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After a two-year gap, HBO’s hit “Succession” finally launches its third season, delayed by the pandemic on Sunday. Like the show itself, which depicts a world of print and television media desperately trying to maintain its dominance, the show is returning to a television landscape that has been drastically altered since it was last broadcast. The political landscape has also changed, making the show’s commentary on Trump-era excesses a little less relevant. But while “Succession” may be a bit of a dinosaur, there’s still a lot of roaring left in the old maid.

While “Succession” may be a bit of a dinosaur, there’s still a lot of roaring left in the old maid.

The best part of “Succession” has always been there in the name. It’s the story of the billionaire Roy family and the fight over who will inherit the glitzy but struggling media conglomerate of the Patriarch. Since the show’s first season, when Waystar Royco CEO Logan Roy (Brian Cox) miraculously recovered from a stroke, the immediacy of the succession issue has been delayed by a dynamic of chairs. slower music.

The first two seasons managed to be both a dark, joyful black comedy about the ultra-rich and a more traditional drama about a family in conflict. Logan spent Season 2 playing with his kids against each other to see which of his descendants has the fire to run the business. This season also included Congressional hearings for the show’s “cruise line” scandal (with sexual assault and probable murder) and many awe-inspiring storylines. But the real question of who will lead Waystar remains unanswered, because as the series knows all too well, when you play the game of “Succession,” once someone wins the series, they die.

But Season 2 ended once again with the succession crisis, when apparent heir Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) refuses to take the fall for his father – and tries to throw him under the bus. Season 3 picks up moments later, with Logan realizing the wolf is at the door. He needs someone else, and fast, to take care of the outings and help save his own skin.

Welcome to Roy’s Civil War, as Logan shamelessly wields the legacy as a reward for his loyalty. And everyone’s devotion is for sale, even though only three of the players are true contenders: daughter Shiv (Sarah Snook), youngest son Roman (Kieran Culkin) and non-family lawyer Gerri Kellman ( J. Smith-Cameron).

With Logan weakened again, sharks go round in circles, offers come and go, and allegiances race in a hurry.

With Logan weakened again, sharks go round in circles, offers come and go, and allegiances race in a hurry. The series takes great pleasure in mixing and matching different combinations of the set to create varying setups for Team Kendall vs. Team Logan, and exploring the different levels of awkward incompetence that result. While the series completely ignores the pandemic (one of the few contemporary series to refuse to acknowledge it), viewers at home are probably all too aware that the wealth gap has grown significantly since Season 2. This makes just the series withdrawals of its disconnected protagonists all the more satisfying.

The show is also keen to reflect on its Shakespearean connotations. Brian Cox first rose to prominence for his portrayal of King Lear, and one can’t help but draw direct comparisons between the two aging rulers. Son Logan Roy is both man and monster, someone completely devoured by the game of acquisitions and mergers, and who must look like a winner at all times. Like his direct competitor, Jeremy Strong remains a strong opponent. He is outwardly his father’s son – the opening episode setting up the family’s respective war rooms shows how much the two men reflect in a crisis. But Strong’s Kendall has one tragic flaw her father lacks: a soul. Not that that makes him a good person, but it does offer the possibility that he can to become a. Unfortunately, whenever it looks like he might grow a spine, he instead cuts another piece and sells it to stay in the game.

It is this tragedy that keeps viewers hooked, despite the slow format of “Succession”. Roy’s civil war slowly spreads until entire financial markets are on the line, with each of Roy’s children having a moment to stand up to their father, to prove they are better people by walking away. . But even if viewers hope for better, we know they will fail, as the pull of power, money, and the illusion of influence maintains a vise-like grip over their entire lives. “Succession” may be from another era, an old-fashioned HBO prestige series set in a new-school HBO Max world, but its story of flawed people in a mad race for power will still be relevant today.

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