Succession is back, and dare we say, better than ever?
Following the explosive events from the second season finale, the Season 3 premiere episode follows the Roys divided, with Logan’s (Brian Cox) and Kendall’s (Jeremy Strong) respective teams scrambling to figure out their next move. (It might even remind you of a particular Marvel movie.)
After plenty of commiserating and sharp remarks, Logan goes to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina that coincidentally doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the United States. Tom (Matthew Macfadyen), Frank, Hugo, and Karl stay with Logan, as he sends Shiv (Sarah Snook), Roman (Kieran Culkin), and Gerri (J. Smith Cameron) back to the States.
Kendall, on the other hand, loses access to Waystar-Royco’s headquarters. It puts him continuously on the move in New York City with assistant Jess (Juliana Canfield) and Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun) until he arrives and transforms the apartment of his ex-wife Rava (Natalie Gold) into his new base of operations.
Amid all this, the episode aims to answer who will take Logan’s place as interim CEO. It comes down to Roman, Shiv, and Gerri. The tension between the three reaches all-time heights as they all want the coveted, if temporary, role. Who ends up being the new head of Waystar-Royco? And will the decision cause alliances to shift once again? Let’s break down the episode’s ending.
Succession Season 3 Episode 1 ending: Did Roman help Gerri?
Roman wants to rule the empire, but what he wants more is for his sister, Shiv, not to be named CEO. When Roman calls his dad to make a case for himself, he also tells Logan, “All bitterness aside, I do wonder if maybe it isn’t Gerri time?”
This phone call singlehandedly destroys any chance Roman had at being named CEO. While he reasserted his interest in the position while also suggesting Gerri, Roman’s unconfident demeanor on the call tells Logan all he needs to know. Once Logan hangs up, he announces to his team in Sarajevo that Roman is out.
As we know, Roman and Gerri share a special relationship. (Despite their chemistry, Gerri keeps reminding Roman that nothing happened between them — although that doesn’t stop his flirting.) Whether Roman acted like this on purpose to get Gerri the seat instead of his sister isn’t clear. Roman is cunning, but his father is intimidating. So, Roman could easily feel scared to talk to his dad but still try to manipulate his decision.
Roman knows Gerri looks after him. She wants to make sure he can’t get embroiled in the scandal and denies his advances to avoid “mess,” as she says. In Roman's eyes, the path to ruling the empire might not be through succeeding his dad but warming up to Gerri.
Logan eventually chooses Gerri to be Waystar-Royco’s interim CEO. If that was Roman’s intention all along, then it worked, but not without some unintentional help from Shiv.
Succession Season 3 Episode 1 ending: Where is Shiv?
Determined to win the CEO role, Shiv reaches out to Lisa Arthur (Sanaa Lathan), a high-profile lawyer. Lisa could help Logan with his case against Kendall and the sexual harassment allegations. Shiv is reticent at first and then nervous about going meet with Lisa, who she calls a friend. After all, there seems to be an unspoken agreement between Shiv and her father: If she can’t land this lawyer, she will be out of the running for CEO.
She was right to be nervous as the meeting didn't go well. Lisa lets Shiv down easy at the start of their meeting, saying she’s not the right fit for Logan’s legal team. So, Shiv pivots a bit, asking for help and personal advice on her and Tom’s roles in the company and scandal.
Shiv explains how she's stuck between her dad and brother and pleads with Lisa to help her navigate the next steps and fallout the company faces. But Lisa stops Shiv in her tracks and says she can’t give Shiv any legal advice. Shiv picks up on the meaning immediately. Lisa joined Kendall’s legal team.
Surprised that Kendall snagged Lisa before her, Shiv doesn’t take the loss well and snaps at Lisa before storming out of her office. In the car, Shiv gets a call from Roman, who wants to be “nice,” and tells her that Logan picked Gerri.
Shiv hangs up on Roman and tells her driver, “change of plan,” and we see her car make a u-turn. Where is Shiv going? Given that she is in New York and just learned that her dad didn’t pick her, it’s fair to guess that she’s on her way to see Kendall. Whether that’s to join forces with him or convince him to back down, that’s hard to say.
Succession Season 3 Episode 1 ending: Is Kendall winning the game?
Headquartered in Rava’s home, Kendall greets Lisa and her team while his girlfriend, Naomi Pierce (Annabelle Dexter-Jones), also arrives.
Lisa isn’t as charmed by Kendall’s overtures (“They’ll make a movie about you,” he tells her.), and she reminds him that the situation he is in is complex. He wants to take down his dad without implicating himself or hurting the company.
Kendall promises Lisa that he’ll be her puppet, just as Rava starts screaming because Greg accidentally opened a priceless bottle of wine that Rava’s godfather gave to her. Greg apologizes profusely, as Rava says it’s fine. (It’s not fine.)
“It’s like when someone breaks something beautiful, it reminds you that nothing lasts,” she says to them with a pointed smile at Kendall. It goes over Kendall’s head as he tells Greg that he must be doing something right to be surrounded by “all these brilliant fucking women.”
Meanwhile, in Sarajevo, as Logan is wondering where Shiv is, Logan calls and tells Frank that Lisa Arthur is representing him. Logan is surprised to be bested again by his son.
“We’ll fucking beast them. We’ll go full fucking beast!” he yells as he storms out of his room and hotel, looking more lost than ever before.
Succession Season 3 Episode 1 Power Ranking
The Succession Power Ranking is Inverse’s weekly evaluation of the Roy family's ever-shifting power dynamics.
Who landed on top of this week’s episode of Succession? Our ranking of the top 3 characters:
- Kendall Roy
- Gerri Kellman
- Roman Roy
After each team raced to strategize their subsequent movies, the clear winner is Kendall. Although he’s far from being grounded, not only did he get Lisa Arthur as his attorney, but his actions have unseated Logan as CEO. The end of the episode makes him look unstoppable, and when you compare that to Logan’s lost look in Sarajevo, well, it seems like Kendall is leading the race to the top of the empire.
Following Kendall, props must go to Gerri, who gained new power as interim CEO, even if Logan holds the strings in the background. Roman may have lost his shot at the top role, but his relationship with Gerri may have elevated his position.
Will all this change in next week’s episode? Probably. Like Rava says, nothing beautiful lasts. Kendall may be on top of the world now, but likely not for long.
Succession Season 3 premieres new episodes Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Max.