Succession returns on Sunday, October 17 after almost exactly two years off the air. There’s good news and bad news wrapped up in all of this. The good is that, well, it’s back, finally, and having a good show — one of the best, even — back is always good news, especially since the new season lives up to the high standards of the first two seasons. Do you want to see these awful creatures tear each other apart? Do you want to hear Logan Roy grumble profanity like a wounded beast? Do you want to experience the pure joy of Cousin Greg discussing memes? Baby, that is all coming your way very soon. It’s exciting.
The bad news is that this long hiatus may have dulled the sharp edges of your memory of the show. You might not recall important plot points. And while the ideal solution to this is a full-on rewatch, or at least a mini-binge through the last three or four episodes of season two, time is getting a little tight for that. You went and procrastinated again and here you are. We’ve talked about this.
So, here’s what we’ll do. Below, please find a mini-refresher that can get you mostly caught up before the premiere, with 100 words or less devoted to each major character. It’s not perfect or comprehensive or ideal. A rewatch is still preferable. But you really can’t go about complaining to me when you put yourself in this situation. What I’m saying here is that I’m sorry this isn’t everything but you’re welcome that it is something. We’re all doing the best we can.
Here we go.
What a whirlwind. Kendall went from performing the world’s cringiest rap tribute to his father — shoutout to his boy Squiggle for the beat — to defending his father and the company in front of Congress to hanging the whole operation out to dry at a press conference where he was allegedly going to take the fall for the whole cruise ship fiasco. He’s a man on an island now. The island is called Ambition Island. It is infested with termites and might get swallowed up by a wave at any moment. But he’s there and he’s not leaving now.
Logan enters season three under attack from multiple angles. He’s fighting off a proxy battle from his investors and facing heat from Congress over years of sexual harassment/abuse on his cruise line and his own son is now leading the charge. And yet… look at his face. He seems like he’s relishing it all, whether it’s the adrenaline rush from the old scrapper getting in one last fight or the perverse pride he feels in a traitorous son he had just chastised for not being “a killer.” He needs this stuff to feel alive. And he’s getting it all at once.
Shiv was passed over as CEO in favor of Rhea Jarrell (Holly Hunter), who left the company about 90 seconds later when she realized she couldn’t trust Logan. Then Shiv had it out with her husband, Tom, over the way she treats him. Then, with tears in her eyes, she begged her dad to not make Tom the sacrificial lamb for the cruise business, which resulted in her brother getting the short straw and choosing to burn the house down instead. The Roys are an extremely normal family.
All things considered, putting aside the thing where he was briefly kind of held hostage while attempting to secure a major cash infusion from an oil-rich Middle Eastern family, Roman came out of season two in decent shape. He impressed Logan with his read on the situation, he got promoted to COO, he has his unconventional thing going on with Gerri. He’s a slime puppy, of course, always and forever, but he’s a good boy. Kind of. And either way, his existence allows me to keep using that screencap up there, so… no complaints here.
The oldest and most-forgotten of the Roy children financed his girlfriend’s play and watched it bomb through a combination of terrible reviews and potential lawsuits related to vermin infesting the set. He felt out a run for political office and was told to end it by Logan, who, using his gift for language and paternal worth, said “everyone thinks you’re a joke and you’re fucking embarrassing me.” Also, in what is maybe the perfect Connor moment yet, he introduced himself using his full name in a tribute to his father, as though he might not be recognized otherwise. Not great!
My beautiful lanky boy Cousin Greg
- Is a sweet boy
- Might be developing a secret cocaine problem
- Appears to be siding with Kendall in the family free-for-all, based only on the shot at the press conference of him in the back holding a folder full of documents
I love him.
Tom got cooked at the hearing about the cruise ships, most memorably for the “can’t make a Tomlette without breaking a few Greggs” line. He got weepy with Shiv about the power dynamics in their relationship and the thing where she told him on their wedding night that she wanted it to be open. Tom is in an interesting place. He can either buckle in and fight with the family or wriggle free and help Kendall take them down. I’m fine with either as long as he and Greg share the screen 4-5 times per episode.
Gerri is in a weird spot as the highest-ranking non-Roy at Waystar. She’ll never get the top job even though she is more qualified, she’ll always be one move away from personal and professional ruin, and she’s engaged in that whole mommy-son non-sexual humiliation-based thing with Roman. Gerri has a lot going on. I root for her. I kind of hope she quits the company in the middle of season three and gets way into, like, hang gliding. Gerri deserves a break.
Marcia is the best. Logan’s third wife pops up like once or twice per episode and says the most cutting things you’ve ever heard anyone say, then she just zips off for a while until she comes back to do it again. I get legitimately excited every time she shows up. I would watch an entire episode from her perspective, just one full hour of her chopping people down and being ruthless. I hope she ends up running the company.
Willa, Connor’s younger actress and playwright lover, was last seen heaving a tablet into the salty abyss after reading the reviews of the play she wrote and Connor funded. It was notable for a few reasons but mostly because it made for a very useful GIF that I have posted above for your “right click + save as” needs. My gift to you. And Willa’s gift to you. Our gift, really.
Various Franks and Carls and Hugos and Karolinas
The collection of non-Gerri, non-Roy members of the Waystar team. They’re the best because they are constantly ready to sell each other out if it means their own survival. Which makes sense. Think about the work it took to navigate those shark-infested waters in a way that allowed them to rise to this level. These people are survivors. They’re just as cutthroat as anyone, but they have to mask it in servitude and politeness lest they offend one of the failsons and kneecap their future. My favorite is Karl, but please know this situation is fluid and subject to change.
Stewy and Sandy
Currently leading the proxy fight among the Waystar shareholders to takeover the company. In the finale, Logan and Kendall took their yacht to Greece to visit Stewy and make him a pitch to retain control and Stewy a) told them to go screw, and b) looked like this. He’s a sicko money vulture and everything I hate in the world and yet I adore him immensely. Sometimes he shows up in sweaters that look so stylish and comfortable I might update my will to request I be buried in them. It’s all very conflicting.
The Pierce Family
The Pierce family is notable for three main reasons:
- They were briefly in the mix as a lifeline for Waystar but things got complicated over politics
- Naomi Pierce remains an on-again, off-again fling for Kendall, even if Logan had her kicked off the yacht at the end of season two for various reasons related to her and Kendall doing drugs together a lot
- At one point in season two, Nan Pierce, the family’s matriarch, brushed off some hooey by describing it as “horse potatoes,” and that phrase has lived in my head ever since
Ewan Roy rules. He hates everyone so much and loves telling them to their faces. At one point, he made a surprisingly reasonable argument that Logan is worse for society than Hitler. I want him and Marcia to get married and defy biology to have a dozen of the meanest and crankiest children in the world. This is not an unreasonable request.
Succession is a good show. I’m so glad it’s back on Sunday night.