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Succession “All the Bells Say” Review: Still Processing

Succession “All the Bells Say” Spoilers Ahead

Still from Succession "All the Bells Say"
©HBO

After two nights since premiering, Succession fans are still processing its season three finale episode “All the Bells Say” while screaming for the next season. And who could blame them? It was the kind of riveting and heart-pumping finale we’re still processing. The last thirty-five minutes grabbed viewers by the hook and had them dangling until the very end. 

Those who were concerned for Kendall’s (Jeremy Strong) wellbeing after last week’s episode ending with him on the prospect of drowning had reason to do so. The finale opened with viewers learning that Kendall had nearly drowned and had been hospitalized overnight. We see the “fallen” sibling disconnected from his family and surroundings during the events leading up to Caroline’s (Dame Harriet Walter) wedding. Meanwhile, we see Shiv (Sarah Snook) deal with her mommy issues by agreeing to have a baby with Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) and still treating her husband like shit. Roman (Kieran Culkin) is being kept out of the loop with a potential acquisition by GoJo from his father (Brian Cox) while Conner (Alan Ruck) has proposed to Willa (Justine Lupe). And somehow, Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun) is just floating around, convinced that he can get with a contessa. 

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It’s fair to say that Kendall has been taking blow by blow this season. After Logan decided he wasn’t done manipulating his son once Kendall asked to be bought out of his shares, Kendall hit the lowest he’s ever had on the series. He finally, finally, breaks down to his siblings and confesses his involvement regarding the waiter’s death at Shiv’s wedding. It’s an outstanding performance by Strong, who unleashes a flurry of emotions with his shaking sobs. You see the heavy weight of Kendall’s guilt being released as he bares his heart out to his siblings and recounts the accident’s events. There is a sense of release of finally speaking the words that have been eating him since the end of the first season. 

Both Shiv and Roman are stunned, but they drop whatever remaining animosity they have for their brother and offer him comfort. Roman takes it a step forward, stating that it seems that his brother didn’t kill anyone and it was merely an accident. He also offers jokes to Kendall in an effort to make his brother smile. Both Shiv and Roman assure their brother they’ll be by his side when he requests to be with them as they decide to try to stop their father’s deal with GoJo. 

The scene and the context itself is heart-warming and you can’t but help think “fucking finally” that the siblings have appeared to resolve their differences. But it’s also a sad reminder of how much their father’s presence has manipulated their relationship. At the end of each season, we get glimpses of how well the siblings get along so long as Logan’s existence isn’t teetering over their heads. The smoking scene before Shiv’s wedding, their interaction on the yacht, and Kendall’s confession–all three scenes hint at a strong, healthy sibling bond where they care for each other. No insults, no competitiveness. All of which dissolves when Logan appears and they fight for his love and approval. 

And this is what makes it so incredibly frustrating when they finally band together and go against their father. Each season, we’ve seen one of the siblings rise and fall out of favor with Logan. For three seasons we’ve seen them hurl insults and betray each other just so they can achieve the next CEO position. As viewers, we see that individually, each sibling possesses one of Logan’s traits. The easiest choice for all three of them would be joining forces together against Logan in the beginning. When they finally do, he’s a step ahead of them and shuts them down. 

Would have Logan been able to fight off his kids if Tom had not tipped him off? We may never know, but it’s no surprise that Tom finally put himself first. Last week, I predicted that whatever Tom’s role in upcoming episodes would be, it would present a very big shift moving forward. Throughout this season, we’ve seen Tom and Shiv’s deteriorating relationship and Tom’s increasing awareness of his dislike of her treatment. What is fascinating, however, is despite how much I’ve been rooting for Tom to stand up for himself this season, I was just as enraged as Shiv when it was implied Tom had sold out the siblings. 

Succession’s “All the Bells Say” is a testament to the excellent writing and direction of the series. To make viewers sympathize with arguably some of the worst and selfish characters on television is no easy feat. The cast completely knocked it out the park with their performances–it should be an interesting race between the cast members during awards season. We got a masterclass of a season finale, and we can’t wait to see what unfolds. 

Succession has been renewed for season four and is currently available on HBO Max. What are your thoughts on Succession’s “All the Bells Say?” Let us know in the comments below.

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Alice Sarkisyan View All

Born and raised in Los Angeles. Fluent in sarcasm and film references.

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