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‘Succession’ Season 3 Finale Recap: “All The Bells Say”

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‘Succession’ Season 3 Finale Recap: “All The Bells Say”

First, let’s climb off some of the cliffs the last episode of Succession, “Chiantishire“, left us hanging on: Kendall lives. (If you can call that living.) In an offscreen scene, Comfry apparently found him floating in the pool and got him to the hospital, and now that he’s been discharged, everyone is trying to be very normal about it: Roman is offering her cash to let Kendall drown next time, and Kendall himself is reviving his grandiose plans to take down Waystar by hiring new lawyers and posting his personal papers to his Instagram. (To quote Shiv in “Mass In Time Of War“: “Unsubscribe.”) What will even be left to take down, though? A huge fine from the DOJ is imminent, and GoJo now officially has a higher market cap than Waystar does…

…which we hear from Gerri — who survived her brush with Roman’s dick pic, yet another cliffhanger resolved. Roman is also still part of the GoJo talks, though Logan tells him on the way to Matsson’s that if Roman has sexual issues to work out, he should “straighten” them out (hmm) and adds, “I don’t want to know.” Inflicting them on people who don’t want to know seems to be an intrinsic element?

Anyway: the “merger of equals” Matsson previously suggested is no longer on the table. He sees the upside in a GoJo/Waystar marriage, but now thinks he should be the person to run the resulting company. Roman — who, like his siblings, regards Waystar as his birthright — is horrified to see that Logan isn’t rejecting the idea out of hand. But even though Logan flatly says, of Matsson’s notion, “this is not happening,” Roman must know what it means that Logan stays to talk about other business, sending Roman back to the family. Is pure denial the reason he doesn’t tell Shiv what happened, or is he just too focused on joining her and Connor in conveying to Kendall how much they all really don’t want him to end his life? Kendall is immediately suspicious — “What is this. What’s the angle” — and will not accede to their requests that he “stop trying to kill Pop.” They mean it metaphorically (I think?), but Kendall’s got a lot of truth to tell the world about Logan! Even if Comfry admits to Shiv that while there have been talks with Vanity Fair, it’s mostly been her calling them.

Roman continues not telling Shiv the particulars of the Matsson meeting in the moments before Caroline’s wedding, as he worries anew about her pre-nuptial agreement. Shiv promises there is one, repeating what Caroline had said at her bachelorette party about an apartment of Logan’s that Peter wanted, which would require reopening Caroline and Logan’s divorce settlement. Phew, everyone has got to be relieved that Caroline is going to be protected from this grubby arriviste!

Logan is not going to make it to the wedding; he’s too busy working with Frank and Karl and a whole villa’s worth of lawyers. But his absence doesn’t go unnoticed by his children, who try to piece together what may be happening using clues from Gerri (who knows a financier is in town) and Greg (who’s getting intel from “Lackey Slack”). Finally, Roman tells Shiv about Matsson’s proposal. When Shiv ignores Kendall’s insistence that he won’t participate in their scheming, he gets serious about his mental state: he feels disconnected from his children, and disappointed that his attempt to extricate himself and his siblings from Waystar came to nothing: “I don’t know. I’m not a good person.” He really has had an epiphany of some kind; he’s been saying exactly the opposite all season. Roman distractedly tells Kendall, “Well, whatever, you’re fine.” He’s not: “I killed a kid.”

s03e09-01-admission

At first, Shiv and Roman are…as horrified as you’d expect any normal person to be, but (a) Shiv is also dealing with the business crisis so she can’t really focus on the waiter she remembers dying at her own wedding, and (b) the more Kendall describes the circumstances, the less serious Roman and Shiv actually think it is. “This sounds like the story of a hero to me,” says Roman. “I’ve killed a kid too, big deal. Shiv! You’ve killed a kid, right?” “Uh, yeah,” she chirps. As relieved as Kendall surely is to have two fewer people from whom he’s keeping this secret, I feel like he might get closer to figuring out how to honor his victim and find peace in himself if he hadn’t chosen to disclose it to two known monsters?

Never mind: there’s a business deal to halt! Kendall — recovering quickly from his soul-shredding admission, in my opinion — is ready to confront Logan, because Kendall’s in favor of any action that may wound his father. Shiv is fired up because she’s always had a lust for power. But Roman, who has always had the most uncomplicated love for Logan, needs some convincing. Shiv explains that Logan’s taking the deal will mean he doesn’t think any of his children ever could or should take over the company; also, Logan won’t give Roman the top job because he believes Roman is a sicko. But Kendall explains that Logan legally can’t make the sale without the approval of the children he had with Caroline: one of the terms of that divorce settlement involved the creation of a holding company that gives them outsized power on the Waystar board, and Logan would need their sign-off to get the supermajority required to approve a sale. So if they act in concert, they can force Logan out of the company. They all allow themselves a little giddy excitement about how things might go once they’re in charge…and it’s this moment of joy that should tip us to the impending disaster.

But first, they have to spend the rest of their drive over to the deal HQ shoring up their position: Kendall checks on the holding company by-laws while Shiv tells Tom how ATN should message Logan’s retirement, for health reasons. “And where do I fit in?” asks Tom. “Well, high up, Tom, I don’t know,” says Shiv vaguely.

s03e09-02-tom-phone

Tom hangs up and gravely tells Greg he may have a new job for him, as Tom’s “attack dog,” which would move him from the morass where he is to “the bottom of the top.” Is Greg ready to make a deal with the devil? “What am I gonna do with a soul anyways?” Greg crows. “Souls are boring!” Would Greg still have one if his safety net weren’t being willed to Greenpeace? Or did he actually lose it as soon as he started working at Waystar? We’ll never know!

After one last check that they are, this time, definitely presenting a united front to Logan — not like…all those other times they got close to pulling off a coup like this, including EARLIER THIS VERY SEASON — Kendall, Shiv, and Roman confront Logan, who is utterly unsympathetic to their whining about what they would do in a post-sale GoJoWaystar without Logan’s protection; Logan feels that if they want their own billions, they should go make their own, and you know what? Good point!

Logan then tries to divide and conquer by pulling Roman away, reminding him that Matsson already said in their earlier meeting that Roman would be crucial to integrating the two companies: “You can trust me.” “You can’t trust him,” Shiv intones. Roman tries one more time to ask Logan not to sell the company to GoJo…

…but requests soon turn to threats. Empty ones, as it turns out: Logan has Caroline on the phone — from her own wedding reception — to confirm that they’ve renegotiated the divorce settlement: the holding company that gave the kids their trump card has been dissolved in exchange for the apartment and political assistance Peter wanted. “Mom, you just slit our throats,” says Shiv. “Dad? Please?” Roman asks impotently. Logan would like to know what Roman is bringing to the negotiation. “I don’t know,” Roman mumbles. “Fucking love?” A bit rich for Roman to fall back on that one when they all came in planning to slit his throat with their board supermajority: “You should’ve trusted me….I. Fucking. Win.”

As Gerri calmly tells Roman she’s only making decisions on the basis of shareholder value, Shiv wonders who could have told Logan they were coming…

s03e09-03-tom-traitor

…but she doesn’t remain in suspense for long. “You okay?” Tom asks, innocently. Tensing up, Shiv lies that she’s fine. I know Greg’s just taken a job as Tom’s attack dog, but he’s probably the one who should protect his neck in Season 4.

Margin Calls

  • Connor Getting Married?: Connor has a mini-breakdown of his own, at the siblings’ breakfast, over Kendall’s moping about the position he expected to enjoy at Waystar by virtue of being “the eldest son”: he reminds Kendall that, actually, Connor is the eldest son, and also that he’s been through some shit in the family; he didn’t see Logan for three years after his mother and Logan divorced, “but your spoon wasn’t shiny enough.” Bitterly, he adds that none of them has congratulated him for his engagement to Willa. Speaking of whom: when Connor is still in a sour mood about his siblings on the way to the wedding, she decides, at last, to give him an answer on his proposal: “Fuck it….Come on, how bad can it be. Right?”

s03e09-04-willa

Seems like she realizes immediately how much it’s actually going to suck.

  • Logan’s next round of kids: Connor finds more grounds on which to needle his siblings when he finds maca root, which he says Kerry has been putting in Logan’s smoothies, to increase the potency of his sperm in order to get Kerry pregnant: “I guess he really doesn’t rate you guys.” Part of me wants to say Logan is too old to contemplate having another generation of children, but then again, he probably wasn’t any more attentive to his kids when he was more vigorous than he would be now.
  • Greg’s Girls: Greg is still hoping to trade up from Comfry to the contessa or princess or whatever she is. NO ONE CARES. Quit it with the Greg goof plots and start turning him into a full American Psycho in Season 4, I say — and I’ll see you all there!

Television Without Pity, Fametracker, and Previously.TV co-founder Tara Ariano has had bylines in The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, Vulture, Slate, Salon, Mel Magazine, Collider, and The Awl, among others. She co-hosts the podcasts Extra Hot Great, Again With This (a compulsively detailed episode-by-episode breakdown of Beverly Hills, 90210 and Melrose Place), Listen To Sassy, and The Sweet Smell Of Succession. She’s also the co-author, with Sarah D. Bunting, of A Very Special 90210 Book: 93 Absolutely Essential Episodes From TV’s Most Notorious Zip Code (Abrams 2020). She lives in Austin.

Watch Succession Season 3 Episode 9 on HBO Max

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Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

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Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

Legendary NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden died Tuesday morning at 85, the NFL announced. News of the football icon’s passing hit Twitter on Tuesday evening, and athletes, coaches and broadcasters from across the sports world reacted.

Fellow broadcasting legend Dick Vitale, who is currently battling cancer, called Madden “the greatest analyst of all time of any sport” in his Twitter tribute.

Former Yankees pitcher and notable Raiders fan CC Sabathia said “your legacy will live forever.” Madden coached the then-Oakland Raiders from 1969-78, a couple of years before Sabathia, a Vallejo, California native, was born. Lakers star LeBron James had similar words about Madden’s lasting legacy, adding an infinity emoji.

Former tennis star and social justice activist Billie Jean King recalled meeting Madden as a “privilege.”

Radio voice of the Rangers Kenny Albert, a five-sport broadcaster who’s been with FOX Sports since its inception in 1994, shared a photo circa 26 years ago to remember Madden.

ESPN’s Bomani Jones took a bit of a shot at current color commentators, noting that Madden “set an unreachable standard.”

Frank Caliendo, who’s made a career out of impersonations, including one for Madden, said he was surprised how emotional he felt.

Several football players, and others, including Saints running back Mark Ingram II and former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, credited Madden with being part of the reason why they love football.

Rams wide receiver and NFL MVP contender Cooper Kupp quote the late coach in his tribute: “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.”

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

MINNEAPOLIS — The Knicks got back another body in rookie point guard Miles McBride, who was cleared from protocols Tuesday and rejoined the team in Minnesota.

But there is no longer any hype for the rookie’s return. Kemba Walker is back as the starting point guard and coming off winning Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors with four standout games, including his Christmas Day spectacular. The Knicks have gone 2-2 since Walker regained the starting job.

“It’s great,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He had a great week. He’s playing great basketball. The team winning helps him get recognized and he was a big part of driving that winning. It’s great for the team.’’

McBride was also spectacular in his last outing before getting COVID-19, when he played the entire second half Dec. 16 in Houston and seemingly earned a spot in the rotation. In fact, McBride had strung together two decent outings before he was ruled out. But things have changed since his emergence and McBride is likely back to being a bit player.

Without a practice, McBride wasn’t even expected to see time when the Knicks faced the Timberwolves to kick off a four-game road trip.

Miles McBride
NBAE via Getty Images

Of course, with Walker’s arthritic knee, anything is possible. The Knicks play Detroit on Wednesday in a back-to-back, so it’s uncertain whether Walker will complete both contests. In addition, Immanuel Quickley is out of COVID-19 protocols but Thibodeau wasn’t sure he was ready for meaningful minutes.

That left Walker against the depleted Timberwolves, who were missing their three top players (Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell), all because of COVID-19 .

Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker
USA TODAY Sports

When McBride got sidelined by the virus and Derrick Rose needed ankle surgery, Walker was resurrected by Thibodeau and it’s been a stunning comeback story.

Though Thibodeau has clear reservations about Walker based on his nine-game banishment due to his defensive malaise as an undersized point guard, he admitted after the Christmas Day triple-double against Atlanta that Walker is playing “much more aggressive.”

Walker’s triple-double that featured 10 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds was a lot different than his prior outing, when he scored 44 points against Washington.

“I thought his passing was terrific,’’ Thibodeau said before the Knicks resumed their schedule.

“Kemba had control of the game. The game tells you what to do. That’s what I loved about the way he played. I don’t think he forced anything. They puts size on him and were aggressive in their pick-and-roll coverage. He didn’t fight it. He attacked pressure the way you like to attack pressure. You don’t fight pressure with pressure. Don’t try to split it. Get rid of it, go to the backside. Let the game tell you what to do.’’

The Knicks coach is finally seeing all the elements of what Walker can do. Before his demotion, Walker was nothing more than a no-defense, 3-point shooter whose plus-minus was an abysmal minus-122.

Thibodeau was also concerned about his durability in sitting out two of the three back-to-back sets. The last load management game in Atlanta in late November triggered Thibodeau’s decision.

But now it’s only superlatives from Thibodeau in judging the last four games.

“Sometimes it’s going to be his shooting, sometimes it’s his penetration and getting in the paint to force a collapse and sometimes they’re being aggressive with their traps get rid of the ball quickly,’’ Thibodeau said. “The overall play, his rebounding. When your guards rebound, those are key to fast breaks. The more guard rebounding we get the better we can be. ‘’

The Knicks still have three players in protocols — centers Nerlens Noel and Jericho Sims and the newly infected Wayne Selden. Quickley and Kevin Knox were cleared on Christmas but were held out for conditioning.

No matter. The Knicks go as Kemba goes.

“He’s much more aggressive,’’ Thibodeau said. “That was the challenge. At the beginning of the year he and Evan were two new starters. Sometimes guys are trying to fit in. he’s being very aggressive which is the way we want him to play. Not deferring at all. When he and Julius [Randle] are aggressive like that our team is different.’’

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Bar raises dramatically for Zach Wilson in matchup with Tom Brady, Buccaneers

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Zach Wilson and Tom Brady

When Zach Wilson stares across the MetLife Stadium field at the opposite sideline this Sunday, it won’t be Trevor Lawrence he’ll be looking at as his game-day counterpart.

Lawrence, drafted by Jacksonville one spot before the Jets selected Wilson at No. 2 overall last April, is a contemporary.

This Sunday at MetLife, the Jets rookie quarterback won’t be staring at a contemporary on the other sideline. He’ll be staring at the GOAT.

Tom Brady.

The bar raises dramatically for Wilson and the Jets, who are coming off of their feel-good, get-well win over the woeful Jaguars and Lawrence this past Sunday.

Brady and Buccaneers, who are 11-4, NFC South division champions and seeking to repeat as Super Bowl champions, play the Jets, who are 4-11 and seeking more signs of development from their rookie quarterback.

To say this is a step up in competition for Wilson and the Jets going from Lawrence and the Jags to Brady and the Bucs is as obvious as pointing out that Tampa Bay receiver Antonio Brown has had a few off-the-field incidents during his otherwise stellar NFL career.

There hasn’t been a lot to keep the interest of the Jets fan this season — other than watching Wilson’s development. That took an unfortunate pause for the four games Wilson missed with a knee injury, but he’s been back for five games and has looked like a better quarterback, throwing only two interceptions in those games (none in the last three) since returning from his injury.

The problem, though, is that Wilson hasn’t been producing enough touchdowns, throwing for three of them and rushing for four others in the past five games.

Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg; AP

Baby steps, though.

Wilson was the better quarterback this past Sunday when matched up with Lawrence, who threw for more yards than Wilson did, but Wilson ran for 91 yards, including his electric 52-yard scoring jaunt, and made key throws when he needed them.

Wilson will not win Sunday’s game against Brady and the Bucs throwing for the 102 yards he had against the Jaguars. He and the Jets will need more.

Consider this: Brady enters the game having thrown 37 TD passes and for 4,580 yards this season and averages a league-high 305.2 passing yards per game.

Then this: The Buccaneers average 29.5 points per game this season, second most in the NFL.

And this: Wilson doesn’t have a single 300-yard passing game, averages 183 passing yards per game and has thrown seven TD passes in 11 games.

Seven TD passes is a pedestrian two-game total for Brady.

Wilson and the Jets are playing with house money anyway in what always has been a developmental season, so Sunday against Brady should, at its very least, be a great measuring-stick learning experience for Wilson, who’s studied Brady on tape.

Wilson revealed this month that he watched film of Brady before the Jets played the Eagles on Dec. 5 in an effort to pick up tips on how Brady worked against the Eagles defense when he played them earlier in the season.

“I thought it was really cool to see kind of how he went through his whole process, how he navigated the pocket, different things like that,” Wilson said at the time.

On Sunday, Wilson gets to see that process up close as Brady tries to dissect a Jets defense that has yielded 29.9 points per game this season, the most in the NFL.

That puts an added onus on Wilson to produce on the other side of the ball, because he knows Brady is going to get his. Wilson will likely need to produce four TDs — any way he can — for the Jets to simply remain competitive with the Super Bowl champs.

That’s a lot to ask of a 22-year-old kid who’s produced just 11 TDs in his 11 starts, up against Brady, who’s thrown 618 TD passes and for 83,784 yards in his remarkable career.

It, too, is a lot to ask playing against an aggressive Tampa Bay defense that’s ranked No. 9 in the NFL in points allowed (20.8 per game) and is led by former Jets head coach Todd Bowles, who’d surely like to send a holiday message to his former employer.

If you don’t think Bowles will be blitzing the bejesus out of Wilson, then you probably think Antonio Brown is a living saint.

The good news for the Jets is that Wilson has shown incremental improvements, particularly when it comes to his decision-making and quicker releases on his throws.

“He’s coming along, he’s getting more comfortable, he’s calmer back there,’’ Jets coach Robert Saleh said Monday. “He’s in a great headspace and it’s going to be fun to watch him grow, continue to grow.’’

A big part of that growth will take place this Sunday as he watches the GOAT operate from the opposite sideline at MetLife.

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