Siobhan Roy’s brutality has always lingered just at the edge of the frame in Succession, and in Season 3’s “The Disruption,” Logan’s only daughter demonstrated just how vicious she’s become after a lifetime of exclusion from Daddy Roy’s inner circle.
The episode opens, however, on Kendall. Seated at a pristine lunch spot with a journalist, Ken is flying high. “The DOJ and I are in contact about the terms of my immunity deal, so yeah,” he tells a bemused journalist. “It does not look good for them!”
When asked about how he and his siblings’ relationship has fared since he refused to take the fall for his father and instead threw Logan Roy and his administration under the bus at a press conference, Kendall projects serenity: “I’m happy in my headspace,” he beams, “and I hope they’re happy in theirs.”
Shiv and Roman waste no time before mocking the feature on their way to a meeting at Waystar to plan the company’s response to Kendall’s revelations. This season’s “We Here for You” appears to be, “We Get It.” Shiv is appropriately unimpressed with the idea, but even now with the title of “president” she finds herself going along with it. Her husband, meanwhile, spends his day torturing Cousin Greg for refusing to take a Waystar lawyer. (Gregory’s new office is now... the mail room.)
As for how Tom’s doing? Well, he’s figured out he’s probably going to jail, and when he suggests to Shiv that he offer to Logan that he become the fall guy for the whole cruises scandal, she calls the idea “punchy.” So there’s that!
And because nothing screams “sibling reunion” louder than a charity benefit, Shiv and Kendall find themselves face to face at the Committee for the Protection and Welfare of Journalists gala. Shiv looks stunning as usual, and Kendall makes an ass of himself as usual—this time by yelling “Fuck the patriarchy!” on his way in.
At first it appears Kendall wants to make nice; he apologizes for throwing “a couple ugly rocks” last time he and Shiv saw one another. (Translation: Shouting, “It’s only your teats that give you any value!”) But when Shiv tries to make the case that they actually want the “same thing”—and that she just believes change can only happen from the inside, yada yada—Kendall’s tone shifts.
It’s hard to tell which makes Kendall angrier: that Shiv can’t tell she’s being played just like he was, or that she’s still in the running for a job he still desperately wants to win the old-fashioned way. “They made you get all dressed up for this?” he asks with a patronizing grin. “Look at this. It’s you now.” He makes sure to tell his sister he feels “sorry” for her before walking away.
While Kendall and Logan’s power struggle has unfolded for three seasons in Succession’s foreground, Kendall and Shiv have waged their own little war in the background—a powder keg that now appears ready to explode.
Connor was never in the running for Logan’s mantle, and Kendall has spent most of his life, it seems, training to be the successor. As Logan’s only daughter, Shiv has been treated as a last resort to her brothers, waiting—despite her initial claims to the contrary—for someone to talk Logan into “bringing her in.” Roman, meanwhile, is the last born in a line of four and appears to understand better than any of his siblings just how rotten the family legacy actually is—even as he continues to lust after it for reasons he can’t quite understand.
Logan’s refusal to give his daughter a run at the throne for so long has warped her spirit just like his groom-and-humiliate pattern has damaged Kendall. Neither Kendall nor Shiv will admit that they want to take over their father’s company not just to fix things, but so that they can claim the power he once lorded over them. And both of them operate like open wounds.
Kendall, however, would tell you that he’s doing great! On the way to the benefit, he and his girlfriend Naomi Pierce join a private car full of hot people for a game of “Good Tweet, Bad Tweet.” Everyone recites social media posts about Kendall—some positive, some negative, and some uncomfortably accurate.
Still, unfazed by the social media backlash—“Backlash? This is being in the conversation, this is fuckin’ great!”—Kendall books himself on a late-night show that’s made a running bit of mocking him. (Hi, Ziwe!)
After that run-in with Shiv, however, Kendall decides he should come into the office. “I can’t let them dominate the battle space, Lisa!” he barks at his furious lawyer on the phone before staging a stand-off at the office turnstiles. Once he’s upstairs, Kendall reveals the depth of his delusion.
When Kendall runs into Tom—whom you’ll recall our dear Ken forced to “eat shit” for him in Season 1, exposing his brother-in-law to the cruises nightmare to keep his own hands clean—he speaks with condescending self-satisfaction. “You’re actually in a bad spot,” Kendall tells a conspicuously quiet Tom. “Another life is possible, brother.”
No one is particularly excited to see Kendall at the office, but Shiv—who has to give her first speech as president—is probably the angriest after his visit. Especially because during that speech about her commitment to corporate responsibility, someone began blaring Nirvana’s “Rape Me” on multiple amplifiers, effectively chasing her from the stage. In a fit of anger, Shiv walks into Kendall’s office and spits into his notebook—perhaps not super productive, but almost certainly cathartic.
It’s unclear whether Kendall had a hand in the demonstration—he is, as we know, a fan of musical displays—but either way, Shiv becomes quite invested in her father’s next move against her brother. At Logan’s behest, she drafts a statement to silence Kendall once and for all—and asks Roman and Connor to sign it along with her. Some illustrative descriptions of its contents: “greeting card from hell,” “Times New Roman firing squad,” and “accurate like Oswald was accurate.”
But it’s the language Roman and Connor use to explain their refusal to sign the letter that’s really interesting. While Roman says the statement makes him feel “unwell” because Kendall “taught me how to aim my pee-pee,” Connor says his signature is too valuable to give away for free—he’ll need “some suck suck on my dicky dick.”
Since Season 1, Shiv has been one of only a few women in a misogynistic whirlpool. Her brothers’ go-to insults revolve around her bra showing through her shirt, her “fucky eyes,” and her “teats.” When she sits down to meet with her father about taking a more active role in the company, he complains as they walk by Marcia—who’s chatting with an assistant about the payout that will secure her loyalty to him. “I feel another million drained with every cluck from that henhouse,” Logan grouses. And when he wants to know where Shiv’s head is at on the cruises scandal, he asks if she trusts him on what he calls “all this hullaballoo.”
Of all the Roy siblings, Shiv might have the haziest backstory. (It’s between her and Connor.) Succession has defined Shiv through her femininity since its earliest days. As limiting and, in some ways, disappointing as the single-minded focus on Shiv’s womanhood can feel—Really? Shiv’s delusions and neuroses all boil down to “being a woman in a man’s world”?—it does makes some sense, given that the world she occupies also defines her that way.
It’s not just the men in Shiv’s life who seem to consistently betray and disappoint; her mother spent her wedding taking bets on how quickly she’d get divorced, and while Marcia’s agenda seems vast, mothering her spoiled stepdaughter has never appeared to be one of them. Other “maternal” figures like Gerri and Rhea have reliably emerged as Shiv’s competitors.
When pressed to placate his only daughter—the only one of his children with whom he still uses an infantilizing nickname, “Pinkie”—the best Logan Roy can conjure is a feeble, “You will not find a piece of paper that makes you ashamed of me.”
Last season, Shiv stood by as one of the only people who knew Logan was planning to sacrifice Kendall. This time, she plunged the knife herself.
Kendall is busy pestering a gaggle of late-night writers just before his appearance when a member of his publicity team delivers the news. After reading the poisonous statement, which references his “many attempts at rehabilitation from his multiple addictions,” misogynistic rants, and “comparisons to world historical figures that are suggestive of grandiose and disordered thinking”—he wanders in a daze to hide in a corner of the production studio as the show begins without him.
After reading the statement in full on her show, Kendall’s would-be host marvels, “That’s from his sister—and she’s the fucking nice one.” (Are we sure about that?)
Things aren’t looking good for Logan, either; he overplayed his hand with the president’s “pantsuit barnacle” and cut off a line of support just before the FBI arrived at his gates. The second turnstile showdown of the episode, however, ends in surrender: After some stern words from Gerri about how terrible it would look to resist the actual FBI, Logan agrees to allow the officers inside.
As the episode closes, Kendall watches the implosion of Waystar Royco on his phone, still hiding from his own humiliation in the studio. But leave it to Tom to deliver a classic kicker: At an advertiser dinner for ATN, Waystar’s news division, the wannabe Roy touts his company’s unshakeable values until a suit comes in to whisper the news in his ear.
“Um, guys, just a little heads-up—and this is not something I want us to get out of proportion or spoil the evening,” Tom says with that perfect Minnesota nice affect. “But it would seem that some agents of law enforcement are raiding the premises right now—so if you see them, then that’s what that is.”