Succession season finale recap: A deal with the devil
After teasing Kendall's (Jeremy Strong) possible death in last week's cliffhanger, the finale to season 3 quickly makes it clear that Kendall survived thanks to Comfry's (Dasha Nekrasova) quick intervention. Slugging back an orange Gatorade as he arrives home from the hospital, he finds his siblings not waiting in worried anticipation over his seeming suicide attempt but playing Monopoly like the jerks they truly are. He's survived but he seems like a shell of himself murmuring about possible plans but with a truly hopeless air about him.
At first, Kendall's survival feels like a bit of a letdown, the show losing its own nerve by not killing such an important character. His potential death by drowning seemed like an appropriately poetic ending for the most troubled Roy son and his almost catatonic behavior for the first part of the episode raised a lot of questions about what his role in the possible story would be moving forward. But it leads to a truly stunning scene between Kendall, Shiv (Sarah Snook), and Roman (Kieran Culkin) where he breaks down at their mother's nuptials and finally confesses that he accidentally killed the waiter at Shiv's own wedding. His great unburdening comes at the most inopportune moment, but eventually Shiv and Roman realize the weight of what their brother has been carrying and they put aside their own concerns for a moment to offer him a chance at forgiveness. Of course, they do it in the snarkiest way possible but it's hard not to feel moved witnessing them laying their hands on him in comfort as he weeps. Jeremy Strong might be a complete weirdo in real life (don't come after me, Jessica Chastain!), but that confession scene was truly Emmy-worthy.
Once he admits what he's been hiding all these years, it almost acts as a rebirth for him and that's fortunate for Shiv and Roman because their father is about to screw them all over and they need Kendall to be firing on all cylinders in order to stop him. Shiv tells him that they suspect that Logan (Brian Cox) might be selling Waystar off to Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgard), which would cut them all out of power. Kendall reminds them that along with their mother, Caroline, they have a super-majority and could block the sale of the company. Roman doesn't want to go in so aggressive against their father, but Shiv and Kendall convince him that Logan is going to leave them all high and dry — him especially because of the Gerri incident. Like some kind of dysfunctional Musketeers, they agree to go in all for one, one for all. This means that they will split up Waystar to rule between them and if they must, they will use Logan's medical problems during the shareholder's meeting to finally show him the door. As they speed to confront their father, who hasn't even shown up to his ex-wife's wedding for mysterious reasons, they all start making calls to get their ducks in a row. Shiv contacts Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) to give him a rundown of the plan.
While Shiv has been stringing Tom along all season, expecting him to remain loyal no matter how awful she is to him, he's finally had enough. Yeah, that's right. Tom Wambsgans breaks bad. After he gets off the phone with Shiv, Greg (Nicholas Braun) approaches him talking about how he might be romancing his way into a Duchy with a titled guest, and Tom in all seriousness tells him that no one has ever looked after Greg in " this f—king family" but he will. Invoking the story of Sporus again, Tom asks, "Do you want to make a deal with the devil?" And Greg, hearing that he might rule over 20 Gregs of his own if he does, responds, "What am I going to do with a soul anyway?"
Shiv, Roman, and Kendall arrive at Logan's villa where it is quite obvious that some major deal is about to go down, a deal that none of them have been informed about. Logan hears that they arrived and calls them in for a meeting and the siblings see that Gerri (J. Smith Cameron), Karl (David Rasche), and Frank (Peter Friedman) are already knee-deep in discussions. Shiv asks their father what is going on but Logan tries to get Roman to throw Kendall out before he will say anything. It's hard for Roman to resist his father's command but he summons what little courage he has and stands up for his brother. Disgusted by Kendall's presence but resigned to it, Logan admits that he is indeed going to sell the company to Matsson. Shiv's furious, knowing that with Matsson in charge, none of them will ever be. Logan tries to tell her that Matsson promised to evaluate them all (well, not Kendall) for positions in the new structure, but Shiv finds that to be cold comfort. Once Matsson has his own board, the younger Roys will be out in the cold though Logan will be sitting on several billions of dollars by selling his children out.
Their father tries to convince them to go along with the plan but the three siblings pull out what they think is their trump card. With their mother's vote, they have a super-majority and can block the sale. It doesn't seem like any of them bothered to call their mother though because when Logan calls her on the phone, it's obvious he got to her first. Showing what a truly terrible set of parents they have, Caroline admits somewhat apologetically that she revised her terms of the divorce so her children no longer have the power to stop their father from selling Waystar.
Roman looks at his father and utters a simple "Please," but Logan knows he has them beat and that is always the most important thing. He must always win. When Roman says he shouldn't do it out of love for them, Logan scoffs and tells him "You should have trusted me." In desperation, Roman appeals to Gerri, and her refusal to help because it doesn't advance her interest is like a dagger in his heart.
But the biggest dagger is waiting for Shiv. She wants to know who told Logan of their plan but it becomes very obvious when Tom arrives to a pat on the back from Logan. He puts on his best oblivious Tom face but it's actually chilling to watch as he nestles up to Shiv and gives her what amounts to a Judas kiss. Shiv never saw his betrayal coming even though the signs were there all along. She finally realizes that she wasn't the stone-cold killer in the relationship, he was.
- Connor wasn't present for the sibling showdown with Logan but (Alan Ruck) still had a few phenomenal scenes in the episode. His "I AM THE ELDEST SON!" rant was brilliant, as was his complaint that his siblings are chumps because all they give him is chump change and his reaction to Willa (Justine Lupe) finally accepting his proposal.
- Speaking of Willa, it looks like she immediately regretted that "F--- it!"
- Jeremy Strong got the meatiest bit in the confession scene, but Kieran Culkin did fantastic, subtle work as Roman tried to figure out how to support his brother in the most Roman way possible. And the look on his face as Gerri plunged the proverbial dagger in was heartbreaking.
- I assume that Lukas Matsson buying Waystar means that Alexander Skarsgard becomes a regular next season. More Skarsgard is always a good thing, but it will be fascinating to watch how Matsson treats Logan once the deal is done and if Logan comes to regret the sale.
- Please, please make Greg's royal wedding dreams with the Contessa come true, if only so he can become "Europe's weirdest king." Also, it will mean we keep getting great lines like "If Roman marries her, he'll invade France."
- The offscreen sexual relationship between Logan and Kerry has been played for laughs, but it would be pretty interesting if Logan decides to get himself some newer, younger heirs since the four he has now have proven to be such a disappointment.
- Speaking of disappointing family members, shout-out to my older sister, who managed to spoil the Tom reveal for me by texting "TOM!" before I got to that scene. She claims that wasn't a spoiler, but it was. Oh, it was.
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