‘Succession’ recap, season 3, episode 1: action stations, let’s go

The Season 3 premiere of “Succession” opens with a photo of two helicopters flying through the sky, with a beautiful mountain landscape in the distance. It’s an immediate reminder of what this show is all about: ridiculously wealthy people, rushing from one fancy place to another, controlling endless damage while living the highest life imaginable.

For the remainder of this episode, the Roy family and their inner circle of associates spend time in private jets, lavish apartments, luxury hotels, limos, and upscale offices, as they strive to find allies in the upcoming fight between media conglomerate Waystar Royco CEO Logan Roy (Brian Cox) and rogue son Kendall (Jeremy Strong). Both factions know they have to project force to convince the press, the public and politicians. It doesn’t matter what they are wearing, where they are seen and who they are seen with. That’s why, when Hugo Baker (Fisher Stevens), Waystar’s veteran repairman, meets the Roys at a private airport and tells them he’s booked “a nice room” to wait for, he immediately lowers their expectations and admits it’s not as nice as it probably should be. .

Given that the intelligently titled “Secession” is the first new episode of “Succession” in nearly two years, it has a lot of work to do, allowing viewers to catch up on where we are at. the story – while also reminding us why it’s such a treat to spend an hour every week with some of the most selfish and mean-spirited characters in television history. Series creator and lead writer Jesse Armstrong, who works alongside most frequent “Estate” director Mark Mylod, isn’t wasting much time. This episode moves on, generating much of its tension and humor from the people who are on the outskirts of Logan and Kendall’s feud and scramble to keep up.

Kendall, for the most part, seems to have the upper hand at the moment. In the Season 2 finale, he dropped a bomb on Logan, revealing to the press that he had evidence – secured by his cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun) – that Waystar’s superiors had covered up sex crimes committed by a long-time employee of their Brightstar cruise line. Savoring his moment in the spotlight, Ken has dozens of plans he wants to implement immediately, to rebrand himself as the brave whistleblower ending corporate sexism.

With an increasingly confused Greg by her side, Kendall makes a flurry of phone calls and takes meeting after meeting, talking miles a minute while throwing out long sentences filled with almost incomprehensible business language. (One of Ken’s funniest character traits is how well he masters trivial jargon like “I need a clean jar” and, “Just provide me with metadata on anything that’s going to get moving.” the market on me, in terms of reputation. ”) He wants to write an“ alternative corporate manifesto ”in an op-ed for The New York Times. He wants to bring in “guys from BoJack” to make his Twitter feed a must. And he wants to hire Lisa Arthur (Sanaa Lathan), a famous feminist lawyer who makes old billionaires tremble.

But there are already signs Kendall is overconfident and over his head – besides his overdependence on Greg, who is supposed to keep up with his cousin’s media presence but so far can’t. That understand that Ken is outdoing the “tater tots” trend on Twitter. Kendall’s most questionable decision this week sees him hiding at the home of his ex-wife Rava (Natalie Gold), insisting he needs the emotional basis of seeing her and their children, but also ‘inviting his occasional girlfriend and his drug friend Naomi Pierce (Annabelle Dexter-Jones) to drop by.

As for Logan, he drags his son-in-law Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen) and Waystar veterans Frank Vernon (Peter Friedman) and Karl Muller (David Rasche) to a hotel in Sarajevo airport, where he prepares his own next moves while avoiding any possible extradition. He refuses to let himself be bled by this Brightstar scandal, which he sees as an opportunity for “chancellors” who have suffered no real prejudice to siphon off his billions. Logan sounds the alarm with the experts in Waystar’s pocket, warning them that they’ll end up looking stupid if they turn on him now. And he surprises everyone – and gives this episode its title – by saying he’s ready to step back and name someone else CEO.

The problem? He doesn’t have good candidates. Karl volunteers and gets ridiculed. Frank sounds like a soft “um” and Logan quickly says (correctly, given that Frank is in constant contact with Ken) that he is untrustworthy and as unimpressive as ” mashed potatoes”. Only Logan’s slyly ambitious daughter, Siobhan (Sarah Snook), his lawless prankster son Roman (Kieran Culkin) and loyal lawyer Gerri Kellman (J. Smith-Cameron) remain. Whoever gets the job will be the face of Waystar during what appears to be a bloody skirmish against Brightstar; and they will only be a figurehead while Logan retains the real power. (“These are nameplates,” he shrugs, as he asks his team to make their decision for him.)

Shiv is probably the better choice, but she is the loser after failing the one assignment her father gave her: to sign her old friend Lisa Arthur as Waystar’s lawyer before Kendall can. In one of the most emotional scenes of this episode, Shiv exposes his dilemma with Lisa, honestly telling her that she has no idea what anyone involved with Brightstar has actually done and that she needs help. ‘an ally before being crushed between the egos of two men. . Alas, Shiv arrived at Lisa’s office a few hours late. Ken is going too fast.

Roman, meanwhile, is one of the top favorites because he doesn’t mind hurting people or driving them crazy. (When asked what they should do about Kendall, Roman replies, “It’s not a good thing to say about your son, but maybe you cut him into a million pieces. and throw him in the Hudson? “) But when he finds out Logan is considering him for CEO, he makes a disastrous – and hilarious – phone call, where he first asserts himself and then steps back, mentioning Gerri and saying that ‘ he would understand if Logan thought, “Maybe a few years under the wing of an older hen could see me cracking the old egg. As soon as the call is over, Logan exclaims,” ​​Roman is out. “

So Gerri is: Gerri competent, loyal, commonplace. She has her own memorable phone call this week, calling the White House to remind the President’s people that an election is approaching and that they will need the support of Waystar ATN’s right-wing wired news network. Much like Kendall is a master of MBA bragging, Gerri is good at looking pleasant and conversational – “Do we want to put the old folks on the blast so they can chat for five?” She asks her DC contact happily. – while subtly delivering threats and searches.

Gerri understands – as does Logan – that much of what goes on here is a game. In fact, Logan is offended by Kendall’s turn to holiness, because he thinks what his son did was “a play ”, not a moment of fair clarity. It is telling that these two men tell their people to head to their “action posts” at the start of the episode. But the ultimate winner may be the commander who thrives in all-out battle. At the moment Ken looks manic. What about Logan? He hasn’t looked so alive in years.

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