As a different HBO show about shitty families once opined: “When you play the Game of Thrones, you either win or you die. There is no middle ground.” Likewise, when you play the game of Succession you either succeed or... you fly commercial. And in the Season Three opener of the series last week, the Roy family broke into two very clear teams: Team Kendall and Team Logan, with Team Kendall winning the slight advantage by securing Lisa Arthur as counsel and Shiv’s game time decision to hear her brother out on their chances of taking down their father.
However, Episode Two saw the teams breaking down into subcategories. Everyone, regardless of their allegiance, is in this for themselves except for Roman, who — bless the sweet heart in my tiny precious king — seems to be in this for Gerri. But as Kendall showed once again what an incompetent and vindictive dork he is with his elevator pitch to win his sibling’s allegiance (a pitch that boiled down to “Let me be daddy now, okay?”), the children Roy and Cousin Greg each scrambled to find some safe haven for the coming battle. The teams, as I see them currently, are Logan and Shiv, Gerri and Roman, and Greg and Ewan (with special teammate Socialist Lawyer). Currently teamless is poor Tom, unless you count Shiv, which you should not; Connor, unless you count that woman who is with him for his money; Kendall, unless you count that woman who is with him for his drug habitl; and Marcia, unless you count the fact that she is always on Team Marcia, which makes her a strong contender for being the last Roy standing.
Here are our winners and losers of the week:
Winner: Honestly, this week I’ve gotta say Logan. He’s winning the same way he always wins: By relying of the fact that all his enemies will ultimately be taken down by their own hubris and cowardice. If Kendall would let go of the idea that he’s the indisputable leader of this revolution and open himself up to the idea that he’s going to have to share the crown if he wants to take it, things might have gone differently at the sibling tête-à-tête. On the flip side, the rest of the Roy children are too scared to eat doughnuts provided by their father for fear of poisoning, so it’s possible they’d never have the courage even if Kendall’s speeches weren’t so lame. Truly, I’d have walked out the minute Ken said “I’m the real you.” The confidence with which this man can sound like an embarrassing nerd makes one both sad and furious.
Honorable Mention: The doughnuts, which were the only characters in this episode that managed to retain even a shred of dignity.
Loser: For me, it’s Kendall. He had the advantage and threw it away with his humiliating Polonius impersonation. He’s back on track for another brutal (and public) loss to his father if someone besides Naomi the wine snob doesn’t join him soon. And, this time, the punishment is not going to be a little spa weekend in the desert.
Winner: Marcia, Marcia, MARCIA. Marcia made a triumphant return this week and raked her estranged husband Logan Roy over the coals for humiliating her with his flirtation with Holly Hunter’s Rhea Jarrell last season. This week’s episode all but cemented that Logan and Rhea got down and dirty together, yet now Marcia is willing to make amends... for a price. Our girl really said, “Write me a check that allows me to take care of my children and my children’s children for the end of time and I won’t embarrass you like you embarrassed me.” That’s queen shit.
Loser: Daddy’s eternally least favorite, Connor Roy. To start, Alan Ruck deserves an Emmy for his portrayal of the guileless and gutless eldest of the Roy brood. But nothing was more pitiful this week than Kendall declaring in Connor’s face, “you’re not wanted” repeatedly. It’s evocative of the arguments you have with your siblings when you’re fourteen and proof that the Roys have never really grown up. It wouldn’t be unfair to say that the Roys and their stunted emotional growth means that they’re all losers this week, but Connor’s lack of a backbone makes him the biggest loser of them all.
Honorable Loser Mention: Tom and Shiv’s “unbalanced love portfolio.”
Winner: Marcia swooped into Sarajevo to help Logan look a tiny bit less undesirable—if that’s even possible at this point. Dad was moments away from crying into a sad cold-cut salad. Her presence came with stipulations and she seems to be the only person getting compensated from attaching themselves to this disaster. Marcia’s also making sure her son gets a piece of the pie in the greatest “if I eat, we all eat” move I’ve see on this show thus far.
Loser: There is literally no respect for Connor, who couldn’t even manage to pull a private flight out of Croatia. Poor lad had to sort through the trauma of his father’s emotional abuse on a commercial flight in front of a small screen playing the coming attractions. It doesn’t get much lower than this.
Falling Rapidly: Kendall’s position continues to weaken because he is selfish and has absolutely no self-awareness. He’s taken over Rava’s house (allowing visitors in his daughters bed in their outside clothes, yuck) and won’t shut up long enough to listen to Lisa Arthur. He also remains one rager away from the grave. Potentially sending Kendall to jail was a bad move for Logan, but I have to admit it that it wasn’t the worst idea when you weigh this against the time he would have gotten for getting loaded and killing the waiter from Shiv’s wedding. It’s honestly like getting Al Capone on tax evasion.
Winner: Okay, here’s a dark horse option... Kendall? Maybe? Look, his attitude right now is appalling, and if he keeps this up he won’t have a single ally left, familial or otherwise. He needs to humble himself considering he can’t find a suitable Destroy Daddy Headquarters beyond his ex-wife’s (incredible) apartment. Still, I maintain that his decision to separate himself from Logan and Waystar was a move that will pay off in the end, and that his siblings are hitching themselves to dear ol’ dad to their own peril. Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t, of course, I get what they’re doing and why. But maybe Kendall’s hard break from the family is what he needed to come out on top in the long run. I mean, the FBI is literally knocking on Waystar’s door! We’ll find out what’s good next week, but I don’t think Kendall is as doomed as some think.
And, yes, Marcia definitely won this week too.
Loser: Poor Greg, this last episode really showed us just how in over his head he is with this whole thing. His brief interactions with both Tom and his “lawyers” were anxiety-inducing, largely because while it’s clear that they aren’t necessarily prioritizing Greg’s best interests, Greg doesn’t even seem to know what his own best interests are. He wants to act like Switzerland, but he’s going to have to learn how to do that in real-time before it’s too late. And considering just how much Greg knows, there’s a big chance that Greg’s fat mouth will start running to the wrong person at the wrong time. I love watching Nicolas Braun in action—he is so good at being a hapless dork—but I spent half of Sunday’s episode freaking out, waiting for Greg to fuck up. He’s truly in his flop era right now, and I really need some of that Roy family cunning to show up again.
Honorable mention: Shiv’s contact photo for her dad wins something this week.