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How HBO’s Succession season 2 finale set up some big changes for season 3

After the satirical HBO comedy-drama Succession wrapped up its second season on Sunday, October 13, the explosive finale left viewers wondering about the future of Waystar Royco, the global media and hospitality empire at the heart of the show, and the wealthy Roy family that owns it.

Reluctant to hand over the reins, family patriarch and company head Logan Roy (Brian Cox) considers which of his children — or someone else — should take over the company when he decides to step down. None of his four children are really qualified to take over, but they’re each cunning and manipulative in their own ways and have their own ideas about what would be best for the company. As the first two seasons progressed, the three youngest children were continuously jockeying for the top position, despite Logan showing no desire to step down any time soon.

The second season finale, however, suggested that major changes are afoot. (Note: There are major spoilers from the first two seasons discussed after this point, so consider yourself warned if you’re not caught up with the series.)

Character assassination

Logan’s most likely candidate as a successor has been his second-eldest son, Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong). Battling drug and alcohol addiction, making rash decisions, and seemingly unable to live up to his father’s ideals, Kendall’s aptitude for leadership has been questioned over and over again.

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The season finale featured the family and Waystar Royco executives deliberating on a scandal that threatened the future of the company. Sipping on cocktails, they debated who would take the blame and be the fall guy, with Logan eventually landing on Kendall as the most logical sacrificial lamb. Before signing on to be the familial “blood sacrifice,” however, Kendall asked his father if he was ever really going to hand the company over to him.

“You’re not a killer,” Logan answered. “You have to be a killer.”

Behind the nod of understanding, though, wheels were turning behind Kendall’s dejected eyes — and in the final minutes of the episode, Kendall literally flipped the script, leaving mouths agape as he pinned the blame on his father during a press conference.

Did he plan to double-cross his father all along, or was he simply trying to make daddy proud of the killer he’d become? You couldn’t help but notice a twinge of pride in Logan’s eyes as he stared at the TV screen, shocked as his son threw him under the bus.

Ripple effects

So, what does all of this mean for season 3? Well, Logan Roy will have a lot to answer for as he faces potential prison time.

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If Logan reveals the dirty secret of vehicular manslaughter that gives him leverage over Kendall at the end of season 1, it would expose him as well, since he initially covered it up. Kendall might be appointed interim CEO of the company, but with others able to step in and air more dirty laundry, that decision could be problematic, too.

Meanwhile, cousin Greg Hirsch (Nicholas Braun) was integral to the scandal cover-up, but he has seemingly been nothing more than a harmless nuisance. If he hands over the evidence he kept to help Kendall — as the finale seems to suggest — he has far more ambitious plans than anyone realized. His role in the events that played out could raise more than a few eyebrows, particularly when it comes to his relationship with Logan and the greater game he’s playing.

Getting ready to rumble

It’s gearing up to be an intense third season in Succession as the key players deal with the fallout from Kendall’s bold decision.

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Logan certainly won’t go down without a fight, but someone has to pay the price. And while the notion of succession is at the heart of the series, it will likely become an even more bitter battle for power as we see how far the Roy children will go to be next in line — and how far Logan will go to make sure he’s the one to make the call.

“We’re all pals here,” he insincerely said during the finger-pointing discussions aboard the company yacht. What he really meant is that Logan will take down anyone who gets in his way, whether they’re friend, family, or otherwise. Kendall has shown that he has nothing to lose, though, and is willing to do the same.

And in the most twisted way possible, he’s determined to make his father proud.

HBO’s Succession has been given the green light for a third season expected to premiere in 2020.

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Christine Persaud
Christine has decades of experience in trade and consumer journalism. While she started her career writing exclusively about…
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