Succession season 3 review: A horror show but wall-to-wall good acting keeps us watching

Succession season 3 review: A horror show but wall-to-wall good acting keeps us watching

You hear people wondering if Prince Charles watches The Crown.

I’d be more interested to hear if he’s watching the third season of Succession (Sky Atlantic and NOW TV). Because it’s about him really. Or at least Kendall Roy, the eldest son of Logan Roy, is based on him as far as I can see.

Jeremy Strong at the Succession Season 3 premiere

Yes, Succession is about a media dynasty that could be the Murdochs for a number of reasons, but the Roy family is much more like The Royal Family. It’s all there in Season 3 — Logan Roy (Queen Elizabeth) remains in charge, still navigating various shit-storms caused by his offspring. Kendall (Prince Charles), the eldest child and most obvious successor to the crown, ended Season 2 with a dramatic press conference where he accused his father of covering up instances of sexual misconduct in the company. 

The new season picks up from there as Logan rallies the rest of the family to see off the challenge, sending most of them back to New York, while he heads for a place that doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the United States. Everyone pledges allegiance to him — the daughter Shiv, the son Roman, Shiv’s husband Tom — while keeping the door open to Kendall in case he finally manages to persuade the shareholders to choose him over his father.

Succession: Kendall Roy is at the heart of Season 3

Kendall is at the heart of Season 3. And that’s why you have to watch it. Succession is wall-to-wall good acting, but even Brian Cox as Logan would have to take a bow to Jeremy Strong’s Kendall. The pained smile, the awkward walk, the puppy-like demeanour just dying for a pat on the back from actually talented people, particularly if they are women: it’s a horror show but we can’t look away.

Succession season three, from left, Sarah Snook, Kieran Culkin, and Brian Cox

It helps that the writing has somehow managed to go up another notch this season, so I found myself laughing at the tiniest little bits of throw-away dialogue.

That said, I flagged a bit after the first two episodes. They piled into the action assuming we’d re-watched the machinations at the end of Season 2, which I hadn’t, and it took me a while to catch up. There was also a deja vu feeling to it — the same old characters plotting against each other, even if the dialogue never failed to deliver.

Succession. HBO

I was back onside after episode 3, as Kendall’s smile started to fade and the momentum drained from his challenge. I’ve seen up to episode 7, a set-piece birthday party that feels more gruesome than the battle scenes in Game of Thrones. I’ve no idea if Kendall will turn the t

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