Warning: Spoilers ahead for Succession season 3, episode 9, “All the Bells Say.”
Heading into the season 3 finale, HBO’s Succession left two major questions hanging in limbo. First, was Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong), the black sheep turned would-be white knight of the family, dead after seemingly passing out on a pool raft with his head bubbling down underwater? And secondly, what stock-inflating game was eccentric tech billionaire Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård) playing with the Roy family after Roman (Kieran Culkin) approached him about Waystar Royco acquiring his tech platform GoJo?
Fans didn’t have to wait long for either shoe to drop. First, the good news: Kendall survived his ordeal after Comfrey (Dasha Nekrasoba) found him floating lifelessly in the pool, and he was already back at the Italian villa for his mother’s wedding following a brief hospitalization. And when Roman and Logan Roy (Brian Cox) paid a visit to Matsson, they learned that Matsson now hoped to acquire the aging Waystar media conglomerate instead of the other way around.
Unfortunately for Roman, who Logan sent away so he and Matsson could hash things out, he decided to keep this latter piece of information to himself until it was too late. While the four Roy siblings spent most of the episode looking after Kendall, sniping amongst one another, and trying to figure out what Logan was up to at Matsson’s estate, the wheels were already in motion. Because if nothing else, Succession has made it clear time and time again that Logan never, ever loses. As such, the aging media dinosaur was both finalizing a deal for Matsson to buy out Waystar while negotiating the terms of his divorce to prevent his three younger children from being able to team up and stop the acquisition with a board majority.
And he got the heads-up from his very own son-in-law Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen) who has spent the majority of the season (and series, if we’re being honest) being belittled and abused by his wife Shiv Roy (Sarah Snook). Now, Shiv finds herself on the outside looking in. Also on the inside? Frank, Karl, and Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron), who we also learned was not being ousted following Roman’s dick pic shenanigans from last week.
The last moments of the episode captured Shiv’s shocked and horrified realization that the husband whom she evidently never loved nor respected had in fact played her better than either of her incompetent siblings could have ever hoped. And Tom brought Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun) along for the ride, who is probably suddenly looking like the better prospect to the Contessa of Luxembourg, and one step closer to being “Europe’s weirdest king.”
On top of the twists and turns, the episode was so artfully and masterfully conducted, with a turn of mind-blowing acting from Jeremy Strong—which should effectively shut down any leftover ridicule from the New Yorker profile that published a week before the finale. After the episode aired, fans rushed to Twitter to gush over the perfect, riveting hour and some change of television.
Many fans took note of the imagery of the three siblings, and how it changed over the course of a whirlwind episode that didn’t even involve a costume change. Despite their collective hideousness, it’s still hard not to find a shred of sympathy for Kendall, Shiv, and Roman.
Yet, it was still thrilling to see Tom come out on top after he spent most of the season staring down a possible prison sentence.
The cold betrayal of Gerri was also something else. Was this her angle with the “slime puppy” this entire time?
There were also plenty of requisite jokes and memes:
There’s plenty to think about going into season 4, anyway. Because no one on this show stays in an alliance for very long, it remains to be seen how effectively the Roy siblings will hold a united front before trying to worm their way back into their father’s good graces. And honestly, how long before Greg screws over Tom and finds himself at the head of the table? Hopefully, it won’t be another two years before we find out!