‘Succession’: Kendall’s Bubble Bursts in ‘Too Much Birthday’ (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Succession, Season 3, Episode 7, “Too Much Birthday.”]
Aptly titled, “Too Much Birthday,” the soiree doesn’t exactly go as planned for the man who started Season 3 flying high. Now, fans are seeing the re-emergence of sad Kendall as the party he plans begins to fall apart at the seams.
Kicking things off, Kendall is seen rehearsing a cover of Billy Joel’s “Honesty,” surely chosen to reflect his recent social justice approach to life after exposing scandals at Waystar. Back in the office, Shiv (Sarah Snook) and Roman (Kieran Culkin) work on a pitch for Gojo owner Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård). As the brother and sister tear each other down verbally, Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) continues to scroll through prison sites on his phone, and everyone questions who will be attending Kendall’s big shindig.
Eventually, the core Waystar team is called into Logan’s (Brian Cox) office where Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron) informs them that prison appears to be off the table as the Department of Justice likes what they’re seeing in terms of company reform. Tom understandably breathes a major sigh of relief and excuses himself to stop by Greg’s (Nicholas Braun) office. There, Tom asks for Greg to move aside before he flips the worker’s desk and proceeds to have a major cathartic flip-out.
Kendall, meanwhile, is less enthused as he checks in on the numbers for his impending party, learning that eighty percent of A-listers have confirmed attendance, but his siblings have yet to RSVP. Things turn sour at the Waystar offices as well when they discover Lukas is no longer coming for their meeting, leaving Shiv and Roman only one option… to attend Kendall’s party where Lukas is also supposed to make an appearance. Before exiting his office, Logan hands Roman a card, clearly designated for Kendall, but what’s inside? It’s a question that’s answered a bit later on in the episode.
That evening, the Roy kids get dressed up with an objective in hand, to secure Waystar’s next big deal and cause some chaos. The party’s theme is Kendall’s World, in which everyone who enters is birthed into his world. The over-the-top nature of the party doesn’t end at the entrance though as the siblings seek out Kendall in his VIP section.
After a brief banter and a hand-off of Logan’s card from Roman to the birthday boy, Kendall ushers his siblings around, showing off a room of fake headlines featuring the family. Connor (Alan Ruck) isn’t so thrilled with his as it references a real experience in his life. Noticing his brother’s sensitivity to the images, Kendall has it removed, but there’s a tension that begins to build.
Telling them he’ll see them around the party, Kendall heads off to mingle but not before taking a private moment to himself to open Logan’s card which contains a form about his share in the company with the caption “cash out and f**k off,” scrawled inside. He goes on to consult Naomi (Annabelle Dexter-Jones) about the gesture, and she questions how much his share is. When she hears two billion, she can’t help but attempt to convince Kendall to take the deal.
On a lighter note, Tom attempts to ask Kendall’s PR girl, Comfry (Dasha Nekrasova) out on a date but loses his already frayed nerves when she brings up that Kendall is pushing to burn Greg publicly to help improve his case against Waystar and Logan. She promises to go easy on him, but it just ends up leaving the man tongue-tied and more anxious.
Fired up over the card and seeing what his siblings’ attendance really means, when Kendall runs into Shiv and Roman at the entrance of his treehouse section of the party, Kendall questions them. They admit that they’re there for business, but nothing gets off the ground as they’re denied access to the private area where Lukas has set up shop. Shiv has a bone to pick herself as she learns about Logan and Roman’s card to Kendall. Clearly, on the outs from Logan’s inner workings, Shiv storms off and Roman is left behind as Kendall enters the treehouse.
There, he sits down with Lukas who is preoccupied with his phone and being too cool for the rest of the party. He warns the businessman that his siblings are on the hunt and if he wants to remain unbothered, he should stay in the treehouse. After setting that up, Kendall goes off to chat with Rava (Natalie Gold) who stops by briefly. She listens as Kendall shares the news that he might be leaving the firm after reading Logan’s offer, and mentions that “goons” of the Roys have been following their kids around.
This upsets Kendall, and he becomes even more distraught when he learns that his children sent a gift that seems to have been lost in the shuffle of his massive party. After bidding Rava farewell, Kendall finds Comfry and the rest of his PR team to tell them that he feels like this party is for an a**hole and that the vibe needs to be turned around.
Setting off the center of the party, even more, Greg approaches Kendall to ask about his planned publicity burning of him and brings up asking Comfry out. Kendall goes on to call his cousin a parasite that needs to leach off of some other people for a change. Although Kendall claims he’s joking, it’s unclear if he really means the harsh things he’s saying, but there’s no mistaking his disapproval of Greg asking Comfry out, leading to a bit of an impasse between the relatives at that moment.
As the party continues to descend in a downward spiral, Shiv asks Tom if he knew about Logan’s offer to buy out Kendall, but the man claims he wasn’t aware. Looking to blow off some steam, she ends up hitting the dance floor for some freestyle moves that catch a lot of peoples’ attention. Also on the dance floor are Connor and Willa (Justin Lupe), the latter of which defends her man as he’s repeatedly asked to turn over his coat because of Kendall’s party rules.
Roman, meanwhile, has managed to weasel himself into the treehouse where he approaches Lukas to begin discussing business. The men start a fairly natural banter that sways the Gojo owner to reconsider working with Waystar. When Roman asks if he can tell Logan that he’s in, Lukas says, “tell him I’m in the conversation.”
As Kendall’s party goes further off the rails, he forgoes his planned performance, feeling stupid for thinking it was a good idea. While his team feigns surprise and disappointment, they secretly let a collective sigh of relief out when Kendall’s back is turned. Instead, he shifts focus into looking for the birthday gift his kids left for him, as Greg works up the courage to successfully ask Comfry out.
Trying to cheer him up, Naomi gives Kendall her gift which happens to be a watch. His reaction is less than enthusiastic as he tries to understand the reasoning behind her gifting choice. Despite Naomi’s apologetic tone, it’s clear that it’s more than her gift that’s eating at Kendall.
The mood continues to darken in “the compliments tunnel” as Greg and Tom chat about their escape from potential jail time. Tom can’t even feign excitement as he complains he took the wrong combination of drugs to feel any joy. On the flipside, Shiv reconvenes with Roman and asks about how things went with Lukas. Roman won’t give an answer, further pushing his sister’s buttons. They take turns insulting each other, particularly when Roman calls out that Shiv is just upset because Tom isn’t going to jail.
Done for the night, Kendall is being escorted by Naomi towards the exit when he crosses paths with his siblings one more time. A snide comment from Roman turns Kendall’s head and the eldest brother goes on to try and spark a fight. Kendall tells Roman that he isn’t a real person and asks the family to stop sending goons in his kids’ direction. Shiv thinks Kendall is paranoid until Roman admits that there are people spying on Ken’s kids.
When Kendall turns to leave the conversation, Roman gives him a push, leading the birthday boy to topple face-first onto the floor. The humiliating moment is a fitting ending to a party that continuously went downhill from the moment it began. Tom and Shiv leave the event promptly as Roman calls Logan to tell him about his success, and sad Kendall reemerges as Naomi is left to comfort the blanket-wrapped man from his apartment in the episode’s final moments.
Will this streak of bad luck play into Kendall’s Season 3 arc? Tune in next week to find out as Succession Season 3 continues on HBO.
Succession, Season 3, Sundays, 9/8c, HBO