No offense to him personally, but I hope Kendall Roy stays underwater long enough to drown. Why would I say such a mean thing?
Because Succession’s third season has been an almost total bore. It took four episodes to get to the vote that determined who would control Waystar Royco, and only when episode five was solely devoted to the shareholder meeting did we get an episode that lived up to this show’s high standard. So did the next week when the characters decamped to a political gathering where Logan anointed the next Republican presidential candidate. Okay, Succession is back!
Wrong. The next episode brought the FTC investigation to a whimpering end. Then we got Kendall’s birthday party, which was a total bore. This week’s episode took the whole family to Tuscany for their mom’s wedding and ended with Kendall passing out in a pool. Is he really going to drown or is this just a big tease?
I hope he’s going to drown.
The only redeeming quality to this season is if the purpose to everything I found boring is to drive Kendall so deep into depression that he commits suicide. Every issue I have with the show would be solved if that’s what happens:
Kendall was exposed as an empty suit. Kendall triggered the Roy family nuclear option at the end of season two, and it turned out to be all he had. When he tried to play Mr. Big Balls Businessman all he could do is spew bro cliches to a team of yes-men who didn’t fear or respect him the way people do his father. He couldn’t get the FTC to bite on an investigation and couldn’t recruit his siblings his side against Logan. He couldn’t throw an epic birthday bash and couldn’t even get his brother, Connor, to take off his coat. He couldn’t even get through a conversation with his father about disinheriting himself without Logan utterly destroying him. That’s boring as a character arc unless its purpose is to drive him to such a drastic outcome.
Logan never loses. It’s okay for Victor Newman to always come out ahead because The Young & The Restless is a daytime drama. Succession is primetime on a premium channel and should make its characters endure failure. Tom puts this into focus at the end of Kendall’s failed attempt to get him to jump ship when he tells Kendall he’s never once seen Logan Roy get fucked. It’s time for Logan to get fucked, and the only people who can do that are Kendall, Roman or Shiv. The later two are still too busy jockeying for their father’s affirmation. It has to be Kendall.
The Roys never face real consequences. The Roys are that ultra-rich family who rolls in pig shit and comes out smelling like a rose. Protect a child molester? Cover up sexual assaults on cruises? Cover up your drug-addicted son killing a waiter? Doesn’t matter. The Roys lose nothing. I want to see them deal with the fact that none of them recognized their brother’s descent into suicidal depression because they were so focused on “the firm”. I want to see them suffer the consequence of their actions for once in their miserably wealthy lives.
What would Succession look like without Kendall? I don’t know. I’ve always thought the show was told from his perspective, so it would have to be fundamentally different. It would certainly suffer from losing Jeremy Strong’s outstanding acting.
But this season has proven we need a new way to explore these characters. We’ve learned all we can from watching them fight for control of the company. Let’s see how they react to the irreversible outcome of Kendall’s death.