‘Succession’ season 3 finale review: HBO drama closes the deal with its riveting finish

The Emmy-winning HBO series entered the season with plenty of hype, which produced the inevitable sniping over whether that reputation was still deserved. But the last two episodes (which weren’t available for review in advance) resulted in the kind of great moments that earned the show all the cultural hype and established it as one of TV’s premiere dramas.

In what seemed like an inevitable progression, deal-hungry commerce mogul Logan Roy (Brian Cox, amazing throughout the show, but especially here) went from buyer to seller, negotiating a deal to control his company, Waystar, to tech start-up GoJo founder and president. Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård).

The agreement—reached from behind the backs of his older children—deprived them of the pass they had each sought from the start, with Logan concluding that securing the company’s future was a higher priority than passing it on to his wholly undeserving heirs.

This ends with a confrontation between Logan, Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Chef (Sarah Snook) and Roman (Kieran Culkin), discovering that their father has once again outdone and outsmarted them. He did so by turning to his ex-wife and their mother (Harriet Walter) to remove the leverage they might have to scuttle any deal. (Chef described the process in distinctly colourful, raw terms.)

In hindsight, the opening sequence in which the Roys play Monopoly, and cheat, sounded like little omen, except that Logan is used to doing it with real peculiarities. His children, born into power, simply aren’t up to snuff, at least for the time being.

A recent confrontation left the youngest, Roman, stuck in the middle, with a vague promise of a job at the newly minted company, and Schiff warned him regarding his father, “You can’t trust him.”

This sequence was followed by another operatic moment in which Kendall—having survived the penultimate, but barely—episode, soon experienced a meltdown. He confessed to his brothers about a death he was at least partially responsible for during season one, and which his father had suppressed.

The Long Hour also contained many memorable lines, confirming that laughing out loud is one of the secret weapons of the “Caliphate”. This included Willa (Justin Loeb) belatedly agreeing to marry Roy’s oldest child (Alan Rock) not by saying “yes” to his proposal but instead, “How bad is that?”

Although series creator Jesse Armstrong has stressed that Rupert Murdoch and his clan aren’t the only inspirations for the series, it’s worth noting that Murdoch made his own amazing deal in 2019 to sell major Disney assets, while retaining control of others. Given that Matson brought up the possibility of leaving Logan some basic trinkets, there’s nothing to fear from him being lethargic in seasons to come, no matter how many they are. (Like CNN, HBO is a unit of WarnerMedia.)
The finale didn’t answer all the burning questions, but of course, in that kind of sequential format, and you didn’t need to. At the same time, it introduced a huge new unknown – what would happen to “Succession” if it actually lost the battle for Waystar’s stewardship, and what would the Roys do without that uproarious prize?

The answer probably wouldn’t be pretty, but if the first three seasons were proof, it would be too close to resist.

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