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The Ending Of Succession Season 3 Episode 3 Explained

HBO's "Succession" Season 3 premiered on Oct. 17, 2021, continuing the story of the emotionally damaged Roy siblings and their struggle over who's going to inherit the family media company from their father Logan (Brian Cox). At the end of Season 2, the disgraced heir Kendall (Jeremy Strong) defied his father by going public about the company's sexual harassment and coverup in the company's cruise ship division. In last week's episode, Kendall tried and failed to convince his siblings, Connor (Alan Ruck), Shiv (Sarah Snook), and Roman (Kieran Culkin) to support his bid to remove their father from power by declaring him mentally unfit to be CEO. When they turned him down, Kendall showed his true colors by shouting mean-spirited insults at them all one by one.

This week, everyone at Waystar-Royco tries to return to business as usual, while the ongoing cruise ship scandal looms over their heads. Meanwhile, Kendall tries to manipulate public opinion in his favor without much success, and Logan is forced to cooperate with the FBI. 

Season 3 Episode 3 is titled "Disruption." It's a reference to this week's show-within-the-show, "The Disruption with Sophie Iwobi" (hosted by real-life comedian Ziwe Fumudoh), a comedy show that savages the Roy family and especially Kendall. But it's also a reference to the disruption in the Roy siblings' dynamic. The Roy kids have always been at odds with each other, especially because their father Logan raised them to be. Traditionally, they've kept their squabbling private. But this week, Kendall and Siobhan finally take their conflict public, and things get ugly fast.

Kendall ruins Shiv's big debut

Midway through the episode, Kendall makes a surprise appearance at the Waystar-Royco headquarters. Soon it becomes clear why he's there. Shiv has recently been promoted to President of Domestic Operations. In her first official act, she hosts a town hall to address the company's ongoing cruise ship scandal (in Season 2, it was revealed that a high-ranking member of the Waystar cruise line division, Lester McClintock, pressured female employees into having sex in exchange for their contracts to be renewed). Kendall hijacks the town hall by playing Nirvana's 1993 song "Rape Me." It's a humiliating moment for Shiv. Kendall does this for multiple reasons. For one, he's definitely still angry that Shiv didn't support his attempt to remove Logan from power in last week's episode. But it's more than that. Now that she's been promoted and is presumably the new choice to one day succeed Logan, she's occupying Kendall's former role. And he resents her for it.

Shiv has always positioned herself as a more liberal-minded member of the Roy family, a feminist who defends women, and she's denied any knowledge about the cruise ship scandals. This song choice is a not-so-subtle attack on everything she says she stands for.

In retaliation, Shiv hits back at Kendall. Her attack is just as devastating.

Shiv humiliates Kendall in front of the country

One of the through lines of this episode is Kendall's relationship with the media. After he betrayed Logan in the Season 2 finale, Kendall thought this would rehabilitate his public image. It's now clear that didn't happen. Kendall is perceived as an out-of-touch billionaire who's adopting the language of social justice to differentiate himself from his father and make a plausible case to be the next CEO — a perception that's 100% accurate, by the way. Throughout this episode, Kendall is desperate to prove that all this public criticism doesn't bother him. He and his entourage play a game of "Good Tweet, Bad Tweet," in which they read aloud Tweets about Kendall. Some of them are devastating, but he tries to laugh it off. Later, Kendall hosts a viewing party for "The Disruption with Sophie Iwobi." The host rips into him, nicknaming him "Oedip*ssy" and diagnosing him with "Caucasian rich brain." Kendall again plays the good sport and even agrees to appear on the show. 

But then Shiv publishes a statement about Kendall. It characterizes his betrayal as a result of "disordered thinking." Then it reminds the public of his ongoing struggles with addiction, as well as his failures as a husband and father, and his history of problematic relationships with women. Kendall bails on the talk show minutes before he's set to go on and hides in a server room. 

Kendall is willing to be publicly lambasted by just about anyone so long as he's part of the conversation. But when it's coming from his own family members, it's too much for him to bear. This is also the first time this season that we've seen a crack in his new persona, which doesn't bode well for where Kendall is headed. 

Logan finally cooperates with the FBI

Early in the episode, the FBI shows up to subpoena Logan over his involvement in the Waystar-Royco cruise line scandal. At first Logan is defiant in his characteristic way. But at the end of the episode, the FBI shows up with a search warrant, and Logan cooperates. What changed? It's not just that defying the FBI in front of the media would be terrible for the company's public image. Tellingly, right after Logan makes the decision to cooperate, the show cuts to Tom (Matthew Macfayden), who's hosting a dinner of ATN advertisers.

Earlier in the episode, when Tom learned that he would likely go to jail for covering up the allegations, he approached Logan with an offer: Tom would give himself up as a scapegoat. Tom has always been willing to humiliate himself for a chance at Logan's favor, and this is just the latest and most extreme example — even Logan is shocked that Tom is willing to do it. 

So, most likely Logan decides to cooperate with the Feds because he knows he can give them Tom. Since the cruise ship scandal went public, Logan has always known that he'd probably have to give up at least one family member to make it go away. And Tom just saved Logan from having to make a difficult decision. Maybe this will finally earn Tom his father-in-law's respect?

Good luck with that, Tom. 

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).