Succession is all about power—who has the most, who can wield it the best, and who is disastrously blinded by it. So every week during Season 3, The Ringer will check in on how the hierarchy at Waystar Royco shifts with each passing episode. It’s safe to say everything is in disarray—and to steal a line from another HBO series, chaos can be a ladder.
1. Stewy and the Sandies
The Sandies and their business partner, Stewy, remain at the top of our Succession power rankings, albeit as flawed leaders. They’re winning this race by virtue of not being completely fucked, as most of their competition is in some way, shape, or form over the course of Episode 5. This may well be the final episode these three are grouped together—for one, Sandy the father appears to be so close to death he makes Logan “Hallucinating Dead Cats” Roy seem like a picture of health. Meanwhile, Sandy’s daughter, Sandi, is gradually earning more screen time and showing signs of character development. “I don’t think it’s right how your dad sidelines you in all this,” Shiv says to her as the two work to iron out a last-minute settlement. The lingering, downcast expression on Sandi’s face suggests the relationship with her father could play a significant role going forward.
In any case, the settlement with Waystar Royco does manage to get over the line before a shareholder vote, netting a precious fourth board seat reserved for Sandi while Sandy (God, that is annoying) gets to grunt in celebration over his successful private jet spite-ban. The Sandies and Stewy aren’t infallible—they also had to concede a board seat to Waystar (presumably for Shiv—ha!) and Sandy has been reduced to “the world’s angriest vegetable,” as Stewy says. Still, none of them are being investigated by the Department of Justice (yet) or are in danger of losing their multibillion-dollar family business, soooo …
Waystar’s interim CEO is probably the only major character who doesn’t embarrass themself in “Retired Janitors of Idaho.” More importantly, she displays flashes of competent leadership as she guides Logan’s team of sycophants throughout the day of the dreaded board meeting. Whether or not Logan will remember her calming presence once he’s back to full health is one thing; it’s telling that he sits down with Gerri one-on-one (despite Shiv’s best efforts) to discuss next steps after the Sandy settlement. We’ve seen Logan flip on her before—and there’s still a chance that Logan plans to use his interim CEO as a human shield from the DOJ—but for now, Gerri can rest relatively easily near the top of the list.
This is the man the Waystar brain trust (sans Logan) believed was the best person to take a crucial, potentially company-defining call with the leader of the free world:
The president was on hold as Roman said this. The audacity is staggering.
Nevertheless, in a room with Gerri, Karl, Frank, Tom, Karolina, Connor, and Hugo, it was Roman who got the call. Excusing the fact that Hugo referred to him as “Tony Tourettes” moments before he spoke to the president, Roman’s selection suggests his standing is on a higher plane than we customarily think.
Roman was also a part of the Logan-assigned reconnaissance party to suss out the settlement demands of the Sandies. While Shiv ended up being the one to secure a deal, not being responsible for those final terms is probably a win. And with Connor heading to Europe after successfully blackmailing his sick dad and Kendall remaining the family’s Judas, Roman is the default most-loved Roy child of the week. If, you know, Logan is capable of feeling human emotion outside of anger.
Throughout much of this season, Kendall has operated less from a position of power and more from a neutral status quo, having not yet managed to blow his big chance. The only reason he’s ranked this high is because everyone else is down bad or doesn’t matter. But to his credit, Kendall seemingly has a couple of things cooking—Stewy and the Sandies and Waystar have agreed to a settlement, which Kendell apparently believes could result in him leading Waystar or at the very least making his father extremely unhappy; he looks to have played Cousin Greg at his own game with a threat to sacrifice him to the DOJ unless Greg drops from Waystar’s joint defense agreement; and somehow, his crashing of the board meeting, in which he shouted over a cut mic that he would launch a foundation for the victims of Waystar’s sexual assault scandal, did not go down as a shameless grab at corporate woke points.
Yes, Kendall is still out here doing things like saying “Eagles Aerie out” instead of “goodbye” and traumatizing his children with the likely death of their pet rabbit after demanding the babysitter feed it a bagel. But I suppose in the grand scheme of things, he’s doing all right.
Shiv is not going to get any credit from her father, but it sure seems like she more or less saved the company. So she conceded an extra board seat to the Sandies and let them take away the PJs … and? As she rightly points out, Logan was busy trippin’ out of his damn mind by not taking drugs. What else was she supposed to do? Repeatedly listen to Logan mutter “Fuck ’em” as the shareholder vote wrestled away control of the company?
Nevertheless, Logan is pissed. Everyone else seems to think Shiv did a great job, but when she urges her father to savor the moment and toast with some champagne, he nearly pushes the glass out of her hands. “Stop buzzing in my fucking ear!” is an awfully strange way to say “Thanks for covering for me.”
I can’t fault Shiv for refusing to stand still as everything was burning. But for the love of God, she needs to stop taking Logan at his word and expecting credit for cleaning up messes that he made in the first place. How is someone this smart consistently so naive?
Logan was on a whole other wave pretty much this entire episode, incoherently calling out to the absent Marcia and his ex-wife of decades Caroline, who lives in England. To assess his status, we really just need to jump to the end of the episode: He’s landed a settlement to stave off a sure defeat in a shareholder vote, which should be good but is in fact not good in his eyes. He’s also managed to convince the president, his greatest ally in the fight against the DOJ, to not run for a second term after Logan instructed his cable news network to exaggerate claims about the president’s apparent “neurological” condition. Logan thought he’d force the Raisin to scale back the DOJ’s investigation into Waystar; as it turns out, he did such a good job that he effectively bullied the president into quitting his job.
Where does this leave Logan? Still in danger of going to prison, of course, especially if the new White House administration is less keen on giving Waystar a pass. But we can never count out the family patriarch, can we? “There’s blood in the water, the sharks are coming,” he says at the end of the episode. Logan sounds like a man getting ready to go to war. At this point, I still wouldn’t bet on him to lose.
After last week’s episode, in which Connor seemed to have finally grown a backbone, the eldest Roy child hasn’t quite broken down the walls yet. He’s shrewd enough to remind Shiv of his threat of blackmail and petitions Logan for an executive position in Europe, but Logan is too concerned with using the bathroom every 15 minutes because he has a UTI. Little things throughout the episode reaffirm Connor’s place in the hierarchy, like when he arrives at the shareholder meeting and Roman’s like:
Or when he is literally the only person enthusiastic about speaking to the president, yet everyone else—none of whom want to do it themselves—completely ignores his (multiple) offers.
But despite the disrespect, Connor’s still pretty content by the end of the episode. He actually managed to convince his father to hand him a cushy executive title in Europe, which might be his biggest win in Succession history. Now he can simply post up on the beaches of Monaco during the ongoing DOJ probe back in the U.S. all while financing his girlfriend’s doomed theater productions. He’s even padding his résumé ahead of the biggest job interview of them all: the U.S. presidential election. After all, the current commander-in-chief, who many felt could have coasted to reelection, now won’t be going for a second term. The moment could be ripe for a revolutionary new candidate who pledges to [checks notes] abolish all forms of taxes. Connor Roy 2024.
8. Karl and Frank
Speaking of the federal government, Karl and Frank were out here filibustering at the shareholder meeting like a pair of veteran senators.
Frank also has an oddly chummy relationship with Kendall at the moment, probably because he realizes both Logan and Kendall have the same goal of keeping Waystar in the family. Frank can operate as a neutral mediator of sorts to get “Moscow [to] know what Washington’s thinking so we don’t all stumble into Armageddon.” Still, if Logan became aware of his son’s confabs with Frank, I wouldn’t be shocked if the latter got tossed to the curb. Frank’s got a history of double-crossing Logan, and now is not the time to have a mole in the camp.
Tom, man. As if researching prisons wasn’t bad enough, now he’s keeping a shadow log on Shiv’s period cycle in hopes of having a child he can meet when he gets out of the slammer. To his surprise, Shiv does not find that information to be the sexiest form of foreplay. These two stay on the rocks.
On top of his marital troubles, Tom’s legal troubles might become a lot worse than “like nine to 12 months” if Kendall’s warning to Greg comes to fruition. If Greg falls to the DOJ, so could Tom. On the bright side, Logan called him “son” in this episode.
10. Cousin Greg
Pity anyone who thought Cousin Greg was going to break out as some mastermind power broker this season—this guy is taking L’s from all angles. After crossing Kendall to rejoin Logan, who Greg already crossed to join Kendall to begin with, Greg runs back to his grandfather in the hopes of crossing Logan once again. Ewan’s had enough of Greg’s willingness to align himself with the Roys and their “empire of shit,” so he retracts his legal aid and tells Greg he’s donating his entire fortune to Greenpeace, somehow making sure that Greg’s inheritance is donated first. With Greg already stunned, Ewan leans in for one more knockout punch: “You need to take yourself seriously, kid.” Devastating.
Based on his follow-up move, though, Greg is not taking himself seriously—instead he’s wondering whether it’s possible to sue his grandfather “in an affectionate way.” Turns out, not really. But he can go with the second best option: suing Greenpeace.
11. The Bagel-Eating Rabbit
The rabbit got absolutely shafted in this episode. He’s just trying to vibe and enjoy some carbs like the rest of us. Who could have seen this tragedy coming?
Oh. OK, so Jess saw it coming, and now that I think about it, so did I. It’s not clear yet whether the rabbit is going to survive, but based on Kendall’s order to “just figure it out” and call his doctor (“If he can do people, he can do rabbits too”) things are not looking great. Prayers up.