I’m almost always late. Hangouts, work, church, everything. In fact, I was also late to catching on to this show. But one thing I am always early for is an orchestral concert. I prefer to be there early so that I can catch the orchestra tuning their instruments. It is one of my favourite sounds and always leaves me with goosebumps. And then I eagerly wait in anticipation until the orchestra starts their first piece. And for some reason, while watching season 3 of Succession, I was reminded of this.
While being caught up in the intoxicating onscreen tension between Logan, Kendall and everyone in between, I suddenly thought, “Whoa… the first two seasons were just the orchestra warming up. This is it. This is Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and every instrumentalist is playing their heart out.”
Up until now, we’ve gotten to know each of the key players in this symphony. In season 1, we get ready to celebrate the birthday of family patriarch Logan, CEO of the global multimedia and entertainment conglomerate Waystar RoyCo. What should be a festive affair quickly turns sour as he announces that he will not be stepping down as CEO as anticipated.
It is when Logan is incapacitated after a stroke that we slowly get to know his children and see the lengths each will go to please him while also trying to get rid of him and take his place as CEO, instead of allowing his wife to do so. [Shrugs] Family. He’s a tough bast*rd though and bounces back quickly.
But now that Kendall (Logan’s second oldest son) has his sights set on taking over, he will not rest until his father steps down. He’s forced to back down though after his father needs to come to his aid when he is responsible for someone’s death.
In the second season, events from the first become a bigger plot point amid the family’s attempts to take over from Logan. It is discovered that some incriminating documents about sexual misconduct on the company’s cruise liners were not destroyed as instructed.
Shiv, the only daughter, is given a taste of power and so is Roman, the youngest son. Now, you can see how this is going to be a problem, right? Right. Anyways, a whistleblower comes forward about the cruiseliner incidents and Kendall is instructed to publicly take the blame for the incidents… but instead he does something so unexpected that it floors me along with the rest of the family. This episode starts as Beethoven’s Bagatelle No. 25 in A Minor and turns into O Fortuna. A masterpiece. I just sat on the couch, mouth agape, ready to applaud. If you haven’t seen it yet, I envy you because you get to see it for the first time. See how I didn’t ruin it for you by giving you too much detail? You don’t deserve me…
Now that glorious finale is what sets the tone for the third season. The final event from that last episode seems to invigorate Kendall, has incensed Logan, and has thrown everyone else into a tailspin. And now it’s war. It’s full, f*cking, beast. And you have a front row seat to this magnificent masterpiece.
Now even though you don’t have a dog in this fictitious fight, you will find yourself choosing sides. And then you’ll find yourself changing your mind. Constantly. And although I find every single character repugnant, I did find myself getting my hopes up when it looked like they – they being whoever I was supporting at the time – had the upper hand, and then left disappointed when their plans were thwarted.
And although this happens with everyone, it seems to happen with some more than others. For instance, with every episode I found myself optimistic that Kendall would be a worthy adversary to his father. But then I’m reminded that he’s really a spoilt child who just may have bitten off more than he can chew.
Shiv seems to take two steps back with every step she takes forward and with Roman it seems that his bark is far worse than his bite. Greg (my favourite onscreen tragedy) continues to switch sides and place himself in some really awkward situations. No one can be trusted and everyone is repeatedly mean to each other as they fight for power. So why am I so invested in the characters and in this show? Two reasons.
One. I find that I’ve appreciated every detail of this show. Like a symphony where every rest and every crescendo is deliberate, here every micro expression, every shift in camera focus, the delivery of lines by the cast, everything is considered. And the already exceptional cast has some great names added to roster this season. Although I knew that Alexander Skarsgård would be making an appearance, seeing Sanaa Lathan as a lawyer who everyone wants on their team was a pleasant surprise. And then boom! Adrien Brody appears on screen to add to the drama. Every actor here can hold their own and something tells me that we will be seeing more heavy hitting actors add to the family’s woes as seasons progress.
And then, two. Honestly, I think that to some degree, we all can relate to these characters. Maybe not to their ludicrous wealth and privilege, but maybe to the Roy children and their excessive need to seek the approval of a parent who constantly makes them feel like they fall short of his expectations.
Regardless of how hard they try or how well they do, he makes it clear that they aren’t good enough. Or maybe you relate to the Waystar RoyCo staff who, despite having ample experience, constantly have the rug pulled from under them thanks to nepotism. Even though they live grandiose lives, you can still relate to their struggles. Or maybe you don’t relate to them at all. You’re just a voyeur who enjoys watching those who live lavishly and have abused their power, squirm as they face potential incarceration. If so, this is a safe space. No judgies.
But regardless of how you feel, this show makes for great entertainment. It’s intense, it’s funny, it’s sharp and it’s satisfying. And after prescreening seven episodes of the upcoming season, like with every concert, I’m ready for the grand finale.