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  • Writer's picturePaul Gainey

Succession

Tonight’s episode of 'Succession' was one of the best in the entire series, if not the best, which I suppose should come as no surprise: This was Logan’s big funeral. It had all the pomp and circumstance one might find a kingly wake. The Waystar RoyCo founder even purchased his own gaudy mausoleum. But don’t worry, he “didn’t want a memorial.”


Three of Logan’s four children speak at their father’s funeral. Poor Connor (Alan Ruck) is forbidden from giving his speech for mysterious legal reasons (and because Connor has already given one eulogy on this show and it can never possibly be topped).


This was a very long episode, clocking in at 1 hour and 14 minutes, making it practically a feature film in length. It used ever single one of those minutes to perfection, giving us one of the most emotionally powerful episodes of television I’ve ever seen.


The episode begins with Roman (Kieran Culkin) preparing for the big day. He’s working on his speech, getting dressed, feeling upbeat and sharp. When Kendall (Jeremy Strong) calls he’s surprised by how lively and fine Roman seems.


The episode ends with Roman out in the street, pushing through a sea of protestors, hurling insults at them. They push past, bump into him. He falls to the ground, defiant and pathetic, as impotent in the street as he is in the bedroom.


Roman’s grief is palpable. When he tries to give the speech, he can barely speak. He flees the stage and when his siblings approach, he gestures to the posh coffin. “Is he in there?” he asks, his voice a sob-in-waiting. “Can we get him out?”


Kendall takes the stage, considers reading Roman’s speech, and then wings it instead. Much of his speech is a retort to his uncle, Ewan Roy (James Cromwell) who gives one of the finest speeches- and performances - we’ve seen in Succession’s four-season run. Ewan tells stories about his brother and him as children, about the death of their sister, about the struggles they faced. There’s a fondness there, but only until the knives come out.


“He has wrought the most terrible things,” Ewan says to a murmuring crowd. “He was a man who has, here and there, drawn in the edges of the world. Now and then, darkened the skies a little. Closed men’s hearts. Fed that dark flame in men. The hard, mean, hard-relenting flame, that keeps their hearts warm while another’s grows cold, their grain stashed while another goes hungry. And even has the temerity to tell that hard - funny, yes funny - but hard joke about the man in the cold. You can get a little high, a little mighty when you’re warm. Oh yes, he gave away a few million of his billions but he was not a generous man. He was mean and he made but a mean estimation of the world. And he fed a certain kind of meagerness in men. Perhaps he had to because he had a meagerness about him, and maybe I do about me to. I don’t know. I try. I try. I don’t know when, but sometime he decided not to try anymore, and it was a terrible shame. God speed, my brother. And God bless.”




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