Sunday, October 24, 2021

REVIEW: 'Succession' - Kendall Does His Best to Convince His Siblings to Join Him Against Their Father in 'Mass in Time of War'

HBO's Succession - Episode 3.02 "Mass in Time of War"

Kendall tries to get his siblings, as well as Stewy and Sandi, on his side. Fearing his legal situation, Greg asks Ewan for help.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of HBO's Succession.

"Mass in Time of War" was written by Jesse Armstrong and directed by Mark Mylod

Do the Roy children collectively have the strength to eliminate their father? Kendall believes they do. That's also just a pitch to convince himself that this is the right side of the fight. Kendall made a major decision. He has targeted his father. He took his shot. The family is divided. Kendall wants his siblings to back him. This episode is entirely focused on that prospect. Loyalty for Shiv, Roman and Connor is constantly shifting. They don't know what the best decision is. They know what life is like working under their father. They know the leadership he has steered this company with. They each individually have ambitions to replace him at the helm. All that talk about the succession plan dominates every single conversation. It's at the top of everyone's minds because they each have a vested interest. They each know how to play the game as well. Meanwhile, Greg is on the outside with criminal exposure and not able to trust anyone who reaches out to him. They all have their own specific agenda. The various sides know how Kendall got this information. Greg made the copies of the reports detailing the scandal with the cruises. Kendall promises to protect him and provide legal representation. Logan and his allies offer the same deal. Greg believes he can trust his grandfather to look out for him. Ewan has his own interests in this fight. He wants to use this case as a way to attack the system he has hated for years. It's not about protecting his grandson. It's about using him to inflict as much harm as possible while exposing the truth of this righteous fight. Greg is at a loss. He remains in that position. He doesn't know where to turn even though it seems like he has legal representation now. That decision is made for him essentially. Meanwhile, everyone else is trusted with their own autonomy. Kendall's siblings all feel compelled to hear him out. They want to know the argument he can make for turning against their father. They wanted to know what he can promise them. They need to know his vision for the company. It's not all that different than what Logan wanted to accomplish. They both believe that expanding scale is the solution to a company on the decline. Their influence as a brand has reached its limits. All the potential for the future comes in new spaces with different priorities. Kendall says now is the time to make that pivot. Only a new generation can successfully guide the company into the future. He also promises that Waystar Royco will become bigger than Amazon. He has these grandiose ideas of what's possible in this endeavor. If his siblings join him, they can push their father out and avoid losing control of the company in the proxy battle. They can all emerge victorious and stronger than ever before. It's Kendall believing his own hype. He is desperate. He is clear-eyed in a way too. He sees the potential of this path. He wants everyone else to believe in it as well.

Shiv, Roman and Connor all decline Kendall's offer though. Sure, they are all tempted by it. They are intrigued about what this path could mean for them. It's a gamble either way. Neither of the sides can offer any guarantees. As such, they continue on the same path with more known quantities. Of course, that means Logan continues to make promises of rewarding them for their loyalty. He changes his mind so easily. All it takes is one call to completely shape his new opinion of his children. He is terrified not knowing where Shiv is. He doesn't know if his children will support him when they meet with the traitor. They aren't sure either. That's where the drama and excitement of this episode comes from. This prospect could be enticing. People can easily be persuaded. They all want to keep things close. The secrets and the uncertainty are let out of the room though. Shiv still feels she must confide in Tom as she figures out what to do. Roman still trusts Gerri to give an honest assessment. Connor is pivotal but irrelevant in determining this outcome. Early on though, Kendall says he just wants Shiv. That's later used against him. It's a way to solidify Roman's instinct to avoid this team-up. Shiv is the wild card. Her presence alone could offer legitimacy to this fight. The public at large believe they know the story of what's happening within this company. Kendall isn't a hero though. He is an opportunist who made a decision in the heat of the moment. He didn't want to go to prison. That's the fate his father wanted him to accept. The tides have turned. Roman and Shiv still support Logan. They do so publicly. Of course, Roman is the one seen in a picture embracing his father. That too may infer that Shiv isn't confident with any of these decisions. She could still move either way. But all of this is essentially being done to secure Roman and Shiv's own paths to ruling the company. Neither of them were capable of becoming interim CEO. Gerri offers stability as this fight goes public. It's seen as the perfect apprenticeship for Roman. She will guide him on this path and hone his good business instincts. Meanwhile, Shiv is finally placed in an executive role with Logan trusting her to keep her eyes and ears on the company including Gerri. That personal loyalty fluctuates from moment to moment. No one can offer any guarantees of success. It still presents a situation where Kendall is all alone believing in the righteousness of his plight. He is right. Everyone else is wrong. Logan has a way to eliminate him immediately though. The blowback of that revelation would be just as costly for the company. And so, the trenches are dug even deeper. This offer had to be made. It offers insight and uncertainty at the core of each character. They all want the same things. Kendall is taking his shot. He may win. If not, Shiv and Roman have the most to gain. And so, the sides are set. They may still shift. But the battle comes home as Logan prepares for all the animosity that awaits him in the city.