‘Succession’ season 3 episode 4 review: ‘Lion in the Meadow’ – spoilers

Father and son finally come face to face, thanks to guest star Adrien Brody, in an episode about bending over to hold on to power – without breaking down.

[Editor’s Note: The following review contains spoilers for “Succession” Season 3, Episode 4, “Lion in the Meadow.”]

Children’s books and “Succession” usually don’t go hand in hand – unless you’re a parent who likes to imagine Logan Roy’s voice whenever you read “Go the Fuck to Sleep” – but Episode 4 is unusually direct reference to Margaret Mahy’s 1969 illustrated story, “A Lion in the Meadow”. In the whimsical tale, a young boy looks out the back window and tells his mother that there is a big yellow lion lurking outside. His mother doesn’t believe him, going so far as to tell her son that she has a dragon in her matchbox that will protect them, but the lion walks into their house and starts talking. “Some stories are true, some are not,” he says.

In another meadow, in another faraway land, Kendall (Jeremy Strong) hears another suspicious complaint from another relative. Logan (Brian Cox) says, “He’s a good boy and I love him. […] Everything will be alright. And maybe it will be him one day. It’s in his blood. He learned everything from me. And maybe he’s the best of all. These are the words Kendall has wanted to hear, if not all her life, at least for the past few weeks. But the way they are shared – as a way of convincing 4% shareholder Josh Aaronson (Adrien Brody) that the warring father and son can actually work together – begs the question, “How true is this?” ? And how much does Logan just calm the nerves of a worried man? “

Episode 4, written by Jon Brown, doesn’t let Logan’s words go unanswered for long. During the fateful walk to Josh’s elusive estate, Logan tells Kendall, “Well, you’ll say anything to get fucked on a date, won’t you?” before adding an even more vehement and offbeat rebuke. Of course, Logan would do that. He must; he is incapable of sentimentality if it makes him weak. (I would say he’s quite incapable, if not for a few moments of choice, of what I think are genuine assurances.) He hates being forced to say or do anything, whatever. either for his benefit or not, and he was absolutely propped up in a corner on this seaside overlook.

Josh made it clear that his main concern about supporting the Roy family at the shareholders meeting the following week was that there was too much mess at the top; that Kendall and Logan couldn’t work together, and the surest path for his investment is with someone stronger, i.e. Stewie (Arian Moayed) and Sandy (Larry Pine). So Logan has to show Josh how solid the Roys are and, frankly, hearing him say the words “I love him” to Kendall should be as good a guarantee as it gets.

Adrien Brody in “Succession”

Macall Polay / HBO

But none of this really tells the truth of his statement. On the contrary, his furious denials only underscore the level of vulnerability he has allowed himself to share. At the end of Season 2, when Kendall is told that he will be the “blood sacrifice,” he asks his father if he could ever have gotten the top job. Logan, after hesitating a bit, told him, “You’re not a killer. And you must be a killer. So when Kendall says to his dad in episode 4, “I put you in the ground that day,” he’s not just positioning himself as the winner, he’s telling his dad he did this. that we told him; that he fulfilled the last condition to earn his place as Logan’s successor. Logan probably understands this. He just refuses to believe he’s dead. He never could, and until it can be denied, he is not dead. To really kill Logan, Kendall may really have to kill Logan – stop playing “just the tip, but for killing daddy” (as Roman accuses him of enjoying ending the episode), and leaving him on. the way to a future with Kendall in the big chair.

But he can’t. He carries Logan, defends his health to a shocked Josh, and tries to move forward with his father’s undead weight holding him to the ground. Was there anything else he could do? After Logan finally made his love sparkle, out in the open, in front of Kendall and a living, breathing witness? The fervent looks from Strong and Cox after Logan’s speech are simply stunning in their enlightened ambiguity. Is it a desire for reciprocity running through the concerned cup of Cox? Does he want his son to say something nice in return? To thank him ? Or does Logan just feel uncomfortable, knowing that he can’t refute his affection with Josh who always lingers nearby? Strong tries to keep Kendall on his toes, having a stern disposition to say that he knows better than to trust his father … but then he glances back, looking for more clues as to the honest intention. by Logan. Soon they will be at each other’s throats, fighting for power in an endless struggle. But did Kendall feel any sincerity on this hill? There is a lion in the meadow, but only he knows how true his story is.

Rating: B +

Some Casino Dipshit

OK, after all this ambiguity, let’s get one thing straight: Josh Aaronson is crap. Lying that his daughter is sick so that the two Roys come to him? Do you ask for a guest list before committing to Kendall’s birthday party? Take Logan for a long hike on his private island just to show it? And, oh yeah, claiming his support as a shareholder is up for grabs when he blows Stewie this afternoon? He’s who he’s talking to on the phone, while trying to urge Logan and Kendall to walk faster; he was the one he didn’t want to piss off by being late. Josh even went onto the tarmac himself to greet Stewie, as he sat reading his book and being a jerk while Logan and Kendall made the trip to his crass little empire. Josh fears, and it wasn’t Logan’s collapse that cost the Roys his vote. It’s because he’s a rich asshole who likes to “feed you rodents for [his] fun, ”knowing he’ll follow whoever brings him the most money, no matter what Kendall and Logan say or do.

In a way, it’s nice to meet someone like Josh. After living with the Roys for so long, it might be easy to forget that despite being in the 0.0001 percent, there are more people like them in the world, and they’re just as monstrous. . It wouldn’t surprise me if this (obviously figurative) casino he went to was on board a Waystar cruise ship (also figurative), where Josh threw a person overboard and walked away with his fortune. So fuck him. We needed a good nemesis before next week’s stakeholder meeting anyway, and Josh is officially that guy.

Succession Season 3 Episode 4 Tom Greg Matthew Macfadyen Nicholas Braun

Nicholas Braun and Matthew Macfadyen in “Succession”

Macall Polay / HBO

Greg sprinkles

By the time you read this I have already changed the message coming out of my phone to “Little Lord Fuckleroy” and my morning awakening to Greg’s shy song “cock-a-doodle-do”. Wow. What an opening statement from our not-so-solid birdie, only to see him immediately switch in front of Logan. Props are to be given to Nicholas Braun, whose physical comedy remains elite in a show filled with talented body benders. (Last week’s top honors went to Kieran Culkin.) The way Braun clings to his glass goblet with both hands; how he leans his shoulders inward for his first sip, as if he was too big to drink normally; and then the ridiculous decision to “drink” his cheap cocktail, having already admitted that it was too “good and strong” for him, Greg, who clearly isn’t a man yet. “I don’t know how you did it in the ’60s,” he says, after Logan leaves. “Different times, different times, indeed. Better times? Not for everything… “

You would never have survived, Greg. You barely survive now – and maybe not for long, if Terminal Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) castrates and marries you, as the emasculated outgoing leader of ATN News proposed in Episode 4. Poor Tom. His former partner is about to land the job of his dreams. His wife “does not know what to say” when he confesses his very real fears to her. He’s desperate to restore the old Chain of Screaming, when in simpler, happier times he could torment Greg at will without worrying about anything other than his occasional next downfall of Logan. But Greg has had enough. He doesn’t want to put up with Tom’s bullying anymore, and he doesn’t really have to – which will only send his imprisoned former mentor even further.

Shiv Show at the Fuck Factory

Shiv’s attempt to save authority that was shattered during last week’s mayoralty doesn’t go exactly as planned. Connor (Alan Ruck) belittles his little sister while demanding a cushy job in the family business (which, no doubt, will thwart the political narrative that the future presidential candidate lacks “real world experience.”) Frank (Peter Friedman) and Carl (David Rasche) treat her like ill-informed plague when she checks their negotiations with Stewie and Sandy. Then she gets disguised by her daddy for trying to disguise her subordinates. Finally, she does Tom’s job for him and forces ATN anchor Mark Ravenhead (Zack Robidas) to bend the knee. It’s a decent victory, given that the President doesn’t waste time phoning Logan to yell about Mark’s negative pivot, but that’s not what Shiv wants to do. It also doesn’t disprove what Kendall tells Logan – that no one respects her and that they are trying to “dig her up”. It will have to regain ground at the shareholders’ meeting, otherwise Logan will continue to seek “more people, more protection”, more “Westchester Judge Fuckers”.

Succession Season 3 Episode 4 Sarah Snook

Sarah Snook in “Succession”

Macall Polay / HBO

Time for the slime puppy

I’m not going to spend a lot of time on Roman’s arc this episode, as it amounted to little and is too smelly to withstand closer examination. But let’s take some extra time to appreciate Roman’s nervous breakdown after hearing that Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron) was dating him. His jealousy was palpable, and his gratitude and guidance further proved who had the upper hand in this special relationship. Gerri does a great job controlling Roman. Now let’s see if she can deploy it to her benefit.

The A + F bomb:

“In a way, this conversation is already over, it’s just a matter of how many times we shout the word ‘fuck’ to each other before we do what we want.” – Shiv, going straight to the point with ATN anchor Mark Ravenhead

Best line that could still air on ATN:

“Tell him ‘meep meep’ – that’s from Roadrunner” – Kendall, again illustrating her horrible trashy speech when it comes to dressing her dad. (Also, it’s a terrible line from Kendall, but a great line from the writers of “Succession” – I love how bad Kendall is at slamming Logan, and I love the variety of cultural references he has. already cited.)

Season 3 of “Succession” airs new episodes Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.

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Chris B. Hall