Review by Sean Boelman
Succession has made a name for itself as one of the greatest shows currently airing on television, and so the long-awaited third season is one of the biggest television events of 2021. This is a show that gets increasingly nuanced with each new entry, and the shifting dynamics of this new season are absolutely riveting.
Following Kendall Roy’s shocking defection from the family at the end of season two, the series follows the Roy family as they attempt to keep Waystar Royco from collapsing due to internal and external threats. It’s more of the backstabbing and cutthroat antics that fans of the show have come to love, although this time with even higher stakes.
This is inarguably the most technical season yet, as the volatile nature of relationships in the series is heightened even further. With all of the double-crossing that happens, it can become a bit difficult to keep track of who is on which side at any given point, but this is part of the charm of the series.
One of the most interesting things about this season is that it takes the characters in very different directions. Much of the first two seasons is the audience loving to hate the family members (with the exception of Cousin Greg, who is just outright lovable), but this season adds a lot more depth to them.
Kendall, for example, has been one of the least sympathetic characters in the show, but these new episodes turn him into a sort of antihero. Although the whininess and privilege that has always been a fundamental part of his character is still there, this goes deeper into his scars and how they made him who he is.
Other characters that get really interesting arcs include Cousin Greg, Tom, and Shiv. Likely in response to how well-received the character has been by fans and critics, Cousin Greg’s role this season is significantly expanded. He’s gone from being a humorous side character to a significant player in this civil war, which is a welcome change.
Jeremy Strong is at his best yet in his role, bringing even more nuance than he did in his Emmy-winning turn last season. Fan-favorite Nicholas Braun is certainly a standout here, giving a performance that is a shit ton of fun to watch. And the rest of the family — Brian Cox, Kieran Culkin, Sarah Snook, Matthew Macfadyen, and Alan Ruck — are all great as well. New cameos this season include Adrien Brody and Alexander Skarsgård, both of whom are memorable.
In what will be a surprise to absolutely no one, this new season of Succession is absolutely exceptional. Although this won’t win over many converts, it’s a brilliant continuation of what has already come from the series to this point.
Succession premieres on HBO on October 17 at 9pm ET/PT with new episodes airing subsequent Sundays. Seven out of nine episodes reviewed.