Forbes Innovation Games ‘Succession’ Season 4, Episode 9 Review: ‘Church And State’ Is A Television Masterpiece Erik Kain Senior Contributor Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. I write about video games, entertainment and culture. Following May 21, 2023, 10:10pm EDT | Press play to listen to this article! Got it! Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to Linkedin Succession Credit: HBO 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. Four Eulogies At A Funeral Succession Credit: HBO 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. MORE FOR YOU ‘GTA 6’ Now Finally Has A Release…Year New Apple Leak Reveals iPhone 15 Upgrade Warning iOS 16 5 Update Now Warning Issued For All iPhone iPad Users 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.
” Nobody claps. “Yeah yeah yeah,” Kendall says. Kendall’s speech is not quite as eloquent as his uncle’s, but it’s a rousing retort and Kendall at his best.
“I mean look at it,” Kendall says in his impromptu eulogy. “The lives and the livings and the things that he made. And the money.
Yeah, the money. The lifeblood, the oxygen of this, this, this wonderful civilization we have built from the mud. The money.
The corpuscles of life gushing around this nation, this world, filling men and women all around with desire, quickening the ambition to own and make and trade and profit and build and improve. I mean great geysers of life, he willed. Of buildings he made stand.
Of ships, steel hulls, amusements, newspapers, shows and films and life. Bloody, complicated life. He made life happen.
And yes he had a terrible force to him, and a fierce ambition that could push you to the side, but it was only that human thing. The will to be and to be seen and to do. And now people might want to tend and prune the memory of him, to denigrate that force, that magnificent, awful force of him, but my God I hope it’s in me, because if we can’t match his vim then god knows the future will be sluggish and grey.
You know there wasn’t a room from the grandest state room where his advice was sought to the lowest house where his news was played where he couldn’t walk and wasn’t comfortable. He was comfortable with this world and he knew it. He knew it and he liked it.
And I say Amen to that. ” Shiv’s (Sarah Snook) eulogy is more personal and more complicated. She talks about how they’d play outside his office and how he’d come out and “he was so terrifying.
” “He kept us outside,” she says. “But he kept everyone outside. When he let you in—when the son shone—it was warm.
It was warm in the light. But it was hard to be his daughter. He was hard on women.
He couldn’t fit a whole woman in his head. But he did okay. You did okay, dad.
We’re all here and we’re doing okay. We’re doing okay,” she says, as if trying to convince herself. “So goodbye, my dear, dear world of a father.
” Nobody claps. Before And After Succession Credit: HBO The funeral itself was the emotional center of the episode, but this wouldn’t be Succession without wheelings and dealings galore. We got so much Greg and Tom last week that it’s not such a shame they were largely absent this evening.
Greg shows up to the funeral and makes a few awkward appearances, including a bumbling intro with Mencken that completely disrupts Kendall’s conversation with the soon-to-be president. And he helps wheel the coffin up to the front of the church. Not much else.
Tom doesn’t even make it to the funeral, his duties at ATN keep him so busy. Things are pretty chaotic in the streets. Busy days for the news business.
When he makes it to the repast, he’s exhausted. He and Shiv have a nice moment. He wants to know why she didn’t tell him about the baby.
“Because it seemed so sad, Tom,” she says. “And we were in the honeymoon phase. ” “Taking the potential dad for a test drive?” he replies.
“If it wasn’t such a bleeping disaster it would be wonderful!” he says to Shiv’s mom when she approaches. “I want to say sorry, um, not being here,” he tells Shiv. “Cuz I wanted to have been, but I you know, I’m so so tired and I’ve been awake for so so long and I just felt I couldn’t leave, you know.
” “It’s okay, fine,” she says. “And you know, I was the first one in there with him after he died. I was.
So I did say goodbye, to him,” he says, breaking down into tears. She tells him to go back to the apartment and get some rest. He’s happy about this.
“The people at the hotel know me and I hate it, I don’t like it,” he says, lamely. Perhaps these two star-crossed lovers will make it, after all. Shiv and Mattson (Alexander Skarsgård) have taken a new approach to pushing the deal through: Try to win over Mencken (Justin Kirk) by giving him an American CEO and making the deal more palatable all around.
It seems to work. Mattson calls Shiv after leaving the repast and tells her that the deal is a go with Mencken and that he thinks he can make a US CEO work (though he doesn’t tell her it’s her, she assumes it is—I wouldn’t be so sure). Kendall and Roman argue when they realize that Mencken isn’t backing them.
Kendall accuses his younger brother of screwing up, and Roman argues back lamely that no he didn’t. They can screw Mencken because they have ATN (though they won’t have ATN if the deal goes through! Meanwhile, videos of Roman melting down have made it online. Karl plays it for Frank, Gerri and Hugo.
“Listen to this,” he says. “He sounds like a sow that’s about to get the stun gun and knows it. ” “Oh that’s not right,” Frank says.
Roman heads into the street to talk crap and get punched and kicked and nearly trampled. Protestors run and police march. When someone tries to help him up he swears at them and swings.
The tide of humanity rushes past and Roman cannot stop it. Succession Credit: HBO Scattered Thoughts: I liked the bit with their mom taking Kerry under her wing, and all of Logan’s women lined up on a pew together. Kendall continues to be a terrible human being in spades.
When he learns his ex-wife and kids are leaving the city because they don’t feel safe, instead of attending Logan’s funeral, he tries to physically stop her. Later, he tells his assistant, Jess, to set up an appointment with lawyers. The absentee dad wants custody.
What an execrable little man he is. All of his father’s worst traits quickly becoming his own. When he notices that Jess has an appointment scheduled with him he demands she tell him even though she says now isn’t a good time.
She’s thinking of moving on with her career (it’s a miracle she’s lasted this long) and this upsets him. He tells her she’s being stupid. She’ll never get such amazing access! When he storms away he says “Thanks Jess, really great timing!” Someone needs to slap him.
Hard. During Ewan’s speech, when he starts really ripping his brother apart, Karl smirks as if to say “What the heck is this guy talking about?” and it’s funny to me. All these rich, powerful, privileged people in attendance are the very same people Ewan is condemning.
Not just his brother. They are “a little high, a little mighty” because they’re warm. Tucked away safely at the funeral while outside, the world burns.
Here’s my review of last week’s episode. What did you think of ‘Church and State’? Let me know on Twitter or Facebook . As always, I’d love it if you’d follow me here on this blog and subscribe to my YouTube channel and my Substack so you can stay up-to-date on all my TV, movie and video game reviews and coverage.
Thanks! Follow me on Twitter . Check out my website . Erik Kain Editorial Standards Print Reprints & Permissions.