"Succession is not a show that leans heavily on pathos, and it’s hard for any one character to generate sympathy," says Anna Nordberg. "But there is pathos in this group of damaged people who are unable to come together, even though they are the only four human beings in the world who can understand each other. With Succession’s siblings engaged in an episode-long argument about whether or not to join forces against Logan Roy, 'Mass in Time of War' felt like the first conversation the four of them have ever had where their father’s presence receded just enough to inch toward an honest reckoning. But while the elder sons make the case for corporate parricide, with Kendall leading the charge and Connor just hoping he’ll finally get to run something, their younger siblings can’t take advantage of the moment, even though if they presented a united front against their father, he would, as Shiv puts it to Roman, 'bleed out.' This failed attempt at sibling solidarity isn’t surprising, but it’s still hard to watch. Succession is not a show that leans heavily on pathos, and it’s hard for any one character to generate sympathy. But there is pathos in this group of damaged people who are unable to come together, even though they are the only four human beings in the world who can understand each other. While it’s become obvious to point out there are no good people to root for on Succession, that being Team Roman or Team Shiv trivializes how awful all of these people are, you can still imagine the kind of childhood the Roys had, set against one another by a father who uses his love and approval as a bargaining chip. No amount of money can wash that trauma away. Because while Logan Roy is many things, first and foremost, he is an abuser. The show is cagey about how it shows this—its overall saltiness makes a serious, unironic look at trauma feel jarring, and it’s careful never to put the Roy children in too sympathetic a light."
Succession Season 3 is essentially rehashing its Season 1 narrative -- but it works because the show is sitcom-like: "In the hands of less able custodians, this kind of narrative rehashing would become bland, but as I watched the new season it felt as if Succession were becoming more pleasurably itself with every episode, drilling down even deeper into its core as a study of the human thirst for domination," says Naomi Fry. "With its sweeping canvas and cinematic feel, the series has all the trappings of an HBO drama, and it is often compared to The Sopranos, another show that documented seasons-long power struggles. The more apt comparison, however, might be a sitcom. There are times when the series feels almost Seinfeldian in its cyclical efforts to capture a group of eccentric, petty characters as they try, again and again, to one-up one another. What makes any good sitcom work is an ability to repeat itself with small differences."
There are too many well-known people on Succession this season: "This season," says Olivia Craighead, "we’re seeing an uptick in known-by-name performers — chillingly, some are well-known mostly to New York media people such as ourselves — filling out minor roles, and it’s distracting. In Sunday’s episode we saw Sanaa Lathan as Kendall’s lawyer, Red Scare co-host Dasha Nekrasova as Kendall’s PR consultant, and Ziwe, who in real life hosts the late night comedy program Ziwe, as a late night comedy host. Next week, we’ll meet Adrien Brody as someone with a private island who has some kind of vested interest in Waystar Royco. Later in the season Alexander Skarsgård is going to pop up. Enough! In seasons past these are the types of roles that have been filled by people like Cherry Jones and Holly Hunter, award-winning actors who we love and respect, but who do not draw focus from the scene at hand. The latest slate of guest actors is too buzzy, or at least too internet-approved. I want Succession to be populated by actors who have been toiling away in the New York theater scene, making rent with appearances on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and the odd Noah Baumbach movie. If an actor has either had: A.) a viral tweet or B.) a turn as an internet boyfriend, they should not be allowed on the show."