watching Kendall self-destruct again is excruciating fun

After the relative lull of episode two, the third act of this third series of Succession ramped up the stakes again, bringing Kendall (Jeremy Strong) back into the gleaming halls of Waystar and raising the distinct possibility that his father (Brian Cox) might punch him in the face.

Powered by that simmering animus – and I will say it here that an actual fist fight between Kendall and Logan with the rest of the Roy clan furiously checking Life Insurance policies on their iPhones would be better than the Fury/Wilder trilogy and Fischer/Spassky combined – the rest of the episode was an exercise in stark wonderment at the Roys’ complete lack of self-awareness. Among many subtle points that lurk beneath the obscenities and wicked words in Succession is the stunning conceitedness of the super-rich. Succession could easily be titled Self-Obsession.

It began with Kendall sitting down with a trusted journalist to tell his side of the great family schism that began when he tried to unseat his father. He wanted the world to know that he was “really happy in my headspace”, entirely oblivious that anyone reading that quote in an article would instantly assume Kendall’s headspace was somewhere close to his duodenum.

As the episode went on he just kept on digging, trying to improve public perception of brand Kendall while at every step making it worse. As so often with Kendall, by the end of the hour it was just excruciating (see the Logan rap). As his PR wonks facepalmed, he volunteered to go on an SNL-style satirical show and get a further roasting. This was a very, very bad idea.

That it wasn’t the worst idea in the episode tells you something about the Roy dynasty’s matchless gift for self-sabotage. Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) and Greg (Nicholas Braun) attempting to get their stories straight led to Greg accidentally buying a $40,000 watch and Tom offering to go to prison as a sacrificial lamb (that set Shiv thinking). Then the whole of Waystar gathered for a town hall meeting that was as ill-advised as Facebook doing an Ask Me Anything next week.

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