The Big Clue We Missed That Succession Series 3 Was Always Going To End This Way

It was staring us in the face the whole time.

Succession season 3 finale poster

by Lydia Spencer-Elliott |
Updated on

As expected, the Succession series three finale had us yelling in shock at the TV with expletives to rival the Roy family’s unapologetic profanity. With enough panic-inducing twists to make you feel like you’d mainlined five espressos, the episode had viewers floundering to keep up with its tumultuous plot.

Series three’s conclusion had an especially chaotic concluding twenty minutes (don’t worry no spoilers here), with fans left aghast at the Shakespearean level power plays. Yet, what’s most frustrating about Succession’s unpredictable ending is—we really should have seen it coming.

Fans have been in a frenzy for weeks analysing tweets, interviews and foreboding lines from previous episodes in impressive, microscopic, detail. An interview with Kendall actor Jeremy Strong went stratospherically viral as sleuths hypothesised: Did he drown in the pool? Is he dead? Is that why he called himself ‘techno Gatsby’ in season two?

But the clues to the finale’s most shocking turn weren’t in the Tweets, or the screen grabs, or the episode title All the Bells Say – a line pulled from John Berryman’s poem Dream Song 29 like previous season finales – as clearly as they were in the show’s promotional poster.

The typically grey-toned, steely, could-have-been-from-The-Apprentice shot shows two groups divided, with a line splitting Kendall, Roman [Kieran Culkin], Shiv [Sarah Snook], and Connor [Alan Ruck] on one side and Logan [Brian Cox], Tom [Matthew Macfadyen] and Greg [Nicholas Braun] on the other.

As unlikely as it may have seemed from episode one, this promo poster hinted heavily where greed-fuelled loyalties would lie at the end of the season. And many viewers are, understandably, furious they missed the glaring Easter Egg the show’s creators placed right in front of their eyes.

‘They have trolled us all season long,’ said one viewer in disbelief. ‘That poster foreshadowed A LOT,’ wrote another. ‘Right under our noses since the first promo poster,’ said a third unsuspecting fan. ‘Bravo,’ someone responded to the genius of the clue.

But even the most discerning theorists could be forgiven for missing the mark here as, it turns out, HBO have been playing us at our own game the whole time. The network’s marketing team ingeniously released multiple promotional posters and shifted characters’ positionings on all of them to raise suspicions of various power pairings and alter the puzzle as it was being solved.

While one poster saw Kendall, Roman, Shiv, and Connor as a unit and Logan, Tom, and Greg opposite, another placed Greg behind Connor with Roman flanking his father. Sometimes, Shiv was in allegiance with Kendall and others she sided with Logan – Really, the only consistencies between each image were the suspicious sidewards glances and serious power dressing.

It’s been a tumultuous season, we’ve seen the aftermath of Kendall’s controversial decision to try and overthrow his father in the family company, the Roy sibling’s ongoing rivalry to become CEO, murder suspicions, possible drownings and unsuspected betrayals.

Already confirmed to return for season four, Succession will likely always keep us guessing. Francesca Orsi, Executive Vice President at HBO Programming, said of the series: ‘With each season of Succession, [creator] Jesse Armstrong has continued to surpass our wildest expectations…This season is undoubtedly no exception, and we couldn’t be more excited for all that’s in store in this next season ahead.’

While we have to agree, there’s no question that everyone’s eyes, and magnifying glasses, will be all over next season’s promo poster from day one. ‘Do you want to make a deal with the devil,’ was a predictable enough line from the finale— but the person reaching for the satanic hand took us all by surprise.

READ MORE: So, Did Kendall Roy Die in Succession?

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