With few episodes left of HBO’s Emmy-winning family drama series, Succession just dropped the best and wildest episode of season three. This time around, the focus has been mostly on Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) finding his case against his father Logan (Brian Cox), and Waystar Royco is slowly falling apart as he throws a lavish birthday party for himself.
And up to that point, Kendall feels like he “killed the dragon once and for all and freed himself from his father and his stranglehold over him,” Strong tells ET as he collapses in Episode 7, feeling like he is in the air that the season begins. ”
But soaring high has proven to be more dangerous “than anything that has happened before,” warns Strong. And what starts with Kendall seriously rehearsing “Honesty” by Billy Joel ends with the fact that he feels curled up in an A-Team blanket because he feels more alone than ever. “It starts like ‘This is going to be the high point of his life’ and then it ends at the bottom and on the edge.”
[Warning: Spoilers for Succession season 3, episode 7, “Too Much Birthday,” written by Tony Roche & Georgia Pritchett and directed by Lorene Scafaria.]
While it initially looked like Logan’s time at the helm of Waystar was over, Kendall’s evidence against the company may have been too good to be true. And following his testimony on the previous episode, the Justice Department announced that it is withdrawing its investigation and that there will likely be no jail sentence for anyone on the payroll, particularly Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen).
Meanwhile, Kendall has shifted his focus to the details – updates to the RSVP list, whether guests can wear jackets, etc. – from what Strong calls “a birthday bonanza at the end of all birthdays,” as he’s slowly getting unhinged Course of the evening. And what really upsets him is the arrival of his siblings Connor (Alan Ruck), Roman (Kieran Culkin) and Shiv (Sarah Snook), who aren’t actually there to celebrate his birthday.
It turns out they’re all there to do their own business, with Shiv and Roman looking for tech founder and CEO Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård) while Connor focuses on his electoral position in the presidential campaign. Elsewhere, cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun )’s main motive at the party is to ask Kendall’s publicist Comfry (Dasha Nekrasova). (And even Logan got his message across when Roman brought a card offering to buy him out.)
When Kendall is asked to sing “Honesty” while nailed to a crucifix hanging in the air while accompanied by the Tiny Wu-Tang choir on stage, he realizes how absurd it is. While Strong says it was a “dream” to sing Billy Joel earlier in the episode, “he agrees with Kendall that” [the performance] could have been a misfire. ”
When that falls apart, Kendall focuses his anger on finding a gift his kids made for him. And at that moment, Naomi Pierce (Annabelle Dexter-Jones) tries to calm him down by handing him a watch that he finds mundane and sending him on another tirade before deciding to go home.
When he leaves the party, Kendall beats his siblings. But he ends up defeated when they push back his grandiose delusions and Roman trips him on his way out.
While they’ve all knocked each other down in the past, this time feels more reckless than before – and could be the turning point in their relationship as a family. “That scene just felt very much alive to me and was very difficult to do,” says Strong, before explaining how Kendall really feels in that moment of self-destructive behavior.
“I think if you had asked Kendall if he really cared if you came to his party, he would have said no. And I think if you had asked me if Kendall really cared, I would have said no. I probably said, ‘I don’t think I care,’ ”says Strong. “And Stacy Lambe Jesse Armstrong, in his infinite wisdom, will usually tell me, ‘Just wait and see what happens.’ “
And it turns out, “I was really disappointed with what happened,” reveals the actor. “It meant a lot to him that they were there and it really hurt him to find out they didn’t care.”
At the end of the day, the episode should really be a “disaster” for Kendall and everything around him should fall apart. The birthday itself is nothing more than “a wasteland,” says Strong. “In a way, there was nothing more emblematic of this whole show for me than rummaging through a pile of gifts and desperately trying to find something real.”
The actor is a huge fan of the episode and says, “The writing is so demanding. But there is something completely uneducated about human emotions and that is a tightrope walk that Jesse can really understand and walk. ”
Strong concludes, “I thought it was the greatest one-of-a-kind piece I’ve ever worked on.”
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Reference from etonline