Monday, June 27

‘Succession’ Season 3 Ending Explanation: Who Betrayed Kendall, Roman, And Shiv?

Succession Season 3 ended with a shocking disappointment for the Roy kids. HBO’s drama has always been about the battle within the Roy family to see who will get a kiss from daddy, uh, who will impress Logan Roy (Brian Cox) enough to be anointed as his ultimate successor. The end of Succession Season 3 episode 9, “All the Bells Say,” changed everything when Logan made a savage deal to essentially sell Waystar Royco to Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgard) and his GoJo streamer. And in a tragic turn of events, there was nothing Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Shiv (Sarah Snook) or Roman (Keiran Culkin) could do to stop him. Not even teaming up.

The Succession The season 3 finale had been touted for a while as “Disturbing” and “shocking” (by none other than Gerri herself, J. Smith-Cameron). While most people assumed that meant someone would die, the only thing dead at the end of the episode was trust and dreams. So what exactly happened? Who betrayed Kendall, Shiv and Roy? And how did Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen) somehow get to the top? Here is the Succession Explanation of the end of season 3 …


No one died! I know, shocking. Kendall didn’t die, just as we predicted! We learn that while Kendall’s life was in danger after her suicidal actions at the end of Succession Season 3 Episode 8, The Man Made It! (Mostly thanks to Dasha Nekrasova’s Comfry arriving just in time to call for help.) This precipitates a rather awkward argument between the Roy brothers on the eve of their mother’s wedding. Basically Connor (Alan Ruck), Shiv, and Roman are trying to tell Kendall that they love him. It all goes wrong when Kendall refers to himself as Logan’s first-born son, which doesn’t sit well with Connor.

Anyway! No one died! But Kendall’s attempt on her own life sparks a truly emotional conversation later on. Succession Season 3 Episode 9. He finally confesses to Shiv and Roman about his role in the bartender’s death in Season 1. Shiv and Roman surprisingly support him. That’s when shit hits the proverbial hobbyist though, and the trio learns that their father is about to sell Waystar Royco to Lukas Mattson …

Photo: HBO


They basically betrayed Kendall, Roman, and Shiv this week, from their mother (Harriet Walter) to good cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun). But it seems that one person specifically orchestrated the trio’s downfall. But let’s back up and set the stage for why her loss was so devastating …

Succession Episode 9 of season 3 begins with Logan and Roman meeting up with the mercurial Swede Matsson. Logan explicitly asks Matsson if they have a deal and Matsson changes the tone, noting that Waystar Royco is on the decline. GoJo is on the rise. The Roys may have legacy content, but they don’t have a future path in the ever-expanding world of streamers, digital and online entertainment. So Matsson suggests, in front of Roman, that they have a merger of equals. Logan will have a comfortable title and say on the board, but essentially Matsson will take care of everything. It will give Logan the opportunity to cash out all of his tokens and know that his business will have a future… even if it means handing it all over to someone outside of the family.

Roman scoffs at this, but then it becomes clear that Logan is interested. When Kendall, Shiv, and Roman realize that Logan skipped the wedding to come to an agreement, they hatch a plan. Indeed, it is an ironically beautiful moment. The three siblings who have been picking at each other since day one in hopes of impressing dad finally realize that the solution to their problem has been there all along: together, with their mother’s actions, they can oust Logan. and take the company together.

However, when they arrive at Logan’s villa, where the deal is taking place, it is all for naught. Even Roman’s huge decision to defend Logan for once doesn’t matter. Someone has tipped off Logan that the trio is coming. And Logan, in turn, has negotiated with Caroline to sell her shares, unleashing the children. The final scene is an extra punch when we learn that Tom is in Logan’s corner and not even Gerri will listen to Roman. (“How does it serve my interests?” Cold, Gerri!)

So the kids finally got it, but it was too late to move …

Tom at the end of Season 3 of Succession
Photo: HBO


Tom Wambsgams could have become the favorite Roy kid, y’all! So the question of who gave the clue to Logan is pretty obvious. Not only is there a chilling scene where Tom asks Greg if he’s ready to make a deal with the devil, but Shiv sees Logan pat Tom on the back. As she tells her optimistic husband that “Mommy screwed us,” it is clear that she knows that Tom was the one who stabbed her in the back. Tom took years of abuse, a possible jail sentence, and the knowledge that Shiv didn’t love him and turned it into a Machiavellian opportunity to seize power from the Roy brothers. Sure, GoJo and Waystar Royco are merging, but some of Roy’s favorites will benefit from that. Namely, Tom and Greg.

If you’re wondering why Tom would do this, the better question might be why did Tom wait so long? It has been obvious from day one that Shiv treats man like a doormat. Last week’s episode could have been the moment when Tom realized that she really doesn’t love him. So what can a guy like Tom Wambsgams do? He turns to the other main motivator in his life: the deep desire to be a Roy.

However, Tom ultimately acted as Logan Roy, rather than one of his sons. And in doing so, he made a cold, calculating move that knocked out Shiv (and Kendall and Roman).


Yep! HBO has already ordered a Succession Season 4 and it will be interesting to see what that season looks like. Now, the battle between the Roy kids will not be to impress Logan, but to find a way to build his own power. Is that at least what Logan is suggesting?

Expect the entire Roy’s power dynamic to change in season 4, with Tom and Greg dominating more than Kendall, Shiv, or Roman. Also, keep an eye out for Connor’s presidential subplot. If Willa (Justine Lupe) agrees to marry him, he could have upside down Tom Wambsgams in his corner. That is, a politically intelligent person who does not want to be a Roy fighting in his corner. (Guys, I think ironically Willa is going to end up being a high-powered player. I’m just saying!)

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