Sunday, October 31, 2021

REVIEW: 'Succession' - Kendall's Fantasy Can't Withstand the Viciousness of His Family's Attacks Against Him in 'The Disruption'

HBO's Succession - Episode 3.03 "The Disruption"

With the DOJ at the door, Logan summons his arsenal, while Tom makes a potentially life changing offer. Kendall becomes obsessed with his own takedown.

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.

"The Disruption" was written by Ted Cohen & Georgia Pritchett and directed by Cathy Yan

Kendall has positioned himself as this grand savior to the public. He did the noble thing in exposing the years of corruption under his father's leadership of the family company. He is on a crusade to reveal to the world just how toxic this environment has been. It's also just a big game to him. He cares about what the public thinks. He is actually obsessed with that attention. But it's also just something for him to react to through a screen. It's not something that actually has consequences for his reality. It's not a part of his life. It's something he reads online or watches on TV. It's entertainment to be consumed and enjoyed. Even if something negative is seen, it can always be counterbalanced with something supportive. It's an art form instead of a critique of what he is doing. He wants the public on his side. That's leverage he can use even though his siblings refused to side with him. The public is interested in that as well. Kendall cares how his image is perceived. But he doesn't want to answer the tough questions. Of course, no one in the family does. Logan believes that he can just defy all the attempts by the federal government to investigate the company. He doesn't have to comply. Meanwhile, Shiv only has to answer the questions at the company town hall that she deems fit and relevant. She doesn't care what conversations are actually being had within this environment. Waystar Royco is incredibly influential though. Logan uses that as a weapon in his arsenal. He is close with the President. He can decide to change the coverage if the company is investigated. He believes he can bend the rules of law. He sees himself as that influential. He has certainly made an impact on the world. That has to be recognized. It doesn't give him total control to do whatever he wants. Again, Kendall's crusade is righteous on several levels. It's easy to understand why people want to work with him. But he's also a terrible client. He does whatever he wants. He operates with that privilege. Even being called out for that is a joke for him. He loves being brutalized in a satirical format. He views that as enhancing his credibility because it continues the story. Average people don't care about that. They want the truth and accountability of what this company did. Logan insists that he had no knowledge. Him being on email chains doesn't highlight his guilt. Of course, he still undermines and discredits the seriousness of the situation with his words. He doesn't view this as serious. It's a criminal conspiracy that had its roots deep in this company for years. Logan says it happened decades ago. And yet, Tom is willing to offer himself up as a scapegoat should Logan need to follow that path. That's even seen as the honorable thing for Tom to do. It's a selfless act. One that shows his devotion to the family. It's all crazy and toxic.

All of this highlights how Kendall's ambitions for this war are far different than the reality of the personal conflict. He believes he could target his father and the company. He wouldn't have to drag down his siblings or the other employees he genuinely likes. But this company is run by the family. They have fought to keep it that way. That is always a concern for them as well. They fear they could lose control because of Kendall's actions. It's not smart for him to be this public spectacle causing disruptions everywhere he goes. That's how he operates. It's embarrassing. It's also personal. Shiv notably didn't work within the company for a long time. She built her experience elsewhere. And yet, the plan was always for to become integrated with the company. She always knew what was going on. Logan is still trying to protect her. He is much more genuine in his appeals with her than any of his other children. He demeans and belittles Roman even though he is trying to show his public support in this fight. Roman understands his father too. He knows how things will come across. He can grab ahold of the narrative just as easily as Shiv can. However, Shiv is the one on the stage as the new public face of the company. Gerri is actually in charge. Shiv also wants to be perceived as an agent for change. It's still the company line though. It's not genuine. Kendall can call that out right away. But this whole story has gone to his head. It has indulged his worst impulses. He seems destined to drag everyone down with him. This conflict turns ugly. It's not the worst it could possibly get. Logan is still reserved when it comes to exposing Kendall as a killer. And yet, he encourages Shiv to release a statement revealing Kendall's years of addiction and despicable behavior. Some of that has already been known to the public. This isn't the first time he has spoken as someone offering authority on the issues within the company. It's hard for him to be seen as an expert and honest broker now. He became an ally because it was beneficial to him and his overall ideals. He shouldn't be celebrated as a hero toppling the patriarchy. He is simply a privileged white man believing he has the freedom to do whatever he wants. And so, his addictions are encouraged. They are also used as a weapon to discredit him. Shiv attacks him in public. Connor and Roman refuse to sign onto that letter. But again, her releasing it offers all the credibility that the public needs to accept it as factual. She still holds that power. She is no better than anyone else in the company. The executive ranks are filled with toxic people willing to keep Logan happy. They are concerned about his stance against cooperation. He is ultimately left without a choice. This scandal has grown beyond Kendall. He may be irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. His presence is still something that must be monitored and looked at. He can still inflict a lot of damage. But the walls are closing in based on how everyone is acting at the moment. Kendall is broken. The media may lift his spirits. That may not hold enough sway to appease his ego from the personal attack lobbied by the one sibling he actually respects.