Succession Season 3 Power Rankings: Secession Kickstarts The Roy Civil War

(The bid for power has intensified in season 3 of "Succession," meaning now more than ever, anyone can come out on top. As the war rages on, we'll be tracking the rise and descent of the Roy's, their allies, and their neverending list of enemies.)

The Roy's have been at war for longer than we've known them. Long before the finer details of their lives unraveled before us, we learned to read into their snarky comments and fractured relationships. Having a father like Logan Roy (Brian Cox) is akin to living in a war zone, learning to anticipate underhanded deceit and shield your body from projectiles he may send flying your way. And while the Roy's childhoods lives on in occasional references and an intoxicating title sequence, the past few years of their adult lives have played out before us. The Roy's have proven their competency for battle in brutal maneuvers and "Vaulter"-level massacres so yeah, war might just be their thing. But in season 3 of "Succession," it's no longer about outsiders.

Pierce-like interlopers and corporate rivals are the least of their worries with rogue family members on the loose. Because ultimately, nothing hurts quite like family — the ones who know you best cause the very worst pain. Logan Roy ended the second season with the shadow of a smile, pleased to finally see himself in his son. It was a killer move from Kendall (Jeremy Strong), to turn against his father with a steely resolve and vicious language leading the way. But whatever momentary satisfaction Logan gleaned from that bombshell has since worn off — and he isn't shy about letting his son know. A blood-pumping phone call sees Logan patting Kendall on the back for his big move, but warning that it's time to stand down. And though our #1 boy can't work up the nerve to speak directly to his father, he refuses to back down. So we're off to the races.

Let The Battles Begin

The Roy's spend much of the episode in reaction mode, scrambling for next steps. Though we spent the past two years vibrating with excitement and speculating the outcome of Kendall's explosive press conference, they've only had hours to process. The season picks up right where the last left off, with the major players reacting as best they can: whether that be sharing meaningful glances and conspiratorial conversations, or practicing breathing exercises in a locked bathroom. We all have our methods. But given many decisive war declarations, the time for fumbling is long behind them. Moves must be made, battle lines drawn, alliances formed. So off to work they go — Kendall vs. Logan, an epic battle for the ages.

The rivals mirror each other without realizing, both trapped in transit. Sitting in the back of cars and planes, they wait to be shuffled off to unknown destinations: Logan needs a safe haven, and Kendall seeks a base of operations. Around them, everyone is desperate to determine their standing. Are they still in line for the throne? Or will they be thrown on the chopping block? When the dust settles, who should they stand behind? Who has the better offer, Frank (Peter Friedman) wonders, hanging up on Kendall as the escalator trails him behind Logan. Meanwhile, Shiv (Sarah Snook) ricochets from one possibility to another and Roman (Kieran Culkin) ruins his standing with his father. And Greg... well, Greg (Nicholas Braun) ruins any shot of friendship with Rava (Natalie Gold). But overall, where does it leave them all?

Well, that's the very question we seek to answer.

10. Rava

Not being able to afford "gender appropriate razors" is a rough beat, but the biggest struggle for Rava is Kendall's presence in her home. Her life proves the impossibility of exiting the Roy family orbit — no matter how harsh your divorce settlement, they somehow end up back on your living room couch.

Though Kendall has a tendency to forget his children exist, even that can't free Rava from his family drama. With nowhere else to go, her ex-husband decides to use her apartment as his base of operations: making calls, taking meetings, and even inviting his girlfriend along for dinner. Rava entertains it all, maintaining the peace when an heirloom bottle of wine is popped for dinner and placating Ken with smiles when he insists he betrayed his father for her and their kids. And despite it all, Rava holds a power no one seems to note: she sees through the bullsh*t. She knows Kendall has come for a pat on the back and recognizes the disastrous state he arrives in. She gives him what he needs, but offers nothing more. No assurance, no encouragement, just the plastered smile of a woman whose done this many times before. Through her, Kendall becomes that much clearer.

9. Connor and Willa

The couple that fails together, stays together. That's the saying, right?

In a way, everyone's favorite politician-playwright power couple is thriving. They exist just outside of the warzone with next to no risk of being involved. But if proximity to power is equal to power itself, then things aren't going great for this pair. Neither Logan nor Kendall care to give them the time of day. If not for Willa (Justine Lupe) calling Logan's attention to his firstborn son, he wouldn't have even glanced in Connor's (Alan Ruck) direction. With the wave of his hand, Logan asks Connor to "hold down the fort," a meaningless ask with zero responsibility. And for a painful moment, Connor understands this. So he thanks Willa and pivots to more pressing matters: Broadway.

Remember Sands, Willa's mite-infested play? It tanked so hard that Connor asked Logan for a small loan (of $100 million) to make ends meet. The funds were promised on the condition that he abandons his presidential run, but Connor may have an alternate solution. Hate-watching is all the rage, so he asks Willa is she's cool to lean into the bad reviews, referencing the headline "kill yourself if you got a ticket." Sands could make some hefty cash from all the "hipsters and dipshits," a great development for Connor's wallet but a crushing blow to Willa's spirit. For now, this duo sits pretty low in the ranking, but who knows? In a matter of episodes, Connor's campaign may be stronger than ever.

8. Frank

A lifetime of serving the Roys and Frank still hasn't earned Logan's loyalty. It might have something to do with his attempted coup in season 1, but why not let bygones be bygones, Logan? Real talk, Frank isn't in a terrible position. He has options. Logan may not hold him in high esteem, but still keeps him close, allowing Frank to partake in major conversations — such as deciding the next CEO of the company. And sure, Frank holds little sway in that particular discussion, but it's Logan, so neither does anyone else. Working the best of both worlds, Frank is privy to crucial moves from Logan whilst Kendall attempts to poach him. He has his choice of either inner-circle and the option to bide his time while they make the first moves.

7. Shiv (and Tom)

There was a time when Siobhan seemed immune to the Roy tendency to self-destruct. While Roman and Kendall regularly made fools of themselves, Shiv found her corner of the world and thrived. But once the possibility of assuming her father's legacy was waved in her face, folks, she crumbled before our eyes. For all her competence, her scheming, her calculating moves, this is still the same Shiv who demanded her father name her successor at a business dinner in "Turn Haven." This is still the same Shiv who called her father a "dinosaur" to an audience of strangers. She's Logan Roy's only daughter, cast aside so often she doubted her chance at ever assuming the throne. And now that it's finally within reach ... she just can't make it work.

In "Secession," Logan once again considers Shiv as a possibility. He weighs the good ( she's his kid! And a woman!), against the bad (her lack of experience), and ultimately doesn't seem too keen on the prospect. When she fails to sway Lisa Arthur (Sanaa Lathan), his decision is made. But most telling is her conversation with her old friend, where she doesn't even attempt a sales pitch, instead distracted by the possibilities turning in her head. In the war between her father and Kendall, where does Shiv fit in? Both seem unlikely to give her what she truly wants, the top job, but both still expect her in their corner. Kendall promises that there's a place for her, while Roman calls to say Gerri (J. Smith Cameron) is CEO because of her failure. In response, Shiv makes a split-second decision that we don't see the result of. Is she on her way to Kendall?

This brings us to Tom (Matthew Macfadyen), whose fate is currently tied to his wife. If not for their marriage, he might have been thrown to the wolves in Kendall's place. Last season he devastated Shiv by floating the idea of a break-up, a painful prospect they have yet to unpack — but her immediate response was to fight for his protection. For now, Tom rises and falls with Shiv, bolstered by her success and dragged down when she loses her father's favor. Poor Wambsgans does have some options though: with Shiv, he could be one half of a power couple. He certainly tried to keep the partnership going, calling her the second the CEO discussion began. But as usual, it's a one-way streak — Shiv doesn't let him know about Kendall's phone call and later, tells Lisa she has no one else to talk to. She's already pulling away from Tom, and him from her, bringing us to option number 2: it's time for Tom to explore where he stands on his own. Like Greg, he does have some information, some leverage to wield. And he's on Logan's plane, listening in on key decisions and key mistakes of the past. Tom is hungry for power like everyone else on "Succession," so his next move could be a solo grab for himself.

Bonus points to Tom for a brutal burn (When Shiv says "I love you"): "Uh huh, thanks. Thank you."

6. Greg

Greg "NO COMMENT" Hirsch stole himself some security way back in season 1, and it's been serving him well ever since. Still, he always finds himself entwined with someone else's fate. In the season premiere, he's effectively gone from being Tom's right-hand man to Kendall's: and both come with their own unique set of drawbacks. Kendall may be on top for now, but as Shiv warns their new lawyer, "be careful who you hitch your wagon to."

But never mind the grand war going on, Greg has plenty of other problems to deal with. Like losing his shot at media monitoring! And canceling his mother's credit card! Maybe if we ask very nicely, Jesse Armstrong will show Greg packing up NutriBullets and reading off the many tweets he wrote down.

5. Roman

Underestimating Roman Roy is an understandable mistake. The prior two seasons saw people offhandedly mention his "good instincts" and "potential," but it's hard to find greatness in the man who once jacked off on his office window. But Roman proved us wrong, overseeing a financing deal for Waystar, then advising against it to great, strategic effect. Most meaningfully, Roman has won his father's attention. When the time comes for "playing dice with God," and figuring out the next CEO of the company in real time, Logan is leaning towards Roman and no one in the room outright disagrees.

Romulus isn't exactly tight on strategy and his common sense could use some work, but he shares his father's savage nature. F**k Congress. Chop Kendall into a million pieces and toss him in the Hudson. Do whatever it takes, whatever they want, all the time. Who cares about the rules? Roman has the instinct to be a killer. Plus, unlike Shiv or Kendall, he isn't interested in pretending he has some kind of moral high ground. It's exactly what Logan values, and for a shining moment Roman could very well have everything he wants. Until he makes the mistake of asking for it.

In an episode full of brutal moments, the secondhand embarrassment of Roman's phone call with his father has them all beat. Moments after Logan praised him for not being "all meh, meh, meh," Roman is hemming and hawing on the phone, walking himself in circles, groveling at his father's feet and begging for his shot at the top. Perhaps if he declared himself the best option for CEO and ended the call there, he would've been fine. But Roman waited for affirmation and when he didn't receive it, crumbled. Before the pitiful "I love you" is spoken, he's already lost his chance. But it certainly seals his coffin.

Roman could've ended the night at #1, had he kept his worst impulses in check. Still, his position isn't too shabby. Currently, the greatest arrow in his quiver is his relationship with Gerri — not only do they share the greatest romance in all of "Succession" (forgive me, Tom/Greg!), they also have an alliance. The Mole Woman and the Rockstar could take this thing! But what makes their relationship work, also threatens to destroy it: Gerri is so much smarter than him. His loyalty to her has been proven time and time again, meaning his success is also hers. But by no means does that guarantee Gerri will do the same for him.

In better news, Roman's father and many others now consider him an actual contender for CEO, a major upgrade from being utterly dismissed throughout the first season. He's also made his way into the intro, highlighting Roman as a true player in the game. People are starting to see and believe in his potential — the challenge is simply living up to it.

4. Logan

Early on, Logan checks if all of his kids are conspiring against him ... and unfortunately, they are not. Which means this is just Kendall, up to his old tricks of stabbing his father in the back. Logan crushed him once before and could conceivably do it again, except for one little problem: this is much bigger than Kendall. The damage is piling on and Logan now has the attention of the entire world: Senate, FBI, SEC, class actions, the shareholders, Sandy and Stewy ... the list goes on. Kendall's betrayal was the most personal blow, but it spiraled out into a new web of problems. Logan's expression at the end of the episode is incredibly telling — he's lost. He doesn't know where people are, what they're thinking, and who else is lining up to take a shot. 

He earns his high spot because he's still THE Logan Roy, on the verge of going full f**king beast. Everyone continues to orbit and tiptoe around him, even as the castle crumbles. And, in a way, even his destruction is part of the plan. After all, isn't this what he always wanted? For one of his kids to prove themselves by virtue of going for the kill? Kendall's doing it! Sure, he follows his killer press conference up with some deep breaths in a bathtub, but that's a secret. As far as Logan knows, his dreams are finally coming true.

Bonus points go to Logan for the best line of the night: "Carl, if your hands are clean it's only because your wh*rehouse does manicures."

3. Kendall

Hey, um, what if Kendall is the best man in the world? He entertains the thought with a sh*t-eating grin, so triumphant you can see the adrenaline coursing through his veins. Kendall is a man without a plan: he dove in for the killer move with no insight for the future and miraculously, it seems to be working. As though he just survived a near death experience, Kendall is riding a wave of unimaginable success, of survival. If you haven't heard, he's the #1 trending topic, ahead of tater tots. He couldn't be doing better — except that The Pope isn't following him. But that's nothing some "Bojack" guys can't fix, once they start ghostwriting Kendall's tweets.

For now, people are more than happy to hitch their wagon to his apparent star power: despite the dark secrets of Kendall Roy, once positioned against his father, he emerges as a golden boy. Lisa Arthur sizes him up, but compared to the disaster that swept through her office in Shiv's body, it's an easy call. PR firm Berry Schneider tells him they like winners. And though he rambles on about corporate manifestos and a reactionary TEDX, in this battle to the death, everything's coming up Kendall. But then ... maybe we're getting ahead of ourselves.

These many positive assessments came from outsiders. Meanwhile, Roman is quick to say Kendall will "self-destruct" because, as he so eloquently puts it, "it's his favorite." The most crushing evaluation goes unsaid, communicated in brief interactions with his ex-wife. Just like the rest of us, Rava is shocked by Kendall's big step forward. Without a doubt, he's making life-changing moves but as a person, he hasn't changed all that much. He strides into Rava's apartment fired up on adrenaline, like he's one compliment away from popping his collar and calling himself the chosen one. In the bathroom he buzzes, feeling power in his fingertips and clearly overwhelmed by his own actions. In meetings, he rants, drowning out everyone around him. We never see Kendall get his hands on any illicit drugs but it's hard not to flashback to previous coked-up versions of the character.

And despite all the power coursing through his veins, our #1 boy is still desperate for affirmation. Kendall is still reaching. "Can I do this? Can I win?" He looks to Rava for something she can't give him, no matter what she says in response. And it's all in her eyes — is it pity? Or perhaps recognition? She was married to the man long enough to have two children, to understand his family, his function, and his ceiling for growth. Has he finally broken past it? Or is he still stuck beneath his father, beneath his lack of confidence, beneath his tendency to self-destruct? We'll know soon enough.

For now, Kendall is in pretty good standing with the rest of the world ... perhaps well enough to start poaching team members from his father.

Bonus points for the best Kendallism: "F**k the weather, we're changing the cultural climate."

2. Gerri

Everything's coming up Gerri! After quietly biding her time, navigating the dangerous temperament of Logan Roy and pivoting herself out of every bad situation, Gerri has found herself holding so many cards. She has Logan's trust, Roman's fealty, and the benefit of people mostly looking past her. When she became next in line on paper, no one batted an eye, but that was their mistake. Sure, Logan fully intends this to be a meaningless nameplate, but if there's anything Gerri is good at, it's finding power in whatever position she holds. And this is the top spot.

1. All Logan Roy Dissenters & Haters

Stewy and Sandy! Marcia! Lady Caroline! Ewan! Senator Gil! Congress! America! Things are looking good for absolutely anyone who wants to see the Roy empire topple. This family is on the verge of tearing itself apart, inviting everyone with a grudge to sit back and enjoy the show. Better yet, if you have the power, take a couple steps forward and fan the flames. Their chance of survival is looking slim, so enemies of the empire will surely get involved to make matters oh so much worse.