Binge Break: Drop everything and watch Succession, HBO said you can

Thanks to HBO allowing some of its content to be watched for free right now, Succession is available to all. Thank goodness it is, because it’s not every day audiences are treated to such pure brilliance.

Binge+Break%3A+Drop+everything+and+watch+Succession%2C+HBO+said+you+can

Kayli Reese, Managing Editor


The second I finished the second season of Succession, I took a few minutes to reflect on what I had just seen. Then, I pressed play again on the pilot to experience the whole thing all over again.

I had been wanting to watch Succession for a while, especially after the second season last year generated so much fantastic buzz. My lack of a HBO account hindered this desire, however, until HBO decided to stream select content for free while we’re all stuck at home. Succession was among the choices, and I was excited to see something new. I didn’t expect that the plot and characters would occupy my mind for days, or that I would be humming the theme song to myself as I emptied the dishwasher (seriously, the song slaps).

Succession follows the Roy family, who own powerful media conglomerate Waystar Royco, and the battle for the top spot at the company. Titan family patriarch Logan Roy (Brian Cox) refuses to step down from the CEO role, preferring to instead run his company on his own terms and terrorizing everyone he comes in contact with, including the audience.

The rest of his family are bickering and backstabbing their way into consideration for the role if their father ever retires. The drama is gripping, and every moment could contain a plot twist. The characters may not know who to trust, and the audience certainly isn’t any more enlightened.

Most of the people on this show are hard to like, and that’s on purpose. They’re greedy, manipulative, and prioritize power over people. But besides Logan (seriously, a villain of Voldemort proportions), you also can’t help but want to give all the characters a hug.

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My personal favorite is TV’s latest sad boy, Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong, who has all the awards in my heart). Succession breaks Kendall, and they break him hard. He’s a shell of a person that needs love but can’t seem to ask for any. That’s not to say this man doesn’t have faults; he’s just as power hungry as the rest of them, as he was poised to become his father’s successor in the beginning.

A jaw-dropping tragedy at the end of season one sets up Strong for a season two performance that’s on caliber with Leonardo DiCaprio. Kendall and his father are locked in a battle of Shakespearean proportions, and it’s one that anyone watching knows will not end in a wedding (even the show’s wedding didn’t end too well).

Roman (Kieran Culkin) and Shiv (Sarah Snook) are the younger siblings also vying for their chance at the throne. Both are the complete worst in their own special way. But Roman is probably the least evil, masking his insecurities with crude humor and privilege. Also, watching Shiv try to make her way through what she has been clearly told is a man’s world makes me want to see her leave everyone else in the chaotic fire she started.

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Succession isn’t all family drama. The strange relationship between Shiv’s husband Tom (Matthew Macfadeyn, try watching Pride and Prejudice after watching this) and Cousin Greg (the same Nicholas Braun who was in Sky High) easily is the thing making a good show great. While they both want just as much power as the rest of the Roy family, they’re also the outsiders who don’t have a clue what’s going on, like ever. Cousin Greg in particular is just a loveable dope, and he must be protected at all costs.

The last five minutes of the season two finale will remain one of the greatest plot twists I have ever seen on television, I’m calling it now. Though the season three release date is yet to be determined — as COVID-19 is leaving Succession and many other shows unclear when filming can begin — I will have to spring for an HBO subscription to see it. It’s perfect, it’s brilliant, and it’s haunting. Don’t risk spoilers for another second.

Also, have fun singing the theme song.

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