Warning: Succession Spoilers
I have never been as invested in a show set in the rich business world as I have with “Succession.” That’s because it’s not just a show about that; it’s more about an extremely rich white family messing with each other’s lives and the ever-changing power dynamics within their media company.
Loosely drawing inspiration from the Murdochs and other media mogul families, “Succession” follows the uber-rich media mogul Logan Roy and his four grown children — Kendall, Siobhan (Shiv), Roman and Connor — as they vie their way into succeeding Logan as CEO of their conservative-running media conglomerate Waystar Royco. We also encounter key characters like the awkward yet most relatable Cousin Greg, Shiv’s wistful, spiraling husband Tom Wambsgans, and Kendall’s college friend-turned-frenemy Stewy Hoisseini who stages a takeover of Waystar Royco. Aided by outstanding performances, witty dialogue and the ethereal score by Nicholas Britell, “Succession” has been addictive to watch, as the show gets us so invested into this flawed, despicable family.
As of this writing, the family power dynamics have continued to become more complex as we near the end of season 3. This season follows Kendall’s decision to expose Logan as responsible for the cruise-ship crimes scandal cover-up, which ultimately divides the Roy family — a theme cleverly highlighted before the season’s premiere, with different promotional posters depicting various members of the family switching between Kendall’s and Logan’s side. This division is further complicated with Kendall asking his siblings to team up, Stewy’s divisively resolved takeover, an FBI investigation, negotiations with tech moguls (Alexander Skarsgård) and investors (Adrien Brody) to save the company, and, more notoriously in episode 8, an accidental dick picture sent to Logan. The plot direction has us on the edge of our seats in guessing which family member will end up on what side given each character’s complexity.
Ultimately, the real entertainment comes from how flawed every character is, making it so enticing to see how each character continues to fall deeper into these respective flaws. As our “main character,” Kendall is very complex; he is boldest in his opposition to Logan, but he is still very self-serving in terms of impulsivity and ego, as seen this season with his lavish 40th birthday party in episode 7. This being the epitome of his self-indulgence, it appropriately and gradually crumbles once Kendall learns of Logan’s offer to buy him out of Waystar for two billion dollars — a decision that, in reality, Logan is disingenuous with.
The character arc that Shiv goes through is also so intriguing, given that I found myself siding with her in the first season. Shiv Roy is arguably the most capable Roy as CEO, but she constantly gets overconfident and aims to always prove herself, making her easily flustered when interrupted by Nirvana’s “Rape Me” playing at her speech in this season’s third episode, referring back to her talking a cruise victim out of testifying at trial in season 2. Moreover, as she keeps finding herself on the sidelines of the major Waystar decisions, Roy becomes more manipulative and strategic, whether through continually dominating her imbalanced relationship with Tom or gaslighting different employees to get to the top.
Overall, these character flaws and the intensive storyline help viewers catch a dark, satirical glimpse of a wealthy, powerful world so distant and detached from most of our own. Whether addressing shareholder meetings, negotiations or strategic financial maneuvers, “Succession” continues to succeed in uniquely addressing the fascinating relationship between power, politics and family, making this a worthy show to watch, with a finale to look forward to.