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TV Recap: ‘Succession’ Season 3 Episode 2: “Mass in the Time of War” Manipulation & Comedy

Spoilers Below

Succession Season Three Episode Two,” Mass in the Time of War,” directed by Mark Mylod, centers around Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) attempting to convince all his siblings to join him in his quest to take out their father, Logan Roy (Brian Cox). Siobhan ” Shiv” Roy (Sarah Snook), Roman Roy (Kieran Culkin), and their half-sibling and Logan’s eldest son Connor Roy (Alan Ruck) all gather at Rava Roy’s (Natalie Gold) apartment to figure out if they should switch sides. The Roy family members try to manipulate one another but can see through each other’s lies. Succession‘s humor comes from contradictions in the character’s actions, facial expressions, and words. ” Mass in the Time of War” mainly takes place in the apartment, where the actors who play the Roy siblings give us a master class of what a dysfunctional family discussion looks like.

MANIPULATION & FAMILY DYSFUNCTION

Logan’s dysfunction is mirrored in how his children are constantly attempting to exploit one another. The subtext beneath the surface of all their conversations infuses tension into the scenes. Shiv calls Kendall out when he tells her that he aired all the family’s dirty laundry because he felt he had no choice. She knows it was “self-aggrandizing bullshit.” Kendall only cares about is his glory. Connor comes over to Rava’s apartment. He lets Roman and Shiv know that their father is looking for them. Shiv states they are here on his behalf. Connor laughs, ” Oh, sure thing, honey. Me too. All About Dad.” Connor means that everybody came to talk to Kendall for themselves. They don’t want to go down with their father. Since Connor is the one that Logan abandoned, he feels comfortable expressing his real emotions. Kendall can never unite his siblings because the Roy clan constantly uses one another for personal gain and are rarely honest.

CAPITALISTIC SATIRE

The satirical HBO television show’s masterful humor is rooted in the witty banter between the Roy siblings. Kendall spends the entire day pointing out that they must take down Logan to make up for Waystar RoyCo’s executives coercing dancers to sleep with executives by promising to make them movie stars. Supposedly Kendall wants to end sexual harassment for the sake of all women.  He further pushes the boundaries of logic by stating Waystar RoyCo can save the world. Shiv is the one that Kendall wants to partner up with the most. Kendall’s hypocritical nature appears the minute Shiv turns him down.  He has a melt down, calling her a “twat.” He argues that Shiv only matters because women “count double now.” Buddying up with Shiv is good optics. He objectifies his sister by saying only her “teats” matter. The comedy comes from the contraction of Kendall sweet-talking Shiv then doing an about-turn objectifying her, revealing the ugly truth bubbling up to the surface.

Greg’s search for an independent lawyer is the funniest element of ” Mass in the Time of War.” Braun master’s physical comedy in his marvelous depiction of the Roy cousin. Greg handed over the cruise line scandals documents to Kendall, leaving him in a precarious legal position. Both Logan and Kendall offer Greg a lawyer, but he is savvy enough to know that any legal aid they give him will serve his self-interest. In desperation, Greg takes legal advice from a first-semester law student. Nicholas Braun, who plays the “smallest” character, is the tallest actor in Succession. Braun hunches down to sell the meek and anxious nature of Greg.

Greg’s naivety about the law and everything about corporate America leaves him vulnerable. After turning down all the lawyers, Greg rushes over to meet with his grandfather Ewan Roy (James Cromwell). The contrast between the flighty talkative grandson and the stern, educated grandfather is already hilarious. Their conversations become funnier when you hear Greg sincerely say that both Ewan and Kendall want to make the company “nice.” Unfortunately, Greg lacks the education that Logan gifted his children based on his limited vocabulary and persuasive techniques. Ewan intercedes that he found his nephew’s press conference “histrionic” and “meretricious.” The way the hardened grandfather replies when Greg struggles to agree coherently with everything, he says, it’s glaring they are not in the same league. Ewan appears to soften when Greg stutters that he needs an independent lawyer. He agrees to help his grandson. Greg beams. When Greg calls out to Ewan, “I love you!” Braun’s sweet face sells his sincerity.

Everything sours when Ewan doesn’t take Greg to the recommended lawyer’s offices. Instead, they end up meeting with radical socialist lawyer Roger Pugh (Peter Rieger), who handles Ewan’s estate. Greg perks right up when he hears Roger say that their first goal is his well-being. Roger goes on to say their second priority is using Greg to “expose the structural contradictions of capitalism.” Ewan only agrees to assist Greg so that they can use him as a tool to dismantle corporate America. Greg looks crestfallen but pretends to agree with Roger’s plan of attack. Braun masterfully plays the stooge Greg, even bringing humor to Rome’s fall.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Let us know what you think about ” Mass in the Time of War” in the comments!

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Written by Paloma Bennett

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