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Succession - Episode 3.08 - Chiantishire - Review

Are you really business co-owners if deals are sought out unbeknownst to one of the parties? Do you really have a relationship if only one of you is in love? Are you really part of a family if everyone seeks to destroy you? Succession, as always, is a story about monsters in every shape and form, who constantly find new ways to be the absolute worst (albeit in the most entertaining ways), and yet we (or at least I) remain surprised at how low they're actually willing to stoop.

As the season comes to a close, the entire Waystar clan -and I do mean entire, even Gerri AND her brand new boyfriend whom she’s known approximately 12 seconds were invited- is off to sunny Italy for Caroline’s wedding to her (equally recent) new boyfriend. Looming over them is the new GoJo deal, which they did not consult Sandy/Sandie/Stewy about, because Logan doesn’t believe in burdening his alleged partners with such futile matters as the future of the company. For that matter, he doesn’t even believe in looping in his former heir apparent: Shiv, who once again is excluded from any and all of the important decisions, whereas golden boy Roman now seems unstoppable. Keyword: seems.

Shiv's fall from grace finds new bottomless depths during each episode, made worse by the fact that while everyone around her has realized she's damaged goods, she still, somehow, manages to think she's a part of the inner circle. The delusion is incredibly strong, and like Tom, Shiv uses her inferiors to vent her frustrations with how her father/brother treat her. Poor Tom keeps taking the brunt of it, with a truly insane "dirty talk" scene in which she utterly humiliates him. Not even in a dominant way (which, after the "open marriage" proposal wouldn't have been that surprising as yet another choice that Tom hadn't signed up for), but a purely mean one.
"I’m way out of your fucking league. That’s why you want me. That’s why you love me, even though I don’t love you. But you want me anyway."
It's terrible funny, because it's true! Even more despicable, her sudden reversal on having kids with Tom. Shiv's whole schtick can be reduced to reverse psychology: tell her she shouldn't, and she'll rush into it as if her life depends on it. The reveal that Caroline never wanted kids (and didn't even want to risk having dogs in Logan's presence, whereas leaving her own children in his custody was, apparently, fine) spurs Shiv on, as if further destroying her relationship with Tom wasn't nearly enough. Unlike Kendall, who's finally at the point where he wants (and needs) out, Shiv still believes she has a shot at reclaiming the proverbial throne, and who she crushes or drags along the way will never matter in comparison to Daddy's approval.
Predictably after last week's extreme birthday bash, Kendall's comedown leaves him as a shadowy shell of himself, complete with the obligatory buzzcut, and sans Naomi. Guess that present crisis (or uninspired watch gifting) was the last straw for both of them. Disinvited from some of the wedding festivities thanks to Logan's instructions and Caroline's cold analysis of what matters more to her: her son, or her shares, Kendall wishes to finally be done with Waystar. Despite being initially insulted by it, accepting the "joke" offer from last episode, so carelessly cruel in the name of being honest crafted by Logan, and delivered by Roman as the fatal birthday blow, now appears like a viable option. Logan, however, never planned on setting Kendall free. Insinuate that he's about to be poisoned despite Kendall's peace offering, and using Iverson, whom he'd already been abusive to, to test the mozarella? Sure. Threaten to have Kendall do menial jobs just to "keep him close"? Absolutely. Remind Kendall of how his drug pursuit led to someone's death, and how long he must have struggled before his lungs filled up? The final blow. Logan's cruelty is exquisitely tailored to Kendall's each and every weakness, and especially appalling coming from a parent. With him and Caroline as their family, is it any wonder the Roy children are how they are?
Kendall wasn't sure what he'd do even if Logan had accepted to cut him from Waystar (those couple of billions would have helped him figure it out, certainly), so watching him lose consciousness, facedown in a pool, a few feet from his children, certainly doesn't paint a bright future. Will he even make it to the season finale? This is Succession, so while I don't doubt the wedding would still somehow go through even if Kendall committed suicide in the middle of it (appearances!), I don't believe they're going to kill off the character who arguably makes the whole concept work (or at least, not right this episode, in this season, which is not the last). Watching Kendall constantly playing the will he/won't he game on a tightrope with hiw own life is devastating, and each season seemingly brings him closer to spilling over.

Meanwhile, Roman reaches the peak of his short-lived career as Logan's #1 son after saving the day with Lukas Matsson and his Trump-worthy tweet storms. Unfortunately, in the thrill of having secured both the deal and his father's praise, the text mix up between Logan, Gerri, and Roman's "item" brings the entire thing crashing down. Suddenly, Logan gives a shit about what his son does or doesn't do with his phone, as if (as Logan puts it) Waystar didn't event the concept of dick pics. No, it's the fact that this is about Gerri, whom Logan now has to see in a completely different light, and also immediately puts down by calling her "a million years old". Um, pot, meet kettle?! Roman's answer to Gerri from the beginning of the episode takes a whole new meaning after this:
"Don’t open Pandora’s box. There’s just more dicks in there."
And thus, the relationship that never was, but still existed, comes to a (likely) shuddering (ha) end, as Shiv tries to intimidate Gerri under the guise of defending her from sexual harassment, and Roman's out as far as Logan is concerned. After all, now that the GoJo deal is happening, none of the senior positions are safe when your last name isn't Roy! If Gerri ends up getting kicked out because of this, I will riot.
Shiv, being the vulture that she is, immediately swoops in to replace Roman despite having none of the legitimacy, and just like that the future of the siblings, the company, and the media empire is once again reshuffled. On a lighter (yet cringier) note, Connor doesn't want to feel left out from all the hoopla and decides to propose to Willa, in the middle of his mother's wedding preparation. Putting aside the fact that he's doing it to make his potential candidacy easier on the conservative voters' conscience, and that stealing his mother's (or rather her future husband's) thunder isn't very nice, the sheer vision of Willa trying to get out of it and Connor pretending to celebrate was enough to cause secondhand embarassment until season five, and beyond.

There are too many stellar quotes to pick from since basically every sentence was a winner, and if this episode had been representative of the entirety of season 3 then it would indeed have topped anything we'd seen before. Here's to hoping next week's finale delivers at least as much, because before long we will be left Succession-less for who knows how long. What did you guys think of the episode? Were you expecting such a throwdown? As usual, sound off in the comments and see you all for the finale next week!

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