles, and deeply unconcerned with the actual major problems facing him.

When the executive team gets word that Kendall is on his way, Logan wants to stab him with a Montblanc, but Gerri is the voice of reason. Kicking him out or firing him in the midst of a whistleblower investigation would mean a major lawsuit, so they have to let him in. When Kendall arrives, his main concern is that his office air conditioning is on 68 degrees, not 65. He also gets confronted by the freakiest security guard. 

Image via No Context Succession

Everyone's on their way to the Town Hall, and we can tell by how much Hugo is sucking up to Shiv that this is a big deal. Gerri's wearing her skirt-suit-slouchy-boot-combo. Shiv tells the hundreds of assembled employees that they're "all a part of this family" - yikes. Thanks but no thanks.

All of a sudden, a certain Nirvana song starts playing out of speakers placed around the atrium, and all hell breaks loose - the Town Hall is over, as is Shiv's big debut.

When Shiv, tears of rage in her eyes, storms to Kendall's office, the empty speaker boxes tell us this was him. He can try to play this off as a subversive move, a statement on Waystar's mishandling of the cruise allegations, but this was also a personal attack on Shiv. Not knowing what else to do, she spits in his day planner, something an angry sister who doesn't know how else to get back at her asshole brother would most certainly do. 

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Kendall's at Ziwe's show, still high on his own moves and making a damn fool of himself. He tries to push his way into the writers room, and his comms person finally steps in and yanks him away after he tells them to "really hurt me." 

Shiv is back at her apartment, planning to do just that. Connor refuses to sign on to her statement, calling it a "Greeting card from hell" and a "times new roman firing squad." This is one of the times Roman's mask slips - we see his genuine feelings for Kendall when he refuses to sign, but he says it's "not in my own interest." 

Once Shiv's scorched-earth statement is made public minutes before the show is taped and it's made clear that Kendall will be completely annihilated by the host, we watch a scene that will most definitely win Jeremy Scott an Emmy.

Kendall came off as such a cocky asshole in season 1 - the failing-upwards  rich guy we've all known at some point and hated. I rewatched season 1 with my husband since he'd never seen the show and actually wondered why I had liked it in the first place and if I still did - these people were such assholes, especially Kendall. In season 2, Kendall was an empty shell, and my heart broke for him every episode: we saw the sad, broken little boy behind the d-bag facade. Seeing how his mother treated him, how his father toyed with him even at his lowest - it was excruciating. This episode, season 1 Kendall was back, but we saw that d-bag facade for what it was: the deepest insecurities, combined with a dangerously manic energy, just hurtling towards a cliff. Then, in this final Kendall scene, we see season 2 Kendall come back: he shrinks into himself, his faux confidence gone, the mask fallen, pain evident in every movement. I just wanted someone to hug him, but he has no one - Naomi only knows him as cocky party boy Kendall, and she doesn't seem like one who'd stick around in the dark times. My guess is that Rava has seen this side of Kendall and comforted him through it many times, but she's no longer going to do it. The next scene would most certainly be him going on an epic bender to drown these terrible feelings - rinse and repeat. 

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Back at Waystar, another Roy son is having his own shitty moment. Where Logan was angry at Shiv for not doing the interview, he mocks Roman for doing it: "I wuv my daddy!" and topping it off with a gay slur. We find out that the fly fishing memory was one with Connor - Logan wasn't even there. 

This is interrupted by the FBI being downstairs, ready to break in and raid Waystar offices. Logan finally agrees to cooperate, but I'm not giving him much credit here - he doesn't really have a choice, does he? 

Final Thoughts: 

This episode was perfection, start to finish. I love that we're finally seeing some different moves from the characters - I was getting a little bored with the same dynamic. 

 

Stray Observations:

  • Still dying for more Connor backstory. He took Roman fly fishing! He defends Kendall! Yeah, he's an idiot with the politics stuff, but from what we've seen, it looks like he did his best to be a good brother/father figure to his siblings when they needed him.
  • I tried to figured out the Connor/Kendall age difference and learned that Alan Ruck, who plays Connor, is 65 - only TEN YEARS YOUNGER than Brian Cox, who plays Logan! 

Best Quotes from Season 3, Episode 3 of Succession:

LOGAN: I just hope our acting CEO isn't getting too acting. 

Can Logan make it any clearer that he just wants Gerri to play Solitaire and scroll Facebook all day, and do whatever he says with no thoughts of her own? 

TOM: Greg, the leggy princeling of ATN.

TOM: The DOJ's going to be like a combine harvester in a wheat field of dicks.

Hats off to Tom for these gems. I laughed out loud at both of them. 

LOGAN: Love and marriage. I feel another million drain with every cluck from that henhouse. 

Said to Shiv about Marcia with her attorneys, continuing to negotiate the new prenup. Seriously, I know Tom and Shiv's marriage makes me sad, but what type of relationship can you possibly expect these poor Roy kids to have with this type of modeling?! 

TOM: I won't wriggle. Just clunk the trout on the head and put it in your pouch.

LOGAN: It won't come to that. 

Brian Cox's reading of this line was so good, and also made me snort out loud. He did that disgusted eyebrow knot/head shake thing - more "Ew, it won't come to THAT, stay out of my pouch," than "Don't worry son, you won't go to jail, it won't come to that." 

GERRI: These are the ones who don't fuck off.

I got big "I am the one who knocks" energy from this.