The third entry of the final season of SUCCESSION opens with a conversation between the old man and his youngest offspring. Roman assured his father that he “was with him” last episode. To test his son’s allegiance, Logan instructs him to fire Jerri. Jerri’s loyalty to Logan has proven to be unwavering, however, Logan’s disappointment with the handling of the Department of Justice situation, a key plot point of Season 3, is hinted to be the primary reason for the cruel action. This coupled with Roman sending a lewd picture (S3E8) to Logan that was meant for Jerri, was enough to cost Jerri her general counsel position. Roman reluctantly breaks the news to Jerri on the yacht hosting Connor’s wedding. Instead of attending the wedding, Logan is flying to Sweden on business. Foregoing one of the most important days of his child’s life is typical of Logan, but the conclusion of this day is shocking by HBO finale standards.
***Major Spoilers Ahead***
Tom’s two calls to Shiv are declined, and he immediately proceeds to call Roman. The news is dire. Logan collapsed on the plane at 35,000 feet in the air. The next 27 minutes of the haunting ordeal are captured in real-time in a near-continuous shot. Although the shot is segmented due to the limitations of 35mm film (only ten minutes can be shot at a time), the sequence is as remarkable as the neighborhood escape in True Detective S1E4. Cutting between the chest compressions at high altitude on the business plane and the dire atmosphere on the luxury yacht, the reality gradually and hauntingly settles with the Logan children. Logan Roy is dead. The acting from all of the Roy children and Tom merits Emmy consideration.
The Roy family are indeed privileged and rude one percenters. Conversely, death is no respecter of persons. No matter one’s gender, race, social class, or personal identity, death will inevitably arrive, unexpectedly in most cases. Foregoing the tv troupe of showing an elderly character collapsing and/or being surrounded by loved ones, we never see Logan collapsing or having medical issues. When Tom makes the call to Roman, the initial reaction of the Roy children and this HBOWatch reviewer, was that Logan was fucking with us to test our reactions. This is the brilliance of the director and writers of SUCCESSION. They magnificently captured the swift and surreal nature of death.
While the death of SUCCESSION’s central character is unceremonious, the Waystar inner circle’s reaction to Logan’s passing takes the viewer through the five stages of grief, with the denial stage being particularly attributed to Roman. All the Roman children are understandably distraught. Despite his cynical nature, Logan was their father. All vied for his respect. Connor always felt like an outcast due to being the lone offspring of Logan’s first marriage. Kendall feels as though he is the rightful successor as CEO, often sacrificing his mental health to prove such. Shiv believes that she is more stable-minded than her brothers, yet struggles to keep her father’s attention. Roman is terrified of Logan, yet proves to be the most loyal.
The outer Waystar circle begins planning how to deal with the business fallout of Logan’s death. Stocks will drop due to investors questioning the future of the company. Carrie exhibits crying and smiling, prompting Tom to remark “She is smiling like she caught a foul ball out of Yankee Stadium”. Carrie has lost her boss and not-so-secret lover. The plane carrying the remains of Logan arrives at Teterboro Airport. This airport is a type of relief airport and will have fewer people there to cause a spectacle. Nonetheless, reporters are lined up outside the fence perimeter; somehow news leaked of a medical emergency midair on the Waystar airliner. Kendall, Shiv, and Roman depart the yacht to head to the airport. Roman is the only child able to muster the courage to see their father taken off the plane. Connor remains onboard to marry Willa in front of a minuscule audience.
Often when a major character is axed, a series loses its luster and central conflict. The midseason trailer suggests that the conflict only escalates. We still have to deal with the board of directors’ decision(s) regarding how Waystar moves forward. It is certain that Jerri’s unofficial firing will be a wildcard. Will the Roy children work together or against each other? And where the hell is Marcia? Marcia is the one thankless character throughout this otherwise near-perfect television drama. Being a widow, Marcia will certainly be involved with the dividing of the estate and may have some dealings with the ownership of Waystar.
The most touching element of “Connor’s Wedding” is how the Logan children comfort each other. No one is intentionally being contemptuous in any way. They constantly tell their deceased father that they love him over Tom’s speakerphone, with the hope Logan could hear while receiving CPR. This episode was as shocking as the penultimate episode of THE WIRE and the infamous weddings in GAME OF THRONES. Once again Home Box Office broadcasts gold. SUCCESSION returns Saturday, April 16, 2023 at 9PM ET on HBO.