'Succession' Season 3 Episode 1 Review: Let the mind games and murky battle begin

The HBO drama begins on a solid note and there's little to suggest that it will sway from the strong and stirring approach


                            'Succession' Season 3 Episode 1 Review: Let the mind games and murky battle begin
Jeremy Strong in Season 3 Episode 1 (HBO)

Contains spoilers for 'Succession' Season 3 Episode 1

'Succession' Season 3 has no time for small talk, not when Logan Roy (Brian Cox)  just got blown away from his own son, Kendall (Jeremy Strong). The season opener sees contrasting approaches from the father-son duo. One makes contingency plans, the other now wants to consolidate on his win. Both are on a war footing. The stations are being filled up, people are choosing sides, and what we can expect is an intense battle royale. 

Kendall is the one calling the shots in the opening episode. He replaces Waystar's PR guru Karolina Novotney (Dagmara Domińczyk) as one of his sudden moves. He sets up base at his ex-wife, Rava's (Natalie Gold) house, and gets his squeeze, Naomi Pierce (Annabelle Dexter-Jones) to the place as well. Logan, on the other hand, has vamoosed to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina to plan ahead and douse the heat. 

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The scandal now makes Logan a sordid and tainted figure and he needs a new successor to the throne and that sees his children — Shiv and Roman, advisors Karl and Frank all putting their hat in the ring. And all the while, it is clear that Logan is the one calling the shots. Kendall wins the move of getting a better lawyer as he ropes in a high-profile attorney Lisa Arthur (Sanaa Lathan) and although he seems to be way too preoccupied with the cultural climate temperature, he has broken the law and the DOJ will eventually start closing in.

At one point, there is that question to see if Kendall will actually implode in all of these events. Roman certainly seems to think so as the dysfunctional family just goes deeper into their own shell. By the end of the episode, there are some major changes, but the mind games are still on. Gerri Kellman is now the interim CEO, and we have no idea what it will do to her relationship with Roman, who almost convinces her of a secret, steamy night.  At the other end, it appears the relationship between Tom and Shiv is probably all but done. When Shiv casually declares her love to Tom, he calmly replies, "Thank you." Is that a hint?

Although it appears that Kendall is on top, there is also that solid thought that he's still operating in a delusional manner. With things looking strong for him, he still has to understand that his father is still the man in control and will move the pieces across the chessboard with ruthless efficiency. 'Succession' Season 3 begins on a solid note and there's little to suggest that it will sway from the strong and stirring approach.

'Succession' Season 3 airs Sundays at 9 pm ET on HBO. 

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