Scenes that Stick: The death of Logan Roy
HBO’s hit series ‘Succession’ has created a monument of television history in its recent episode ‘Connor’s Wedding’
Launching head first into their fourth and final season, after only a few episodes, “Succession” has shocked viewers with the death of Logan Roy — something many predicted would happen in the penultimate moments of the series.
Airing on April 9, “Connor’s Wedding” started off with a bang as the “rebel alliance” of Roy siblings, Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Shiv (Sarah Snook) and Roman (Kieran Culkin), gathered to attend the wedding of their eldest brother Connor (Alan Ruck).
Audiences assumed “Connor’s Wedding” would be another addition to the tracklist of infamous wedding episodes in “Succession,” however, the mood quickly took a downward spiral as the celebration became a funeral.
Perhaps one of the most genius tactics behind the production of “Succession” — audiences don’t actually see Logan die. Instead, viewers feel the impact of his death as they watch his children speak to him over the phone in his last moments.
Shot in one 30-minute take, Kendall, Roman, Shiv and (eventually) Connor, each tackle the news of Logan’s passing in equally devastating ways. Aboard an extravagant yacht for what should be a happy day, the four are sucked into their worst nightmare as they each try to navigate the complicated feelings they hold for their father while communicating all of it through a shaky phone call.
“What? No!” Shiv exclaims when she first hears the news, “No! No, I can’t have that.”
Roman, arguably always the most endeared to Logan, remains in stark denial throughout the episode — caught up on whether he told his father he loved him the last time he spoke with him (he didn’t), how Logan might still be alive (he’s not) and how a voicemail to him could have impacted his father’s last moments. Culkin gives one of his best performances in this episode, and the moments where Roman struggles to embrace his siblings and accept his father’s passing stand out in the most heart-wrenching ways.
Shiv, who before now has always kept a tight lid on her emotions, immediately reverts back to her younger self when she learns of Logan’s death. “Daddy?” She calls to Logan over the phone in a heartbreaking moment of intimacy, only further worsened by the distraught faces of Roman and Kendall as they watch on from behind her. Snook’s delivery is one for the ages, and a sure contender at this year’s Emmys.
Connor, the eldest of the Roy siblings and the brother that no one ever seems to remember, is informed of Logan’s death last — too late to even speak to him through the phone.
His first response upon hearing that his father has died? A gut-wrenching line, expertly delivered by Alan Ruck — “He never even liked me.”
Yet perhaps the most heartbreaking reaction of the four siblings is Kendall — the prodigal son of “Succession.”
After warring with his father for control of Waystar Royco throughout the last three seasons, Kendall has finally reached his father’s defeat. Despite this, there is no victory. There is no celebration. There is only a sense of loss so deep, nothing can fill the void his father has left behind.
“I love you,” Kendall says to Logan over the phone in his final moments. “I can’t forgive you.”
Strong is always a highlight throughout “Succession,” but this moment may take the cake for one of his best scenes in the whole show.
Though the entirety of “Connor’s Wedding” is phenomenal, it’s this scene that will stand out for decades to come. After three seasons of hostility, betrayal and sacrifice between the Roy siblings, it’s revolutionary to see them openly express their emotions, and even more than that, it’s monumental to see them confide in one another during their darkest hour.
Overall, “Connor’s Wedding” has altered the plot of “Succession” forever. On top of that, it served as a testament to the power of well-built character arcs, and the payoff that comes with them.
“Connor’s Wedding” is only one example of the immense dedication from the cast and crew of “Succession.” Perhaps even more impressive than that — it’s not even the halfway point of season four.
So, following all of this, where does the death of Logan Roy leave viewers now?
In a truly Shakespearean fashion, the king has passed on and his children are left to determine his legacy. It’s where we go from here that will determine the real tragedy of “Succession.”
This article was edited by Kylie Bill and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Isabelle Kravis, Stella Guzik