Succession Season 3 Power Rankings: There Are No Winners In The Disruption

(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 never-ending list of enemies.)

Every so often, the Roy children indicate their potential for growth — small moments of kindness or concern that make us wonder if their relationship can survive beyond their father's abuse. And just when some impossible hope begins to peek through, the Roy nature breaks through, as desperately cruel and vicious as ever. In season 2, "Safe Haven" seemed to mark the beginnings of a Kendall (Jeremy Strong) and Shiv (Sarah Snook) rivalry, with Logan (Brian Cox) pretending to follow through on his promise to make Shiv the next CEO. As she donned her best suit, Kendall sized her up, realizing the unspoken reason she was getting involved with Waystar Royco. Knowing nothing of Logan's leash on Ken, she mistook this for a declaration of war, ready to mark him as her enemy. But then he surprised her. Rather than engaging in a heated argument about who should be CEO, he simply cries on her shoulder and asks Shiv to "take care" of him.

That devastating scene proved oddly hopeful, offering a rare moment of genuine emotion between the Roys as the two siblings hug. But in "The Disruption," that moving moment is a mere memory. Kendall is no less broken, and Shiv no less hungry for power, but there certainly isn't a hug in their near future. The Roy's are out for blood — and family is no exception. Last week, Kendall hurled some hurtful words at his sister, frustrated when the sibling pow wow ended with no one joining his squad. However annoyed he was by the loss of Roman (Kieran Culkin) and Connor (Alan Ruck), Shiv brushing him off hit twice as hard. She would have made a valuable addition to his side and made the most sense — after all, they "want the same things." But that very shared desire is what drives them apart, as neither are willing to share the top prize. And since they've been raised by the same man, they only know one way forward — destroy everyone in their way. Mixing family and business is where things get messy though, because the lines between public and personal quickly blur. Or, in Shiv's case, can simply be lit on fire.

"The Disruption" sees the Roy's testing the boundaries of their relationships. When Shiv finally gets her moment to shine, Kendall unleashes a childish attack on his sister. In turn, she uses the press against her brother, penning an open letter dubbing him a "drug addict," "serial liar," and "absentee father," with a history of "problematic relationships with women."But her victory is short-lived, because just as Ken crumbles, so does the family empire, with the FBI busting down the doors.

There are no clear winners in "The Disruption," an episode where everyone eats sh*t. The severity of their disasters may vary, but everyone suffers one way or another, betrayed by family, loathed by the public, or edging closer to true desperation.

10. Mondale, The Unsettled Dog

Mondale's not well. Mondale is unsettled. And who can blame him? The poor pupper was named after a Democratic senator so his parents could show off how aggressively liberal they are, while throwing their weight behind a multi-billion dollar media conglomerate with a history of harming ... pretty much everyone, actually. And like us, Mondale senses something wrong in the Wambsgans-Roy marriage, and fear of what's to follow has led this doggo to dark places, indeed. Like consuming his mom's pantyhose. Though the image of Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) pulling said stockings out the other end is surely distressing, it's also poetic: Mondale isn't the only one shook to his core. Tom is also severely unsettled and ultimately, not doing much better than his dog.

9. Tom

Tom spends the episode contemplating jail time. After a chat with a lawyer friend, he comes to the realization that things likely don't shake out well for him, should the investigation continue down its dangerous path. But as Shiv will later say, he finds a way to pull a "win" from a "no win" — by going to jail willingly. He offers himself up as a beating post to Logan and Shiv, saying that he can go down for the scandal and asking for nothing in return. Before bringing the idea to the big boss man, Tom floats this by his wife to very unsurprising results: Shiv shuts it down for all of 12 seconds before agreeing that yeah, maybe her husband going to jail is actually a solid plan. And though Tom ultimately leans in for a hug, there's a moment where he seems to eye her, processing her response. Later, after officially making the offer to Logan, he slips into a back room and makes a call to a lawyer. As of now, Tom is a tragically frazzled man, set up to be the fall guy — but he might just have something else up his sleeve. Until then, he can pass the time by punching down, offering Greg fake cyanide pills and an awful new office.

8. Shiv

Sorry, Pinkie. Every time Shiv inches closer to her goals, someone is always waiting to knock her back down. Last season, Rava outwitted her and Logan outmaneuvered her, but in the end, she found a way to break through them both and make her way back to the Waystar Royco command room. "The Disruption" sees her sporting a new position as president of ... something. It's a semi-made up, semi-real opportunity to be a real contender for next Chief Executive Officer and actually succeed her father — but it also means taking a public facing role. Up until now, Shiv has maintained a comfortable level of distance. Not having a position at her father's controversial and distinctly conservative company allowed her to exist in liberal circles, take on jobs with Democratic candidates, and maintain a level of deniability from Waystars' shady doings. But now she must embrace them.

She takes to the stage for a company "town hall," addressing Kendall's turn against the family as well as the Waystar cruise scandal. She shares the stage with only women (because Logan pays a lot for PR, so they really think these things through), and with Gerri (J. Smith Cameron) and Karolina (Dagmara Dominczyk) just a few feet away, she claims her moment. Honestly, she's kinda batting 1000, balancing that trademark corporate mix of poised, funny, and respectful as she talks through corporate responsibility. If not for Nirvana's "Rape Me" blaring across multiple speakers, maybe she could've pulled off something great. Unfortunately, while she attempts to address scandal — which sees the company accused of covering up various incidents of sexual assault with intimidation and payoffs — her brother plays a little prank. Kendall has found a mix of cruelty and childishness so effective that it sends Shiv spiraling.

Generally, Shiv likes to have an escape route; she avoids publicly taking sides as long as she can for a reason. She turns the company down when asked to publicly talk about her love for Logan and avoids taking pictures with him when he returns home. It's not unlike the way she married Tom, with a last minute open-marriage addendum. Or the way she took a job as a political fixer, knowing the family fortune and company would always be waiting. But her open letter plants her flag on Kendall's grave — she is loudly on Team Logan, no matter the cost.

Bonus points for this exchange with Roman: "Is it true you let the track team fingerbang you for lunch money?" "Stop projecting your memories onto me."

7. Kendall 'Bootleg Ross' Roy

Kendall is obsessed with his image. In the aftermath of his bombshell press conference, he took comfort in the idea that he has become a champion of the people, riding the "righteous vehicle," on his way to end climate change and defeat the villainous Logan Roy. It helps that corners of the internet have rallied to his side and his inner circle serves as an echo chamber of support. When the bad press finally manages to permeate the magical dream world Kendall lives in, he laughs it off, adopting the classic "no press is bad press" approach. He's "in the conversation," he tells everyone, so "it's okay to laugh." And if only Kendall could continue attending ceremonies with Naomi on his arm, press snapping pictures and people asking for autographs, maybe he'd be fine. But it's all temporary, and eventually he has to face that.

Sophie Iwobi (Ziwe) is his first hint at that, however much he tries to ignore the pain caused by her show. He makes light of it during his profile interview, then wavers when questioned about his relationship with his siblings. Ultimately, he hides behind what he's been saying all season — he's happy to be free. He's happy in his "headspace." Why wouldn't he be? He's constructed a pretty alluring fantasy. But the first person to truly put a crack in his temporary shield from reality is Colin, the Waystar body man who helped cover up Kendall's dalliance with vehicular manslaughter. "I know you," he says in a chilling moment, meeting Kendall's eye with an unbearable intensity. Soon after, Kendall faces Shiv's open letter, full of harsh words but also hard facts. The FBI may be at Logan's door, securing Kendall a victory on the business side; but this is news he received while hiding out in a server room, crumpled into a corner, haunted by truths he can't bear to face.

Bonus points for continuing his creepy Jesus-complex: "Another life is possible, brother."

6. Logan

Logan is stuck in a bad situation, perhaps the worst he's faced since establishing Waystar Royco. At times, he seems alarmingly shaken by it all, especially when he feels control of his underlings slipping. His current CEO Gerri shouldn't be a threat in the least, yet her name plate says otherwise. The chain of command is becoming unclear and he already has a pretty significant coup to focus on, with no time to worry about another. But Logan still maintains a level of confidence, subpoena or not. He tells Shiv, "The law is people. And people are politics. And I can handle a people." We've seen him do it many times before — but we've also seen it fall through. The Rava and Nan Pierce of it all prove that he can fail, and fail hard. And "The Disruption" reiterates that. 

After spending the episode refusing to comply with the investigation, despite Gerri pushing him to do so, the FBI have arrived in full force and he can avoid it no longer. Logan has plenty of shields to cushion each blow — Gerri, Tom, Shiv and more — but he can only hide for so long. Beating posts are nice and all, but the name everyone's gunning for is undoubtedly Logan Roy.

Bonus points for relatability: "Do you know how many emails I get a day? I don't read my emails!"

5. Roman and Connor

Back in season 2, Roman spent a traumatic few hours trapped in a hostage situation. Afterwards, hidden behind sunglasses on a family yacht, he tried to connect with his siblings and "talk normally" — which ended with them mocking him in silly voices. But it indicated Roman's genuine desire to work through some of the Roy damage.

In little bits throughout the seasons, we've seen him express genuine caring for them all — especially Kendall. In "Mass in Time of War," he dropped off a bakery treat he knew his brother was fond of. When Ken relapsed in "Austerlitz," Roman went to get him. When he was chosen as the sacrificial lamb in the season 2 finale, Roman fought for him. Other than Kendall sobbing in Shiv's arms, Roman's concern is the closest we get to genuine affection, echoed often by Connor, desperate for some affection from his half-siblings. Last week, Connor left to retrieve Roman after Shiv's harsh insults and ended the night refusing to turn against Logan, arguing "it's not wise to kill one's father." There's no illusion on "Succession" that any of these people are good or capable of redemption, but it's comforting every now and then, to see some semblance of decency in them.

Roman and Connor are on the outskirts of "The Disruption," spinning their own wheels and getting their own business done, whilst staying outside the danger zone. They refuse to sign Shiv's letter simply on the grounds that it feels wrong, and avoid burning major bridges. They still take sh*t for it of course — especially Roman, the target of a homophobic slur from his father, once Logan hears he didn't sign. Ironically, the insult is in reference to Roman saying kind things about his father on TV. The PR strategy, designed to offset Kendall's rhetoric, was requested by the company because Logan is pretty desperate for good press. In fact, he demands the same of Shiv, stressing the importance that it comes from his only daughter. But when Roman does it, the insults are locked and loaded. To top it all off, Roman's fly-fishing story is revealed to be a lie — it's a memory of him and Connor. The realization of his "single, multi-use, happy childhood memory" burns like ice as Logan continues his insults, but is hardly a surprise.

The two brothers agree on something else, while conversing with Shiv — their value has gone underappreciated. Connor uses the words, ""I would like some sucky suck on my dicky dick" but we get the point. He wants money. And Roman wants to be CEO. So what's Team Logan doing for them, anyway? So as they carefully keep their distance, it's enough to make you wonder, if they don't feel valued, how might they respond?

Bonus points to Roman for a great game plan: "Can we discourage him with a taser shot directly to his peni or scrummage sacking?"

Bonus points to Connor for this delightful image: "PGN pulls up that photo of me with a ponytail anytime they wanna make me look untrustworthy."

4. Greg

Resident double agent, Greg Hirsch is playing the field — who knew he had it in him? Greg's non-committal attitude has him stuttering through every conversation out of sheer awkwardness, but it may just be his secret weapon. He's spent the past two episodes assuring everyone that he's not "necessarily" on one side or the other, exchanging info with Tom one minute and hyping Kendall up the next. He rejects lawyers from either side, going with a third, Ewan-funded option that allows him to continue playing the field. He spends his mornings at Waystar and his nights in Kendall's limousine. Then, he turns down dinner with Tom to receive a gift from Kendall, only to learn that a $40,000 watch isn't being bought for him after all, he has to pay up all on his own. And while we collectively cringe at the price of said watch, and again when we learn Greg actually bought it, there's a third factor worth cringing about ... but not at Greg's expense.

The lanky cousin isn't being properly appreciated — Ken doesn't buy him a watch and Tom shoves him into a messy, old office with trash cans strewn across the room. But Greg is flexible. He has connections to both inner circles, privy to secrets that Tom anxiously lets slip, and those that Kendall is too distracted to even cover up. While everyone else is tying themselves to one horse or another, Greg is hanging on to the middle ground. Sometimes getting lost in the shuffle is a good thing.

Bonus points for the best bad tweet: "Kendall Roy is not a hero, fam. He's bootleg Ross with a daddy complex."

3. Sophie Iwobi

Known "Succession" fan Ziwe is living the dream, guest starring on the show as a fictionalized version of herself. As Sophie Iwobi, she gets all the best insults in the episode, as she destroys Kendall Roy on live TV. She brutally dedicates two segments to the man she nicknames Oedip***y, then accepts his offer to be on the show, for a third round at dragging him through the mud. Unfortunately, Sophie and "Snitchy Rich" don't get to share the stage because he bails at the last minute, unable to face her with Shiv's letter now making the rounds. You might think a talk show losing its guest last minute would be a serious L, but Sophie turns it into a win. She reads the letter on her show, tosses out a couple more harsh nicknames (like Benedickhead Arnold) and capitalizes on his very low moment. And it's glorious.

Bonus points for the many names she calls Kendall, including "A Jar Of Mayonnaise In A Prada Suit" and "Wokestar Royco."

2. Stewy and Sandy (and Sandi)

As per usual, Stewy (Arian Moayed), Sandy (Larry Pine) and his daughter, Sandi (Hope Davis), need not be onscreen to secure a win. As Stewy so cleverly put it last week — that's what their Trojan horse is for. Kendall expressly tells Shiv that he's "not a suicide bomber," a sentiment he truly believes, but never proves true. He tells his lawyer (the long suffering Lisa) that he wants to take down his father, but leave the company intact for his takeover, a perfectly reasonable plan in theory. But common sense has never trumped Kendall's narcissism. More than anything, he wants the feeling of winning. He wants Waystar to be raided, because it makes his dad looks bad. He wants shareholders against Logan, but not so much that they side with Stewy. But Logan losing doesn't equate to Kendall winning, something Stewy understands much better than his former friend. Now, the Roys have all opened fire on each other, giving these three the perfect opportunity to sneak in through the back and seize control.

1. Cathy Yan

Oops, going a little meta for #1 but honestly, Cathy Yan is the only reasonable answer. While the characters of "Succession" spent an hour eating sh*t, the rest of us were treated to a visually stunning and emotionally raw episode helmed by "Birds of Prey" and "Dead Pigs" director, Yan. While the last two episodes were ramping up the tension, Yan's episode sees the tops finally exploding in the most devastating fashion popular. The usual whirring, spinning camera slows its pace to linger on painful moments of emotion, like Kendall walking through the studio as reality sets into place, giving Jeremy Strong what is surely an Emmy-winning moment. Yan captures all the kinetic insanity we love, but injects some unrelenting intimacy into the occasion, perfectly fitting for one of the season's best episodes yet.