‘Succession’ Season 3 Review: Clash of the Gods and Satirical Sibling Drama
Succession Season 3, created by Jesse Armstrong, focuses on the battle between Media God Logan Roy (Brian Cox) and his son Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong). The story leads audiences on a suspenseful ride full of humor and intelligent drama. And the award-winning series has an epic third season that genuinely tests the tenuous bonds of the Roy family.
The entrance of Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgard), who may be buying Waystar RoyCo, further muddies the water on who will succeed Logan. Alexander Skarsgard rocks every scene Lukas is in with his ability to express charisma, indifference, and brilliance at the same time. However, the highlight of the whole series is the twisted “love” triangle between Siobhan “Shiv” Roy (Sarah Snook), Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfayden), and Greg Hirsch (Nicholas Braun).
The documentary-style cinematography creates a sense of immediacy and urgency in every scene. The camera “zooms in” and moves with the characters making it seem like the cinematographer reacts to their organic movements and speech.
We as an audience feel pulled into the tension and frenetic energy of the scenes since it feels like we are watching events unfolding in real-time—the camera movements slow down in scenes during serious chats. For example, in “The Disruption,” Shiv and Logan speak about how exposed Waystar RoyCo is to Kendall’s attacks. Then the camera movements are more frantic during energic sequences like Kendall’s surreal womb fortieth birthday party.
Ancient Roman Mythology & History
Roman Mythology is a significant motif in Succession Season 3. It’s no coincidence that one of Logan’s sons is named Roman, evoking the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire conquered most of the known world because of its superior military. Logan naming his son Roman reveals that he wants a child that can assist him in conquering the world. But, instead, Logan got an entitled wild child with an Oedipus complex.
To top it off, Logan often calls his son “Romulus.” Based on mythology, Romulus was the founder and first ruler of the city of Rome. Logan wishes Roman could be “man” enough to take his place one day. But he views his youngest son’s sexual proclivities as a weakness and as an excuse to keep power to himself.
In “Secession,” Logan violently speaks to Kendall through his son’s assistant Jess Jordan (Juliana Canfield). Kendall refuses to talk directly to his father on the phone, so Jess becomes their go-between in a bizarre game of telephone. Logan tells Jess to grind Kendall’s bones to make his bread. In response, Kendall instructs Jess to say that he will climb up the bean stock. In other words, the rebellious son will go after his father.
While this directly references the fairytale Jack and the beanstalk, it connects to Titan Saturn eating his sons. According to prophecy, one of the Titans’ sons will overthrow him. Saturn consumed all his newborn sons to circumvent the prophecy until Jupiter defeated him.
Logan, like Saturn, symbolically eats Kendall, Roman, and Shiv to stop them from taking his “throne.” Waystar RoyCo CEO uses Caroline’s desires to re-negotiate their divorce settlement to steal his children’s seats on the board to allow him to sell the media empire to Lukas. Logan sees Lukas as a worthy successor because they are both Gods who exist on a different plane from the rest of us mortals.
In “Lion in the Meadows,” Tom directly references ancient Roman history giving Greg good news. Tom tells Greg that he would castrate and marry him in a heartbeat. He learned from history books that Emperor Nero, who allegedly murdered his wife Poppaea Sabina, married a young slave boy named Sporous.
Nero castrated and dressed the slave boy like his dead wife. He treated Sporous like the empress of Rome. Tom enjoys his power over Greg because he feels emasculated by his wife, Shiv. Shiv is the more dominant one in the relationship because of her status in the family and because she doesn’t love him. Tom wishes to replace her with Greg, who he can manipulate.
Right before Tom turns on Shiv during the season finale, he has a “come to Jesus” conversation with Greg. He asks Greg, “Do you want to come with me? Sporous?” Tom is giving him a lifeline. Tom has symbolically murdered Shiv and now is replacing her with Greg. They will be partners together, leaving Shiv in the dust.
During Lukas and Logan’s first meeting, the Swedish CEO references Ancient Roman trivia that he heard about from Mark Zuckerberg. The masters once wanted all slaves to wear a cloak to differentiate them from Roman citizens. They decided against this idea because the slaves would realize that they outnumbered the masters. They could unite and kill them. The anecdote is Lukas’ way of introducing the idea that Logan doesn’t have the technical savviness to keep the masses ignorant.
The satirical HBO television show’s masterful humor is rooted in the witty banter between the Roy siblings. For example, Kendall spends all of “Mass in the Time of War” pointing out that the siblings must take down Logan to end sexual harassment for the sake of all women. He further pushes the boundaries of logic by stating Waystar RoyCo can save the world.
When Shiv refuses to help take down their father, he calls her a “twat.” He argues that Shiv only matters for the optics because women “count double now.” He further objectifies his sister by saying only her “teats” matter. The comedy comes from the contraction of Kendall sweet-talking Shiv then doing an about-turn objectifying her, revealing the ugly truth bubbling up to the surface.
All the vulgar or outrageous jokes that the siblings crack about each other reveal that they care about succeeding their father. Kendall, Roman, and Shiv are battling for ultimate status, wealth, and influence in the Waystar RoyCo world. None of them can emotionally crack or show real weakness because their father doesn’t want a human being in charge of his company.
Last Thoughts on Succession Season 3
Who will succeed, Logan? Let us know what you think (and your thoughts on Succession Season 3 as a whole) in the comments below.