[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 3, Episode 1 of Succession, “Secession.”]
Succession is back and not missing a beat in its Season 3 premiere installment, fittingly titled “Secession,” as Logan (Brian Cox) and Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) prepare for war. Below, we’re breaking it all down, so beware of major spoilers ahead.
Picking up moments after Season 2’s scandalous press conference during which Kendall claimed it would be the day his father’s reign over Waystar Royco ended, scrambling is at an all-time high. While Logan and the rest of the Roys and Waystar team land on a tarmac after a brief helicopter ride, Hugo (Fisher Stevens) greets them and ushers everyone to a waiting room at the airport until they’re able to fly off in their jets.
Asking where they’re going, Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron) throws out various potential locations ranging from New York, Geneva, and London to Singapore and Los Angeles. It’s clear by Logan’s snippy demeanor that he’s not in a good mood. Meanwhile, in New York, Kendall takes a moment to breathe and collect his thoughts as Greg (Nicholas Braun) and Karolina (Dagmara Dominczyk) panic on the other side of the door.
When Kendall finally exits the bathroom, he’s energized and calls Greg and Karolina to their action stations. The top item on the agenda is to secure a lawyer, and as they leave the hotel to get into a company car, Greg repeatedly shows his lack of experience by telling swarming reporters “no comment” regarding Kendall’s actions earlier that day.
But Karolina shows some trepidation regarding the situation, and after Kendall gives her the option to stay or leave depending on her loyalties, she gets out of the car, leaving Jessica (Juliana Canfield) to hop in the backseat to join Kendall and Greg.
Logan is pulling a similar situation overseas as he wonders if they can cover up the activity on the cruise lines. Meanwhile, Shiv (Sarah Snook) and Roman (Kieran Culkin) share an aside, wondering what they should be doing. While they agree about supporting Logan, they’re also wondering if their father is toast. Just as Hugo asks them if he can confirm to press that Logan has never touched or harmed anyone, the patriarch himself asks his children if they knew their brother Kendall was going to throw him under the bus or not. They’re honest in their answer that they’re just as surprised as everyone else.
Back in New York, Kendall is still taking and making calls from the backseat of a company car when he asks Jess to get in touch with Lisa Arthur (Sanaa Lathan) for his legal team and tells Greg to keep tabs on his “cultural temperature,” a task that is outside of his pay grade and capabilities, but that doesn’t mean Greg won’t give it the good old college try.
Amid the chaos, Logan calls Kendall, who passes his phone to Jess, kicking off an interesting conversation. Logan recognizes that he could be in an ugly situation and that Kendall played a decent move by implicating him, but that if Kendall retracts his statements, then perhaps Logan would be willing to make a deal. Flying high from the power trip, Kendall suggests Logan step down, leading the father to relay a threatening message that he’ll grind Kendall’s bones to make his bread. In other words … that would be a no, Logan won’t be stepping down, at least not permanently.
Without being able to move the needle with Kendall, Logan calls his team to action stations and asks about what their next steps should be. Gerri suggests calling the DOJ and inform them that Waystar Royco would create a committee in response to the allegations and prove their cooperation. Since Waystar is a public company, cooperation is the only option, but Roman isn’t sold on that concept.
Roman wants to discredit Kendall’s allegations, but Shiv points out that he supposedly has incriminating papers. Shiv tells Roman that not cooperating is risky, and so the Roy family head aims to cut the middle man out of the conversation and asks about getting in touch with the president to gauge the situation.
Meanwhile, Greg tells Kendall he’s trending in the top spot on Twitter, and although some of the negative things being said about him stick in the mind, a lot of the commentary surrounding him is positive. This boost of confidence leads Kendall to begin calling those who are currently around Logan, starting with Frank (Peter Friedman). He tells his godfather that this is for the soul of the company and that he should join his team. After hanging up, Kendall tries to get in touch with Gerri, but she doesn’t pick up.
As Logan and his team head to the planes, Gerri tells him the president isn’t taking calls but conveys support, believing it would reflect negatively on him to talk with Logan at that moment. Gerri handles talking to another rep instead and when she tries brokering a deal to keep the DOJ from getting involved, there isn’t much luck. When the family pulls up to the planes, Logan keeps Gerri behind to chat, and Kendall continues to make his calls, this time to Shiv who listens for a few seconds before hanging up on her brother.
When Kendall, Greg, and Jess begin pulling up to the Waystar building in New York, they’re made aware that Ken doesn’t have access to get in following his PR stunt. In response, Greg says it’s like O.J. but if none of them killed anyone. Kendall responds that he never said he hasn’t killed anyone, a risky allusion to his deadly Season 1 car crash that neither Greg nor Jess would pick up on.
After Gerri chats with Logan, she tells the Roys and Waystar execs that they’re going to Sarajevo and Shiv notes that her father couldn’t be extradited back to the United States from there. Instead of going together though, Logan decides they’re all going to split up as he wants Shiv to try and get in touch with Lisa Arthur for his representation.
So, it’s decided that Shiv, Roman, and Gerri will go back to New York while Logan, Karl (David Rasche), Hugo, Frank, and Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) will go to Sarajevo. When Willa (Justin Lupe) inquires about her and Connor (Alan Ruck), Logan absentmindedly asks his eldest son to hold the fort down for him. Everyone says their goodbyes on the tarmac before setting off on the next leg of their journeys. One particularly awkward goodbye takes place between Shiv and Tom, whose relationship is on rocky ground and isn’t improved when he tries to reassure Shiv by telling her she’ll see Logan again.
In New York, Ken sets up shop in estranged wife Rava’s (Natalie Gold) house where he sets up a war room to take calls in. She seems proud of Kendall, but can’t confirm whether he’ll be able to win against Logan in the long run.
On Logan’s plane, he tells his companions that he wants everyone lawyered up and wants to have a meeting with shareholders upon landing in Sarajevo as he states, “It’s war!” He also reveals he’ll step back as CEO, leading to a precarious game of “who will Logan choose?” Tom calls to inform Shiv and Frank calls to inform Gerri as both their names as well as Roman’s is thrown into the mix. Logan’s “playing dice with God” as Tom puts it.
At Rava’s, Greg makes calls to cancel his mother’s credit card and makes an awkward conversation with one of Kendall’s potential employees. Kendall meets with communications professionals to hear and pitch ideas in order to boost his social image and strengthen his fight against Logan.
Landing in Sarajevo, Logan receives a call from Roman, who tries to convey how ready he is to take over as CEO in Logan’s place, but if his father doesn’t believe that then he should pick Gerri. After hanging up, Logan informs the team that Roman is out as an option, leaving them to pick between Shiv and Gerri, the latter of which is clear of any involvement with cruises.
Upon landing in New York, Shiv heads to Lisa’s office to try and recruit her for Logan’s legal team, but she also wishes to cover herself. Lisa isn’t helpful though and it’s clear by her language that Kendall got to Lisa first. “Be careful,” Shiv tells the lawyer, who then goes on to visit Kendall at Rava’s house.
After losing out on Lisa as a rep, Shiv is effectively off the table as an option, and so Gerri receives a call informing her that she’s now CEO. Moments before, Roman was attempting to make some moves on the exec as their weird flirtation continues. Perhaps that possibility is gone now that she’s his superior?
As a consolation, Roman tells Gerri he wants to call Shiv and tell her the news. He then proceeds to call his sister and sing a not-so-nice tune about losing out on the CEO gig. The loss has Shiv recalibrating her next move and instead of returning to Gerri and Roman, she asks the car to take another direction. Perhaps she could be headed to Kendall’s?
Meanwhile, Kendall’s making himself comfortable as Lisa and her team show up at Rava’s and he informs his estranged wife that his girlfriend Naomi (Annabelle Dexter-Jones) will also be stopping by. Moments later, she appears at the door toting takeout food. As Kendall tends to Lisa, Greg takes Naomi aside to prep their plates for dinner. While Lisa advises that Kendall not say anything that’s confidential as they’re not working together yet, Kendall reveals his ultimate goal, which is to take Logan down.
Lisa asks if he wants to do this without implicating himself or damaging the company beyond repair, and Kendall agrees that’s his main desire. In order to achieve this, Kendall agrees to be Lisa’s puppet. But as the conversation starts heading in a deeper direction, Rava’s upset voice is heard from the room over. Apparently, Greg opened a really old bottle of wine from her grandfather, and Rava says it’s fine, hinting that she shouldn’t have expected less from Kendall being in her space.
Oblivious to the matter, Kendall leaves the room and makes a call to Logan, which Frank answers. Relaying Kendall’s message, Frank informs Logan that Lisa is with Ken’s team. In response, Logan declares they’ll “go full f**king beast.” So, what’s next in this brewing civil war? Only time will tell, but a clear line has certainly been drawn.
Let us know what you thought of the premiere in the comments section, below, and don’t miss the next installment on HBO.
Succession, Season 3, Sundays, 9/8c, HBO