Succession Season 3 Power Rankings: Who Is The Lion In The Meadow?

(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.)

To some, Waystar Royco is a media conglomerate fending off a massive scandal. But for those on the inside, this has never been about the lives ruined due to shady cruise dealings. This is a family issue, through and through. Should you ever doubt that, just take note of all the nonexistent professionalism — every conversation involving the Roy family devolves into childish insults and cheap jabs before business can even be broached. "Lion in the Meadow" kicks into gear with a company conference call that sees Roman (Kieran Culkin) injecting his signature sarcasm whilst Shiv (Sarah Snook) and Kendall (Jeremy Strong) bicker like children. They're all the same immature kids they've been since childhood — but with a suit and tie replacing their jammies. More than a few staff members endure their childish squabbles, plagued by the knowledge that their jobs are on the line. But conference call arguments are the least of their worries.

At this point in the season, we're well past the point of Roy family drama being reserved for the Waystar office. Between Kendalls' grand betrayal, Shiv's "greeting card from hell," and everything else the media cycle can dredge up on the family, every stone they hurl is out on display. While that's sure to make for some Christmas awkwardness later down the line, first and foremost is the trouble it's causing the company. Investors like Adrien Brody's Josh Aaronson are wavering, wondering if they should throw their weight behind Stewy and Sandy instead. After all, Waystar Royco is a family business and the family is imploding in on itself. With foundations that shaky, why bother supporting the Roys at all?

To keep Josh and his 4% on their side of the battle lines, the Roys have to give the man his pound of flesh — and he wastes no time going for the jugular. Josh demands a chat with the men vying for power, Kendall and Logan (Brian Cox). In doing so, he grants us our first opportunity all season to see them share the screen. Up until now, their interactions have been public jabs and private phone conversations, often funneled through another person (ie. Jess). And try as he might, Kendall can't seem to bow out of this convo — it's much too important to ignore. So for the first time all season, Logan and Kendall are in the same place. And much to my surprise, pure vitriol takes a backseat to... sheer awkwardness. An odd hug and many drawn out silences later, father and son continue the struggle of fighting one another while trying to secure the same end goal. Ultimately, it becomes painfully obvious that they can't look after the company while fending off each other. Bad as that is for some, it's an undeniable blessing for others.

10. Terminal Tom

Tom "Shame Sponge" Wambsgans can't catch a break. Last week, he seemed to earn himself a modicum of capital by offering himself up for the chopping block. This got him some surprise and even appreciation from Logan, while Shiv actually bothered listening to the words coming out of her husband's mouth. Hell, she even offered some comfort! But this week, she's back to hurling insults and making demands, pushing humor and lightness aside, and sending him to take crap in her place. And ultimately, he accomplishes neither of the tasks placed on his shoulders: Greg (Nicholas Braun) has already talked himself into accepting Logan's deal, having worked out a game plan without Tom's assistance, whilst Ravenhead refuses to follow the Wambsgans directives and reams him out for trying.

And you think that's bad? Then consider this pathetic fact: Tom has a binder of prisons. He spends a scene flipping through it, trying to find comfort in kosher vending machines and toilet wine recipes (from the prison blogs, of course). All the while, the crushing reality of actually going to prison continues to suffocate him. Sadly the episode offers no explanation for the world's most obvious question — where is Tom get this prison binder? Did he make it himself? What a depressing arts and crafts project. Did he make Greg construct it? Or perhaps he found it on a Waystar shelf, waiting for the next lowly employee destined for jail.

Point is, Tom is cracking under the immense pressure. Waystar employees have started calling him "Terminal Tom," poking fun at his cancerous career. Tom sort of laughs this off, but in the same way that Kendall spent last week laughing at the Sophie Iwobi jokes: fascade aside, it's eating him up inside. Meanwhile, Tom's old punching bag Greg is moving up in the world. Well past the point of having to take Tom's s***, Greg has enough capital to shut it down and stand his ground, and Tom has no choice but to face that. He can toss the gangly cousin into another punishment office, but in a matter of weeks, he'll be moving on to his new executive position in Parks. And Tom? He'll be stuck with an inevitable prison sentence, and a wife he wants to push down the stairs.

9. Ravenhead and His Pal, The Raisin

ATN anchor Mark Ravenhead (Zack Robidas) and his good friend, the President, are simply pawns in Roy's war for power. They're being shuffled around the board and pitted against each other as Logan attempts to make his "boyfriend" play ball and actually wield some power to protect him. So he sics news anchor and known Mein Kampf enthusiast Ravenhead on him with — but with some definitely-not-instructed editorial changes. It sucks to be bossed around by the Roys, but also, these two suck, so who cares? Save your sympathies for Tattoo Man, a once homeless man paid to get Kendall's initials tattooed on his forehead. He ends the episode a million dollars richer, but at the expense of his pride, having handed over pictures of the incident to Roman. Should the monstrous Roy ever spot an opportunity to explicit the story, this man will surely garner some undesired attention.

8. Pretend Postal Worker Shiv Roy

Let's be honest, Shiv doesn't even need an entry this week. Connor (Alan Ruck) summed her position up with a deliciously embarrassing childhood memory: a tiny Siobhan Roy once fancied herself a postal worker, stamping letters as they arrived at the Roy household. "This is a little bit like that, isn't it, Shiv?"

Back when she was just a pushy observer in a pantsuit, dismissing Shiv's ideas and attempts to get more involved with Waystar were inevitable. Now that she actually has a title with the company, she expected things would change, and confidently walks the halls with her demands locked and loaded. Unfortunately... no one really cares. They humor her, of course: she's the boss's daughter and managed to snag herself a comfortable corner office. So when she asks for a rundown on the latest deals and meetings, Frank and Karl pause their lunch break to deliver. But all the while, they exchange knowing glances and restrain their eye rolls. Shiv is still playing pretend, except now she doesn't even have a fake stamp to show for it.

After being thoroughly dressed down by her father, Shiv manages to scrounge up the required badassery to get Ravenhead to do her bidding. It's a cutthroat moment, and we can tell she's in the grove as her expression goes blankly brutal. But backing Ravenhead into a corner with ease came after a harsh word slap from her father, bringing her general abilities into question. It's like she needed to fail to succeed. Worst yet, this means she further alienated her husband for no reason. All in all, Shiv isn't really on anyone's good side right now — she doesn't play well with others. It probably runs in the family, but given how much her own husband resents her, it's definitely something that will continue looming big.

7. Connor Roy

Connor has spent the past few episodes making one thing abundantly clear: he would like some damn pie. The forgotten fourth sibling doesn't share in everyone else's grand aspirations of running the company, because he'd much rather run the entire United States. In fact, his eyes are so set on the presidency that they've allowed him to glimpse some clarity and realize that he needs some real world job experience before chasing down voters. Of course, by real world experience, he means he'd like to be given an upper level executive position immediately, so he can hit one or three major achievements and then see his way out. Shiv resists the urge to laugh him out of the room and instead offers him a show on the company's food network, Gourmondo. And while the rest of us would definitely pay money to watch Alan Ruck do a bunch of wine spit takes, Connor isn't having it. So he makes two major counter moves.

First, he offers a sharp reminder that he is in fact a Roy, and can deliver on bitter cruelty whenever he feels like it. He brings up the memory of Shiv's pretend post office, reminding her that even now, she's nothing more than a glorified errand girl. Second, he threatens to whip out a megaphone to tell the world what a nasty, racist, neglectful individual his father is.

It's an interesting threat because Connor has spent the past few weeks refusing to turn against his father and brother, all for the sake of playing nice. But was that genuine concern for them or self preservation? "My signature is valuable real estate, and I'm not giving it away for free," he told Shiv, last week. Might he have signed for a good enough offer? Connor betraying his father is a lot less believable. Could he actually weaponize his publicity to put his father on blast? Probably not. But lucky for him, it's not a threat he has to make to Logan's face. He can say whatever he wants to Shiv because, like everyone else in the building, he doesn't really take her seriously.

6. Kendall Roy, A Good Kid

Kendall started off on a high. He finally managed to drag himself out of the Sophie Iwobi server room — which we unfortunately don't get to see for ourselves. But nevermind the joys of Kendall awkwardly avoiding eye contact with producers and writers as he squirrels away into a cab, because now he's riding high! You might not realize it from the way he's sunken into his chair, but the Waystar FBI raid has given him new life. It's a big and very necessary win, given the devastating blow of Shiv's very public takedown. On the conference call, he tells her, "I hope it was worth it. I don't know if me and you come back from that." Shiv doesn't seem too worried about their relationship (shocker, I know) and brushes him off with a joke.

Sad as it is, this is hardly the worst of Kendall's familial relationships. The episode presents him with the prospect of being face-to-face with his father, an alarming idea that he immediately rejects. But after receiving some sketchy advice from triple agent Frank, he agrees for the meeting, hoping to secure Josh Aaronson (Adrien Brody) for Team Kendall... which goes about as well as you think.

Remember that time Kendall bought a pair of $500 calfskin sneakers to impress the idealistic women behind an artist startup? Remember how one of them ends the episode by telling him to f*** off? Well, this is a little bit like that, isn't it, Kendall? He spends most of the episode trying to connect with Josh, bro to bro, but it's an embarrassing failure.

The man who spent last week chanting "Bad tweet! Bad tweet! Bad tweet!" in the back of a limo thinks he's cool, but the rest of the world knows better. Kendall tries too hard and it reads all over his face. But it's most noticeable when he shares a couch with his father, who breezes into a room, no fake swagger or bravado, just his naturally powerful self. "Back me, sit tight, counting your gold in your gold castle here and I'll make you whole." This doesn't totally win Josh over, but it's a good start. Especially compared to the many Kendall spiels falling flat. By the end of the episode, poor Kendall gets the second-hand info that Josh has jumped ship, because he has "zero faith in the post-Dad leadership. It's not just Logan's health that spooked him, but the prospect of a Kendall takeover, which is a painful realization for Kendall in the final moments of the episode.

Of course, all this comes after an even more brutal moment with his father — Logan actually musters some kind words about his son. Sure, he starts by running through a painfully realistic scenario where Kendall accepts a payoff and backs down from the company. But he also declares him the "best" of his children and says, "He's a good kid and I love him." What must Kendall be feeling in this moment — Anger? Hatred? Relief? When his father says, "everything will be okay," is he talking to him? Are any of his words real? Does Kendall want them to be? As always, Jeremy Strong's expressions contain multitudes, signaling just how much pain Kendall is trying to suppress.

5. Logan Roy

Logan isn't exactly the picture of health right now; he just passed out after a couple hours in the sun. But even in all his weakness, his strength perseveres. When we first met the man in season 1, we thought he might be on his deathbed. A couple episodes later, he managed moments so terrifying that it was easy to forget his lowest lows — like being unable to play childish memory games and getting confused at the sight of his own daughter. Minutes after heat exhaustion destroys his chances of winning over Josh, Logan is on the phone, listening to the President throw a fit. Now that's power.

The FBI are needling him and the President keeps trying to turn against him, but Logan still knows this game better than anyone. He may be old school, but it's effective more often than not. He understands how much to concede to Josh, in order to win his favor. You would think it a struggle for him to say kind words with Kendall two feet away but Logan understands the sway his little speech will have. In a moment this critical, that outweighs his pride.

Up until now, his raw power and gravitas have outweighed his worsening health, but that can't be the case forever. He collapses on the trek back to Josh's house, ultimately causing the loss of his crucial 4% — and after Logan did all the hard work of winning him over. Kendall is his most obvious problem, but not his most important. As he tells Shiv, "everything everywhere is always moving, forever." So he can keep fending off enemies and maybe even scare Kendall back into another corner, but there are no pauses, no breaks, and not enough time to catch his breath. Logan's racing against time and health now, perhaps the only battle he's destined to lose.

4. Gerri Kellman (and Her Mistress, Roman Roy)

Gerri Kellman (J Smith Cameron) is playing the field, spending her days with Roman Roy and his bare feet, then heading out for a night on the town with former DOJ hottie, Laurie. Though things are no doubt difficult under the weight of an FBI investigation and the company quickly approaching the shareholder vote, Gerri is making things work, especially when it comes to her young concubine.

Roman spends the episode trying to secure pictures of a once homeless man paid to get Kendall's initials tattooed on his forehead. While Roman believes this will take down "Wokehontas" for good, his plot is thwarted by his ally, Gerri. She tells him to keep the photos on file, but not release them just yet. It's momentarily sad for Roman, who seemed so giddy about sharing his big win — but he looks even happier when she tucks the photos back into their folder and says, "our little secret." Praise is a rarity in this business, and certainly in the Roy family. From week-to-week, Roman mostly gets insults hurled his way, the occasional slur and once, a slap from his father. But this week, he gets a gold star from Gerri. That should totally absolve him of all that parental trauma, right?!

Bonus points to both players, because nothing says love quite like ​​"What, I can't take my footwear off? I can't masturbate at a time and place of my choosing?"

3. Greg, You Little Machiavellian F***

"What Greg wants, Greg must have," Logan tells everyone's favorite lanky cousin, demanding a coke to go with Greg's rum.

Greg Hirsh came into our lives already looking to leverage his miniscule status for some power, kicked out by his mother and sent to connect with his distant relatives after flunking out of the Waystar management training program. They spent a good chunk of time just making fun of the endlessly awkward man-child — calling him "Greg the Egg," and sending him to do their dirty work. In doing so, they mistook his tendency to fumble through life as a reason to dismiss him completely — but Greg is smarter than he looks. He understands the importance of shoving incriminating evidence into his pants!

Greg has continued playing it smart for the majority of the season — not signing himself away to either side. He balanced slipping info to Tom while remaining at Kendall's side. He rejected their offered lawyers in favor of his own. But why play the field when the perfect offer is officially on the table? Cousin Greg has officially signed away his life and hitched his wagon to Team Logan. For now, this is a big win for Greg, who understands the importance of experience economy and negotiated his way into an executive Parks position. At long last, he's far away from the scandalous cruises and the toxicity of ATN. Greg's gonna live in a magical castle!

Of course, all this counts on Logan and Waystar not completely sinking or, say, losing to Stewy and Sandy. I'm guessing those two won't want a random Roy cousin running parks, if just for the sake of spite. Speaking of spite, Kendall could easily wield the info he has on Greg, effectively throwing him under the bus in the midst of an investigation.

So okay, Greg's joy could very well be short lived, but either way, it's pretty incredible that he's risen so high in the tanks, awkwardly fumbling his way through betrayals and negotiations. He had to chug some rum to do it, but who among us hasn't?

Bonus points to Greg for basically every line that comes out of his mouth, but especially this one "I have this, like, stupid worry that I'm gonna go over, and there'll be, like, goons and stooges and roughjacks there to administer a beating."

2. True Love

No discussion of "Lion in the Meadow" can be complete without time dedicated to a top-tier Tom/Greg moment. This episode will surely go down in history for an incredible scene between everyone's favorite couple. Not only do they discuss the Nero and Sporus of it all ("That's not IP I'm familiar with"), but they share a rare moment of emotional connection, which is notably sparse in the world of "broken corporate America."

Tom's prison induced spiral leads him to seek solace in his two most important relationships — but when he confesses his fears to Shiv, she seems exasperated. "I don't know what I can say to you," she says, then leaves to take a phone call from the only man she actually has time for these days — her father. But when Tom lets everything pour out to Greg, he actually gets the space to unload. Greg looks on in concern, asking, "Are you okay, Tom?" Of course, Tom has spent too much time as a Roy and been involved in one too many games of Boar on the Floor, so he immediately shifts the feeling discussion to a rousing wrestling match. "See if you can wrestle me to the ground, Greg," he asks, because they're definitely in love.

Extreme bonus points for the only line in this episode that truly matters:

1. Josh Aaronson (and Trojan Horse Specialist, Stewy Hosseini)

Josh Aaronson is having the time of his life, isn't he? The man has his finger on the big red button and he's cooing over his power as Logan and Kendall are forced to watch. Under the thin ruse of his daughter being sick, he forces two of the world's richest men to come to his private island for a stroll by the water. Never mind that they're in the midst of a blood feud, because Josh holds a critical 4% stake in their company and even they can't hide how desperately they need his support. Just for kicks, he pokes fun at their family drama, picking their relationship apart under a microscope. He forces Logan to concede kind words, pushes Kendall into terrified paranoia and then makes them listen to his speech about how badly they need him. And in the end? He sends them on their way and gives his ol' pal Stewy a big hug.

The trojan horse ploy is working wonders for our boy, Stewy Hosseini (Arian Moayed). He need not be on screen to secure himself a win, because Logan and Kendall are digging their graves deeper and deeper by the minute. Based on his end of episode hug and the sneak peek at episode 5, Stewy is finally stepping up to shine on our screens. The shareholder meeting has arrived and Team Stewy and Sandy are in great standing. They're completely outside of the Roy family nonsense and if they feel the need to step back, they also have a backup plan with Kendall in the works. But why bother? If Josh Aaronson is anything to go by, they already have this one in the bag.

Bonus points to Josh: "It's the short way but sometimes it takes longer."