SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you haven’t watched “Chiantishire,” the eighth episode of “Succession” Season 3.
After accidentally sending his father a dick pic, Roman may have just blown up Waystar Royco — or, will it be called GoJo Royco?
Amid recent complaints of a slower-paced, less exciting Season 3, this penultimate episode shakes up the board for next week’s finale and beyond, as a merger with the streaming giant GoJo and a possible sexual harassment case against Roman (Kieran Culkin) looms ahead for the Roys.
The episode, titled “Chiantishire” in honor of its Tuscany setting, follows the aftermath of Kendall’s (Jeremy Strong) disastrous 40th birthday party, where the Roy siblings came together to ruin each other’s nights. Tensions between the siblings were already high — Roman shoved Kendall, Shiv wildly danced the night away, and Connor refused to take off his coat in the last episode — and now their mother, Caroline Collingwood (Harriet Walter), is getting married suspiciously quickly to a man the family has known for years. On top of that, Roman is trying to close the Waystar-GoJo deal with unpredictable tech genius Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgard), who holds the keys to the promised land of streaming.
The bombshell dick pic takes place in the final minutes, after Roman successfully convinces Logan (Brian Cox) to close the GoJo deal, which is less of an acquisition and more of a merger that may reshape the leadership of Waystar Royco. After receiving a professional, congratulatory text from Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron), Roman sends her a celebratory dick pic, without noticing he accidentally sends it to his dad.
Panic immediately sets in on Roman’s face, and Logan leaves the room to discuss how to handle the situation with Shiv (Sarah Snook). “Isn’t he just Roman being Roman?” Logan asks, knowing that his son has always had a love for foul language and sex jokes. Shiv pushes back, saying this could become a problem for the company as she reveals Roman’s strange, pseudo-sexual relationship with Gerri. Roman’s constantly inappropriate comments have finally landed him in trouble, and he looks genuinely ashamed and scared as his father asks if he’s a “sicko.”
But wait, there’s more. Shiv then confronts Gerri about why she hadn’t reported Roman’s sexual harassment sooner, saying it could make Gerri look weak as interim CEO and as if she had welcomed the behavior. Following the #MeToo movement, both Roman’s and Shiv’s actions churn stomachs as they mirror what happened, and likely continues to happen, behind closed corporate doors.
And where does this leave the GoJo deal? Just minutes earlier, the Roys had brought in the bankers to calculate the final offer to Matsson, who nefariously hiked up the valuation of his streaming company thanks to some drugged-out tweets. If the merger goes through, some Waystar executives, like Frank (Peter Friedman) and Karl (David Rasche), could be out of jobs, and Matsson may join the top of the food chain alongside Logan at Waystar.
Earlier in the episode, we see Kendall sporting a new shaved head, which he calls “stripping down.” He’s not exactly welcome at his mother’s wedding, but before he’s kicked out he makes plans with his father to talk business. There’s also an early sign of trouble when Kendall’s PR consultant Comfry (Dasha Nekrasova) tells him there’s a podcast poking around the covered-up death of the caterer from the Season 1 finale.
Kendall and Logan meet for a late-night dinner, where Kendall promises not to “Jim Jones” his father and poison him, but Logan isn’t so sure. Before the talk commences, Logan makes Kendall’s son try some of his mozzarella, while Kendall looks on in disbelief.
“Who do you think I am? You think I want you dead? I’ll be broken when you die,” Kendall tells his father. He demands $2 billion to leave Waystar Royco behind, finally fed up with his father and their family’s mega corporation spreads. Logan all but laughs in Kendall’s face, calling himself a revolutionary and saying there are things his son doesn’t understand about the world. He also holds the Season 1 caterer’s death over Kendall, a piece of leverage and blackmail that will never go away.
“You’re my son, I did my best. And whenever you fucked up, I cleaned up your shit. And I’m a bad person? Fuck off, kiddo,” Logan says, leaving the meeting.
In the final shot of the episode, Kendall lies face down on an inflatable pool bed, completely defeated. An empty beer bottle bobs in the water next to him, as his face hovers dangerously close to the surface. The pool scene is an eerie reminder of the car accident and drowning he nearly suffered in the Season 1 finale. After all Kendall has been through in Season 3, it appears he’s begun to resume drinking to take away the pain and stress of Waystar life.
This episode features another intense parent-child showdown between Shiv and Caroline. At the bachelorette party, their gloves come off. Caroline admits she was a “spotty mother” but that Shiv was a “shitty daughter,” adding that she should’ve never given birth to her, Kendall or Roman, and that some people aren’t cut out to be parents.
Shiv, who’s so far rebuffed Tom’s (Matthew Macfadyen) suggestions to have kids and his attempts at sex, must prove her mother wrong. She goes back to her husband, suddenly in the mood to try for a baby, while also plotting to take control of Waystar. They spice things up by talking dirty, which Tom had imagined as roleplaying as a sexy fireman, but Shiv turns into emotional manipulation, telling her husband that she doesn’t love him and that he’s not good enough for her. The next day, Tom meekly complains of feeling some “afterburn,” but Shiv dismisses, saying he’s overreacting and suggesting they instead freeze her embryos to have kids in 10 years. Shiv’s victim-blaming tactic is the same she employs against Gerri later on in the episode.
Elsewhere, it appears that Greg (Nicholas Braun) had a successful first date with Comfry and they’re now a couple. However, he questions the seriousness of the new relationship and awkwardly flirts with an Italian countess, who’s also an online brand ambassador for a fermented yogurt company. Connor (Alan Ruck) and Willa’s (Justine Lupe) relationship is also rocky, as Connor’s presidential ambitions hit a snag. A Politico journalist is digging into Willa’s past as an escort, so Connor proposes to her in order to make him “the happiest man slash most bulletproof candidate in the world.” However, Willa leaves him hanging as she needs some time to think about her decision.
Where will the Season 3 finale go from here? Roman’s reputation and position in the company is in free fall, and fans will likely no longer ship him and Gerri as a couple anymore. Kendall’s battle against Waystar, which has yet to see major traction since the DOJ raid, may finally be over. HBO’s busiest actor Alexander Skarsgard may stick around if Matsson decides to merge GoJo with Waystar. And as Shiv and Tom’s relationship takes another manipulative turn, at least Greg and Comfry seem happy together.