It’s been a very long wait but finally, finally! Succession Sunday is upon us. As we march into Roy’s battle against Roy, let’s review where we left everyone, what they’ve been up to, and where I think they’re headed.
The cast has been doing press, but really, not much for a show of this caliber. This could be because it’s not necessary and HBO publicists don’t want to overexpose them (clever) and it could also be because they’re saving some press, like Jeremy Strong (Kendall Roy), for after the finale. The cast, minus Jeremy, what’s up? The Last Show with Stephen Colbert to chat. I attribute it to exhaustion and intensity. He’s reportedly very focused on work (he officially spoke to THR about Kieran with high praise) and is retiring from the cast to keep the vibes aloof (though he’s friends with Nick Braun / Cousin Greg, which works considering the current plot) .
Brian Cox was interviewed for Zoomer (by Shinan Govani) and is currently offline, Kieran Culkin covered The Hollywood Reporter (with story by Seth Abramovitch), and Matthew Macfadyen is in the Evening Standard with an interview with Kerry Potter. If you’re looking for spoilers, clues, or the slightest inclusion of what’s to come, there’s nothing here. This cast is tight-lipped and that’s not what these interviews are about. In fact, it seems like they don’t even know what’s going to happen (or they’re given limited scripts or they’re just that good at pretending).
Part of that could be the long wait time for the new season, the painfully slow filming process, and the operational scope of the Roys’ lives. They are not tied to a location or a pandemic (from the preview, it doesn’t look like it’s a story, so I’m happy). One thing I learned is that Sarah Snook is loved by the entire cast and crew and the personality most removed from her character.
For me, Kieran Culkin THR’s article really stands out as a profile that goes beyond his work as Roman due to Culkin’s broader history. We know this well from his top-notch brother and his father’s troubling demeanor; While that of course is Hollywood history, what really struck me was Kieran’s love and grief for Dakota, his sister who was hit by a car and died several years ago. Kieran says that she was the funniest of all the siblings and the one who has informed a lot of her work as Roman.
Of course, what we all want to know about Roman is if he’s still Gerri’s disgusting worm. Last season, Roman (something like that?) Made a marriage proposal and cannibalism, so you have to figure that out. But beyond their sexual intimacy is the commercial society they have established. When Logan gathered everyone on the yacht in search of a skull, it was Roman who saved Gerri from being euthanized even though, as lead attorney, it would make absolutely sense to be fired for her role in covering up what happened on the cruise ships. These two are bonded and the strongest of all the pairings on this show because Gerri has the cunning and the brains to see what everyone’s chess moves are and Roman has the familiar position to access power.
On less solid ground were Shiv and Tom, as Tom was in an open marriage, quite against his will. Shiv, in a desperate attempt to save his marriage, begged his father to forgive Tom and he did, but we know how Logan operates. Shiv showing emotion and putting a personal need above company will not make her love her father. He certainly saw it as a sign of weakness. Shiv can be incredibly lucid about his brothers and his relationship with their father: he has realized that Kendall wants to kill Logan or adores him, Roman is a goofy but likable, and Connor is the “first pancake,” the one who gets to. live her eccentric little life in the desert but from whom no one expects anything. But her judgment is clouded by being favored all her life and being the smartest sister in the room. In season two we saw how she thought she was playing her father, but he was playing her all the time.
With very little effort, Logan brought her in and used her to suffocate the sexual assault whistleblower. This is not to say that Shiv was unaware of how she was being used or allowed to happen to him; she was a willing participant. And when she told the whistleblower she was going to get the whole thing over with but she needed time, you almost believe her because she believes herself. Of all the Roys, it is Shiv who understands that there is a “real world” and that his family is doing irreparable and measurable damage to society. But he still can’t fight the attractiveness of his father who one day put the crown on his head.
Marcia, who I have missed, makes a brief appearance in one of the teasers and I would love to see her come back because we know she is formidable, but I want to see why. She’s really the only one proving that Logan can’t fuck with her and get away with it. Do you have voting shares? I suspect that she has seen how everything has exploded and instead of gloating, she returns to help Logan as he has lost his girlfriend Rhea and son to betrayal.
Then there’s the crowd’s favorite cousin, Greg, the lovable receipt jerk. He’s obviously played both sides throughout this saga and continues to do so because even though he’s out of Tom’s favor, his crisp grandpa will probably be very happy that he has some principles and sticks with Logan. (Or, out of some old-fashioned sense of loyalty like the one he had at the board meeting, Ewan Roy will get mad. Hard to tell with that old bird.)
As for Logan, he has said that he wanted a killer and that he pampered his children to the point of gentleness. Kendall has rocked again, but can she hold it? We know you burn out from anxiety, poor judgment, adrenaline, and an untreated addiction. It seems like season three begins right after the press conference when Kendall and cousin Greg grapple with the aftermath of their nuclear bomb.
This will be a long and bloody battle. Logan loves his children the way he knows, which is with destruction, doubt and dependency, alternating between mentor and torturer. Building them and tearing them down. Logan spent his adult life preparing his children for the worst in the world: him. Now that Kendall has done something to earn his respect, it’s the fight Logan has been craving. This is not just to test Kendall, but so Logan can prove himself.
We’ve seen Ken try to metaphorically bury his father before (only to retreat after literally killing a young man in a car accident). Still, even with this massive public betrayal, I suspect these two Roys cannot remain enemies forever. For one thing, his fortune is tied to his name. They rise together, they fall together. (In the trailer, Kendall was trying to make up for her damage with a crisis publicist played by Sanaa Latham.) Second, EVERYONE needs constant family approval because everyone outside their circle looks down on them. The kids want their dad’s approval and Logan wants to be seen as a good dad. He had to pick up his replacement and is dealing with his decline. (The only one who didn’t care about his approval was Marcia, which is what made her so unnerving.)
At the top, I wrote that I hope COVID doesn’t play a role because I generally don’t enjoy when it’s folded into stories (as in Billions). But it’s hard to ignore because rich people got richer during COVID and a news outlet like ATN (the fictional Fox News-like network that is the hub of Waystar Royco) made money from splits, conspiracy theories and basically working on against the common good. . How the Roys (and Succession) fit into this current moment – late capitalism, COVID, media conglomerates – and how Succession it is like Ted lasso is coming up later this week.