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Arts

'Succession' recap, Season 3 finale: Boo, souls

Logan (Brian Cox) survived another coup, but this time, everybody was in on it.
Graeme Hunter
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HBO

Guess Shiv shouldn't have told Tom she didn't love him, huh?

Before we get into this week's speed rankings, let's run down how things turned out in the eventful season finale of Succession.

What happened

Kendall and the pool: It turns out Kendall was drowning and not merely hitting rock bottom or testing his father's theory about how long it took for the kid in the car to die. Fortunately for him, Comfry happened upon him in time to get him to the hospital, where he spent the night and scared the heck out of everybody, but from which he escaped physically unharmed. He did, however, have a breakdown of sorts, during which he finally confessed to his siblings about his role in the death of the waiter at Shiv's wedding. His near-death experience and this shattering confession, combined with the shocking news that Logan was preparing to sell the company to GoJo, brought Kendall, Shiv and Roman together against their father at last.

The GoJo situation: The siblings decided to leverage their power and work together to stop the sale of the company by defying Logan as a group, which they've seemingly never done, and certainly never about anything important. Fortunately for them, as they confronted the most powerful human being in their lives, they hung together even as Logan berated and tried to intimidate them. But unfortunately for them, by the time they got there, he was way ahead of them, and had gotten their disappointing mother to rearrange the family shares so that the siblings could no longer stop the sale. (It seemed important last week when Caroline mentioned to Shiv that they had reopened the divorce over an apartment her new husband wanted. Now we know why that detail was in there.)

It seemed unlikely that Logan would ever agree to a merger of equals as proposed by Matsson (Alexander Skarsgard). And he didn't — he sold to him instead.
Graeme Hunter / HBO
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HBO

So as things stand now in the company, Logan is selling Waystar Royco to Matsson, who will be in charge, and Kendall, Shiv and Roman are on the outs — especially now that they attempted a coup and failed.

The cheeseball stands alone: But one man seems to be sitting pretty, and has maintained his precious position as a favored ally of Logan: Tom, who — it appears — tipped off Logan about the coming coup in time for Logan to maneuver with Caroline to stop it. And of course, he's bringing Greg with him as he ascends to whatever position he believes Logan will give him. Does Tom really think he's better off with Logan than with the siblings in charge? Does he just have such animosity toward his wife that he's doing this to spite her? Or does Tom believe that if Shiv is separated from Waystar Royco (or GoJoStar or whatever it will now be), this will make it more likely that she will want a baby?

Roman and Shiv (Kieran Culkin and Sarah Snook) were shaken by the near-miss Kendall had in the pool, and it brought them strangely together.
Graeme Hunter / HBO
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HBO

What was this season about?: This season did have a narrative after all: It was about Kendall starting off with grand hopes of leading a coup against his father, losing hope to the point where he nearly died, and only then finding the support that he had wanted so badly. This weird triumph of sorts is the season's story, even though Kendall lost to his father, for now, in the closing minutes.

You can see this entire season up to the finale, episode by episode, as the process of Kendall losing hope as he is emotionally separated from everyone in his life, one by one — sometimes quite fairly and sometimes not.

In the season premiere, he wanted to impress Rava with his big press conference, but instead, she wound up enraged by the carelessness of his girlfriend, Naomi. Then came the episode with the sibling summit, where Connor led the siblings in rejecting Kendall's plans. Episode Three: At the employee meeting, he humiliated Shiv and she spat in his notebook. Episode Four: Greg went back to Logan's side in exchange for a rum and Coke. Episode Five: Logan set up the fake meeting (after the shareholder meeting) to humiliate him and then told Kerry to block his number for good. Episode Six: Tom turned him down in the diner. Episode Seven: Roman delivered the devastating birthday card that caused him to spiral. Episode Eight: Even Kendall's mother refused to take his side.

Now, he has the strangest possible redemption: His confession to his siblings is an enormous weight off his shoulders that he never thought he would feel, and working in tandem with them revitalizes him to the point where at the end, even though he's down, he is the one who looks like he is not out. He is the one who seems the least afraid of Logan, because he's seen Logan do his worst and has little left to lose. Unlike Shiv and Roman, Kendall wasn't trying to hold on to any shreds of his relationship with his father. (He has also, as far as we know, not told his siblings yet that Logan covered up the death of the waiter and held it over his head for a couple of years.) It seemed at the end of last season as if Kendall was taking power; then he spent a whole season seeming to sink back into despair, and then, by telling the truth at the right moment, he got it back. For once, he's not drowning.

Speed rankings

100 MPH: Logan

Look, if Logan Roy wants to sell his company, he can sell his company; that's not evil. But boxing out his kids, taunting them, insulting them and acting like they've betrayed him by wanting to guard their own money in exactly the way he would guard his? That stinks. Put it together with everything else he's done this season and he's still hurtling toward moral ruin faster than anyone.

85 MPH: Tom

I think Tom would be proud to be hurtling toward hell at 85 miles an hour. You could argue that Shiv deserves a little payback from a guy she has sometimes treated terribly (going back at least as far as announcing she wanted an open marriage on their wedding night). But ultimately, he took confidential information she gave to him and used it against her in the way that would pain her the most, and two wrongs do not make a right. Moreover, you don't get to ruin your wife's life just so she might be more open to motherhood. Tom is a real Roy now; it just goes to show that if you lie down with a dog's family, you wake up with a flea's family. Or something.

80 MPH: Greg

It's a real surprise to see Greg so highly rated, I know. He's been mostly poking along toward hell all season. But while they originally seemed to be doing a fairly tame "Greg has two dates" story at Caroline's wedding, this episode uncovered the ugliest, most grasping, most unfeeling parts of this kid who can sometimes feel like a relatively harmless doofus. He treated both Comfry and the Contessa (or whatever she actually is) absolutely atrociously, like interchangeable trinkets to be chosen between based on their status and the potential benefit to him. Was it a little on the nose for him to respond to Tom's "deal with the devil" by saying, "What am I going to do with a soul anyways"? It was. Does it kind of seem like ... that's what's happening? It does.

Roman (Kieran Culkin) was enjoying his position as Daddy's Favorite, right up until he figured out that he was going to get roasted and toasted just like his siblings.
Graeme Hunter / HBO
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HBO

60 MPH: Roman

Roman has slowed his roll, dealing-with-the-devil-wise. In Season 1, when Kendall held the vote of no confidence, Roman caved. At the same moment here, he held his ground, even though he kept being the one who thought he could just ask, profess his love, maybe end things peacefully. He also managed some genuine kindness to Kendall, even though it came in the form of awful gallows humor. It was also noteworthy that Roman was genuinely wounded when Gerri made it clear that she was not going to intervene on his behalf, because it wasn't in her own interests. And as she told him quite a while ago, she does what advances her own interests. He may believe they have a special relationship, but she does not.

60 MPH: Kendall

It's hard not to, in some ways, "root" for Kendall in the sense that Logan is the Big Bad of this show, the one who seems invincible, and Kendall has spent an entire season seeing his efforts fizzle. Nevertheless, you cannot actually root for Kendall, because like all these people, he's terrible. Like his brother and sister, he's slowed down to a nice cruising speed. He's under the speed limit on the road to hell!

60 MPH: Shiv

Shiv has been trying to shimmy close to her dad all season and she's been rebuffed and humiliated in return. It's often appeared that she was Logan's favorite, buuuuuut in the end, she wasn't any better off than anyone else, and she finally realized it. She's also always been a little paranoid, in that she's always been the one fretting that they would lose the company, that she was going to get cheated or pushed out or deprived of her due. And when she heard her dad was actually trying to sell Waystar, all that paranoia seemed to come true at once. She was the one who brought her brothers together, who insisted they needed to act, who pushed and pushed. She made just one little mistake, though: She wasn't very nice to her husband. Oh, and she cheats at Monopoly.

50 MPH: Connor

Connor is also awful, but Connor gets a few miles per hour shaved off this week simply because he's still not heavily involved in the company and its shenanigans. It's also because I did feel slightly bad for him when Kendall called himself the "eldest son," when — as Connor pointed out — he is Logan's eldest son. On the other hand, Connor is trying to become president, and that puts him in a position to do at least as much damage as, say, Roman would do running a sports betting site for his dad. And congratulations to him for an engagement in which his future bride spoke the most romantic words a man can ever hope to hear: "How bad can it be?"

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