The Ending Of Succession Season 3 Explained
Warning: spoilers for the Season 3 finale of “Succession” below.
The Season 3 finale of “Succession,” “What the Bells Heard,” aired on December 12, 2021, and it turned the entire season on its head. Waystar-Royco and GoJo look like they’re on their way to a merger, until Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård) proposes an alternate solution: GoJo will buy out Waystar, leaving Matsson in control – and the Roy siblings likely out in the cold. At first, Logan seems to reject the deal, but when he sends Roman (Kieran Culkin) back to their mother Caroline’s (Harriet Walter) wedding without him, Shiv (Sarah Snook) realizes something is up.
Back at the wedding, after Shiv, Roman, and Connor (Alan Ruck) hold an impromptu intervention for Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Shiv gets a call and learns the worst news ever: Logan (Brian Cox) is considering taking the deal, making her worst fears come true. As the siblings strategize over how to block their father’s impending betrayal, Kendall, who’s coming off a stay in the hospital after nearly drowning last week, tearfully confesses his worst secret: killing a waiter at Shiv’s wedding.
To his surprise, his siblings forgive him. It doesn’t hurt that Shiv and Roman need Kendall’s help in taking their father down. Here’s the ending of “What the Bells Heard” explained.
The Roy siblings finally come together
When Season 3 began, Kendall, Shiv, and Roy could not have been further apart. Kendall had just broken ranks with his family and gone public with his father Logan’s knowledge of the ongoing Waystar-Royco sexual harassment scandal within the company’s cruise ship division. With Kendall out of the way as the presumptive heir, that left Roman and Shiv to jockey for position as the new favorite. When the Roy kids learn about their father’s betrayal, Shiv takes the lead and comes up with a plan to stop it.
Roman and Shiv have been at odds with each other all season. Roman spent most of Season 3 in the “favored Roy child” role, until last week when he disastrously sent a photo of his genitalia to Logan by mistake. This week, while Roman has retained some of his status as Logan’s confidante, he’s definitely fallen in his father’s eyes. He realizes that he’ll never take over the company, and he joins in with Shiv.
Kendall, meanwhile, has gone through the wringer this season, watching as the federal investigation against his father loses steam and ultimately fails, costing him his relationships with his family in the process. After nearly drowning while drunkenly lounging in the pool last week, his siblings worry that he was trying to harm himself, and most of their animosity evaporates. Shiv and Roman take pity on him and begin moving past it.
For all these reasons, the Roy siblings finally put aside their differences and work together to take down their father. Somehow, it’s happening, just like Kendall wanted them to at the beginning of the season.
Unfortunately, Logan is still one step ahead, like always.
Logan has them out-maneuvered once again
Earlier in the episode, when Logan and Roman travel to Switzerland to meet with Matsson, Logan tells the Swedish CEO that he’s genuinely excited about the future. Matsson scoffs – how much of the future is an 80-year-old Logan going to live to see? But by the end of this episode, Logan has good reason to thrilled about his position.
When the Roy siblings confront their father in Switzerland, their biggest leverage is the fact that in Logan’s divorce agreement with Caroline, they created a holding company for the Roy siblings. Logan can’t legally make a transfer of power within WayStar-Royco without the holding company’s approval.
Unfortunately for the Roys, Logan has been tipped off that they were coming. To the Roy siblings’ horror, they realize that their father has contacted Caroline and convinced her to revise the agreement, removing the supermajority requirement.
Logan gleefully tells his children about this development, then gloats that he’s “beaten them” in the struggle for control of the company. Roman pleads with his father to let them off easy, reminding him that they all love each other. Logan mercilessly kicks them out.
For Logan, the last three seasons of “Succession” have been a fight for survival. When his children dared to want to succeed him as the head of WayStar-Royco, he saw that as a threat. The Roy children, meanwhile, made a major mistake in thinking their father could possibly be motivated by something other than power.
Tom sold them out
After leaving his children to process the news, Logan passes Tom (Matthew Macfayden) outside and gives him a friendly clap on the shoulder. Shiv sees this happen. It’s unheard of for her father to show Tom affection, so she puts two and two together and figures out that Tom tipped off Logan about her plan with her brothers.
Earlier in the episode, when Shiv called Tom to tell him that she and her brothers were plotting to oust Logan and put themselves in charge of WayStar-Royco, Shiv made a crucial mistake: she left Tom out of her plans. That’s a quintessential Shiv move, reducing her husband to an afterthought. This time, thought, Tom uses the situation to his advantage.
After the call with Shiv, Tom talked with Greg (Nicholas Braun) at the wedding. He asks him if, after the company’s impending shakeup, Greg is willing to side with Tom in whatever his new role might be. He says he needs an attack dog – a “Gregweiler,” specifically. Tom asks Greg is he’s willing to “make a deal with the devil,” Greg agrees, and they seal the deal with a handshake.
In hindsight, that moment looks a lot more sinister. Tom had already made the decision to betray his wife and tell Logan about her plans. It’s likely that Logan has promised Tom some important position at ATN, and when he calls himself “the devil,” it’s not really a joke.
“Succession” spent Season 3 teasing the possibility that someone within the family would switch loyalties and betray the others. In the end, it turned out to be most of them. Even Tom Wambsgants got in on the act.
If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN’s National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).