Succession Season 3 Power Rankings: What's Below Rock Bottom? The Roys Find Out In Chiantishire

(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 Roys, their allies and their never-ending list of enemies.)

The title of HBO's darkly comedic corporate drama makes a promise: at some point or another, Logan Roy (Brian Cox) must name a successor to take his place. With his age on the rise and his health on the decline, death looms on the horizon for the grandiose patriarch, an inevitable ending that even he can't vanquish with his air of intimidation. So as the Roy children bare their teeth, make major plays and put every effort into seizing power, we sit back and pinpoint their weaknesses, considering which child could possibly fill Logan's throne. While his children rise and fall, Logan does the same (albeit with slightly more grace) and each time he pisses in a hallway or loses his mind over an invisible cat, it's impossible not to wonder — when will Logan finally die?

Last week, newcomer Lukas Mattson (Alexander Skarsgård) had the gall to outright ask — is the elder Roy less than a year away from his funeral? Or is it more like five years? This season more than ever before, we've all been wondering the same thing. This man who collapses on a private island hike, who proves himself a single missed dose away from going utterly piss-mad, he must be approaching death. And what would a post-Logan world even look like? He consistently proves himself to be the sun that everyone else orbits around, desperately cloying for guidance, direction or approval. In some people's case, if a kiss from daddy is too much to ask, then just a glance in their direction would suffice. Logan is that level of important, making his death ever so tantalizing. Without him, could the Roy children finally thrive? Or would they be more lost than ever before?

But "Succession" has a way of pulling the rug out from under us, slowly and sharply. Series creator Jesse Armstrong figured we'd keep busy, pondering a world without Logan, while another Roy has been circling the inevitability of death all along.

We Need To Talk About Kendall

Kendall Roy's (Jeremy Strong) descent into the depths of sadness has been long and painful to watch. It's no mistake that when we first meet him, he's bobbing his head and punching air in the back of a car, R&B music blaring as he attempts to pump himself up for a crucial company meeting. This would forever remain in the core of Kendall's character — a desperate need to build himself back up. Sitting across from his father in the third season's penultimate episode, Kendall has come to realize some difficult truths: he can't win in this world. A lifetime ago, he stood before a room of journalists and snapping cameras and turned against his father on live television. The bombshell press conference of the millennia killed the version of Kendall Roy that once lapped at his father's feet. He was reborn, a new man who could finally triumph over his father's God-like powers. But that was then, and this is now.

After it's all played out, the dust has settled, and Waystar Royco walks away scot free. Kendall's case has crumbled and he's been thoroughly shunned from the family, the subject of scorn, resentment, and endless harsh jabs from his siblings. Worst of all, none of this is new. Kendall is trapped in a cycle, one that seems endless. We thought he broke it with a press conference, but that high has been spent. Now he's living in the cocaine hangover of dread, forced to accept that crushing realization that there may be no path forward for winning.

As Kendall considers a potential end to his story, proposing a plan of escape to his father, the rest of the episode tests the waters for a world without our #1 boy. In retrospect, much of the season has done the same: Kendall has been absent from boardrooms and almost entirely from the Waystar offices and deals. He's been fighting a battle on the outskirts, while the family business continued without him. This week, his mother so kindly asks him to remove himself from half the wedding festivities to make more room for his father. As he contends with this painful ask, everyone else is dealing with a self-destructing GoJo deal and hashing out their futures. The battle of Shiv vs. Roman continues on and new players find their place in the mix: including the compelling presences of Stewy, Sandi, and Mattson. 

Should Waystar actually merge with GoJo, the status quo will shift so drastically that it'll be hard to imagine Kendall even fitting into it. And under the heat of the Tuscan sun, with his father's biting words rattling in his head and loneliness crushing his soul, Kendall comes to the same realization.

10. Kendall Roy

"We can't do this bulls**t forever," Kendall tells his father, outlining a new reality for himself, one in which he emancipates from both the company and the family. "I won't even speak at your memorial," he promises. He'll settle for keeping his assistant Jess, his driver Fikret, a cool 2 billion dollars, and a chunky asset, like podcasts. Kendall concedes the fight, finally admitting defeat. And yet, even here in his most tragic and pitiful moment, he can't help but try to build himself back up — or perhaps just hold himself together.

"I'm better than you," he says, his voice wobbling as he calls his father corrupt. Kendall will admit his loss, but only because his father is a bad person, playing a game that's rigged in his favor. Logan wins, but Kendall still has the moral high ground, he claims. Kendall clings so tightly that you almost believe him. But Logan never does. He crushes both in an instant, reminding Kendall of the last wedding he attended, and the death that came from his mistakes.

Doom has been looming over Kendall for quite some time, most prescient in the episode meant to be his highest high. "Too Much Birthday" ended with Kendall on a ledge, overlooking a New York structure famous for its suicide rates. So yeah, the breadcrumb trail is evident — just think back to the glass walls of "Safe Room," the only thing keeping Kendall from going over the edge. In "Chiantishire," there are no glass walls, there's no Naomi to keep him on dry land and even his own children can't bear to linger too long in his presence, leaving him alone by the pool.

"I don't really know where my life goes from here," he told his father during dinner. And the painful truth is that simple — it's too hard to envision Kendall's future. I don't want Kendall to die, I just can't see him living in the world that "Succession" creates. How many more coups can he fail? His resilience is spent. What's left to fuel another grand grab for power when this one has so spectacularly failed? His only option is escape, so he tries for it, pleading, "Let me out," but it's not a viable option. Logan refuses to let him off the leash, but Kendall is running out of oxygen. So here we are, our #1 boy face down in a pool, a tragedy awaiting in a weeks time and a single question hanging over our heads: What will "Succession" be without Kendall?

9. The Wambsgans-Roy Baby Popsicles

I dunno if you've noticed, but the Wambsgans-Roy marriage is barely holding itself together. Saying that their relationship is "on the rocks" would be an egregious understatement, given that just a season prior, Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) floated the idea of splitting up because "the sad I'd be without you [might] be less than the sad I get from being with you." I'm thinking this man should probably listen to his impulses about the painful marriage imprisoning him, especially after watching Shiv (Sarah Snook) perform emotional BDSM as a form of foreplay.

Unfortunately, Tom's initial complaints about their relationship got sidelined by the whole looming threat of prison plotline, so it's easy to see how we ended up right back where we started. Shiv uses her husband as a soundboard for her ideas and when it's convenient, as a way to get herself off. She does inject some newness into the relationship via the idea of having some babies. Not anytime soon of course, Shiv just wants to freeze some embryos as a "f*** you" to her mother, and keep them on the backburner for the next 10 years or so. This is an utterly hilarious concept, of course — this marriage might not withstand nine more months, let alone 10 years of clinic storage. Anyway having children out of spite is an all-around terrible decision, even if you are rich enough to pay off the therapy bills.

Maybe things won't get that far, though. Tom is at least on the verge of accepting how terribly his wife treats him. She literally stares him in the face and says, "You're not good enough for me. I'm way out of your f***ing league," then caps it off with, "That's why you love me ... even though I don't love you." What's said in sex-vegas never stays put for very long, and even a man this buried in denial has to grasp reality at some point. "Sometimes I think," Tom starts to wonder, "should I maybe listen to the things you say directly to my face when we're at our most intimate?"

8. Food Taster, Iverson Roy

Kendall's children really exist, and not just on Jess' iPad! Iverson (Quentin Morales) even gets lines: word came out of this boy's mouth! More than once! Sadly, the only thing poor Iverson gets out of the deal is a quick bite of mozzarella, fresh from the fork of his grandfather who suspects his food may be poisoned and decides to use his grandson as an unofficial royal food tester. Spoiler alert — though this show has earned many a Lannister comparison in its time, it's not actually "Game of Thrones" so no, Kendall isn't attempting to assassinate his father with the Tears of Lys. 

Anyway, after thankfully not dying via private chef, Iverson gets to bond with his Dad by the pool. Or, ya know, watch his father down a beer and float on in despair. As you can imagine, this gets boring fast so Iverson resigns to head inside with his sister. Meanwhile, his father may or may not be on the verge of death. So yeah, this kid has probably seen better days. Is it a step up from the last wedding he attended with his father — in which Kendall made the mistake of yelling and hurling cusses at his son, mistaking him for someone else? Maybe. This time, the only yelling Kendall does is at other family members, or when he wanders the party shouting, "hey where are my kids." I can't really unpack the mountain of trauma under which Iverson resides, but it's probably something a therapist will mine at in the next 10 years or so.

7. Ricotta D*** Pic Boy, Roman Roy

There comes a moment for each Roy child, where the clouds drift away, the obstacle-trees part and their path to the throne becomes crystal clear. After years of struggling alongside their siblings, one monumental accomplishment pushes them an inch further and they're deluded into safety. In that moment, when they can almost taste success, once they're comfortably bloated by confidence — that's when Logan crushes them. Roman (Kieran Culkin) has been on the verge of that moment all season long.

Somehow, the guy known for unhinged acts, like masturbating on his office window, has figured out how to do his job unsupervised. Under Gerri's (J. Smith-Cameron) tutelage, combined with his own determination to finally achieve some success, he's rocketed up high on his father's weekly "favorite child" rankings. In fact, he's sitting so pretty at the top that he can envision a future where he rules Waystar Royco and does all the disturbing s**t of his dreams, like making Shiv his "sexy assistant." 

But maybe Roman has forgotten: both Kendall and Siobhan have been where he now stands, riding high on big wins and next in line for the throne. And where did they find themselves soon after? In the darkest depths of rock bottom. Though he manages all sorts of memorable accomplishments this episode — flirting with a Contessa, sidling up beside Gerri's boyfriend Laurie, and nailing the merits of a revised deal with GoJo — his glee is short-lived.

On the bright side, at least one good thing comes out of "Chiantishire": Roman's lifelong dream of f***ing his parents is one step closer to realization! Not an episode has gone by without the youngest Roy making a joke about getting f****ed by his father or entering his mother's vagina, so naturally, the next step was whipping out his d**k in front of them. Or, at the very least airdropping a picture of it to his father. This is the epitome of a Freudian slip — in the midst of a board meeting where Roman successfully sells the team on considering a merger with GoJo, he makes a mistake he will never live down. A d**k pic meant for Gerri, with the caption "eat this," goes instead to his father ... who's sitting less than six feet away.

We should've seen this coming. Chekov's D**k Pic was mentioned earlier in the episode, when Gerri asked Roman to quit sending her such sensitive "items." She's been doing her best to reign him in all season, trying to set boundaries and focus on business rather than his very specific source of pleasure. Yet he continues getting comfortable in her office, sending unwanted d**k pics and obsessively clinging to her side (especially now that Laurie's in the picture). Roman mistakenly attributes a tendency to self-destruct to Kendall, but it's clearly a family disease. They're all their worst enemy. 

During his meeting with Mattson, Roman tells his latest boy toy, "I am not telling you a single one of my weaknesses ever." It's a laughable assertion from Roman, who recklessly throws his trauma in everyone's faces. He regularly walks into a room and screams his weaknesses to the heavens —  just last week he went on a tangent to Mattson about how he can't piss in front of other men because "we don't know why." This week, Shiv tells her father that Roman's always been weird about Gerri and "everyone knows it." And as he sits across the table from his son, Logan's disgust is rooted in knowing — how surprised is he, really? Is this just Roman being Roman, he wonders, or is his son more of a "sicko" than he realized? 

Roman's rock bottom is simple: his father sees him and resents every ounce of what he perceives. If that disgust trumps whatever pride he felt just five minutes prior, then Roman's dream of being CEO is officially dead in the water.

Extra special bonus points for every single expression that crossed Roman's face after the death text was sent. I want those framed and put in the Louvre.

More bonus points for the best line of the night with pitch perfect awkward delivery: "I'm not a radical feminist, Dad, but I think perhaps we should not fire her for receiving pictures of my d**k."

6. Gerri Kellman

Attending your boss' ex-wife's wedding is tricky business! You never know when you might have to hop into a side room to solve a corporate crisis or corral the nerves of his unhinged son — no, not the one who keeps trying to stab his father, the one with the penchant for sending you d**k pics. Gerri has been trapped in a no-win scenario all season and honestly, for most of her career. But our favorite savvy, sharp-witted player has years of experience in this game and has managed to survive thus far. That has to count for something, right? Right??

Logan Roy is a man known for berating employees and forcing them to chase after sausages while oinking on the floor, so Gerri is probably used to whatever abuse she'll soon be on the receiving end of. Not to mention the fact that Logan has been especially resentful of her all season, after having to cede his CEO chair to her much more palatable public reputation. But in addition to his inevitable wrath, Gerri is also caught in the middle of his warring children. The time has come for Roman to actually take a stand in her favor — if he still can. He protected Gerri well enough in the season 2 finale, when secrecy was on their side, but can he still pull it off?

Logan clearly has no lasting allegiance to one of his longest lasting employees; he calls her "frozen f***ing piss" just minutes after the relationship is revealed and decides he wants her ousted. But Roman reminds her, in suitably awkward fashion, that they can't fire a woman for being sexually harassed — certainly not so soon after the whole company nearly imploded over sexual harassment cases. Meanwhile, Shiv sees Gerri's plight as the perfect opening for her reign. Gerri is nothing if not perceptive and immediately clocks her goddaughter's attempts at strong-arming her, all the while wearing a knowing, wry smile. They can try to push her out, but she won't go down without a fight — and she has a pandora's box worth of d**k pics to use as leverage.

Bonus points for another unforgettable exchange with Roman: "I'm getting very pal-ly with Laurie. I might try to f*** him, see how that fits into our disgusting mess." "Do not try to f*** Laurie," Gerri responds, beyond exasperated as Roman grins on in glee.

5. The New Siobhan Roy

"Hey, I know you. Didn't you used to be Siobhan Roy?" Roman's snipe echoes a point that Kendall has been making all season — the shiny veneer of morality and liberalism that Shiv once sported like a pro has dulled over time. The version of Shiv working to get the next Democratic president in office has been lost to time, forever altered by the dangling possibility of becoming Waystar CEO. Now we have a Shiv that's in the midst of an identity crisis, struggling to determine which version of herself is real.

She can't quite fit into this world around her, because the "men's club" won't let her through the doors. The boxy pants suits aren't really her style. And part of her still believes that there is a line and it shouldn't be crossed — yet she edges over it with each episode. She won't stand next to the fascist, but she'll be in the picture with him. She won't approve of spying on her niece and nephew, but publicly decimating her brother is fine. And of course Shiv knows that sexual assault is wrong, but should an instance arise where she can use it to her advantage ... who is she to complain? Shiv, who last season set out to convince a woman to keep her mouth shut about abuse suffered at Waystar, ends the episode trying to bully Gerri into a corner. After spending a season as the new Kendall, she tries on another new identity — Logan Roy.

First, she tests it out with Tom, kicking the puppy to see if he'll come back. And it works. Even though she hurls the nastiest truths his way, Tom goes in for the kiss and only questions the interaction the next morning. "I was just being horrible for fun," she says, a scary revelation. Who else do we know that enjoys torturing those around him for the thrill?

Shiv really shows her true colors this episode. No more masquerading behind the liberal agenda, I guess. But if Kendall never gasps air again, I wonder if that will tip the scales back in favor of her "I-actually-do-have-morals" persona.

5. Social Climber Greg Hirsch

Greg (Nicholas Braun) doesn't do anything particularly well this episode. He gets an invite to the wedding and even arrives with a date, but his budding relationship with Comfrey (Dasha Nekrasova) has hit a snag. You see, Greg likes Comfrey and all, but wonders, "is there depth there? Is there substance?" One thing Greg does accomplish in "Chiantishire," is breathing some life into the dying Wambsgan-Roy marriage. Shiv and Tom have never been more in sync than when they're razzing on Greg, reminding him how utterly ridiculous it is that he's with Comfrey, let alone that he wants to set his sights elsewhere. "Man dying of thirst is suddenly a mineral water critic?" Tom jokes, "Does Comfrey not sate your lust for wisdom, Greg?"

Indeed Greg tries setting his sights on a Contessa and we learn that his flirting game hasn't improved much in the past few weeks. But at least he avoids that weird southern drawl. He flashes his watch in a very embarrassing fashion and starts a mini rant about fermented yogurt, but who among us hasn't? Things could be worse. At least he isn't, ya know, potentially dead in a pool.

3. Connor's Proposal

Connor (Alan Ruck) and Willa (Justine Lupe) aren't often front and center. In fact, even when they're on the precipice of getting engaged, they're just a gag buried in a painfully high stakes episode. Still, we can always carve out time for the series' most functional couple.

Politico is digging into Willa, and despite Connor's hopeful guess, it's probably not friendly. Willa would know — she has a vendetta against journalism after the critical reception of "Sands" decimated her off-Broadway debut. To solve the problem, Connor gets down on one knee in the middle of a cocktail party, interrupting the wedding with a proposal of his own. It's a bold move, and the timing kinda works in his favor — where Willa might have shut him down a lot more easily in private, she takes a look around and says, "Yes, yes, yes." Once Connor stands, she adds on, "can I have a little think on it?"

I'll be honest, I kinda want her to give in. They make such an entertaining pair — though I fail to see how marrying Willa solves the problem of her past. I imagine people would become much more interested in the woman a candidate is married to, rather than dating. But if she does say yes, then we might get a third "Succession" wedding and obviously, those never fail to entertain.

2. Lady Caroline Munion

This is a precarious placement. Lady Caroline (Harriet Walter) spends her bachelorette party wiping away tears after a painful conversation with her daughter, a fully grown Siobhan Roy who knows how to twist the knife even better than she did at 15. Also, she's about to marry a man who may or may not murder her to steal her fortune. Jury's still out on the "grasping little scholarship boy," but given his obsession with social climbing and shady senior centers, bridezilla may be capable of more than we realize.

It's impossible to say who comes out of the mommy-daughter heart to heart on top, but Caroline has an undeniable impact on her daughter's mental state. Their chat sends her spiraling, a sharp reminder of all the pain she caused Kendall back in season 2, just with her absence. Caroline can at least skirt past anything that's too unpleasant — she need not be any more wrapped up in Waystar than pays the bills. She doesn't even have to face her terrible children more than once a year. So long as her husband isn't actually capable of murder, she can at least still have her happy wedding, right? It's not like there's anything drifting in to disrupt the nuptials...

Bonus points to Lady Caroline for summing up the way Logan Roy has treated his children for the past three seasons: "He never saw anything he loved that he didn't want to kick, just to see if it would still come back."

1. Logan Roy and Lukas Mattson

Two top dogs at the height of their power, Logan and Lukas are on the verge of duel. "I just wanna get myself the best of everything," Lukas tells Roman with a shrug. He may have more in common with his potential co-CEO/nemesis than he realizes. When Logan was pursuing Pierce and all his underlings found the acquisition somewhere between impossible and insane, his justification landed in a similar place — coming out on top. But powerful as they may be, these men clearly have the kind of flaws that may lead to their empires crumbling around them. Mattson seems prone to ill-advised decisions based on benders and drug trips, while Logan ... well, Logan's dying. Slowly, but surely, the man is on his way out, without a viable successor in sight. But the weakness threatening to take him down this week is, oddly enough, more emotional.

Logan can't let Kendall go. And it seems to be a mixture of spite and attachment holding him back. The offer to buy out his son's shares may have seemed serious in the moment, but now he dismisses last week's birthday card as just a joke. Caroline nailed her ex-husband to the T with her "kicked puppy" analogy, and its most clearly illustrated in his relationship with Kendall. How many times can Logan kick his pitiful son, then embrace him in earnest? He seems more than happy to find out, but Kendall is over it. The kicked puppy wants to fade away and never return — but Logan can't have that. So he holds tighter.

Kendall wants to let his father go, but also admits how intrinsically tied they'll always be: "I'll be broken when you die." It might be Kendall's most honest assertion yet. And despite knowing their connection, he wants the game to end, he needs it to end. But Logan needs to keep playing, backstabbing, kicked puppies and all. Which brings us back to that big question —what if Kendall is really dead? What will that do to Logan?

Point deduction for having the gall to call Gerri ancient, when he's not only older but dating a woman half his age. "The skunk, the porcupine of the concubine," indeed.