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‘Succession’s’ season opener sets the stage for the battles to come


By Brian Lowry, CNN

Well, if those two kids can’t make it together, who can?

A lot happened in the season premiere of “Succession,” kicking off the two-time Emmy-winning HBO show’s final flight of episodes, including the ongoing feud between media mogul Logan Roy (Brian Cox) and three of his four children: Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Shiv (Sarah Snook) and Roman (Kieran Culkin). Things are so strained as the season begins that Logan’s assistant and now out-of-the-closet girlfriend, Kerry (Zoe Winters), tried to arrange a birthday call between the trio and their dad, only to trigger an awkward negotiation about whether him texting an interest in talking to them would be sufficient.

The fact that the speculation last season about whether Logan and Kerry had actually become an item — the epitome of a May (or maybe March)-December romance — largely unfolded off screen in terms of confirmation reflects how effortlessly series creator Jesse Armstrong weaves in nods to the excesses of real-life media moguls without veering from his dramatic purpose, or the show’s central conflicts.

Still, the major headlines from the episode involved Shiv and her husband Tom (Matthew Macfadyen), who after extracurricular flirtations and dalliances and discussion of an open marriage — plus the little matter of him betraying her in order to get into Logan’s good graces — finally decided to call it quits.

“That makes me sad,” Tom said, in almost-childlike fashion, when Shiv announced that in her eyes things were over, a possibility that had earlier inspired Tom to check in with his boss regarding whether they would still be “good” if he were to no longer be his son-in-law.

“If we’re good, we’re good,” Logan responded cryptically, distracted by the two huge deals looming over him and his company, Waystar Royco: The overall sale of the media titan to tech mogul Lukas Matsson, and his long-simmering dream to acquire the very Dow Jones-like Pierce Global Media, which obviously echoes Rupert Murdoch’s real-life pursuit and eventual acquisition of the Wall Street Journal’s parent company in 2007, putting a prestige institution under the stewardship of a ruthless tabloid pirate.

Logan spent most of the episode prowling around like a caged animal, even cutting out early on his own birthday party.

As usual in the world of succession, the “new gen Roys,” as Kendall referred to himself and his siblings, appear to be mismatched in a contest with their father, which didn’t prevent them from thinking that they can take him on, raising the prospect of a Pierce bidding war.

There was a lot going on in this season opener, but the premiere’s primary function involved setting the stage for the battles and challenges to come. If that wasn’t wildly eventful other than the Shiv-Tom marital strife, stay tuned. Because to paraphrase Logan, when “Succession’s” good, it’s good.

HBO, like CNN, is a unit of Warner Bros. Discovery.

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - Entertainment

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