Succession Season 3(HBO, 9 Episodes )
Starring Jeremy Strong as Kendall, Kieran Culkin as Roman, and Sarah Snook as Shiv, Matthew Macfadyen s as Tom Wambsgans
Underwhelming, but nonetheless engaging…that was my impression of Succession. I may be wrong. The response to the feudal stimuli is strong. And millions can’t be wrong. Ever since Succession began beaming on HBO in 2018 it has taken the world by storm.
The murderous antics of the Roy family is unmistakably galvanic. The Roys mean business.Their brusque brutality in their selfserving world is a delightful antidote to all that we have heard seen and experience in our familiar family zone.
The Roys are very Mughal in their determination to usurp the throne even if it amounts to a blizzard of bloodspill. Miraculously no one gets killed, although we hear a lot of talk of power-slaying. Season 3 is more murderously Machiavellian than the other two seasons. It starts with the Roy son Kendall(Jeremy Strong) publicly taking down his all-powerful father Logan Roy(Brian Cox) from the business empire’s leadership.
The series is handsomely mounted. The family is shown to be lavish in their lifestyle as well as their usurping aspirations.
For a large part the new season is about Logan’s heirs, besides Kendal, younger son Roman(Kieran Culkin) and daughter Shiv(Sarah Snook) trying to grab power. Their serpentine maneouvres are not at all shocking to us.We know enough about the power games that go on in business families to know that this family will stop at nothing to gain power.
Admirably the plot is restrained about the limits of avarice. Every character no matter how unscrupulously avaricious retains a certain core of humanism.And that to me is the series’ redemptive defining core. That apart, the series is directed with a lot of long shots and handheld cameras capturing the sweaty anxiety of a family on the brink.
What I sorely miss in this season is emotional equilibrium. The actors seem to have been told to bury their characters’ feelings in a rubble of opportunism. Some of the performances, such as Kieran Culkin as the youngest Roy heir, and Matthew Macfadyen(he reminds of the tainted but brilliant Kevin Spacey) as Shiv’s husband, are brazenly over-the-top, as though to remind us that the wages of sin are hyper-theatrical acting.
The series in this season, manages to maintain a controlled momentum right till the end. Succession in Season 3 justifies its existence even though most of the characters are hellbent on discrediting themselves, none more so than Brian Cox’s Logan who is a foul-mouthed ruthless reprehensible business tycoon. Quite the role model for the young generation of ambitious wannabe tycoons.