Succession Season 3 Review: It's family vs business for the Roys and there's no win-win here
Succession Season 3 starring Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong ended with a finale that's for the ages. Read Pinkvilla's review below.
Succession Creator: Jesse Armstrong
Succession Cast: Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, Kieran Culkin, Sarah Snook
Succession Stars: 4/5
*SPOILERS ALERT* In the Season 3 finale of Succession, Nicholas Braun's Greg delivers a line that deems fit for every character on the show. He says, "What am I going to do with a soul anyway?" Tell me one Roy character who hasn't at one point over the past three seasons sold their soul in the lieu of achieving even the remotest win because, well we want daddy Logan Roy (Brian Cox) to be proud of us. If one considered Succession to be a show about the Roy kids going to the most abhorrent of lengths to stay in good books of their dad so as to replace him in the future, it seems a tiring idea to explore in three seasons but with a genius like Jesse Armstrong at its helm, the show carves its name amongst Television's best-written shows that only seems to be getting stronger with each season.
The third season of Succession wrapped up with its final episode airing on December 13, and well, the first thought that came across my mind as I watched the end credits roll was, Thank god they already announced Season 4 is in the making because leaving us with a cliffhanger ending like that is beyond cruel. The HBO show's third season's antipodal journey from its first episode to its finale is so finely crafted that it almost feels like a fresh fruit slowly decaying. The metaphor possibly feels closest to Kendall Roy's (Jeremy Strong) gradual downfall.
After ending with a smashing twist in the Season 2 finale when Kendall (Jeremy Strong) flipped his fate and went all out against his dad Logan Roy (Brian Cox), the third season kicked off with the "eldest son" (as he considers himself over Alan Ruck's Connor), getting all charged up to take over WayStar Royco. Of course, what Kendall once again managed to get wrong is underestimating his dad's ability to fight his battles ugly, whether it's against and outsider or his own son. Amid Kendall playing 'good tweet, bad tweet' and figuring out if the Pope follows him on Twitter, his sister Siobhan aka Shiv Roy (Sarah Snook) finds herself becoming the next Kendall to Logan. Although much to Shiv's dismay, it's only a matter of time before she's soon replaced by the youngest heir, Roman (Kieran Culkin) who gets the inside track when crucial deals happen. Connor (Alan Ruck) in the meantime, realises his political ambitions and with a 1% voter support, harbours Presidential dreams, because well, who can stop the Roys right?
While the Roy kids are busy trying to one-up each other, the patriarch, Logan undoubtedly finds himself at his most vulnerable this season. From facing DOJ enquiries to being termed obsolete in a tech-advancing world, Logan's health also betrays him at the most crucial times. Although, he does know how to get away from the most difficult situations by merely saying, "F**k off" and he continues to do so.
Succession's third season was scattered with some impeccable moments, like Kendall Roy's mighty collapse from throwing himself a glorious 40th birthday bash that leaves him the unhappiest in the end, Roman's 'dick pick' scandal also comes a close second to the season's milestone moment that becomes a gamechanger for his character's journey. As for Shiv, it's the insigths into her and Tom's (Matthew Macfadyen) marriage that brings us the most startling moments not to mention the kind of damage that her mother's absence has brought to her life. But to top it all, there's the brilliance of Tom (Macfadyen) and Greg's (Nicholas Braun), "I'll castrate and marry you" relationship that takes the cake in the end because as it turns out, Tom is not far from becoming the Nero (Roman Emperor) that he once spoke about.
If there's one thing that you will introspect throughout the third season of the show, it's probably that do you still root for anyone? If anything, this time even the non-silver spoon born, fly on the wall, Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun) gets to show his ugly side and it probably proves how the company does eventually rub off on you. Every character gets their own moment to embrace the darkness because well, only a deal with the devil can help them takeover the mighty one. Even as the second season left us sympathising with Kendall, when the power dynamic does change for a bit and you almost feel that he will get his moment to shine this time, it's his arrogance that keeps you from wanting to see him succeed because it's evident that in Kendall's case he is no less than an Achilles who was once warned that his glory walks hand-in-hand with his doom. In terms of painting a picture of the future though, the season finale does warn us that it's Tom and Greg who have just gotten their stock prices up and how.
Strictly speaking about the season 3 finale directed by Mark Mylod, it's a beautiful combination of calm and chaos that is captured skillfully by cinematographer Patrick Capone. If anything we have learned from Succession, it's that weddings are the most depressing times and that Logan's ex-wife's wedding is no less than a Red Wedding for the Roys. In a shining moment from the finale though, the three Roy siblings, Kendall, Shiv and Roman finally come together for a moment when they are more connected in their sufferings and sorrows than anything else. For the first time, they share a family moment and it's Mylod's way of capturing it that leaves it a lasting impact. It's an image that defines the third season's core element that when left to fend on their own, the Roy siblings will move past the bitterest of their memories and stick together. In my head, it's something that Logan secretly wants.
ALSO READ: Anne Hathaway sends love to 'friend' Jeremy Strong amid debate over the Succession star's acting method
What can one say about the performances in Succession that has not been said before. Even as the discussion surrounding Jeremy Strong's acting process rages on, if there's one thing that the finale will convince you is that whatever may be his method, it brings out the best in his performance and that journey of Kendall which Jeremy breathes all his life into, deserves all the accolades there are. Brian Cox's genius is not second to us but the actor still manages to ace it up with every season. Sarah Snook for me comes out as a shining star out of the latest season as does Kieran Culkin whose Roman Roy is one character we can't get enough of. Cameos of both Alexander Skarsgard and Adrien Brody add a delicious spin to tale and no better actors could bring to the table than what they do. Nicholas Braun and Matthew Macfadyen continue to serve their A game as they bring humour in the most morbid dialogues.
Basically, Succession's Season 3 is a winner on all counts. It gets deliciously entertaining with each episode and I won't completely deny Strong's views about the show being nothing short of Hamlet-esque material than strictly just being a dark comedy. If you have time to binge on anything, it should be Succession because it rarely happens that great writing meets with great performances and to top it all, 9 episodes of listening to Nicholas Britell's score, what more could you ask for?
A writer with 6 years of experience, addicted to coffee, films, and sarcasm. Currently exploring all things Hollywood...Read more