It’s not an easy task to form a prediction around a show that is made up of perpetually moving pieces. But then again, what is easy about Succession? A show where the Stockholm syndrome-esque undercurrent of love flows begrudgingly underneath all the abuse, betrayal, and straight-up soul-crushing filth. For once, though, I’d like to sit and relish the “I told you so” I’m about to hurl at the Shiv naysayers, even as I compulsively chew my fingernails to the nub at the thought of what the series finale holds. I’d also, with the utmost sincerity, like to acknowledge the absolute, beyond-flawless little details that compose the masterpiece that is Succession. And when I push aside my personal aversion for method acting for the sake of appreciating Jeremy Strong’s self-destructive supremacy, what I really am getting at is the faithful and admittedly biased love I have for the one show that surpasses all others that came before it and most likely everything that is to follow.
New York Pandemonium
The Mencken effect engulfed New York City on the day of a giant’s funeral, and Logan wouldn’t have liked it any other way. With enraged leftists taking over the streets to protest against the forsaken missing ballots, the sketchy Roys dress up in mourning. It’s a day to not let bygones be bygones. It’s a day where grief and self-preservation have to take turns, lest more deaths follow. Roman isn’t fooling anyone with his disturbingly chipper approach to giving his big-boy eulogy for the man who will never really be gone, even though he is. For fans of his unparalleled inappropriate humor, the penultimate episode of Succession must feel like Christmas. The first one to be subjected to it is the Roy princess herself, announcing her pregnancy to her CE-bros and getting a wildly out-of-line remark from the little Roy in return. But let’s just cut him some slack, shall we? Even though he’s just back from attempting to hand over the country to a neo-Nazi degenerate, he’s already made an offensive remark regarding Logan’s casket and the grieving widow. If anything, the state of the riot-stricken city is in tune with whatever must be eating away at the three hopeless, spoiled kids—not even granted the opportunity for a bittersweet goodbye to their Machiavellian monster of a dad without having to look over their shoulders.
Crisis And Ken
It’s an odd day every time the unofficial main character/crestfallen antihero isn’t at the center of it all. But that doesn’t mean that Ken hasn’t found ways to Logan-up on the day he is to bid his sociopathic media mogul dad adieu. And boy, is it hard to watch Ken’s infuriatingly abusive side when he physically stands in the way of Rava attempting to whisk her daughter away to safety. Hopelessly blind to the privilege the color of his skin and the green in his pocket have granted him, Ken really can’t see that his POC ex-wife and daughter aren’t safe in the mayhem. Even when protestors bang on his car window and startle him, he’s set on starting a filthy fight for custody and asserting his dominance. And that is what his very next meeting will be about, or so he alerts Jess, who’s already made up her mind about running away as far as possible from her job at the right-wing media conglomerate. That is, however, not a piece of news that Jess had planned to pass on to her boss on the day of his father’s funeral. But since when have the Roys cared a hoot about what anyone else wants or feels? It’s a threat disguised as an undue warning. And Jess better watch her back. Ken better put his skates on if he must outrun his little sister, who’s already taken advantage of the country being in disarray and made her Swedish protector release his botched-up South Asian numbers.
Wait, Did ‘Succession’ Just Glitch And Go Wholesome?
It’s an unkindness that the stormtrooper ravens have formed in the church. Cutting into it with the subtle silver lining of sensibility are Logan’s ex-wife and the Roy trio’s mother, Caroline, who’s evidently capable of sniffing out unannounced pregnancies. She’s the only one to extend an arm of acknowledgment to Kerry, who was unsure if she would even be able to walk in unscratched and brought her attorney along. And why shouldn’t the band of women who’ve loved and paid dearly for it include the infamous Sally Anne? Or, as Caroline introduces her to Marcia, “My Kerry.” To the dismay of the rest of the “important” guests, the first row of seats is reserved for the women, who’ve seldom received anything but contempt (and money, of course) for loving the most unlovable man. But who are we to rate Logan’s lovability when his liberal brother Ewan, freeing himself of Greg’s flailing hands trying to stop him, gets on the stage to say things that really come together as a very conditional love letter to his little brother? This is the first task botched by Greg, who’s the stand-in for Tom while he welcomes as much flack as possible for announcing the presumptive president-elect as the president of America.
We’ve never seen this Logan before. I mean, sure, we knew that he’d come from a humble background and built an empire out of the dust, but the Logan that Ewan paints with his words is jarringly tortured. A little kid floating on the Atlantic when the Second World War was disrupting the world. An unfairly victimized child who was allowed to believe that the illness he’d brought back from his boarding school had taken his little sister’s life. The Roys have evidently never broken the cycle of abuse, and heaven only knows where the origin of it lies. And then there’s the Logan we know and loathe, remembered through the eyes of a brother who helplessly watched him give up on being a good person. It’s a hard image for Roman to shatter, and he unsurprisingly disintegrates like a piece of paper in the rain before it’s time for him to present the other side of the big Logan story. So he mumbles and falters until the colossal breakdown that was being held back by twigs and straws bursts out and overcomes the crying mess of a man. “Get him out”—Roman is once again reliving the suffocating memories of a little boy who loved his outrageously abusive father to death. One more hug as a bandaid on a festering wound—nothing is going to be okay. It’s Kendall, the microphone warrior, picking up the pieces and giving worthy applause to the man who apparently created life itself. There’s so much more Logan in Ken than any of the other two siblings. The instinctive misogyny that Shiv’s words recognize as her late father’s human flaw is hard to miss on Ken when he commemorates only Logan for his and his siblings’ very existence as the camera shifts to Caroline’s disgruntled face.
What Does The Future Hold For Waystar Royco?
Logan was nothing if not a jokester. So the fact that he went through a bidding war to splurge a few million on a family crypt built by a “dot com pet supply guy” really doesn’t come as a surprise. There’s no way Logan Roy is about to rest six feet under. That’s for peasants. The “cat food Ozymandias” would rather spend eternity in a $5 million mausoleum that, according to Shiv, he’d won at auction with Stalin and Liberace present. But who among the four Roys would want to rest atop or underneath their dad when the reaper heads their way? Connor doesn’t mind taking the top bunk. But I guess Ken would give it a second thought, considering he had a hard time finishing a drink with his dad. Rome’s grief isn’t done pouring out of his eyes, so he runs to the car to get away from the deafening cacophony of the mourners. It really isn’t an easy day for anyone. Even the old guards miss the “salty dog” who was, at the end of the day, “not a bad egg.” Tom and Shiv’s recent catfights have seemingly escalated the momentum of her grieving process. Even with the Logan-shaped hole in her heart, Shiv’s found the time to table a Swede-Nazi deal. She’s certain that Matsson can get Mencken to reevaluate his friendship with the CE-bros if GoJo walks the distance and promises an American CEO. And who better to whitewash the dirty foreign takeover of the big American company than Shiv herself? While most grow up making it a point not to inherit the bad attributes of their parents, Shiv’s done the very opposite of that. From her father, she’s learned to sync her flow to the way the wind is blowing. From her mother, she’s attained the confidence that her kid will grow up just fine, even if she’s never around. You know, doing motherhood “the family way.”
Hugo has transformed into Ken’s lapdog even without the latter having to vocalize the specifics of their weird dynamic. A “woof woof” from the man who doesn’t mind the table scraps as long as the scraps are worth millions, and Ken’s a step closer to filling his dad’s shoes. The consequential funeral reception is advancing, and Ken’s got to find a way to get Mencken to make good on his promise. It’s a full house, with even Tom showing up. If only to break down in exhaustion-led tears that he wishes to pass off as him mourning a man whom he was the first to say goodbye to on the plane. But that’s not all that Tom’s up to. Mencken’s fate hanging in the balance is also assurance enough that Tom’s future is far from secure. His last hope grows within Shiv’s passive-aggressively champagne-filled belly, unbeknownst to the chaos it will be born into. The make-believe honeymoon phase was clearly not the right time for Shiv to break the news to her husband, but now that he’s here, why not make the best of it? Does she even wish to wave her superiority as a mother in Caroline’s face? It’s hard to tell when motherhood seems to be the last thing on Shiv’s mind.
You know when the siblings stray the farthest from “what dad would have done”? It’s their desperate action of flocking around the presumed president of the US that Logan would’ve ruthlessly ridiculed them for. Connor’s still talking about reaping as much benefit as possible from the Slovenian ambassadorship. Ken’s clearly overestimated his position of power when it comes to the steely president-elect. If a partnership between Mencken and the Roy boys were even to happen, ATN would be nothing more than uncritical loudspeakers for his neo-Nazi agenda. By the time Ken and Rome even realize that Mencken isn’t going to provide them a sanctuary to run free, Shiv’s already thrown her hat in the ring and removed Mencken from the unpleasant ambush of demands. It’s time for Ken to face the facts. If Mencken doesn’t bring in his regulatory ammo to crush the GoJo deal, no amount of gossip Ken gets Hugo to deliver to the media is going to stop the Swede from taking over his dad’s legacy. Shiv, on the other hand, is making good use of her experience in politics when she reassures Mencken that her hatred for him wouldn’t stand in the way of the mutually beneficial relationship between Matsson and Mencken. The real reason why Mencken is reluctant to be swayed by Matsson’s American CEO offer is that Shiv, unlike her late father, isn’t a believer in the same ideologies as those of the White Supremacist. But apparently, and admittedly, Shiv wouldn’t mind rising above the ideological and cultural differences for the CEO seat. The fun that Matsson promises is likely to be an added bonus if Mencken jumps ship. The end is imminent for the CE-bros, and what I believe sealed their fate was Roman’s desperate demeanor as he tried to get Mencken to say yes to their deal. Even for a psychotic neo-Nazi such as Mencken, image is a huge factor. What makes up the most heartwarming sequence in the penultimate episode of Succession is Ken’s self-sacrificing attempt at protecting his little brother from Mencken’s bullying. We’ve seen this side of Ken only once before when Logan was about to hit Rome. But the harsh truth is something even Ken can’t keep himself from inflicting on Roman. Rome’s screwed the deal, and in the ending sequence, when he plummets to the raging crowd of protestors just to feel something, he’s borderline suicidal. Elbowed in his face, letting himself go as the wild stampede of protestors run him over, all Roman wants is to feel something, even if it is a pain.