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Succession - Episode 3.09 - All The Bells Say - Review

While much of this season has felt like the show was spinning its wheels, in that almost every episode brought on a mini crisis that didn't go anywhere (what's going on with the election?!) and characters seemed stuck in situations they'd been in before, the last two episodes finally provided what Succession does best: a brutal (yet expected) shift that completely reshuffles as to what season four will bring. Because yes, a season four there will be, the show thankfully having been renewed early on in season 3. So while we do have to wait, at least we know it's coming!

Kendall has survived whatever that pool scene was: a drunken mistake, a disregard for wanting to live, a cry for help... that thankfully went answered by Comfry. He, and his family, act as if it's no big deal (Monopoly, anyone?) but deep down, it's almost happened several times, so it's common knowledge that Kendall's desire to actually be alive is tenuous at best. Sidenote, I'd very much like to know who thought leaving Sophie and Iverson in Logan's care while Kendall spent the night in the hospital, was a wise idea.

Meanwhile, Caroline's upcoming nuptials to what seems like a complete leech aren't even at the center of attention, the GoJo deal is. Can we still call it a deal though, when it turns out Lukas Mattson is planning more of a hostile takeover, i.e.: buying Waystar and having the board be his own? While Roman (who, by the way, is still the golden Roy boy despite his items indiscretion, to Shiv's increasing annoyance) balks at the idea, Logan doesn't seem that shocked. He knows he's out of options, and his children have never been a priority when compared to securing his own future. Roman is promptly sent back to the wedding, at which none of the Roy children seem particularly welcome. Connor is having some kind of identity crisis about being the eldest son and yet never included in the Waystar happenings (may I kindly remind him that he has never been a part of the company, and therefore doesn't really warrant a say in any kind of strategy matters...?), but Willa finally says yes (and immediately regrets it, apparently) so at least we can look forward to yet another wedding finale next season.

Shiv really needs to stop recycling jokes about how much Roman wants to fuck both his parents, it's getting stale, and quite frankly unimaginative on Shiv's part. Her toast isn't much better, except to demonstrate both how desperately she still seeks her parents' approval, whereas they both barely tolerate her, and how delusional she also is about her own marriage. After stringing Tom along for basically their entire relationship, does she really think hers is the marriage to emulate? But before she can begin to question how deep Tom's loyalty goes, murmurs of the GoJo takeover start to spread again, as the Roy children realize they're suddenly not in any kind of loop as to what's truly going on.
Remember how Shiv and Roman kept insinuating that Kendall didn't know a thing about being CEO? Yet when trouble comes along, who do they run to when they don't know how to handle being excluded, or going forward with some kind of plan? Yeah. Kendall, to his credit, does try to support them, but it only takes a few seconds for him to finally unravel and tell them about the waiter from Shiv's wedding.
"Shiv, I'm not here. [...] It's fucking lonely. I'm all apart."
I won't comment on that New Yorker profile, but at the very least, Jeremy Strong brings it during each and every scene. Would the show work without him? No, it would not. Despite the circumstances, it feels right for the siblings to finally unite around Kendall's misery (and, well, their quest to not lose Waystar to their father and Lukas Matsson). Succession is never better than when they riff off each other with a common goal, and I do hope next season brings more of this, as opposed to the rift that existed during the entirety of season three. Roman's attempts at making Ken laugh about it all, and trying to dedramatize something that's been eating at Kendall for months, are both completely inappropriate but also, actually, working, even if it's on a surface level.

Back to the deal, I'll admit I was surprised that Roman was the one who hesitated about going against Logan, because I'd imagine Kendall actually sees the sale as the way out he's now wanted for a while. But Logan's claws are still deeply entrenched in Roman's psyche, which makes him the weakest link as they finally set off to counter Logan's decision. There's a clause, set up by their mother (thanks to Kendall's knowledge of how the company works, which both of the others lack), that should enable them to halt the sale if Logan can't get their votes. Or so they believe, because as Tom shrewdly put it when Kendall was still trying to rally him, "I’ve never seen Logan get fucked once."
Logan's had the "antiquated" clause changed, and Caroline never put up a fight. She barely seemed to want the children at her own wedding, and obviously her securing her new husband's future was more important than protecting Shiv, Roman, and Kendall's at Waystar. For Roman, going deeper than Logan or even Caroline's betrayal, is Gerri's. Is it even a betrayal though? Gerri was always very clear about how she was going to act, from the very beginning of her being named interim CEO: does it "best serve the financial interest of the shareholders of the company"? Does it serve her interests? Siding with Roman wouldn't. Going along with the sale, does.
And guess who could possibly have preemptively warned Logan about the children coming over? Who let him know where to send the doughnuts? Who swore fealty, and even offered to sacrifice himself, if it came to sending someone to prison?
The one, the only, Tom Wambsgans. You see, Shiv not only wildly overestimated how loyal he was to her after she constantly put him down, never once thinking of his future whether professional or personal, except as to serving her interests. But she never caught on that the only real partnership he valued, was the one he had with Greg, not her.
"Do you want a deal with the devil?"
"Well...What am I gonna do with a soul anyways? Souls are boring."
Matthew Macfadyen has been exceptionnal all season, but the way he casually came in, got patted on the back by Logan, and asked Shiv how she was, after Logan destroyed any hope the Roy kids had of still being a part of Waystar, was the cherry on top of an acting masterclass.
And thus ends the season, with the future blown wide open for most every character. I, for one, can't wait to see what this means for Kendall, Shiv, and Roman. Do they put their pride aside and go through Mattson's evaluation, in order to try and find a place in the new Waystar normal? Or do they finally set themselves free, and try and "create their millions" elsewhere? How high up are freshly soulless Tom and Greg going to be? And finally, does this mean Alexander Skarsgard is going to be a regular feature in season 4, because I'm certainly here for that.

What did you guys think? Did this finale deliver and make the season overall worth it? What do you think will happen in season 4? As usual, sound off in the comments!

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