I can’t connect with Shiv Roy. I just can’t. I don’t see Roman or Kendall as an option, but even that doesn’t make me root for her. The way she manages to display emotion by manipulating events in her favor knows no bounds, not even her father’s funeral. As a result, she won a great victory in the war of succession. However, one episode away from the grand finale, possibly it is too soon to celebrate it, as no big wins are guaranteed in Succession ‘til it’s over.
I take the opportunity to share a potential spoiler of what I feel is going to happen: Shiv will be the CEO, Kendall will feel destroyed, but who will punch us in the stomach will be Roman, who I am increasingly afraid of in his mental state. The fact of not being able to see the coffin, not getting into the mausoleum, and being obsessed with his father could be a shortcut to a more drastic decision. And the dramatic reactions from the final episode teaser hint at that. But first, let’s look at Logan Roy’s long, drawn-out funeral.
Many fans have complained about having to think about Logan all over again after everything we have already witnessed after his surprising death. I’m from that group. The funeral should have come before the brothers’ episode in California and before the election. It was bizarre and out of place that only after all that they did the burial. Even though it ALL happened in days, the episode where Kendall had a victory over the brothers. It was necessary to have that and before the definition that now takes us to the Roy ‘tie’ and the final match. Getting that out of the way, we come to the moment of the final goodbye to the tyrant father who makes Twyin Lannister of Game of Thrones a caring man, a challenging “quality”, in fact.
And that’s one of Logan Roy’s big problems, there’s no way any of the people closest to him can praise him without being hypocritical, crazy, or fake. The three children are the best example of the damage that the tycoon did to people, destroying self-esteem and making it impossible to empathize with anyone. Logan created four monsters, but in particular, he destroyed the three “official” children. Kendall, Shiv, and Roman mix relief and longing to leave their father’s shadow, and are still disputing who is the heir, and the succession is not so much for money and power, but the confirmation of paternal approval that none of the three had in life.
While Roman remembers his father’s final words – “I need you” – Shiv still lives for the day Logan suggested the same thing, only to back her down later as a weakling – and Kendall tries to overcome the humiliation that started the series (when Logan passed the baton and took it back because he found Kendall weak). If the Roys falter, it’s because Logan never supported them and more than challenged them, he destroyed them. So much so that they don’t want, for once, center stage of having to talk about him at the funeral.
Roman took his turn, prepared himself, and was in heaven with the certainty that he had turned into his father. Everything goes awry when the uncle, Ewan Roy, with a strong personality that was not transferred by DNA to anyone from the second generation (putting Ewan and Logan in a place of connection), breaks the script and climbs the pulpit to talk about his brother. His memories humanize Logan, they are stories that the children didn’t even suspect and that makes them even more vulnerable. As promised, Ewan points out that despite all the toughness, Logan chose to be a bad person and the children might even agree, but they want to “give the other side” (which basically doesn’t exist).
The confidant Roman sees how superficial and far from reality his speech is, and collapses in front of the coffin he looks like the child he always was. With so many enemies conquered recently, it is a fatal mistake for him, particularly, more than an emotional scene. Ken is “forced” to replace him, and he does very well, provoking an initiative in Shiv to also go up to speak. Nothing else was about Logan, but the blatant struggle between brother and sister for Power. And how clear it is that the three want to prove they have the strength that their father had, in vain.
With Roman’s misstep at the worst of times for him and Kendall, it’s the eldest who comes out ahead sewing backstage to try to still beat Shiv. But Ken was never popular and never knew how to read people or the room. He thinks he’s fine, but misses the hand as usual, especially when he “charged” Mencken for support against Lukas Matsson. His lack of leadership – and Roman’s – is even more evident when Greg unceremoniously barges into the conversation, followed by Connor. Surrounded by madmen, Mencken accepts Shiv’s help, which is much more effective.
Shiv has it all mapped out and either way it plays out, it will be a victory for her. If Waystar Royco leaves the family’s hands, she will start another media company with her fortune. If she gets Matsson, and she was vital to his success in the negotiation, she wants and will get absolute command, especially now that although he is still unconvinced by her professional attributes, she alerts him that she is the best legal alternative to selling Kendall and Roman, which is the truth as Mencken apparently accepts this suggestion. The fight is now on the board, which can either reject Matsson’s deal or raise the company’s value so much that he walks out.
Then we come to Shiv, who has support for facing misogyny, I reject her because although it’s true in regards to the prejudice against her, she always uses a shield of good intentions to win. Last week, she cried and kicked with Mencken’s election because it was going to destroy the country (and end her chance to be CEO), but, when confronted by him without batting an eye, she explained that she might not agree with his policy, but that it would follow what “the audience” approves. And that, again, guarantees her as CEO. Gone are the days of refusing to pose in a photo with him. There is a difference between Cersei Lannister and Shiv Roy that makes me respect the incestuous Queen of Game of Thrones more: she did not deceive others, much less herself of who she was and what she wanted. Shiv represents the hypocritical horde of millionaires who convince themselves that they are thinking about the general good, that they are capable of “helping” people, but that deep down they never have any other goal than their own. Shiv appears to be suffering but has played successfully at ALL times. While she deserves a victory, she is far from worthy of her fans.
I still hear Matsson’s and Mencken’s words evasive and easy to change, but Shiv is so greedy she doesn’t pay attention. The three Roys, as Logan defined it because he was the author of the work, “are not serious people”. They seriously believe they are, that being the problem.
Returning to my feelings, I don’t see a win for Kendall or Shiv in the end, it would be unfair in either case. I see a tragedy in Roman’s path, and I hope that the Board decides on another American name emerging to be the CEO of Waystar Royco: Geri, perhaps, who even though she is Shiv’s “godmother” has had enough of the three billionaire pests? Or a new one entirely, just not ever one of the Roys.
At this point, even wanting Logan to be resurrected seems like a more fitting ending…