10 things I learned while rewatching the first two seasons of Succession
The third season kicks off in just a few days time, so a rewatch was definitely in order.
In these last few weeks, it did seem like pretty much everyone was saying one of two things about their viewing habits:
(1) I'm watching Succession before the third season comes out.
(2) I'm rewatching Succession before the third season comes out.
JOE was lucky enough to catch the first seven episodes of the third season, and you can check out our spoiler-free review of that right here.
The first episode of the third season arrives on NOW and Sky Atlantic on Monday, 18 October, and you can check out the trailer here:
Clip via NOW
So, following the run through of the first two seasons again in the run-up to the third season, here are the ten biggest lessons I've learned.
ONE - The similarities to Arrested Development are HUGE
The power mad business dad who was up to some shady dealings. The eldest son who is actually a bit of a laughing stock. The second-eldest son who is so obsessed with doing right by his dad that it often gets him into a lot of trouble. The one-and-only daughter who might actually be the smartest of them all. Her husband is the butt of so many family jokes. The youngest son who seems to be caught in a state of... well... arrested development. The parallels are actually kind of staggering.
TWO - It might be both the smartest AND the funniest show on TV right now
While the obscenity-filled scripts for each episode are very often fuel enough for a fair few laughs, there is obviously a lot more going on than just rich people swearing at each other. At the centre of this Shakespearean tragedy is a series of very complicated, unique characters filled with hidden layers and slowly unravelling psyches. While the overall arc would seem to be "Boy, rich people sure don't hold problems well", it is richly textured with subplots of gender dynamics, sexual assault, addiction issues, open relationships, erotic kinks and a lot more besides.
THREE - Logan Roy is not the be-all-and-end-all he had us believe he was
This might already be blindingly obvious to some of you, but while the early episodes of the first season showed Logan at his physical and psychological weakest point, he has been on a roaring rampage ever since. And while several decades of ruthlessness have lasered his instincts down to scalpel sharp point of incision, his own opinion of himself can often get in the way of shrewd business deals. That temper got him to where he is today, but it is also likely to be the end of him. He still swears better than just about anyone else on TV, though...
Clip via If It Is
FOUR - Kendall wants the job too much to actually be any good at it
Ever since the first episode revealed that Logan wouldn't be passing the torch along to Kendall as had been initially planned, Kendall has been sulking like a baby who didn't get the right colour Power Ranger for Christmas. The problem isn't that Kendall doesn't deserve it, but he's so caught up in how other people see him, he actually doesn't possess the killer instinct needed to successfully replace his dad at the top table. Or, at least, he doesn't right now. Maybe these few years of tough love by Logan is the long-con to help Kendall unleash the beast.
FIVE - Siobhan is a heat-seeking missile for attention
Will helping the next President get her more attention? Or taking over the world's biggest entertainment and communications conglomerate? It applies to her personal life too, literally dropping the nugget that she wants an open relationship with her husband... on their wedding night! As the only girl in the Roy family, it is easy to assume that she was always daddy's little princess, getting whatever she wants. But playing with the grown ups, she is the one most impacted by the realisation that living life by her own rules still has massive impact on those around her.
SIX - The opening credits still slap
Some shows, especially on certain streaming platforms, you don't need to see the opening credits. Or at least once you've seen them once, then you don't watch them again. But I watch the opening credits Every. Single. Time. From the glass and steel coldness of their business empire to the rose-tinted but fragmented home videos (and the "Produced by Will Ferrell" credit!), it feels like there is something new to be learned about the Roys from each rewatch. Plus that music! If it is good enough for Pusha T, then it is more than good enough for us...
Clip via Pusha T
SEVEN - Tom and Greg's relationship is the most toxic thing imaginable
The worst part of this is that there is real love here. Tom really does want to (and often does) take care of little Cousin Greg. And Greg really does look up to Tom as a fellow family outsider who has successfully made it into the rarified air of the inner sanctum. But then... everything else about their relationship is just a big fat yikes. Pseudo-violent psycho-sexual mind games born out of Tom's own issues, as he becomes a prism of shitty behaviour, an entire broken family's worth of bullying focused down to a single point... and aimed directly at Greg.
EIGHT - Roman and Gerri's relationship is one of the least toxic things imaginable
We all love Gerri, clever enough to get close to the action but just one row back from the splash zone for when heads inevitably have to roll. And we love Roman, a man-child restrained by nothing but his overly tight suit trousers. While the show has teased but never explicitly expressed Roman's sexual direction - he appears to be a hyper-horny pansexual right up to the point of actually consummating the act - he has found the degrading ying to his submissive yang with Gerri. We love that for them.
NINE - It is often easy to forget, but holy moly these people are very rich
There is a scene in the second season where a character gets a private helicopter to drop him off on his private mega yacht cos he was running a bit late. In any other show, you'd be jaw-on-the-floor impressed. In this show, it isn't in the ten top most impressive displays of wealth. But maybe Tom put it best in the first season: "Here’s the thing about being rich. It’s fucking great. It’s like being a superhero, only better. You get to do what you want. The authorities can’t really touch you. You get to wear a costume, but it’s designed by Armani."
TEN - Oh god, Connor is going to become President, isn't he?
That would be a depressing but laughable thought, if it weren't for the 45th American President. So now it is just depressing and all-too-realistic.
Clip via WOKJ