This article contains major spoilers for Succession S3E3, “The Disruption”
Succession S3E3 had the unenviable task of following an extremely dramatic season premiere and one of the best episodes in series history, at least in this writer’s opinion. Not an easy position to be in at all but this episode delivered in terms of advancing the plot in a significant way, providing us a point of no return perhaps between Kendall and Shiv and most memorable, a stunt from Kendall that will never be forgotten. As always, we’re about to get into deep spoiler territory so if you haven’t seen Succession S3E3, now’s the time to close this article and come back after you have.
The previous episode ended with Logan returning to the States and here, we hit the ground running with the return of the patriarch. Logan seems to almost be making a pastime out of undermining Gerri, who in her new role as CEO couldn’t possibly have more obstacles to overcome. Of course, one can’t help but wonder when Logan’s treatment of Gerri is going to result in a conflict with Roman, whose only true allegiance is to Gerri.
Sometime during the time that passed between the last episode and this one, Shiv was named company President, a position which is almost certainly designed to have her be in the spotlight, yet shielded by Gerri who will certainly be taking any bullets coming the company’s way. Perhaps Logan has actually been telling his daughter the truth and she actually is the “chosen one”?
Shiv’s big task in this episode was to deliver a speech to the company’s employees, in which she was supposed to calm any fears over the situation with Kendall and also lower the temperature on the allegations of sexual misconduct happening on the company’s cruise lines years ago. The company had to get in front of the stories that claimed that women were forced to perform sex acts for lucrative jobs on the cruise lines, in addition to other forms of harassment and abuse that was said to have happened on the boat.
All while Shiv was preparing for this speech, the company was abuzz with rumors that Kendall was going to show up at the building. It was obvious how unprepared they were for such a thing based on the divided responses. Some argued to prevent him from entering. Others said that stopping his entry would only serve to make them look worse. In hindsight, I’m sure everyone wishes they would’ve stopped him from entering. More on that later.
Progressive Hero or Rich, White Pussy?
Kendall’s paranoia over how he’s being received by the public was on full display in Succession S3E3. Early in the episode, Kendall and Greg, surrounded by an entourage which included several beautiful women, were riding in a limousine, when Kendall asked everyone to play a game. The premise was simple: they would take turns reading good tweets, then bad tweets to him. One of the “bad tweets” took aim at his mental health, in a moment that would foreshadow things to come.
Kendall’s obsession over his image was never more apparent than when he was seen watching a progressive TV show, The Disruption, whose host called out progressives for defending and even championing him. The host pointed out Kendall’s past, including testifying in front of Congress that the cruise line allegations were nothing more than a witch hunt against his father, before their public split. The host referred to Kendall as a “rich, white pussy” and it was painfully obvious that these words stung him. Kendall desperately wants to win over those who are opposed to all things his father represents and this was not helping his cause.
Sibling vs Sibling
After watching The Disruption, Kendall decided that he was going into the office. This was obviously going to be anything but a social visit. Kendall’s pride was wounded and he wanted to lash out. He wanted to do something big to change the conversation around him—and go big he did.
As Shiv started her press conference, going into full damage control mode, she assured the company’s employees that everything was under control and that they would be as transparent as possible with their employees. As she began to address the sexual misconduct and abuse allegations, she began to be drowned out with noise.
Rape me, again.
Rape me, my friend.
What’s literally the last song you would want played as you tried to lower the temperature on sexual abuse allegations? “Rape Me” by Nirvana of course. While everyone watched Kendall like a hawk prior to the press conference, he had members of his entourage line the building with speakers in the ultimate act of sabotage. Instead of people leaving the press conference feeling like the Roy family had things under control, they left to the sounds of “Rape Me” and the word rape being said numerous times. Shiv stormed off the stage, knowing she had been defeated by her older brother here.
Shiv was out for blood after and seemed to be annoyed by Logan’s passive response to it all. He knew Kendall had won that battle and on some level, probably respected his son for how ruthless of a move that was. Not good enough for Shiv though, who approached Roman and Connor with a letter later in the episode that she wanted her other two brothers to sign—a letter attacking Kendall’s mental health, substance abuse issue and character, which said that the Roy family had no choice but to take a step back from their self destructive brother.
Much like how neither Roman or Connor wanted to put a nail in their father’s coffin by joining Kendall, they also wanted no part of Shiv’s attempt to destroy their brother’s character. They refused to sign the letter, forcing Shiv to go this alone, which she did. The quest for control has perhaps permanently driven a wedge between Kendall and Shiv; damage that may not ever be able to be repaired.
Kendall, against his better judgment, decided that he wanted to go on The Disruption as a guest, in an attempt to stand up for himself and do damage control, in the wake of his stunt earlier at the press conference. As Kendall got the studio, news of Shiv’s letter broke, completely turning around Kendall and his priorities. He attempted to negotiate with the show’s producers to not have the letter be mentioned during his segment on the show, a request that was denied.
This is where we saw Kendall begin to crumble. The look on his face told a story of a man breaking down on the inside, questioning if this was a fight he could continue with. As the show began to air, Kendall was alone, slumped to the ground, hiding in production, deeply hurt by the very personal attack from his sister. While he had ruined her press conference, his attacks were on the business and not her personally. Shiv’s letter cut deep and also had Kendall in a place of self doubt.
Meanwhile, across town, the FBI made their move on Logan. As they prepared to enter the building, Logan’s response was to literally tell them to f*ck off. He wanted those exact words repeated until Gerri intervened, telling Logan that he didn’t get to tell the FBI to f*ck off. They tell him to f*ck off, not the other way around.
What Happens From Here?
Perhaps the biggest question Succession S3E3 left us with is exactly how damaging the FBI raid would be. What would they find? Is Logan in real trouble or perhaps someone else? One can’t help but think of Tom offering to fall on the sword. Would Logan ask him to follow through with that? Would Shiv be OK with her husband doing that? Or if put in that position, would Tom flip? To me that seems to be the most likely outcome.
Cousin Greg seems to be over being Kendall’s wing man and seems to want to be taken care of, perhaps finally realizing that he has leverage in this situation. Kendall not buying Greg the watch he showed him seemed to catch Greg off guard and bother him more than it should’ve. Is Greg’s loyalty for sale?
Finally, how will Kendall hold up? He’s caught a huge lucky break, with the FBI raid likely to take all the attention off Shiv’s letter, but that being said, how’s he holding up mentally? The show has made it clear before that Kendall’s mental health and substance abuse issues are always lingering in the background, and whether he’s a ticking time-bomb or not remains to be seen.