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‘Succession’ Report Card: Season 3 Opens With A Song Of Scandal And Tater Tots

The Succession Report Card is a weekly recap feature where we attempt to assign grades to the important people, things, and themes from each episode of Succession. The grades are entirely subjective and the criteria for scoring will change from week to week and occasionally mid-week. Someone might get detention. It’ll probably be Roman.

FAILING

Shiv Roy

HBO

Not a great start for Shiv on any major front. She was passed over for CEO, in large part because she couldn’t secure Lisa Arthur as the attorney for the company in the cruise ship fiasco. She also couldn’t secure Lisa Arthur as her own sounding board. And she might have learned that they’re not the “friends” she thought they were. Couple all of that with Roman heaping spoonfuls of salt in every wound and the thing when she appears to be calling a panic-audible heading into next episode, and… yeah.

Not great.

GRADE: F

MUST IMPROVE: Identifying friends, securing attorneys, not just kind of melting down a lot

Connor Roy

HBO

Willa’s play continues to get savaged to the point he’s pitching a lean-in to ironic viewing for “the hipsters and dipshits.” He’s such an afterthought that Logan needed to be reminded to give him a task and then that task ended up being, “Uhhhh idk just stay here.” Just a useless man.

GRADE: F

MUST IMPROVE: Pretty much anything would be a good start

Various Karls and Franks

HBO

The non-family, non-Gerri members of the team had a weird week. Let’s hit some highlights:

  • Frank was told repeatedly that he can’t be trusted and once that he’s “mashed potatoes,” which is not something I had ever heard used as an insult before this
  • Karl, bless his soul, missed a van from the airport because he was getting a sandwich
  • Karolina got kicked out of a car after Kendall accused her of being “a weevil in the flour sack,” which is also not something I had heard before this

GRADE: D-

MUST IMPROVE: Job security, keeping their heads down, not being mashed potatoes and/or weevils

Tom Wambsgans

HBO

One of my favorite things on this show is watching Tom inflate and deflate based on who he’s talking to. Anyone he perceives as lower status? He’s a big strong cruel man. Anyone he perceives as higher status? Sniveling weasel. He’s a fascinating creature. I kind of want to see his entire origin story.

GRADE: D

MUST IMPROVE: Playing the reverse banjo

TREADING WATER

Logan Roy

HBO

Here’s the thing about Logan: He’s in a dogfight right now, with the government maybe coming after him, and a son leading the charge, and an investor revolt on his hands, and a public relations nightmare, and… I think he kind of loves it? Like, he’s angry about it. He’s furious. But I think he relishes the fight itself a little. The dude is a scrapper and always has been, which is how he got to where he is now. And he has a way with words unlike any other character on television. “We’re on saliva and adrenaline” is a phrase that’s going to stick with me for a while.

GRADE: C-

MUST IMPROVE: Rearing children, not overseeing a massive and corrupt enterprise

Kendall Roy

HBO

What a dope. Just a big old dummy. Like, yes, he’s doing the right thing here in blowing the whistle on the company for the cruise ship sex abuse scandal, so kudos on that, but he’s really only doing it as his latest power play. And he’s so proud of himself about it. That line at the end where he bragged to Greg about all the brilliant women around him was maybe the funniest thing I’ve ever heard, considering he had just talked over half of them and invited his new girlfriend to his ex’s house, which he had commandeered as an action station, family heirlooms and all.

He’s going to screw this up. You know it, I know it, I think he even knows it. Maybe he doesn’t. Dopes rarely know they’re dopes.

GRADE: C

MUST IMPROVE: Situational awareness, comebacks, tweets

Roman Roy

HBO

Roman is a sad little boy who needs a hug at all times. His thing with Gerri is kind of stalling out, he also got passed over as CEO, and his advice about stonewalling the entire investigation — Congress and reporters and everything — was actually pretty terrible. He should not be in charge of a family of hamsters let alone an international corporation that employs thousands of human people.

And yet… I love him. He’s adorable. That awful little goofus.

GRADE: C

MUST IMPROVE: Being an adult

Jess Jordan

HBO

Imagine this is your job, to relay insults back and forth between a father and son who can hear each other in the background of the phone call you’re attempting to mediate. Imagine explaining this to someone when they say “What do you do for a living?” It’s a weird life that Jess Jordan has.

I hope she ends up running the company.

GRADE: C

MUST IMPROVE: Hitching her wagon to a better horse

Lisa Arthur

HBO

Lisa Arthur:

  • Seems like she has her stuff together
  • Is probably just dealing with Kendall as a necessary evil to achieve some combination of building her brand and providing aid to the harmed cruise ship employees
  • Has cool glasses

GRADE: C+

MUST IMPROVE: Maybe not getting involved with any of these jackals

HEAD OF THE CLASS

Gerri Kellman

HBO
HBO

Things started out weird for Gerri with that phone call to the White House where she was straining analogies to their breaking points. (“It’s out of our hands.” “Not if you grab it.”) And she got the CEO gig only after each of the blood candidates set themselves on fire after dousing themselves in incompetence. And this could all end poorly for her, considering she’s just a figurehead atop a company that is about to get dragged to Hell a little bit.

But still. Good for her. Gerri rules.

GRADE: B

MUST IMPROVE: Strange mommy-son pseudosexual relationships with coworkers

The Succession theme song

HBO

I don’t think I’ve ever pushed the Skip Intro button on this sucker and I don’t see myself starting any time soon. Those strings and pianos, man, just rising and falling and tinkling and cascading. It’s a good song. I might start playing it in my car.

GRADE: A

MUST IMPROVE: Hmm… maybe add a Method Man verse? I’m splitting hairs here.

Cousin Greg

HBO

He’s a sweet boy. I want him to start a podcast about memes. Good Meme-age With Cousin Greg

GRADE: A

MUST IMPROVE: Leave him alone. He’s doing the best he can.

Tater tots

HBO
HBO

Delicious and underrated. Should be on more menus instead of french fries. When I was little I used to cover them in ketchup and mustard and mash them all up into a sloppy mush and eat them with a spoon. I might do it again this week. A top-tier food.

GRADE: A

MUST IMPROVE: Marketing themselves as a food adults eat regularly

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