The main event, however, once again comes down to family patriarch Logan Roy (Brian Cox) and his son Kendall (Jeremy Strong), who wage a one-man war for control of Waystar, while seeking the support of other members of his immediate and extended corporate family, with the transactional nature of their loyalty is tested.
Amid all the twisted family dynamics, Kendall remains the uneasy heart of the show, a man desperately trying to prove he can take a joke that looks very awkward when he hears one. His father, he rightly notes, is not the indestructible figure he represented in the past, but he is still a formidable man, prompting Kendall to ask, “Can I do this? Can I win?”
Perhaps most impressively, the new episodes set up many tests for all of the Roys (and thus wonderful showcases for the cast), including daughter Shiv (Sarah Snook) and son Roman (Kieran Culkin). Indeed, the mere promise of becoming a CEO figurehead — as Logan contemplates going more into the shadows — sets off a dizzying whirlwind of shifting alliances, even by the brutal standards of “Succession.”
Adrien Brody, Hope Davis and Alexander Skarsgard are among those who appear as major financial players in later episodes as the Roys explore various options to save the company.
As with “Veep,” much of the dialogue is gleefully vulgar, and the episodes get better and better as the season progresses, from maneuvering backstage during a shareholders’ meeting to a crazy over-the-top birthday party.
“Succession” has no shortage of company to pull back the curtain on the outwardly glamorous lives of the super-rich, exposing the insecurities and family grievances that lurk beneath.
As for that “Game of Thrones” comparison, the fights on “Succession” leave no trace of bodies in their wake. But as carefully constructed, the collateral damage that comes with losing this game is arguably the second worst.
“Succession” begins its third season on October 17 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO, which, like NewsMadura, is part of WarnerMedia.