Succession: All the Bells Say
December 13, 2021 5:11 AM - Season 3, Episode 9 - Subscribe

Matsson’s vision for the GoJo-Waystar relationship leads Shiv and Roman to manage the fallout; Logan weighs his options.
posted by jeoc (68 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Like all the Succession season finales, the title is taken from Dream Song 29.
posted by maudlin at 5:13 AM on December 13, 2021 [6 favorites]

I thought that was superb. I need to digest and I will probably watch it again but, just, I am very satisfied.
posted by chill at 6:01 AM on December 13, 2021

“I’ve never seen Logan get fucked, not once.”

The people who actually run Waystar aren’t Logan’s kids, and as much as he may want a mutually supportive relationship with Shiv, Tom is smart enough to see that will never happen and to see where the real power at Waystar resides. Kendall derisively calls him a “country mouse” in a previous episode, but Tom got to where he is by being savvy and observant of opportunities for himself.

Logan is terrible here, taunting his kids about making their own piles of money when he has manipulated them to keep them close and dependent, mocking Shiv, trying to separate Roman from his siblings.

As an aside, I have never heard the term “rates” used in quite this way (“he rates you”) but it shows up multiple times in this episode. Wonder when that popped up…
posted by jeoc at 6:26 AM on December 13, 2021 [6 favorites]

I thought that episode was exceptional. Roman’s character development has been impressive, even from joking at the beginning of the episode that he’ll give Comfrey a c-note if she doesn’t save Kendall next time to comforting Kendall after his confession, then refusing to let Logan kick Kendall out in the final scene. Then when he asks Logan if his love makes a difference and getting on his knees to ask Gerri for help, only to be rebuffed? Damn. I wouldn’t mess with Gerri but that was cold from someone who had told him before “stick with me, kid.”

I probably shouldn’t be surprised but it seemed like neither of Kendall’s parents checked on him after he was hospitalized? Like Logan was told that he was okay so he read a story to Iverson and bounced, and that was way more than Caroline did (who was getting married but your son could have died??).

Some people seem into the idea of Kendall’s near drowning and head shaving being a symbolic rebirth. I don’t know that I’d go that far but this episode was a triumph for him, even though he didn’t beat Logan. For most of the season, it has been as if he has been desperately trying to tell his siblings something - not about the waiter but that their dad is stringing them along. Now the blinders are off. Does it matter in the context of the company? What happens next? I’m looking forward to finding out.
posted by kat518 at 6:42 AM on December 13, 2021 [5 favorites]

Anyone got an invite to Lackey Slack?
posted by Nelson at 7:50 AM on December 13, 2021 [19 favorites]

I loved all the scenes with the sibs, especially Kendall's breakdown and them finally agreeing to work together. Now I kind of feel for them again, even after all the shitty stuff they've done this season. I liked Shiv this episode more than I previously have, but I did give a little whoop! when it became clear that Tom is the one who told Logan. I mean, yeah, he's a piece of shit just like everyone else, but I believe he genuinely loved Shiv and she's been just awful to him since they got married. It will be interesting to see what heights he and Greg will attain for the low, low price of two barely-used souls.

Caroline... ugh. Last episode tearfully telling Shiv she gave up custody of her children to Logan to protect their interests in the company, implying it was a sacrifice she made because she loved them. And this week she sells them out in a hot second to get a flat for her shady new husband.

A couple of heartbreak moments: Kendall asking "can I stay with you guys?" after his breakdown. And Roman, the guy who doesn't do emotions, saying "love?" when Logan asked why he shouldn't sell the company out from under them.

Funniest moment (to me) was when Roman claimed to be the real victim in the dead waiter incident, because he'd had to wait 45 minutes for a gin and tonic. Such a terrible joke but it even made Kendall smile a little.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 7:59 AM on December 13, 2021 [11 favorites]

So, not dead! What a jarring start to the episode for someone (me) who definitely thought Kendall was dead last week. It feels like that half-assed intervention only happened so we wouldn't be too incredulous about the sibling team-up at the end of the episode... but Kendall confessing what really happened to the waiter at Shiv's wedding was just an incredible scene. (And it probably gave Roman the strength to stand up to his father for a bit, which was remarkable.)

I loved how absolutely childish Logan was in that last confrontation. It worked for me when Logan was having a tantrum about being not getting what he wanted, but it really worked for me when I realized Logan already blocked them and was playing with them for fun. Unlike Game of Thrones -- where Charles Dance made Tywin Lannister so dignified and controlled that I found myself with a (completely deranged) positive opinion of the character -- Logan is just awful. It was striking to watch Roman of all people try so hard to be mature about communicating his emotions and desires with Logan, only for his father to meet his openness with juvenile taunting.

I loved J Smith-Cameron's line read when Gerri declined to jump off the bridge for Roman's sake. For all that she manipulated him over the last two seasons, I think she did it as fairly as she could. That "does this serve my interests? no" was not just a kiss-off, it was a reminder that she tried to teach him the basics of self-control and from her perspective, he could not do it.

Twitter with the promotional photo that foretold the final episode, the callback to the relevant ancient Rome IP, and @ToLey88 with the ultimate summation of the show, "One thing I really like about Succession is how “winning” is just whatever Logan decides it is. That’s how it works for rich sickos in real life. Like for two seasons winning was maintaining control at all costs. Then suddenly it’s the opposite and he still gets to be like “haha fuck you I win!” while everyone else cries. That’s not bad plotting, but how the world works."
posted by grandiloquiet at 8:01 AM on December 13, 2021 [17 favorites]

"What am I going to do with a soul anyway? Souls are boring. Boo souls!" may as well be the thesis statement of the entire show. [and a perfect meme opportunity]
posted by General Malaise at 8:09 AM on December 13, 2021 [10 favorites]

When does Tom stab Greg in the back, I wonder?
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 8:13 AM on December 13, 2021 [1 favorite]

Now I kind of feel for them again

Yup, me too. That's been the theme this whole season and one I've paid particular attention to this time. Kendall's breakdown seemed real and authentic, a man truly having a reckoning with himself. It nicely mirrors Connor's childish tirade at the intervention brunch, but a much more serious one with real issues. And real tears; Strong really sold it.

The acting and writing for Roman and Shiv were both really strong too. Roman's attempt to keep up his jester facade even as he increasingly realizes it's inappropriate and hurting him. Shiv's righteous outrage and shrewd calculations and then her look of absolute betrayal when she realizes her mother and her husband have ratfucked her. Macfadyen did another excellent performance as Tom, too, even though he was a bit in the background so we could focus on the three kids.

Just lovely and intense all around. I hadn't realized until after I watched this was the finale. It flows so smoothly I could watch this every week, although I'm not sure my heart could handle it.
posted by Nelson at 8:13 AM on December 13, 2021

I enjoyed this episode a lot but I do not feel for a single one of the 30-40 year olds. You're all rich. Get therapy. None of you should be running the company anyways. Logan at least is upfront about being the giant asshole he is, as opposed to the kids who try to pretend they aren't.

Shiv deserved Tom doing that to her, but -- conveniently -- I also hate both Tom and Greg.
posted by jeather at 8:16 AM on December 13, 2021 [4 favorites]

Caroline... ugh. Last episode tearfully telling Shiv she gave up custody of her children to Logan to protect their interests in the company, implying it was a sacrifice she made because she loved them. And this week she sells them out in a hot second to get a flat for her shady new husband.

Haha yes, infuriating but also a little funny. There's something there about Caroline, Tom, Greg, even Connor as the undervalued family members of the sibling trio. Shiv, Kendall, and Roman all seem to think they're entitled to a degree of loyalty and attention from these people without realizing that most relationships involve a degree of reciprocation. Even Logan, who is vile and abusive, understands the need to cut the nastiness with the occasional love-bombing. I've made it very clear that I despise Caroline, who is mopey and cold and mean. But the kids keep expecting some kind of maternal loyalty from a woman with whom they have absolutely no relationship! Shiv treated Tom so atrociously that Tom's betrayal almost seems fair. And even Connor -- could he have put them over the top after Caroline negotiated away her kids' control? We'll never know because they didn't bother telling Connor what they were doing!
posted by grandiloquiet at 8:19 AM on December 13, 2021 [7 favorites]

It only lasted for a second but I thought it was sweet when Willa finally accepted Connor's proposal.

The people who actually run Waystar aren’t Logan’s kids

Yeah, the kids are in the van, hashing things out, making plans, making calls -- then they get to the villa and there's a bustling war room filled with laptops and lawyers.

You're all rich. Get therapy. None of you should be running the company anyways.

Their struggles are as pointless as cheating at a family game of monopoly.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 8:35 AM on December 13, 2021 [9 favorites]

BRB, opening the bigot spigot.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 8:52 AM on December 13, 2021 [1 favorite]

And even Connor -- could he have put them over the top after Caroline negotiated away her kids' control? We'll never know because they didn't bother telling Connor what they were doing!

Roman called him from the van (while Kendall called the lawyer and Shiv called Tom) and he was on the trio's side
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 9:09 AM on December 13, 2021 [3 favorites]

Selling the company is obviously the best decision. Logan is old, his children aren't capable of running the company, and their business model is a dinosaur headed for inevitable decline. And despite this fact, and despite Shiv and Roman and Kendall all being terrible, you do feel sorry for them. It's an amazing line this show manages to walk. I really felt for Roman, finding the courage to put aside his own shameful desire to be the golden child and immediately suffering the consequences.
posted by something something at 9:13 AM on December 13, 2021 [9 favorites]

I have never felt the Godfather reborn so much as when Logan touched Tom's shoulder at the end of the episode. What a perfect episode, and Jeremy Strong is an incredible actor. Just absolutely top notch. The way he's talking about wanting to die seems pretty accurate, including his quick rebound once he has connection and a problem to focus on.

It will be back, it's just temporarily abated. That's very much how depression works.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:36 AM on December 13, 2021 [4 favorites]

When does Tom stab Greg in the back, I wonder?

Tom doesn't. Unless there's a no-win situation where it's absolutely necessary for survival. But short of that, Tom doesn't.

Tom will still make sexually harassing jokes with Greg as the target, and will continually neg him. But I highly doubt there will be any sort of backstab or other serious betrayal unless Greg gets both elevated to being equal. And becomes a threat in some way. That's a highly doubtful outcome for Greg unless the show's final episode has all the key people on a single plane that crashes. And then Greg becomes both CEO and Grand Duke of Luxemborg.

Which, who knows, that might happen. Jokes tend to be foreshadowing in this show. Probably not a literal plane crash, but I could see how Greg is somehow the only survivor of some corporate apocalypse that leaves everyone else on the outside.

At any rate, that's one of the themes I found interesting this season. The idea of loyalty and how it's used. Logan showing loyalty and gratitude towards Tom. Even though he didn't know what the ultimate payoff would be. And the same, in a way, with Tom and Greg. Greg's a dubious ally at best, but there's no need to throw someone away who might be useful. And the lack of loyalty in too many contexts to mention.

On a couple of random notes, I liked how this season kept Kerry's status with Logan a mystery. Kerry and Tom share the achievement of being the only two people in the inner circle who Logan didn't kick this season. And I like the theories that Shiv is already pregnant. Would add a nice tragic twist to the betrayal.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 9:39 AM on December 13, 2021 [3 favorites]

The show resolved its main conundrum in this episode. How can it *ever* be one of these kids, to take over the company? They are spoiled damaged clueless kids. Perhaps not their fault given their terrible parents, but none the less, any successes they have is luck or from undeserved access and status. Maybe Logan at one point did consider Kendall, but there was never any *serious* prospect of it being any of them, with what's gone under the bridge. We've been watching them "playing toy soldiers" while the grown ups crack on, never more exemplified by them walking in a huge army of lawyers and analysts that won't give them the time of day, and the inner circle finalising a done deal, while they were fantasising in the car about somehow beating their dad, who "never gets fucked".
There could only be so much mileage for this show in all this jockeying among the kids, and now that's that, their throats have been slit, and it's never going to be any of them, and from the point of view of Wayco shareholders, thank fuck for that I guess.
posted by chill at 10:04 AM on December 13, 2021 [2 favorites]

I have never felt the Godfather reborn so much as when Logan touched Tom's shoulder at the end of the episode.

Absolutely, that was my feeling too. Matthew McFadyen has been superb this season, and I wonder if we'll see Logan reward Tom's loyalty with the promotion Tom and Greg will be expecting, or whether Logan's contempt for people he ultimately sees as weak will result in their eventual downfall.

What a brilliant episode. They even kept the "did he, didn't he, die" suspense up for the first five minutes when Logan was reading to his grandson, and it was the story about Mog dying, and then saying "Your dad was okay", which could have had several meanings.

A lot of this season has focussed on how awful the children are, almost lulling us into a false sense of security about how truly vile Logan is. Those last scenes were brutal, particularly when he mocked Shiv so mercilessly.

Did anyone else notice when Connor walked away from the table after his "I'm the oldest son!" tantrum, that his "Fuck off!" to his siblings sounded exactly like Logan?

Also, I love that, when so many women on TV are skinny, Sara Snook wears clothes that make no attempt to disguise her tummy or her butt. Shiv's clothes this season have been fabulous, particularly the green dress she wore at Kendall's party, and the beautiful pastel floral dress this episode.
posted by essexjan at 10:30 AM on December 13, 2021 [13 favorites]

> How can it *ever* be one of these kids, to take over the company?

It would be hard enough in a good market, but with the internet coming for media?

I know this is a show about a business family, not business, but I'm starting to think even Logan isn't very good at it & probably hasn't been for a while. While the tactical work is done by Frank, Karl, Gerri & the war room full of "real" people, when pressed on a strategic vision for how Waystar Royco could survive by Josh Aaronson (Adrien Brody), all Logan had were "I'm tough" "I'm smart" platitudes. Never anything concrete from this guy.

When told something can't happen on the schedule he wants, Kendall always has that "well, I'm in charge (let me show you just how much), so make it happen." Like power can warp reality? It can make people work ridiculous hours, but he employs this bullying even when they're up against issues that just hard work and strong will can't overcome.

I suppose that's why Roman had the COO job? He's so good at troubleshooting and empowering success...
posted by ASCII Costanza head at 10:43 AM on December 13, 2021 [1 favorite]

I thought it was a brilliant ending to the season. The siblings finally, finally band together and then it's too late. If they had worked together when they had that meeting at Rava's instead of getting thrown off by donuts and Kendall having a temper tantrum, they could have taken over. But then they'd still be like the dog that finally caught the car. NONE of them knows what to do, although maybe Roman would have groveled to Gerri and asked for help. Except no way would the other siblings let it, and thus they'd be without a competent person to actually run the company. As is, they're still filthy rich, but without the power to chase their lives are hollow, hollow, hollow. They've been brutally betrayed by both parents. Will it be enough that they have each other now? (For real, get yourselves some serious fancy therapy and go become philanthropists or something. Ugh.)

I'm haunted by the final image of a faux-concerned Tom looming over an angry, betrayed Shiv who's trying to hold it in. Excellent face acting from Sarah Snook. I also really do think Tom loves her, but he can only fully love her if she's been humbled before him. She's been terrible to him throughout, but he's monstrous there too--he could have walked away long ago and gone on to live a happy upper-middle-class life. But while he wants a wife who will make him babies and support his career, he also wants it to be Shiv, whom he was often shown to be in awe of, and the only way to get her to do that is to break her. (Though I agree that cozying up to Logan may only work for so long; and his marriage has to be so doomed--right? I still don't know what they'll do with it next.)

Props to the writers, directors, and actors for letting Tom and Greg give the shippers so much to work with, too. I assume all of them have seen that Tom/Greg romcom trailer cut, and I love how gleefully they're leaning into it.
posted by j.r at 11:13 AM on December 13, 2021 [5 favorites]

Logan's lack of recognition that he might have contributed to the weakening of America he identifies in his conversation with Mattson was interesting.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 1:16 PM on December 13, 2021 [5 favorites]

The rest of the episode made me forget completely about the brilliance of the first few minutes-- the suicide foreshadowing (present-shadowing? shadowing?) vibes were real in that children's book and Iverson clearly needed some comfort. Logan's nonchalance would have been completely in character. Ken will be broken, but Logan probably wouldn't. I love that the expected end-of-season twist got completely dangled and snatched away-- I would have been very annoyed if they hadn't replaced it with something much better.
posted by supercres at 1:19 PM on December 13, 2021 [1 favorite]

I know the show has hand waved some of the corporate stuff, but the Roy’s doesn’t have a majority ownership (hence the proxy battle etc), and the shareholders would have to approve the deal. I’d not be surprised if next season was about the siblings trying to put together a competing bid to buy out the company. And presumably failing in ways that are simultaneously tragic, cringeworthy, and hilarious.
posted by boogieboy at 1:20 PM on December 13, 2021 [8 favorites]

Sara Snook wears clothes that make no attempt to disguise her tummy or her butt.

Her wardrobe for the entire Italian trip has been exquisite, minus the anxiety I get having her filming in the Italian summer sun. In fact, the entire cast in this episode needed parasols.

I know all the kids are horrible people, but Logan is so much more evil, that I just want them to beat him. I want someone to beat him. And, when they band together, I like them so much more. Shiv and Roman finally hearing about Kendall's part in the waiter's death and then not even caring is both horrific and cathartic for Kendall. Roman, especially, I think brings Kendall back.

The tableau of Roman leaning down to comfort Kendall is mirrored later on when Roman is the one on his knees in Logan's rooms. It's so beautifully done, and Tom leaning over Shiv minutes later is another echo of it, with an entirely different meaning.

Greg attempting to be a player with the contessa and Comfrey is a glimpse at who he's becoming. Boo, souls, indeed.
posted by gladly at 6:35 PM on December 13, 2021 [7 favorites]

I love Willa but I never want to get a pity fiance. She was probably on screen for ten seconds after she said yes but we all know what she was feeling.

I hate to say it but when Logan says make your own pile, he kinda has a point. No ones interests would be served by any of them running the company (except their own egos) and if they any to do stuff they should struggle along with the $1billion head start they have
posted by shothotbot at 7:46 PM on December 13, 2021 [1 favorite]

I actually disagree about Shiv's clothes, and this is a great Twitter thread from Brittany Luse that gets into it. Shiv occasionally wears something great, and I loved her green dress from Kendall's birthday party this season. But a lot of her clothes seem a bit off to me: too tight, or the neckline is too high, or the colors wash her out. In this episode that dress she wore to the wedding pulled and bunched, and seemed to hobble her when she needed to be on the move. I think it adds to the character: this is a woman who could be a knockout, but she doesn't take the time to shop around for something that suits her, make sure she has the right size, and get things tailored*. She's grown up trying to play in a man's world, and has surely internalized that spending too much time on that stuff is frivolous. So she does enough to get by, and winds up looking like she's doing business-lady cosplay or looking off at the fancy occasions. It's a reflection of just how ill-at-ease she is.

*Not that women should be required to dress in flattering styles and ways that minimize their stomach or butt, make them look thin and pretty, etc. But this is an image-conscious circle, and I'm guessing Shiv still wants to be thought of as attractive and desirable, but also doesn't want to put in all the legwork that it takes to dress just right and has decided that it's not what powerful white feminist businesswomen would do.
posted by j.r at 10:26 PM on December 13, 2021 [15 favorites]

I have never heard the term “rates” used in quite this way.

It's pretty common usage in British english. My big Collins dictionary, published in 1991, already gives "to think highly of" as one of the verb's definitions (though it marks this as slang).

I haven't tried to trace the usage back any further than that, but I'd guess it's a good deal older. Employing "rate" in this way is only a small step from the word's official use as a synonym for "evaluate". The slang sense simply adds the unspoken understanding that the evaluation is positive.
posted by Paul Slade at 12:24 AM on December 14, 2021 [3 favorites]

Yes, "rates" is British. There's been a few more noticeably British lines in the last few episodes, such as the description of Peter Munion having had to "buy all his own furniture", which is ripped off from a comment Michael Jopling made about the ambitious new-money Tory Deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine.
posted by matthewr at 2:42 AM on December 14, 2021 [5 favorites]

I watched this a second time - still great - and a few small points leapt out at me.

Gerri's very much in play, despite barely having any lines of her own. At the start of the episode it's Logan yelling "Gerri" after receiving a phone call that kicks off the whole "time to renegotiate" plot. And it's Gerri who first alerts the kids that there's something serious going on, after Shiv's toast to the bride. They already sense something's awry but it's Gerry with the solid news about a financing team coming in. At this time Gerri is still out of the loop. Only later does Kerry whispers something (unheard) to Gerri who then rushes off, the moment Gerri gets flipped and joins Logan's side. And then finally she is there helping hammer the coffin closed on Roman when she refuses his last ditch plea for help. "How does this serve my interests?" Gerri is a survivor.

Speaking of side characters, during Kendall's breakdown Shiv takes a couple of business calls about the impending disaster. She's talking to Laird, a minor character I'd forgotten but had to look up. He's one of Logan's finance people and provides the specific information to Shiv about Gojo buying Waystar. It's mostly a plot device, he's not even on screen.

That scene with the Kendall's breakdown with Roman and Shiv is so good. And unusual for the show. It feels very raw and real, the little back alley by the garbage cans. With the dust blowing around, it's almost like an old Western Showdown scene. There's staff to remind us of Kendall echoing a similar staff member at Shiv's wedding. And so much dust, caking their clothes, nearly blowing Shiv's hat off. Most of the sets on this show are so pristine and composed and this one felt raw and harsh. It's pretty bleak.

I also have a hard time seeing Willa's acceptance of the proposal as anything good. "Fuck it" and "why not" is hardly the ringing endorsement of love and commitment you would hope to hear in this moment. And the whole scene where she tells Connor "yes", or at least "fuck it", she's fake smiling and nodding the whole time performing for him. Except for about 5 seconds at the end where she gets in the car. And the look on her face in those brief moments, well.. it doesn't look happy. Stunned panic, more like it to me. She even flips back to a big smile for Connor at the very very end and it just look so forced. Great acting.

Roman's dick pic disaster from the previous episode has stronger echoes than I first realized. Logan is obsessed with the idea that the people around him are somehow sexual deviants. Branding his ex-wife's new husband as "seat sniffer", half-seriously accusing Kendall of being "queer", and now Roman's dick pic and sexual interest in Gerri which Logan interprets as some sort of sign of deep perversion. He even tries to enlist Roman in some good ol boy heterosexuality asking him whether he thinks Kerry is beautiful. Roman dissembles and then Logan just says "what, are you afraid of pussy?" Shiv later tells Roman he'll never be the favorite because daddy thinks "there's something wrong with him". All of this on the backdrop of the cruise ships scandal, of course, the sexual assaults and true deviancy that is destroying the company.

The one scene that didn't reveal more on second watch was Tom's deciding to throw in with Logan. It sort of happens on screen, presumably the moment is when Shiv calls Tom from the car on the way to Logan. We never see a moment on Tom's face where he makes the choice, the most canny thing he does is ask "where do i fit in Shiv?". Her lack of an answer may have been the tipping point. But we never really see it on his face. The scene with Greg is similarly oblique, where he enlists Greg as his "attack dog like a Gregweiler" (lol) and then offers him a "deal with the devil". But there's no hint what the deal is, on the heels of the conversation with Shiv it seems likely he's talking about joining the coup against Logan. I assume they didn't want to make Tom's flip explicit to save the surprise for the final scene.
posted by Nelson at 8:20 AM on December 14, 2021 [14 favorites]

And then finally she is there helping hammer the coffin closed on Roman when she refuses his last ditch plea for help. "How does this serve my interests?" Gerri is a survivor.

I love that what Geri says to Roman while he’s begging her is the advice she gave him earlier in the season, that he had to start thinking about how his choices served him. I think when he was trying to get the forehead tattoo guy to go public. This show’s writers are so good about paying things off.
posted by gladly at 10:24 AM on December 14, 2021 [2 favorites]

I think rewatching all 3 seasons would probably yield enough evidence that Tom has in fact been zui quaning his way through the Roy hierarchy to become supreme leader, just like Jar Jar Binks is actually Snoke.
posted by chavenet at 11:40 AM on December 14, 2021

j.r: "Props to the writers, directors, and actors for letting Tom and Greg give the shippers so much to work with, too. I assume all of them have seen that Tom/Greg romcom trailer cut, and I love how gleefully they're leaning into it."

I mean, come on

"you could be getting away from the endless middle and to the bottom of the top"

posted by chavenet at 11:41 AM on December 14, 2021 [5 favorites]

I wonder if Tom tells Chiffon it was for their own good, he had the back up plan if her plan failed.
posted by oldnumberseven at 4:56 PM on December 14, 2021

I am seeing some discussion around on the internets that Tom did this in part to force/encourage Siobhan to have a baby. It doesn't quite gel for me - I think he would be fine if that was an outcome but but the goal is to realign the balance of power in that relationship and secure his own opportunities.
posted by jeoc at 6:08 PM on December 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

"Bottom of the Top" would be the signature song of Succession: The Musical, and the recurring theme.

For Connor, Roman, Shiv and Ken that's a humiliation.

For Tom, Greg, Geri etc. that's the goal. Interim CEO is worth it for a phone photo of a chyron on a TV screen.

"Getting away from the endless middle and to the bottom of the top" is the refrain in Greg and Tom's duet.
posted by kandinski at 10:32 PM on December 14, 2021 [3 favorites]

Brian Cox has been consistent, in interviews, about saying that he believes Logan truly loves his children, and says such fascinating things about his take on Logan that I find myself believing it, even watching Logan in those horrifying final moments. He's obviously abusive and cruel, but at the same time, there's always a logic to his actions, and to his emotions too; he turns on his children at the drop of a hat, but there's always a reason behind the turning, and there's always just this sense that he wants them to live up to his expectations of them, and they never, ever do.

The cruel irony, of course, is that his children are all fucked up precisely because he treats them like that. They can't become what he wants them to become, and it's all his fault. And I get the sense that, at some point, he may have to face that as his reckoning.

You can diagnose him as narcissistic or sociopathic, but I feel like it runs deeper than that. He's just... capitalism, manifested as a human being. He's King Lear but the marketplace rather than the monarchy. It's what he says in that monologue: he does what he does because it works, and if he betrays your loyalty, it's because loyalty no longer works. Honestly, while the last scene was disturbing, I was far more disturbed by his meeting with Lukas Matsson, because of just how quickly he turned on all his seeming convictions when presented with a compelling argument. He gave a complete stranger what he refused to give his children, all because the argument was sound, and the person making it was able to just lay it out without weirdness. He is as loyal to his company as, well, the marketplace is loyal to anything. And he, like capital itself, is as capable of being fluid and abrupt as a tidal wave.

Incidentally, someone pointed out that, in episode 2, when Kendall talks about his vision for the company to the sibs, he lays out basically the same strategy that Lukas does. On some level, he gets it!

But Tom is the real star here. I remember really liking Tom back in season 1, when the prevailing attitude towards him was "he's a total piece of shit," and the things that got cited were both his abuse of Greg and the many extremely-cynical things he says about capitalism, business, and wealth. But those cynical things were part of why I liked him so much. Tom, more than any character apart from maybe Logan, gets it: he understands exactly where he is and what he's doing. Other characters despise him because he's so transparent about wanting power, wanting mobility, to the point that it's sometimes cringey, but Tom talks about that stuff because he knows it's the only thing that matters. I'd argue that he understands that even better than his wife does. Shiv treats business like it's politics, like it's a series of political plays and jockeying, but to her it's ultimately a game, which is why her "moves" consistently fall flat. Tom treats business like it's, well, business. The difference between his scene last season with the Hitler-loving newsbro and Shiv's this season felt really telling, I think.

And Tom's tragic vulnerability is, of course, his love for his wife, which is the one thing he doesn't see as a business strategy—whereas to Shiv it's just another game. A game that I think she thinks Tom is playing too, to the point that she genuinely can't see that Tom wants family and love in a way that she, coming from the family she does, just can't imagine. Tom still calls his mom up for legal advice, for chrissake! But Tom's also been rising in the company all on his own—there's the bit in this episode where it's mentioned that he's getting incredible results at Waystar-Royco, obviously in horrible ways—and Shiv has been going out of her way to remove even the littlest bit of loyalty and love that might keep Tom from making the move he knew he ought to make.

I don't think of Succession as a particularly bleak or nihilist show. It's a show about a bleak aspect of society and a lot of its characters are nihilistic, but for me, the defining thing about the show is how it balances a whole lot of viciousness against those few moments of vulnerability and realization that are so damn shocking, you suddenly (and against your will) see these people as human again. Jesse Armstrong and Mark Mylod, in HBO's "behind the scenes" bit about this episode, talked about creating that final shot, and about the importance of Shiv maintaining her mask with her husband even after the shock of realizing what he'd done, until he's behind her and her eyes finally reveal that astonishing, conflicting emotion. Ultimately, "just business" is destined to be in conflict with "being human"; humanity is both tortured and warped by this vicious game and threatens to be the one thing that might cause it to collapse.

In retrospect, this whole season was a weave of the three children each coming to an intensely emotional point, each in their own ways; I'm sincerely curious whether the next season gives us something similar out of Logan. Seasons 1 and 2 each gave us brief moments of that shocking behind-the-scenes humanness to him—I'm thinking of his swim in the pool in season 1, with all the scars on his back, and of his monologue in the car in Dundee, as he talks about his childhood and briefly verges on something ominous and dark and sorrowful... and then one of his kids talks to him, and he pulls back, and the sharp tongue and the lust for money comes right back out. Did we get anything like that this season? I'm not sure. But now, more than anything, I want Logan sliced open the way the kids have been, in part because I think that Cox has a point. Logan is at once a monster and deeply human, and I want the show to find the latter with him in the same way it's been able to find it in everybody else.

Also, it's always weird to me that people don't bring up The Thick of It more when they talk about Succession—the show's portrayal of Malcolm Tucker feels incredibly pertinent to how Logan Roy is written, in terms of monsters who also feel like they have no choice but to be exactly what they are. (And, while we're there, it felt clear to me from the start that Greg is Succession's equivalent of Toby: the same gag of "Here's the young bright-faced man who offers us some hope of decency and naïveté in this hellish landscooooooohhhhh nope he's just as much a piece of shit as the rest of them." Which I'm not complaining about whatsoever—it remains a deeply inspired gag.)
posted by rorgy at 5:12 AM on December 15, 2021 [37 favorites]

You can diagnose him as narcissistic or sociopathic, but I feel like it runs deeper than that. He's just... capitalism, manifested as a human being. He's King Lear but the marketplace rather than the monarchy.

Good lord, rorgy, that's beautifully put.
posted by gladly at 7:05 AM on December 15, 2021 [3 favorites]

What exactly did Caroline do to fuck over the kids? Did she sell her stock to Logan?
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 7:47 AM on December 15, 2021

She renegotiated the divorce agreement, which in part gave the kids the right to a super-majority to overrule their dad. And all in exchange for a London apartment for her pieceofshit husband.
posted by Ber at 8:22 AM on December 15, 2021 [2 favorites]

I didn’t understand the divorce agreement- what kind of arrangement concerning children doesn’t transition upon age of majority?
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 9:43 AM on December 15, 2021 [1 favorite]

That part doesn't make sense based on what I know about divorce law. Typically, rights a parent negotiates on behalf of a minor are rights the parent would be in a position to "administer" only until the child reaches adulthood and assumes the rights directly. So if Caroline negotiated super-majority rights for the children when they were--let's say 15 (Ken), 13 (Shiv), and 11 (Roman)--once each kid (or all) reached adulthood, those rights would have transferred to them directly. So I don't understand how Caroline can assume this super-majority back to herself, and then to Logan.
posted by cocoagirl at 9:46 AM on December 15, 2021 [2 favorites]

I think it's complicated because the ownership change has to go through the family holding company rather than the kids as individuals. If Caroline negotiated that right in her divorce agreement, I assume she could trade it away for something else without involving the kids.
posted by gladly at 10:42 AM on December 15, 2021

I keep feeling like I'm missing something about Willa's backstory, maybe because the actor does such a good job of bringing her character to life that it's easy to forget how little screentime she's actually had. Was her original relationship with Connor just that he hired her while she was working as an escort? Or is the situation more ambiguous than that?
posted by dusty potato at 4:13 PM on December 15, 2021

Nobody has mentioned that Marsha is back for the first time in several episodes. I’ve lost track—it’s been since the last season right? Interesting that she is not fazed by Kerry, she just issues instructions and walks away.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 5:56 PM on December 15, 2021 [2 favorites]

Less than a minute of Marcia! She appeared for a bit longer at the beginning of the season (when Logan was in considerable strain and extracted significant concessions in their pre-nup to not divorce him). Marcia still seems pretty checked out of the relationship; I think it's clear she flew in, separately, and hasn't been spending much time around Logan. There are a lot of young female support staff at Waystar-Royco. Who knows if she even suspects Kerry?

Kerry could be the Chekhov's gun for next season or just another one of Succession's unfired shots. We had a couple of scenes of the family treating Kerry as their servant (Marcia ordering the omelette, Roman getting her to bring him a drink) that stood in sharp contrast to the last few episodes where it's clear Kerry has been enjoying a halo effect of Logan's power. I don't believe that Logan is trying to impregnate Kerry -- Connor clearly has some issues about being blindsided by the arrival of a new sibling -- but Kerry might well be attempting to get pregnant. Would that be the least grim outcome in this situation? It seems far more likely to me that Logan will get bored and Kerry will be quietly disposed of.
posted by grandiloquiet at 6:51 PM on December 15, 2021 [2 favorites]

It was such a great episode of television, and there's much to be said about it. It's not just satire for me anymore.

I think the bit about Kerry being or becoming pregnant by Logan is a red herring. Logan's kids are distracted by the wrong thing -- the threat isn't Kerry, it was Caroline. Caroline was never really looking out for her kids -- she said that she would never have dogs with Logan because he'd kick them just to see if they'd come back. If you knew that about someone, why would you have children with him? It's horrifying. And Shiv feels it. So I think Caroline put in the kids' control via the holding company so that she could maintain leverage/influence with Logan and Waystar, not because she genuinely was looking out for her kids.
posted by stowaway at 7:56 PM on December 15, 2021 [5 favorites]

Was her original relationship with Connor just that he hired her while she was working as an escort? Or is the situation more ambiguous than that?

She was working as as an escort in season 1, and Connor then asked that they have an exclusive relationship for which she'd receive an allowance instead. I'm not aware of that arrangement having changed (except perhaps in Connor's head).
posted by chill at 4:53 AM on December 16, 2021

A pal in another forum raised this issue. The Countessa is probably a scam artist and Greg's "boo soul" period is going to be painful.
posted by Ber at 8:48 AM on December 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

Matt Zoller Seitz has a pretty great interview with Mark Mylod, the co-executive producer and director of a bunch of episodes (including this one) in Vulture today, including a fun detail about the waiters in the alley scene.
posted by General Malaise at 12:53 PM on December 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

Did we get anything like [Logan in moments of vulnerability] this season?

I think there were two: Logan's exhaustion when Adrian Brody's character takes him on a forced march and, later, when a urinary tract infection makes him too loopy to participate meaningfully in the shareholder meeting. Both show the lion in winter and perhaps inform the decision the kids make in the van to paint him as too old and out of touch to be effective anymore.
posted by carmicha at 2:16 PM on December 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

Even though the scene in the alley with Kendall divulging the Big Secret to his sibs was probably "the" scene in the episode, the ensuing scene in the car on the way to wherever the hell WayStar was holed up was incredible. Two things: Kendall coming back to life from the lowest of lows, and Roman's inner battle about which side to take. This show is a 10/10 for acting and directing, just incredible.

The Tom/Greg scene too...just delicious
posted by mcstayinskool at 4:59 PM on December 16, 2021 [6 favorites]

The Tom/Greg scene reminded me of the Tom/Greg scene at the Sad Sack Wasp Trap ball in S1E4, where Tom quietly screams at Greg for telling Gerri that he was thinking about a press conference to get ahead of the cruise line crimes. Greg says he has no idea what Tom's talking about, and convincingly promises and swears to God that he wasn't the snitch. Tom then turns and sees Shiv from across the room - the only other person he told about his plans. I think that's the first moment Tom starts seeing Shiv as willing to betray him to her family, and he's clearly pondering that during their car ride home together.

(That moment is so nicely mirrored in the finale when Shiv sees Logan pat Tom on the shoulder from across the room and has her own WTF moment about her spouse.)

Then, of course, back in season one, we cut to Gerri striding up to Greg at the Sad Sack Wasp Trap:

"Good kid. Smart move. Keep talking."

"I aim to please, ma'am."

Greg started learning early on, mostly because of Tom, the kind of games he has to play to survive with this crew. If there's anyone he knows how to play at this point, it's Tom. I don't buy that he's on board with Tom at all.

On another note, early Gerri was tough and conniving, and it's a shame she was sidelined so much this season. The scene in the above episode where she confronts Tom about his plans as Greg quickly slinks away is pure vicious scorn. I want more of that Gerri. It was so disappointing when they hooked her up with Roman last season.

To me, this season was noticeably less interesting than the others and I considered stopping more than once. That finale was marvelous, but where was all that incredible writing and plot movement during most of the dry, uninteresting slow drag of the nine episodes before? That UTI thing at *the* critical moment during the shareholders meeting was such a klutzy, ham-handed rehash, worthy of the worst mainstream schlock drama. (And the "Plus Special Hollywood Guest Billionaires!" stuff is mostly just distracting.)

Anyway, maybe they'll give us more to chew on next season. That finale really was incredible.
posted by mediareport at 7:33 PM on December 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

This is a great show, and that finale was incredible. I am clearing overthinking it, but the final plot twist didn't hold up for me. Maybe it's because of my complete lack of business knowledge, but are we really to believe that Logan (or his army of lawyers) didn't know about the holding company clause that restricts him from selling the company without the children's agreement until Tom told him of their plan? Or if he did know, that he could legally sell as long as he did it behind their backs?
posted by wigner3j at 7:51 PM on December 16, 2021 [3 favorites]

I agree, mediareport. I don't know if any one episode could be called out as criminally dull in isolation, but taken as a whole this season had a sort of sitcom-ish quality for me, where every interesting plot possibility basically resolved to "jk" and the writers sort of just shuffled around a greatest-hits of character dynamics. The season wasn't totally unenjoyable but I found it pretty stagnant.
posted by dusty potato at 9:01 PM on December 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

I don't know if any one episode could be called out as criminally dull in isolation

That birthday party episode should be prosecuted for something, at least.
posted by mediareport at 4:47 AM on December 17, 2021

taken as a whole this season had a sort of sitcom-ish quality for me

Totally agree with this. Succession is much like any other show that had a really good premise for its first season and then fell into the "problem" of getting extended for multiple seasons. Faced with more plot needed, they are going with endless variations of Person A trying to influence Person B to F over Person C.

Luckily, the acting and production quality is so top notch it's still worth it. Completely agree that the show can digress into greatest-hits of character dynamics, but I'm still on board to watch that.

We're 3 seasons in, Logan is still in charge, Roman is still creepy, Connor still the marginalized quasi-simpleton brother, and Shiv is still fighting for legitimacy. Kendall is the only Roy that's had significant variance in his standing, but he's largely been a mess throughout.

I am very curious if any actual Succession will ever happen.
posted by mcstayinskool at 6:12 AM on December 17, 2021

Goodness I couldn't disagree more with the last few comments. I find each new episode to be a new level of interesting drama. The writing and directing are some of the best I've ever seen on TV. I do agree the show suffers a bit from being static; nothing much has changed. But it keeps getting more intricate and nuanced as we learn more about the characters and build up history with them. I want a show like this to keep going right until they run out of ideas or some of the principles get tired of doing it. Then quit on a high note. Season 3 showed no sign at all of running out of steam for me.
posted by Nelson at 7:51 AM on December 17, 2021 [13 favorites]

I’ve never thought Shiv dressed well. Occasionally she shines (in evening wear) but day to day, no. Think of Carrie Moss’s character in Jessica Jones or even Julianna Margulies and Christine Baranski on The Good Wife/Fight. Sometimes you just pause and think, that’s a gorgeous jacket. Shiv’s wardrobe is undoubtedly expensive but so basic which I don’t understand. She’s very insecure about her position in the family and you’d think she would “armor up” with a killer wardrobe.

This season she’s dressed even worse and weirdly everything is too tight. I’m not talking about the actress’s figure because the wardrobe people could easily deal with that. These ill-fitting clothes are deliberate (and I really hope it’s not some future plot point about pregnancy)

From W magazine:
“Through her clothing, she is not-so-silently signaling her sexuality and frustration with her relationship to Tom,” Matland told W over e-mail. Shiv is constantly trying to feign confidence, while her insecurities continue to seep out, and her new style is simply an extension of that practice. “Her usual meticulous and understated fashion sense gives way to a more overt statement of unease through the use of deeper color tones and more revealing cuts.”

I can’t argue with the actual costume designer but to me, the unease signals more about her relationship with her father and the business, not Tom. The tropical print sundress in the last episode, so different from what the other women were wearing, to me, says that she can’t read a situation properly. Result: the finale.

Roman, a very slim character, also wears weirdly tight shirts with short sleeves and no undershirt. The buttons are always straining, it’s distracting. In Roman’s case, it’s because he’s still the little boy looking for Mom and Dad’s love. They all are, except Conner, but in Roman’s case, he’s stuck emotionally at 10 years old.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 7:52 AM on December 17, 2021 [12 favorites]

"The tropical print sundress in the last episode, so different from what the other women were wearing, to me, says that she can’t read a situation properly. Result: the finale."
Yes, perfectly put! I've had that experience of showing up and feeling like I didn't get the memo for how my friends and I are all dressing to go out, or sometimes I know my wardrobe doesn't even have anything right for, e.g., going to a club, bachelorette party, whatever. It's a stark contrast to something like Crazy Rich Asians, where clothes are plot points and the protagonist is fully aware of being sized up all the time. Someone of Shiv's means could have well-fitted outfits suited to every occasion (she didn't even change from daytime to the nighttime bachelorette party!) but she was raised by Logan in a man's world. Also he's new money and Caroline is an aristocrat, which probably led to really interesting dynamics while the kids were growing up. No doubt Shiv also scoffed at learning how to dress just so, because it's important to her mother.
posted by j.r at 10:38 AM on December 17, 2021 [2 favorites]

Roman, a very slim character, also wears weirdly tight shirts with short sleeves and no undershirt. The buttons are always straining, it’s distracting. In Roman’s case, it’s because he’s still the little boy looking for Mom and Dad’s love.

Actually this is clearly explained in the show: it's because he looks like a matador and everyone wants to fuck him.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 10:41 AM on December 17, 2021 [5 favorites]

Re: Shiv's hair and wardrobe, I agree that it's weirdly off. She wears a lot of neutrals, and the show is a little obvious about it: lots of cream in S1, gray in S2, and black pinstripes in S3. (I thought she looked great in S2, but maybe that's just because Sarah Snook can wear the hell out of gray.) S1 she looked interesting -- the casual hair and expensive-but-sloppy knits were a real contrast to what you normally see on women in the show and on TV overall -- but not good. S3 has been bad in an entirely new way. The suits aren't quite right -- not dour enough to look like she's aiming to be very serious, but also not quite flattering enough to suggest that her style is purposeful.

Her wedding outfits (the blue cleavage-y dress the day before and the white dress to the wedding ceremony) really stood out to me as a daughter who's really trying to stick it to her mom, but I was raised in the South and I never know if this stuff reads as quite so eyebrow-raising to other people.
posted by grandiloquiet at 11:21 AM on December 17, 2021 [4 favorites]

I'm sincerely curious about how many people called this season dull—not in an argumentative or combative way, just that only the first episode felt remotely like a stage-setter to me, and after that it was all banger after banger. It's fascinating to me that people come away from media with such different takes!

Again, the show I think about more than any with Succession is The Thick of It—way more so than Veep, which imo took a conspicuous quality taildive once the main writing staff left en masse after season four, but which was also about a far more elitist, less egalitarian government position. A uselessly elitist position, but a relatively impervious one nonetheless. In The Thick of It, meanwhile—which, if you haven't seen it, focuses on a relatively unimportant ministry in the UK government—there's always this double-edged game going on where the characters simultaneously have no power and can be fired at a moment's notice if they fuck literally anything up. Every episode is a frenetic scramble, not to jockey ahead, but to keep things exactly where they are. And the show has a couple of instances where a minister is abruptly sacked without warning, so you know the threat is real.

I think that Succession works a similar way. There's simultaneously a real slowness to big changes happening and a continual bloody and frenetic battle going on. It's a lobster bucket: everyone is so vicious and violent towards one another that there's an ongoing risk of things exploding, and the explosions don't come largely because we're dealing with people who are already more-or-less in the positions they can best defend. The few exceptions are Kendall, who bounces around but is still trapped between his powerlessness and his dad's unwillingness to let go of him, Tom, who's been gradually rising, and Greg, who started out so lowly that the only real trajectory for him is up. Shiv and Roman have both shifted towards trying to be bigger deals in the company, both out of a misguided belief in what Logan saw in them, but the only real transitions were happening in their heads—go back to the pilot, and Logan's attitudes towards them are fundamentally what they've always been.

Meanwhile, you have the suits in the room, who by-and-large know how this works. Even Frank, who serves as Logan's pincushion more than anybody else. Kerry may be moving up due to Logan's favor, but Rhea thought that too, and look how that played out. (Marcia, meanwhile, completely understands the game and plays it entirely on her terms, which is a relative anomaly.)

Ultimately, the show revolves around Logan, in the same way that The Thick of It revolved around Malcolm Tucker. And if you haven't seen the show, Tucker's entire character is that he's slightly more well-informed than anybody else, which gives him just the edge he needs to verbally abuse people into falling in line. He's not safer than anybody else, he's just better at the game. And even then, the moment he slips up—spoiler!—he's immediately done away with, and everybody acts like it never could have happened any other way. You're the king right up until the moment that you're nothing.

Logan, I think, works the same way. And the show's made it evident that there have been moments where he was, not just fallible, but close to being well and truly fucked. He'd have been voted out of his own company in the first season were it not for an airspace fluke that kept Kendall from getting in that helicopter; he'd have been bear-hugged out of existence if Kendall hadn't gotten in that crash. The UTI came close to fucking him, as did the FBI. He's not bulletproof, he's just so fixated on finding "the winning move" (and so convinced that nothing else, not loyalty or promises or love, matters) that, time and again, he makes best of whatever situation he's in. Even when, like Pierce, it winds up exploding in his face.

My perhaps-outlier opinion is that, in the first episode of the show, Logan is close to announcing Ken as his successor, and backs out after Ken makes about four unforced errors in a row, over the course of about an hour. I think that, in season 2, if Shiv had committed to the plan he laid out for her, she'd have had a not-unreasonable chance of taking over. And I think that Logan would have at least taken Roman with him, had it not been for the dick pic and Roman's joining forces with his siblings. Sort of like how I think that, had things gone slightly differently in episode 2 of this season, the siblings would have joined forces earlier, and Logan would have been well and truly fucked.

The stasis is part of the tension. And I think the genius of the show is that it's about a corporation, and a set of people, who start off in an extremely well-shaken-out set of circumstances, so much so that even Logan's near-death experience (and Kendall's selling a chunk of the company to Stewy, from which pretty much everything else has stemmed) only rocked the boat as much as we see. Ironically, I think, a lot of the stasis has to do with Logan's fondness for his kids, rather than with his hate for them: if he didn't love them, he'd have thrown them out eons ago, and been much better off for it. Succession's a story about the kids, and all the potential for dramatic change comes from them—and the reason it winds up not happening anyway is both that they're too stunted to pull it off, and Logan's too fond of them to finally give them the boot.

Well, until now. And I'm curious what suddenly winds up in flux and what remains unsurprisingly resistant.

One way or another, though, I think that if and when Logan falls, it'll be in the same way that Malcolm Tucker did. Logan has a monologue in the pilot that I think is hugely underrated where he goes:
"The world is changing." Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, everything changes. The studio was going to tank when I bought it, everyone was going to stay home with video tapes. But guess what? No! They want to go out. No one was going to watch network, except you give it zing and they do. You make your own reality. And once you've done it, apparently, everybody's of the opinion it was all so fucking obvious.
He, more than anybody, understands how constantly everything's in flux—and how quickly people look back and call it inevitable, when in the moment it was anything but. Which is why he's so quick to sell the company, when it feels like what needs to be done. And if he falls further, it'll be abrupt and violent and retroactively destroy whatever history people'd had written of him up until that moment. Just like, if he were humiliated and beaten and exiled till he does of old age, we'll look back and say: well, Succession always was a story about this defeated old man. It's never obvious until it is.

(My sincere apologies for the walls of text. Jesse Armstrong and his little pod of British satirists is kind of a long-running obsession with me, going back to Armando Iannucci and The Day Today, and it remains absolutely surreal to me that someone in that group was given an HBO prestige show, and that it's become the unexpected in-fasion show to watch. Gonna go back to The Thick of It now and marvel at how their budget was so cheap that their cinematographer could apparently only afford four slightly-different shades of gray.)
posted by rorgy at 7:15 AM on December 18, 2021 [19 favorites]

I'm sincerely curious about how many people called this season dull—not in an argumentative or combative way, just that only the first episode felt remotely like a stage-setter to me, and after that it was all banger after banger.

I thought the series has been great, especially taken as a sitcom/soap opera format. The last two episode in particular were outstanding.

Jesse Armstrong and his little pod of British satirists is kind of a long-running obsession with me, going back to Armando Iannucci and The Day Today, and it remains absolutely surreal to me that someone in that group was given an HBO prestige show, and that it's become the unexpected in-fasion show to watch.

Totally agree.

The ending of episode 8 was the first time that I really got the feeling that this is Peep Show with a huge budget. Looking back on characters from those earlier shows and transplanting them to this world, building on some of your ideas...
Kendal - Mark from Peep Show
Roman - Jez from Peep Show
Logan - what if Malcom Tucker was Rupert Murdoch
Greg - Ollie from The Thick Of It
Gerri - Sophie from Peep Show
posted by toamouse at 9:29 PM on December 22, 2021 [3 favorites]

rorgy, do not apologize about your walls of text. Super interesting commentary, all of it. That quote from Logan you noted, including
"But guess what? No! They want to go out. No one was going to watch network, except you give it zing and they do. You make your own reality"
gave me a pang of retroactive panic thinking about how Trumpy Logan is. (Well, retroactive panic as well as forward-looking dread.)

I agree with some of the above comments that Logan's success is not due as much as he thinks it is to his own hard work, grit, and personal savvy. But if you are brazen and abusive as he is (like Trump), you can just sometimes make it work. At least for a time.

Catching up from way back, here (and this is pure trivia), but I too noticed "rate/rates" being used in the British way three times during the finale--twice by Logan and once by Connor. I've always been interested in the britishisms that slip through on the show. I'm not sure whether it's an actual failure to edit for Americanizing the dialogue, or if they are aware and just don't care about it, since the Roy family has roots in the UK anyway and continuing associations there.

Another example of this (or at least I'm guessing it is one) that disappeared completely during S3 is that for the first two seasons they constantly used "across [x]" to mean a person is aware of and/or actively participating in [x]. Like Kendall was supposed to have been "across cruises"-- or, "Gerri, stay across this" or whatever. Season 3 it was all "inside," which is the common American usage. It was season long, but, e.g., Shiv says a couple times just in the last episode, "Rome, you're supposed to be inside this" (or "on the inside"). I thought it was curious that that changed.
posted by torticat at 7:05 PM on December 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

PretentiousWriter has made a video talking just about this episode, which I would recommend. In particular he mentions that this episode has not one but two scenes that are strong contenders for being seen as iconic in the world of TV shows - the one with the 3 younger children and involving Kendal's confession - and then the final scene with Logan. A lot of analysis about the very long plot lead up to these scenes, the camera work and the acting: all extraordinary.

I like, for all the elite lifestyle shown in Succession - the core of the family arguments over legacy and inheritance are actually pretty common issues: parents meet new partners, they have new babies, they take on new sets of loyalties - and the original heirs apparent get sidelined. Not just one for the Roys here.
posted by rongorongo at 12:51 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]

A supercut of every time Logan Roy says "Fuck Off" over all 3 seasons
posted by chavenet at 11:32 AM on January 27 [1 favorite]

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