Succession is all about power—who has the most, who can wield it the best, and who is disastrously blinded by it. So every week during Season 3, The Ringer will check in on how the hierarchy at Waystar Royco shifts with each passing episode. It’s safe to say everything is in disarray—and to steal a line from another HBO series, chaos can be a ladder.
After a brief absence from Succession, Marcia Roy is back—and going straight to the top of the series’ power rankings. When we last saw her toward the end of Season 2, Marcia had seemingly ended her marriage with Logan because she found out not that he may or may not have been having an affair with Rhea Jarrell, but that he coordinated a plan to pass off the CEO reins to Rhea without Marcia’s knowledge. Cheating on her is one thing; making power moves behind her back is another. “You broke something here,” Marcia whispered to Logan just prior to him accepting an award at his 50th anniversary celebration in Dundee. And when he protested the conversation’s timing, Marcia fired back: “Oh, God forbid I miss the plaque! Your shiny, little gravestone!”
With Logan now in danger of being booted from his own company, not to mention the legitimate possibility of facing prison time, he realizes the last thing he needs currently is a messy, public divorce. He summons Marcia to his Bosnian hotel hideout from U.S. authorities and urges her that now is “not a good time to be estranged.” Marcia understands the assignment, but is firm on her stance that significant financial concessions must be made to secure her and her children’s future.
Marcia is not playing around, and at this point, Logan has no choice but to acquiesce.
If Logan is the default “most powerful person on Succession,” he’s a pawn to Marcia’s will at the moment. Should she stray again, she could make his life extremely difficult at a time when the Roy camp needs to exude an air of peace and stability.
Logan, still reeling from Kendall’s press conference, begins “Mass in Time of War” down pretty bad—desperate to win back Marcia and unaware of his children’s whereabouts in New York. “I’m stuck in quicksand. My family have disappeared, the world is wobbling here. Does no one understand what the fuck is happening?” he screams at Hugo. How, then, does the frantic patriarch end this week perched at no. 2?
Simple: donuts. Or as Roman would call them, “relevant donuts.” These donuts have quite possibly saved Logan’s job, his freedom, and, by extension, his life. Prior to the arrival of said donuts to Kendall’s hideout in Rava’s apartment, the four Roy children were veering dangerously close to striking a deal to take down their father. But the box of delivered pastries, as innocent as it might seem, serves as a reminder that Logan—despite having zero confirmation where any of his children actually are—is the all-knowing, all-seeing titan who has ruled over these kids well into their adulthood.
Connor, Roman, and Shiv all subsequently back out of any talks and retreat to their father, sending Kendall into a childish temper tantrum.
Let’s not get it twisted: Logan is still in serious danger (more on that below), but the donuts maneuver is an impressive power move. He’s secured crucial allies—for now—and showcased just how much influence he still wields. By the end of the episode, Logan is apparently so confident that he returns to New York, potential further congressional hearings and warrants for his arrest be damned.
3. Stewy and the Sandies
Yes, there are apparently two: Sandy the father, and Sandi the daughter.
In any case, the Sandies and good ol’ Stewy are still lurking, waiting for the opportunity to depose a once again vulnerable Logan. Stewy sends over a full-sized replica of a Trojan horse to Kendall’s temporary headquarters (sure), which lures him out for a chat to discuss how the group can take over Waystar Royco without furthering an acrimonious proxy battle. Kendall is eager to work with the trio, which could certainly make their acquisition attempt easier.
Stewy and the Sandies don’t get much screen time in this episode (Sandy is only heard over the phone), but they have pretty much nothing to lose and everything to gain. Also, they didn’t oversee decades of corporate criminal activity. That puts them in a prime position of power, I’d say.
It’s hard to think by the end of “Mass in Time of War” that Kendall has any power—he’s failed yet again to rally his siblings around the takedown of their father, he’s more or less begging for Stewy and Sandy’s help, and he’s still working out of his estranged wife’s apartment because he has nowhere else to go. But if we zoom out just a bit … I’m not entirely convinced Kendall was actually depending on his brothers and sister going turncoat to begin with. It would have made his mission a lot easier, yes, and that’s why he’s bummed. But he’s still got Stewy, Sandy, the best lawyer in the country, a savvy branding team, and, as far as we know, the public’s goodwill in his corner. Kendall is essentially back to where he started just an episode earlier—a status quo he seemed awfully content with. The big question surrounding the second-born Roy child is now: What’s up with those incriminating documents he apparently has? The show’s writers seemed to plant a few instances of doubt around their contents, and if Kendall turns out to be bluffing, he’s going to need Lisa Arthur to deliver an all-time legal performance.
Roman’s got a couple of good things going for him, namely that he appears to be Logan’s most trusted child at the moment. Rome’s alliance with Gerri may well also bear fruit down the line. But at the same time, that union may be a curse, considering Logan gives Gerri the cold shoulder upon landing in New York and then tells Shiv that she’ll be protected from the ongoing shitstorm by “wearing a full chemical and biological suit going by the name of Gerri Kellman.”
Roman seems to be hedging his bets on Gerri, so much so that he calls her up asking for advice on Kendall’s proposed takedown despite knowing her guidance is “so compromised as to be completely worthless.” All this to say: Roman might be clutching onto the railings of a sinking ship.
Is Shiv about to fall for her father’s empty promises once again? It certainly looks like it. I know, Shiv, it all sounds so good in theory: Formally join Waystar Royco as a president, get the “experience” everyone says you need, wait for Gerri to take the fall, and then be in prime position to succeed your father as CEO. Of course, trusting Logan on this very topic proved to be a mistake last time. But Shiv lacked the courage to do the alternative: join Kendall and oust their father from the company. And that path would have led to Kendall becoming CEO, a nonstarter for the youngest Roy child who gave up a prestigious position under the likely future president of the United States for a chance to run the family media empire. It’s hard to say where Shiv’s fate resides at the moment, but there are red flags all around her.
7. Lisa Arthur
Kendall’s lawyer barely appears in this episode except to warn him that FBI subpoenas on his precious company documents are coming. Other than that, she’s still the best corporate attorney in America and not in danger of going to jail, so she lands a spot in the middle of the pack.
Gerri is now chief executive officer of Waystar Royco. Now that is power … sike! As we discussed, Logan’s longtime general counsel looks like she’s being intentionally set up to fail. We don’t know yet whether that’ll merely result in immense stress and embarrassment or genuine legal consequences. But hey, she got to take a photo of the news chyron announcing her new position and send it to her daughters. I’m sure the family is proud.
9. Ewan and His Lawyer
Logan’s brother Ewan is back in town to “settle his arrangements” and hooks his grandson up with what appears to be an alternate universe Bernie Sanders who went into law instead of politics.
OF COURSE THIS IS THE LAWYER THAT EWAN RECOMMENDS pic.twitter.com/NBFsXPG0HN— no thoughts head empty (@sleepfucked) October 25, 2021
We know Ewan has serious ethical qualms about the way his brother has run his company, and it appears his late Season 2 threat to Logan that it’s “time to pay up” for building his “empire of shit” is beginning to materialize. Unfortunately for Greg, that could mean a return to the spotlight when he’s really hoping to do the exact opposite. (“I’m kind of too young to be in Congress so much, you know?”)
Connor, as always, does not matter, but I’m bumping him up a few spots just for saying relatively sensible things about their family’s knowledge of the sexual assault scandal at Waystar. He’s also the first Roy child to back out of Kendall’s plan—you could argue that prompted a domino effect of sorts.
Still holed up in Sarajevo with Logan, Tom’s only power in this episode is making Shiv feel like a terrible wife. When she tells him she loves him and asks whether he feels the same, he replies:
Kendall’s assistant does well as always to handle logistics and summon Shiv, Roman, and Connor for a meeting. She doesn’t at all deserve to be yelled at by Kendall when they leave and, for the umpteenth time, she needs a damn raise.
This man hasn’t got a clue, has he? It’s the duality of Cousin Greg, who at times shows flashes of genius like stashing blackmail-worthy company documents, only to do things like beg a first-year law student for legal advice surrounding a potential FBI investigation. Thankfully, he ends up acquiring an actual attorney with the help of Ewan, but even Greg seems to know that that counsel isn’t primarily for his benefit.