'Succession' Season 3 Episode 3 Recap: Oedipussy and Cyanide Pills

·6-min read
Photo credit: Macall Polay
Photo credit: Macall Polay

We return to Waystar World this week with Kendall being interviewed over lunch, having what can only be described as a bit of an intense one, as he reels of reasons why his father's company is screwed. "So will this be in the piece? Kendall Roy ordered a fennel salad and picked at it inquisitively," he asks the journalist, who may or may not be thinking 'there goes my best line.'

At least he has finally found a moniker worthy of his many issues in Oedipussy, the nickname he's been given by the host of a late night show who has done a blistering skit on him. The cracks which were starting to emerge burst wide open when the journalist pries into the rift with him and his siblings, and we see Kendall attempt a happy grimace to assure her he's, "very happy in his headspace" and "hopes they are happy in theirs". Yikes!

Photo credit: Macall Polay
Photo credit: Macall Polay

After last week's Roy sibling showdown around daddy's poisoned doughnuts, and Gerri being named as Waystar's CEO full chemical and biological suit, the ship seems a little steadier. This lasts several minutes until the news comes that Kendall is planning to infiltrate the building and the company being asked to take service of a subpoena from the justice department.

Greg's loyalties are being tested: he finds himself demoted to a shoebox office with no windows and reunited with his chief tormentor Tom – "You sold your ass for a watch? I'll buy you a watch dickwad". It is hard to pick our favourite favourite toxic relationship in this malignant swamp but this one is really up there. He tags along Kendall's (weirdly extra long?) limo playing Good Tweet, Bad Tweet, which treats us to the description of Kendall as "bootleg Ross with a daddy haircut". Delicious. I wonder if the writers scoured actual Twitter to find inspiration for these.

Photo credit: Macall Polay
Photo credit: Macall Polay

Nate is back and under Shiv's skin in just a few minutes, while, at the same journalism event, she shrugs off Kendall's apology for losing it with her last week during the Roy children's summit. It's interesting to see both Shiv and Roman both brush off being hurt by their sibling in exactly the same fashion in such quick... succession. Sure, we all know these kids are deeply traumatised by their father, but their powers of deflection are almost robotic. Shiv leaves their argument wounded again, with Kendall expressing pity that she's been dressed up and sent as Logan's envoy. He might just have a point.

Shiv's storyline is the biggest tease of the entire show. We keep seeing her toy with the idea of blowing up her dad as he dangles power in front of her and then snatches it from reach. Now he's given her the placeholder position of company president, no doubt so that he can have two women in the shop window to weather the current allegations, and is reminding her how valuable it would be to have his only daughter stand up for him at this moment of crisis. Are we supposed to believe that, in pursuit of power, Shiv is willing to annihilate her liberalism in order to outdo some tiresome brothers? Clearly she's torn between pleasing her dad and doing the right thing, but you have to wonder if she would have just told him to fuck off at this point.

Photo credit: Macall Polay - HBO
Photo credit: Macall Polay - HBO

She returns home to drunk, sad Tom (a side which shows Matthew MacFadyen really does have the range, and one which we want to see more of ) and he proceeds to offer himself up as the sacrifice for the DOJ investigation. Given Shiv takes all of thirty seconds to warm to the idea it is worth noting how much she has changed her tune since imploring her dad not to make Tom the blood sacrifice back at the end of season two. Couldn't they have saved a whole lot of family anguish doing this in the first place?

When Tom suggest his grand plan of throwing himself behind bars for his father-in-law's approval, Logan is utterly bewildered. This isn't part of an ulterior play for something bigger. He's genuinely thankful for Tom's offer. "Just clunk the trout on your head and put it in your pouch," is also perhaps the most Tom line ever.

Photo credit: Macall Polay
Photo credit: Macall Polay

Meanwhile, Logan is leaning on Michelle-Anne Vanderhoven, the White House aide who Gerri was bullying back in episode one, and they have a stand-off about who is really in charge, an exchange which feels depressingly easy to imagine materialising in our current reality.

The pressure really kicks up a notch when Kendall arrives at Waystar HQ and they are forced to let him in to stop press taking photos of him hurdling the gates. After stalking the building in his Musk-esque cap, and psyching out various family members, he interrupts Shiv's big talk by playing Nirvana's ‘Rape Me’ on a speaker system he's rigged up. Yikes x2! But Shiv, not one to play underdog for long, serves revenge with a public letter so brutally questioning his mental health that Kendall pulls out of his big public appearance as Oedipussy. That might be for the best, Ken. But wait, there's yet another shift in power as the FBI storm the gates of Waystar and Logan is forced to finally cooperate.

Photo credit: Macall Polay
Photo credit: Macall Polay

Where things head next is a potential double-edged sword for the show, as continuing to dive into the government investigation consumes the series with complicated legal procedures, but wrapping it up too fast undermines what has been set up so far. As one Gregory Hirsch recently wondered, aren't we all too young to be in Congress so much? The Roy civil war also means the show has to engineer situations to push them all together, something that potentially pushes the limits of credulity given these camps are entangled in different sides of a legal fandango. It's becoming clear that Team Kendall and Team Logan continue to be thorns in each other's sides, but with egos this large, a truce seems unimaginable.

Number One Trending Topics:

  • Tastiest Zinger: "I hear you have a really great lawyer, is it true you can find him anytime, day or night?"

  • This week we must also recognise Greg's almost inaudible, "I don't have patina, no, I shower!" in his desperate attempt to not buy a watch.

  • Shiv and Tom's dog's name sounds like Mondale, named we imagine for president Jimmy Carter's VP Walter Mondale. A desperate attempt to signal their liberal credentials by naming a pooch after a classic but under the radar Democrat? We see you!

  • More importantly why is Tom saying Mondale so deeply ASMR-level soothing?

  • This week's episode title, 'The Disruptor', literally refers to Kendall's constant agitating, but it's also feels like a dig at the kind of vainglorious disruptors that he is moulding himself in the image of.

  • We would wager that fans want the Roy children yapping at each other on a sickeningly large and lavishly adorned yacht, not plotting each other's deaths in separate rooms, but bringing them together again as a pack feels less and less likely with each passing episode.

Succession is available on Sky and NOW on Mondays at 9pm and on-demand


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