BLOOD IN THE WATER
The ruthless Roys return for more backstabbing in season three of Succession, writes Siobhan duck
AFTER a two-year wait, the Roy family – currently leading the charge as television’s most unscrupulous brood – is back for another round of wheeling and dealing, corporate cover-ups and boardroom backstabbing in season three of Succession.
With megalomaniac patriarch Logan Roy (Brian Cox) at the helm, the sprawling clan operates Waystar Royco, a powerful media and entertainment organisation.
Now that Logan is past his prime (though try telling him that), his children – needy but driven Kendall (Jeremy Strong), politically savvy Shiv (Australian actor Sarah Snook), cocky Roman (Kieran Culkin) and pretentious Connor (Alan Ruck) – circle to seize power for themselves, whatever the cost.
When the second season ended in 2019, Kendall was betraying his father in the press, describing him as a “malignant presence” in the company, a bully and a liar.
The new season, which was delayed by a year owing to the pandemic, opens as family members and key players scramble to shore up their positions in the empire.
Its decadent, let’s-perv-onthe-1% style has made Succession a hit with audiences and critics alike, who lap up the antics as each family member wages war from the backseats of limousines, aboard private jets, and inside airy Manhattan penthouses and European villas.
Culkin – younger brother of Home Alone star Macaulay – is well placed to understand what it’s like to be part of a scrutinised, world-famous family.
But the actor believes challenging family dynamics is something almost everyone can identify with, regardless of fame or bank balance.
“I almost never consider the fact that [the Roys] are wealthy,” Culkin says.
“That’s just never something that pops into my mind much.”
Strong agrees, adding that the money is just window dressing.
“There’s something I read when we first started working on this five years ago, something that [lauded psychiatrist Carl] Jung had said, that where love is absent, power fills the vacuum,” Strong enthuses.
“And I guess I do think about those things. I think about love and power... And power not necessarily in a monetary sense, but there’s something that compensates for lack of love that drives us in different directions sometimes, which feels quite Shakespearean to me.”
Cox, a stage and screen legend renowned for his King
Lear portrayal, can also see the parallels between the Shakespearean king and the ailing magnate he plays on Succession.
“He does represent that kind of authority,” he says of Logan Roy.
“But the downside is that he is a white dinosaur, so therefore is near his sell-by date.
“Lear pretends he’s able to let go of his kingdom, [but] he makes certain provisos that keep him going, and Logan is the same. He’s looking for a successor. But at the same time, he can’t let go.”
11am (encore 7.30pm), monday, foxtel