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‘Succession’ Season 3 Power Rankings, Week 8: Poisonous Mozzarella

As things get worse and worse for Kendall, an accidental text turns the dynamics of this season upside down

HBO/Ringer illustration

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.

1. Lukas Matsson

A recurring theme throughout this season’s Succession power rankings is that this list is less about which characters are doing the best, and more about which characters have come closest to staving off the maximum amount of anguish. Take Lukas Matsson. Lukas Matsson is not happy. He’s dissatisfied with his stunning villa on the shores of Lake Como and has achieved so much success that he’s now aroused only by “as much failure as possible, as fast as possible.” The Swedish GoJo founder is in the middle of an existential crisis, searching for meaning in a world of easily solvable equations. And yet, despite it all, he still has power. And he knows it.

Early in “Chiantishire,” Karolina alerts the Waystar brain trust that Matsson, doing his best Elon Musk impression, is tweeting out cringe memes that could drastically alter GoJo’s stock price. That’s not good news for Waystar, given that the Snapchat-esque filter of Matsson vomiting money, along with the caption “Going to Macau, feeling lucky,” suggests Matsson just scored a big payout—potentially rocketing GoJo’s share value at a time when Waystar is trying to buy it. Roman, who seemingly managed to broker a deal with Matsson in the previous episode, is befuddled.

After helicoptering out to Matsson’s gorgeous retreat, Roman learns that the “Odin of codin’” is even smarter than Waystar hoped: Not only can he revolutionize Waystar’s entire business model with his cutting-edge streaming technology, but he also recognizes the full capital value of doing so. Matsson assures Roman that he’s still game to work with the company, but only in a merger of equals—not an acquisition, as was initially discussed.

Upon hearing this news, Logan, who as recently as an episode ago was telling Matsson to “fuck off” with his ghosting negotiation tactics, has no choice but to consider the proposal. Waystar needs GoJo to stay relevant—or in business altogether—even if it means relinquishing some control.

Lukas may be sleeping on a camping mat on the bare floor of his multimillion-dollar lake house because he hasn’t been able to do a deep dive on “the best mattress in the world,” but it can’t be denied—at the moment, he’s got one of the biggest corporations on the planet in the palm of his hand.

2. Shiv

Only people with astonishing power can get away with saying things like this to their significant other:

Screenshots via HBO

This very same episode, Shiv’s mother called her a “shitty daughter” and confessed that she would’ve been better off having dogs instead of children, but that doesn’t even come close to the savagery of this sequence. Under the guise of dirty talk, Shiv unleashed her true estimation of Tom directly to his face and gleefully watched him stutter in response. Tom, with his career aspirations tied to Waystar and the rest of his life tied to the girl who kinda-sorta owns Waystar, seems frozen in place and increasingly unhappy. Meanwhile, Shiv is doing the same thing her mother criticized Logan for: continually kicking something just to see if it’ll keep coming back.

But wildly callous roleplay aside, Shiv’s on the up for a more significant reason: Two competing rivals for CEO, her brother and current interim boss Gerri Kellman, were pretty much both removed from contention in one swift text of a dick. Shiv pounces on Roman’s mistake and corners Gerri in the aftermath, urging her to file a formal complaint to HR against Roman. “If you don’t, it could be argued that you welcomed these photos … and that just undermines your position,” Shiv explains, clearly faking any and all legitimate concern for Gerri.

Shiv has spent the past two seasons getting jerked around by her father’s empty promises to make her CEO. Now, out of nowhere, an opportunity has presented itself. With Roman and Gerri out, Kendall definitely out, and Connor too busy running for president of the United States and generally being incomptetant, Logan may have no choice but to turn to his daughter.

3. Peter Munion

The Onion certainly has layers all right—multiple bankruptcies, failed businesses, and children from previous marriages, all hidden under the surface of his disarming English accent and lime-green chinos. But Peter is winning in spite of all this: He apparently convinced a wealthy shareholder of Waystar Royco to marry him five months into a relationship without a prenup. I tip my panama hat to you, good sir.

4. Logan

Logan is more or less fine, in the absolute vaguest sense of the word. He’s being held a bit hostage by Matsson’s demands, which is sure to culminate in the season finale. Other than that, he’s mostly just enjoying the Tuscan sun and calling his sons a “laughingstock” and a murderer. You know, typical Logan tingz.

5. Cousin Greg

Cousin Greg is climbing up the date ladder! His courtship with Comfry is going decently—like, she actually willingly kisses him on the cheek at the wedding’s pre-ceremony—which has people like:

And yet, that sweet kiss was cut short when Comfry promptly veered off to attend to matters on her phone, which she does a lot. Like, a lot.

No one wants to date an “It’s ’cause you be on that phone” person, and beyond that, Greg is wondering whether Comfry will remain interested in him once she peels her eyes away from the Gmail app long enough to learn who Greg actually is. So following the highly questionable advice of Shiv and Tom, Greg sets his sights on someone even more out of his league. His subsequent approach to an actual contessa does … not go great, but props to Greg (I guess?) for showing some self-respect. Just make sure to actually break up with Comfry before dating a yogurt brand ambassador, buddy!

6. Caroline Collingwood

The Roy matriarch doesn’t come around too often, but when she does, she does a great job of making her children feel like shit. She asks Kendall to stay away from various events on the wedding’s itinerary, prioritizing the comfort of her ex-husband and his networking appeal to her new husband. She trades insults with Shiv over some wine before hitting her with: “The truth is, I probably never should have had children. … You’ve made the right decision. Some people are just not made to be mothers.”

Upon hearing this, Shiv immediately returns home to Tom and tells him she wants to be a mother. Caroline’s power.

Also, Caroline’s opulent Italian wedding is a pretty hefty flex, and given the state of her soon-to-be-husband’s finances, you can bet that Caroline paid for most of it.

7. Willa

Ready or not, Willa is about to determine the fate of Connor’s dodgy presidential run. It appears her options are as follows: (a) Marry Connor; (b) break up with Connor, and lose all the financing for her fledgling theater career; (c) remain in the status quo and have a Politico reporter uncover her history of working as a call girl, which … she essentially still is.

Naturally, Willa is taking her time with this one:

People often say that about marriage as a general concept.

8. Connor

Hate to say it, but I wouldn’t be shocked if this wasn’t the first time Connor received a response like this to a marriage proposal:

What I also can’t get over is that in 2021, did my guy really not anticipate that journalists would investigate the background of a presidential candidate? Oh, Connor.

9. Tom

Tom might just be the saddest person in all of Succession, which, as we’ll get to shortly, is a remarkable achievement. His marriage is down so bad he’s saying “Fuck you” to his wife before hate sex, which they’re having because they want to have kids. As if it couldn’t get worse, the following morning, Shiv basically says, “Actually, when I said ‘let’s have kids,’ I meant let’s freeze our eggs for a decade and see where we’re at then.” If I’m those embryos, I’m screaming from inside the womb: “Please don’t bother!”

10. Roman

Roman was so close to pulling off the impossible: actually convincing his father he’s fit to run the biggest media company in the world. Even after his Matsson setback, Roman showed great poise to prevent the deal from entirely collapsing, and somehow persuaded Logan and the rest of the company players to set aside their pride and consider turning Waystar Royco into GoJo Royco. The guy was mere seconds away from a goddamn coup—and then he sent a dick pic to his dad. He’s once again a “sicko,” and his metaphorical stock in the boardroom is in free fall.

And yet … despite Logan’s disgust, Roman will ultimately be fine, because he’s a Roy. Which brings us to …

11. Gerri

On the scale of “Who fucked up more?” Gerri is certainly on the lower end. Sure, maybe she shouldn’t have engaged Roman’s perverted antics in the first place, but you can’t really fault her for harvesting it as some sort of Roy family protection. And at the end of the day, she is literally being sexually harrassed, and we’re not going to victim blame here. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what Shiv appears to be doing—and given Gerri was always in a precarious position of power, a figurehead who could be guillotined the second she’s no longer needed, you have to worry for Gerri’s future. Thankfully, she’s trained as an attorney, and she manages to back out of her initial altercation with Shiv with some smooth lawyer talk. But with HR potentially getting involved, adding to an ongoing—albeit quieted down—Department of Justice probe, that legal knowledge may go only so far.

12. Iverson

Not only is Iverson suffering from a terrible first name (and I say this as a Philadelphia native) and an all but absent father, but his grandfather is making him taste-test food in case it’s poisoned.

What’s worse is his answer when Logan asks if he enjoys mozzarella:

Mozzarella, contrary to what Iverson thinks, is delicious. But even more distressing, this poor kid risked it all for cheese. Just terrible.

13. Kendall

Ah, where do I begin? There are two ways to assess where “Chiantishire” leaves Kendall. Let’s start with option one: Kendall’s dead.

Pretty self-explanatory, right?

Now, option two, which is of great debate among Succession fans right now: Kendall comes out of this precarious situation alive. Is Kendall not actually passed out with his head in the water, but merely in a state of total apathy, perhaps simulating the sensation of the caterer drowning—as his father so kindly reminded him of earlier in the episode—as a twisted form of self-punishment? There are all sorts of ways to interpret this moment and what it means, but what’s clear is that Kendall is not in a good place. He’s shaved his head, invoking the image of a prisoner. His own family is actively shunning him in public. He’s received news from Comfry that a podcast is digging into the mysterious death of the caterer at Shiv’s wedding. His father won’t follow through on his offer to pay him out and release him from the company’s board. His relationship with his children is nonexistent.

Kendall may not be dead, but it wouldn’t be a stretch to think that he wishes he were. Where does Kendall, as a character, go from here? Regardless of Kendall’s fate, the central figure of Succession is absolutely powerless.