The Roy family is a family of monsters. cute monsters, brilliant monsters, but still monsters. Impossibly self-centered people, from the first to the last, people who would turn their backs on even their brother or their closest friend at any moment. What then of real friends of the Roy family, over the years, we haven’t seen any. Think about it. And don’t tell us Kendall’s college buddy or… no, apart from Kendall’s college buddy there is no one else who has even remotely tried to pass us off as a friend of one of the Roys, and this should make us ask two questions (the answers are already attached). The Roys aren’t friends with anyone and they aren’t friends with each other either. They are, among the TV series characters who do not commit murders or acts seriously and directly harmful to other people, certainly in the top 4 among those with whom it is more difficult to empathize, even in the worst moments of difficulty. A Top 4 obviously formed by Logan, Kendall, Roman e Shiv, not necessarily in that order. Logan is undoubtedly the origin of the evil, but his children have not done much to improve themselves and improve the aseptic genetic tendency to lack of empathy of the whole family. So we find it difficult to empathize with them in turn, even in the most difficult moments. Let’s try something, but basically with their attitudes have emotionally anesthetized we too. In the penultimate episode of Succession, however, for intensity comparable to the third of this last season, something has changed. Something, not too much. But something yes.
It’s the day of the big boss’s funeral. A long time after his death, because before there hadn’t been time to say goodbye properly: too many company commitments, too many political commitments on the agenda. And this already says a lot about what happened in Succession count the human side of the matter, or what most resembles it. Everyone is there: there’s Matsson, there’s Mencken, there are the highest offices of the Waystar, there’s a bevy of people ready to greet the Emperor. And above all, ready to forge relationships and carry on negotiations of all kinds: the market never sleeps, and it doesn’t take a break even in these moments. The first to speak at the altar is Logan’s brother, to the terror of all the members of the family. An initially touching speech, then – as expected – destructive towards his brother. Unwelcome prologue, but filed away easily enough. Then it’s Roman’s turn, the one chosen among the brothers to speak at the funeral, or perhaps the only one who really cared about doing so. Roman tries but can’t make it: he stammers something, holds the notes he had brought from home in his trembling hand and apparently confidently repeated ‘in the mirror, then he explodes in desperate tears. The brothers run to embrace and console him, and for once there is even half a doubt that they are doing it more for humanity and sincere empathy towards the youngest of the Roys than to save appearances in front of the ravenous audience enjoying the show. For once, let’s start trying that something extra which we talked about at the beginning.
Apart from Roman, however, no one had prepared anything. But appearances must be saved. And so Kendall he takes it upon himself to go up to speak. A non-spontaneous choice, a choice dictated by circumstances. But the speech that he delivers off the cuff, the cascade of strong and moving words that he spills over an audience of attentive and pleasantly amazed spectators, turns out to be one of the most exciting not only of Succession, but of the entire television history. Kendall tells Logan Roy like no one has ever done it, reminding the world that if they are all there it is because there was a visionary king who made all of this possible. Son both mistreated and intimately beloved he seems truly touched and involved, but more than for the death of his father he seems to be so for the death of an extraordinary man, whom he admired as he has never admired anyone. Kendall Roy’s is not the eulogy to the father he loved so much. Kendall’s is the praise to the greatness of an idol.
Logan Roy’s funeral, which closes with Shiv’s recollection of his father, shows us a side of the Roys we’ve never seen before, not like that. It’s too late to empathize with them now, and basically they haven’t done much to deserve it. But it was still nice to see, for once, Logan’s three children give in – some more, some less – to their emotions. Dry and cold but basically sincere for Shiv and Kendall, too focused on the power struggle to show themselves weak. Finally more stretches for Roman Roy, humanly the least worst of the three as far as the beginning of the series we never imagined saying it.
A power struggle that seems to slip from the hands of Kendall to end up in those of Shiv, indeed it would be better to say of Lukas Matsson. L’after party after the funeral is an opportunity for the two parties fighting for the Waystar to definitively try to ingratiate themselves with Mencken, by now the true tip of the balance who keeps everyone in his grip with haughty and detached, plus that creepy smirk that never leaves his face. Mencken’s attitude towards Kendall is commanding and contemptuous, almost derisive, and aside from an apparently sincere sympathy for Roman – which he considers, however, as an amusing dog, nothing more – there seems to be nothing that could lead the new President to prefer the old guard to the detriment of the new that advances. Except that what’s new is European, and as we know Mencken doesn’t look very kindly on anyone who isn’t American to the core. However Shiv and Matsson have an ace up their sleeve to provide to Mencken: an American CEO, identified precisely in Shiv, to close the deal and lay down the hatchet. The tactic seems to work, but we can’t believe it that what is left of the Roy family he will die without a fight.
The one who doesn’t seem to have the desire to fight for a life in which he has always found himself out of place is Roman, who in the episode finale throws himself into the midst of the popular uprising to get trampled on, beaten, to try to feel alive in the most toxic way possible, which unfortunately is also the only one he knows. An unexpected evolution for those who have made emotional withering an armor thanks to which to survive in this world of sharks. Roman descends from the pedestal and throws himself into the crowd, tired of a world that doesn’t even have time to stop and mourn his father. Now overloaded, Roman Roy tries to empty himself to shake off all the torpor accumulated in a life that he feels he has lived only as a passive spectator. Comfortably seated in his armchair, without ever missing anything at the table, but with something that has always been irretrievably missing inside. Roman no longer wants to detach himself from reality, and seems to want to start feeling. How and if this will affect the grand finale of Succession we’ll find out tomorrow, the day we say goodbye to this immense masterpiece. And no, we won’t cry, but we will still miss him so much.