Spoiler alert! Look away now if you don’t want a shock… CHRISTOPHER STEVENS gives Succession five stars as the warring family saga takes its most dramatic twist yet
No one saw that coming – a group hug between the three greedy billionaire siblings, the constantly battling Kendall, Shiv and Roman Roy.
But the event that triggered this rare moment of sentimentality has lasted a long time. Read no further if you’re still waiting to see the memorable third episode, but… here’s the spoiler… patriarch Logan Roy is dead.
The media magnate (Brian Cox) collapsed from a suspected heart attack in the toilet of his private jet. He died like Elvis, surrounded by subservient hangers-on with no medical training.
Back on the ground, his kids were on a yacht circling the Statue of Liberty, for eldest son Connor’s (Alan Ruck) wedding – a wedding that Logan was unable to attend.
The episode evoked all the confusion that begins to swirl when bad news arrives. Chief footman Tom (the lusciously oiled Matthew Macfadyen) called Roman (Kieran Culkin) to say, “Hey. Your father is very ill. It’s very bad. So he was short of breath… they do chest compressions.”
Jaw dropper: Brian Cox as Logan Roy and Matthew Macfadyen as Tom in the final episode
Nobody saw that coming: a group hug between the three gallant billionaire siblings, Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Shiv (Sarah Snook) and Roman Roy (Kieran Culkin)
Old man Logan was such a manipulative sadist that at first it seemed very likely that this was just his cruel prank, a game invented to see how his children would react when he took his board of directors on a transatlantic flight .
We didn’t see it collapse, and each time the camera panned back to the body in the floor, one of the crew members blocked our view.
But gradually reality dawned on him. Logan was dead, and Tom knew it, but couldn’t bring himself to say the words.
The younger Roys responded in ways that defined their character. Kendall (Jeremy Strong) made futile attempts to take control, demanding to speak to the pilot and ordering his assistant to get “the best heart doctor in the world” on the phone within two minutes.
Shiv (Sarah Snook) made noises of injured animals and begged to circle the plane so she wouldn’t have to face what came next. Connor wallowed in self-pity and complained that he hadn’t received the approval of a father who never loved him.
Manbaby Roman’s response was the most visceral, a prolonged tantrum. Succession is an Oedipal drama, and the youngest of the Roys is sexually obsessed with a mother figure, his father’s long-serving female lieutenant, Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron).
“The episode evoked all the confusion that begins to swirl when bad news arrives”
That led to an excruciating encounter minutes before Roman realized his father was dead. Reporters noticed the news even before the plane returned, perhaps because the flight was followed on Twitter.
Kendall tried to dictate the following public steps: “We’re getting a funeral from the rack. We’ll do Reagan’s, with modifications.” When the initial shock subsided, everyone began to struggle for power. The board took steps to shut out the Roy family, and they huddled together for protection—hence the group hug on the airport tarmac.
Throughout the show’s five-year run, the central issue of succession was which of the siblings would seize power. But with the throne empty, we can see that without their family ties to the emperor, they could all be irrelevant.
The Roys no longer fight for dominance, but for their lives. Succession becomes survival.