Pinky and the raid: ‘Succession’ season 3, episode 3 recap

Scene from Succession Season 3
HBO Max/Courtesy

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Content warning: sexual assault.

Quote of the week: “That’s rude. Rude boy.”

“Succession” has never been a show to pull punches, but this week’s episode hits a new level of brutality as both sides go on the offensive. 

Over at Waystar Royco, Shiv (Sarah Snook) has stepped into her new administrative role, planning a company-wide town hall and eagerly offering to “neutralize” her brother Kendall (Jeremy Strong). 

But Waystar’s problem, it seems, is having too many cooks in a kitchen ready to burst with flame. Between Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron) as acting CEO, Shiv as domestic president and Logan (Brian Cox) as their puppetmaster, there’s no coherency to their game plan. Gerri urges Logan to cooperate with the ongoing federal investigation; seconds later, Logan rejects her advice and refuses to submit to a document subpoena. 

Of course, Kendall isn’t faring any better. En route to a journalism benefit, he strikes up a round of “good tweet, bad tweet,” having his band of rich millennials read out trending comments about him. It’s all fun and games until one of the tweets bluntly mentions his struggles with addiction and mental health — another crack in his already fragile shell.  

The benefit itself is a gaudy affair. With twinkling piano and a hyper-focused close-up, Shiv professes her desire to reform Waystar from the inside, met with nothing but her brother’s dismissal. For all his claims of uplifting women, “Succession” makes it abundantly clear that Kendall is nobody’s ally; he’s simply the wrong person on the right side of history. 

Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) gets a particularly juicy plotline this episode. After receiving word from his lawyer that he’s first in line for prison, he considers offering himself to Logan as a scapegoat to score some last-minute brownie points. With Shiv’s tentative encouragement, he makes the offer — only to leave and request legal consultation over the phone. 

It’s difficult to guess at his game, in part because Tom was never really a player before now: Is he planning to defect? Did he lie about the original lawyer just to test his expendability? Will he ever buy Greg the watch he promised? All this and more remains inscrutable.

Kendall, meanwhile, makes his best move of the night by staging a surprise visit to Waystar headquarters — outrageously, he’s still an employee — and forcing the company to let him in. But before he can get comfortable, an unsettling man enters his office, eyes trained like a predator, and whispers, “I know you.” 

It might take fans a moment to recognize him, but when they do, the realization is a big one: It’s the same man that helped Kendall cover up manslaughter at the end of the first season.

The town hall begins soon after, Shiv at its helm with a canned speech on the sexual assault investigation. But in a moment of dizzying irony, Nirvana’s “Rape Me” begins to drown her out, blaring from speakers placed by Kendall during his brief visit. Snook gives a powerful performance here — a moment of pure, ugly bitterness in Kendall’s office as she discovers his sabotage. 

From there, the episode is a bloodbath. Shiv publishes a ruthless letter exposing Kendall as an addict, liar and absentee father, on the same day that her brother is scheduled to appear on the talk show of comedian Sophie Iwobi (Ziwe Fumudoh). This is Kendall’s breaking point — the final crack that killed poor Humpty. Fifteen minutes from filming, he learns about the letter and slowly, painfully walks until he finds somewhere to hide. 

Roman (Kieran Culkin) remains on the sidelines for now, lying his way through an interview about his father only for Logan to call him a slur for being too sentimental. It’s a genuinely painful moment, and from there it only builds, cutting straight to Kendall watching the Iwobi show go on without him. Iwobi reads Shiv’s scathing letter to her audience, and Kendall, knees tucked to his chest like a child, just listens. 

But the final trick of the night goes far beyond daddy issues and sibling rivalry. The appearance of the FBI sends this episode into warp speed, and with his back against the wall, Logan has no choice but to finally heed Gerri’s warning and cooperate with the raid.  

Where the whirlwind of a season may go from here is impossible to say. But right now, viewers can walk away with one certainty, at least: Always listen to Gerri. 

Contact Lauren Sheehan-Clark at [email protected]ycal.org.