Review: 'Succession' returns looking a lot like 'Succession'

HBO drama returns for its third season looking a lot like its previous two seasons.

Tom Long
Special to The Detroit News

“Succession” is spinning its wheels.

Understand, those wheels still look great. The HBO hit has one of the finest ensemble casts around, and its mix of black comedy and high stakes drama is intoxicating. As is the ongoing intrigue concerning who will rule a gargantuan media empire in the age of misinformation.

Brian Cox and Sarah Snook in "Succession."

Plus, these people are really good at insulting one another.

But the third season of “Succession” spends an awful lot of time waiting for something to happen and in the seven episodes (out of nine) offered for review nothing much does. 

Last season ended with Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) defying his Rupert Murdoch-like father Logan (Brian Cox). Which was also how the first season started, and may well be the key to the next 18 seasons. Everything else just sort of flitters around this father-son dynamic.

Yes, such flittering can be fun, but it all starts to feel a bit static. Logan again is alternately fierce and feeble. Kendall again is a puffed-up empty rooster. Older brother Connor still harbors delusions of running for president, sister Shiv (Sarah Snook) is still trying take land a power position at her father’s company. Her husband, exec Tom Wambsgans (Matthew MacFayden), continues to torment gullible Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun).

The one character who seems to be progressing is vile, snide, amoral brother Roman Roy (Kieran Culkin). Now he’s stupendously vile, snide and amoral.

The show has a few cameos this season — Adrien Brody as a financial powerhouse, Alexander Skarsgård as a tech genius — but mostly it’s about the extended Roy clan back-stabbing and insulting one another while bracing for a big shareholders meeting.

The backstabbing has gone on long enough. It’s time for someone to draw blood and someone to bleed.

Tom Long is a longtime contributor to The Detroit News. 



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