"It’s been clear for a while that this season of Succession has been taking the series in narrative circles," says Alan Sepinwall. "A crisis arrives, Logan’s position seems in danger, and eventually all works out for the nasty old man — again and again and again. This should not be sustainable; it should be dull. And yet moment by moment, episode by episode, this remains an utterly electric, wildly entertaining show, with its finger firmly on the pulse of both its characters and the larger state of the real world it so hauntingly yet hilariously reflects. Which brings us to 'All the Bells Say.' Because on the one hand, the season ends with a minor variation on an old theme... The players’ positions change, but the game never does, nor does Logan’s uncanny ability to play it better than everyone else around him. And on the other hand, does the repetition even matter when Team Succession — with the primary duo of Jesse Armstrong and Mark Mylod writing and directing, respectively — can craft an episode as funny, as sad, and as suspenseful as this one? Because my goodness, 'All the Bells Say' was everything Succession does well — much of it done better than the series ever has before."
Succession Season 3's beauty lay in emotional arcs that were incredibly precise, pointed, and harrowing: "The weeklong build-up to the finale worked as a microcosm of reactions seen throughout Season 3," says Ben Travers. "Each new episode launched new theories (some of which were encouraged by HBO marketing). Yes, keeping Kendall out of the Episode 9 teaser-trailer played into speculation that he died in the penultimate episode, but as far back as the premiere, characters were being shifted between promotional posters to tease various power pairings. Whose side is everyone on? Do we even know? And besides Kendall, is someone cooperating with the Department of Justice investigation? As fun and diverting as some of these questions can be (and I took great delight imagining Tom wearing a wire), Succession has never been that kind of show. The surprises are based in absurd situations — like the masterful fifth episode, when Logan’s missing medication makes him “piss mad” and sends his minions scurrying — and indelible character development. Take the Season 2 finale’s major 'twist': Kendall turning on Logan in the press conference. Without re-litigating the whole affair, the motivation for Kendall’s choice is all onscreen. It’s in the discussion he has with Logan when asked to take the fall for the company’s scandal, and it’s layered in throughout the season, as Kendall seeks to do whatever will make his father happy. For a while, it’s being his errand boy. In the end, it’s proving he’s a killer." Travers adds: "Therein lies the beauty of Succession Season 3: For all the complaints about it being repetitive — that the pieces keep moving around the board, but no one gets knocked off — its emotional arcs are incredibly precise, pointed, and harrowing. Real growth is evident every season, if not every episode. Part of me thinks the only reason theories exist for Succession is because otherwise the show would be too bruising to dwell on — and people do want to tarry a bit in this very painful show about hurt people hurting people (because it’s also one of TV’s most reliably hysterical comedies)."
Season 3 finale validates Jeremy Strong's acting method: "There has been an absurd amount of conversation about that New Yorker profile of Jeremy Strong that describes his unique approach to playing Kendall. Whatever you may think about his methods, they certainly seem to work in his favor in this scene," says Jen Chaney. "His performance here just punches you right in the heart. After wanting to kick Kendall right in his tiny wu-tang for much of the season, in this episode, I felt enormous sympathy for this formerly Twitter-obsessed man who has shattered into pieces and lets us see every single shard. Succession has always been a series about terrible people acting terribly, but in this moment, Kendall demonstrates a sense of deep remorse, shame, and awareness of his own mistakes that turns that entire framework on its ear. Kendall Roy has done very bad things. But after this episode, you can’t accurately say he’s an entirely bad person. Instead of making a deal with the devil (heyyyy, Greg), he’s facing his demons and trying to exorcize them. That’s worth something."
Succession closed the deal with its Season 3 finale, both literally and figuratively: "The Emmy-winning HBO series entered the season with an abundance of hype, which produced the inevitable sniping about whether that reputation remained deserved," says Brian Lowry. "But the closing two episodes (which weren't available for review in advance) yielded the kind of bracing moments that have earned the series all that cultural buzz and established it as one of TV's premiere dramas."
Succession cast and crew react to the Season 3 finale: As creator Jesse Armstrong explains, Succession doesn't do red herrings or hide the ball. “A good rule of thumb for us is: Why isn’t this story meeting working?" he says. "Oh, it’s because we’re trying to do a story where we’ve been holding some information from the audience and that’s not a good shape for us."