Welcome to “Succession Sick Fuck of the Week,” the first in a series (???) in which Discourse Blog attempts to decide which of the monsters on the newly-returned HBO family/psychopath drama Succession was so monstrous that they earned the coveted Sick Fuck of the Week designation. (Shoutout to Caitlin for coming up with the title.) This is a difficult choice because literally everyone on Succession is horrible, but there can only be one. Spoilers ahead, obviously.
Sunday night’s third season premiere was filled to the brim with possible candidates. Let’s go through them!
- Logan is attempting to salvage his position at the head of an objectively evil company, playing his usual mind games with everyone he supposedly loves, pitting his children against each other, flying around to what seems like 50 countries in search of the right place that has both an internet connection and no extradition treaty with the United States, screaming at Kendall that he will grind his bones up, installing Gerri as CEO while explicitly promising to stay in charge behind the scenes…you know, typical Logan shit! He is sick, but is he the most sick this week? I’m not sure—he’s actually sort of wily and restrained, a wounded animal figuring out his next move. He can get way sicker than this is what I’m saying.
- Congrats to Gerri for finally securing the CEO spot! Our fave girlboss has made it at last! And to get there, all she had to do was turn a blind eye to a mansion-sized pile of misdeeds and help perpetuate a totally different mansion-sized pile of misdeeds. In this episode she continues her streak by, among other things, openly begging the White House to interfere in a Justice Department investigation into Waystar Royco. Nice! And very sick. Also her…thing with Roman is continuing, which, though it is possibly the healthiest romance on the show, is inherently sick. A promising candidate!
- Speaking of Roman, he does some quite sick things this episode—for instance, he takes extreme pleasure in telling Shiv that she has been passed over for CEO, a true sign of a functioning relationship with your sister—but he is relatively well-behaved. In fact, it is his lack of sickness that does him in—when he calls Logan to pitch for the CEO job, but also pitch for Gerri to get it, Logan senses his hesitancy and immediately drops him from contention. Did Roman’s “feelings” for Gerri make him self-sabotage??? Is this love????? I am very interested in this storyline.
- Connor has been predictably shunted to one side (sorry that should read “is holding down the Balkans,” lol) but he used his brief turn in the spotlight to tell an unamused Willa that she should lean into all the loathing of her play and turn it into an ironic hatewatch for the NYC hipster idiot crowd. This is undoubtedly evidence of a sick mind, but possibly a shrewd business plan.
- Tom finds himself “in the room” with Logan, and uses that opportunity to play half-hearted mind games that yield little for either himself or Shiv. (They also promise to have a fun chat about how their marriage is basically dead, fun!) I suspect he won’t embrace his full sickness until he reunites with…
- Greg, who has defected to the Kendall camp and is quickly put to good use reading out tweets to Kendall, aka “media monitoring.” He is extremely in over his dumb head, but he does give Kendall the crucial information that “a pope” is following him now. Not much sickness yet.
- Rava lets Kendall and his whole crew into her house, which is a terrible idea and also very sick. All she gets for it are weird mind games, a parade of demons occupying her living room, and the opening of a priceless bottle of wine that she never wanted open. Learn your lesson ma’am! Keep away from these people!
- Shiv, oh boy. Everything she does here is quite sick, but it’s also kind of amateurish, from her extremely effortful declaration of love to Tom to her extremely obvious strategy phone call with Tom to her extremely failed attempt to get Lisa Arthur to represent her, or her family, or some weird combination of the two. You’re off your game, Shiv, but you’re still in the mix for this prize. The Lisa Arthur conversation alone was gross enough.
- And now, the big dog, Kendall. Good lord. Where to even start here. First of all, this idiot has seemingly no plan! He’s surprised that Waystar cut his access to the building??? What is wrong with you? Then he camps at his ex-wife’s house, making sure to grill her about whether she’s sleeping with a man and lie to her that he blew up the company for her and their kids; brings his current, pretty lousy girlfriend around to further torment Rava; summons a pair of high-powered PR women to talk strategy and proceeds to talk over them endlessly while saying some of the worst things any human being has said ever, like that he wants to get some “Bojack guys” to write cool tweets for him and that he wants to do an op-ed saying “fuck the weather, we’re changing the cultural climate.” Oh, and there’s the moment when he cheerfully says to Greg, “who says I haven’t killed anyone?” and laughs. No!!! Also, it’s clear that Kendall is not quite sober. Or, as Aleks put it, “Kendall was def rolling the whole time right.” Right.
OK, decision time. Not enough has happened for most of these characters to earn Sick Fuck of the Week. Really, there’s only one candidate among the aforementioned people who could reasonably in contention. That person is Kendall. In every way, he is worthy of Sick Fuck of the Week, and I came very close to giving it to him. But!!!!!!! I am not giving it to him, because he was eclipsed by someone who is brand-new to the show. That person is…
Lisa, played by Sanaa Lathan, is a clearly brilliant lawyer. Both sides of the war are desperate to get her, itching to have a superstar Black feminist attorney helping them to paper over their crimes. She ultimately sides with Kendall, dispatching Shiv in a scene I am desperate to see replicated as the weeks go on. But her decision to join forces with literally any member of the Roy clan, knowing as much as she does about them (she even has a previous “friend relationship” with Shiv, whatever that means) is off-the-charts sicko shit. The rest of these people, especially the Roy children, have been soaking in these fetid waters for as long as they can remember. It is literally in their DNA to be sickos. Lisa could have run a mile, but instead she looked around at this from the outside, thought about it, and went, “yep, I’m in.” Sick! Sick! Sick! Sick! Lisa Arthur earns the inaugural Succession Sick Fuck of the Week. I’m very excited to have her around.
Who will the SFOTW be next week? Join us back here and find out!