'Succession' Season 4 Episode 9 Recap: Dearly Departed (2023)


Continue reading the main story

Supported by

Continue reading the main story

This week, Logan Roy's family and co-workers gather at his funeral, putting aside all resentment to pay a conflicting tribute to the man.

'Succession' Season 4 Episode 9 Recap: Dearly Departed (1)

AfterNoel Murray

'Succession' Season 4 Episode 9: 'Church and State'

When people talk about television or film as a visual medium, they usually think of beautiful images or striking compositions. But you know what's also an important part of visual storytelling? A simple reaction.

It wouldn't take much retooling to turn any episode of "Succession" into a radio play, since most of the show's "action" is in the dialogue, so to speak. But would we ever miss those reactions. What these actors can do with just their faces - and what the directors and editors can do with how and where they use them - is sublime.

This week, Logan Roy's family and co-workers gather at his funeral, temporarily putting aside all grudges to pay tribute to the giant of a man. Kendall insists, "Today is just today" (a phrase that should be etched into the family crest of the eternally capricious and opportunistic Roys). During the day these people talk a lot - especially during the service, as one after another Roy gets up to say a few words. And again, a lot of what really happens in the story is in the reactions.

Before the funeral has even begun, the whole atmosphere around the event is upset by the post-election unrest on the streets of New York (which Tom described as "a bit Tiananmen-y"). Kendall is furious when his ex-wife Rava (Natalie Gold) takes their children out of town for their safety. He is almost as annoyed when he learns that his assistant Jess (Juliana Canfield) intends to quit because of the possible violence instigated by Jeryd Mencken and ATN. "You have no idea how things are going to turn out and it's very juvenile," Kendall grumbles.

But when everyone enters the church, the mood calms down. The tone is set by the Roy siblings' mother, Lady Caroline Collingwood (Harriet Walter), who takes it upon herself to ask Kerry - who has brought a lawyer, in case anyone tries to stop her at the funeral - to sit with her, Marcia, andthe legendary Sally Ann. (Caroline introduces Sally Ann as "my Kerry".) These ladies share the bond of loving a very difficult man; and when Marcia reaches for Kerry's hand, Kerry sobs.

Then the service begins, with a surprise. Logan's fiery liberal brother, Ewan (James Cromwell), ignores his grandson Greg's attempt to stop him from taking over the pulpit. Ewan first shares some touching stories about Logan: how they comforted each other as boys when they crossed the Atlantic during World War II; and how Logan blamed himself for their sister's death from polio, which he was convinced he brought home from the boarding school he hated. With that out of the way, Ewan ends by torching Logan's legacy, saying his brother nurtured "a certain kind of scarcity in people." (Eternally sycophantic Greg, after his grandfather sits back down: "That was a good hard try.")

This is where reaction shots really start to become a factor. During Ewan's takedown, we see Roman looking affected. He entered this day feeling eerily optimistic, planning to follow up his post-election-night coup with a proper grown-up eulogy for his father, in front of some of America's most important people. But Ewan's commanding, authoritative words shake him. The novel never had this kind of light; and now his siblings expect him to "tell the other side" of the Logan Roy story.

He can't. Roman starts to give his generic "big, big man" speech, but then freezes and asks his family to pull him out. He broke down in front of everyone, pointing to the coffin where his father was and whimpering, "Get him out." It's another rocking performance from Kieran Culkin. (The face to watch during Roman's meltdown is Gerrino. She looks genuinely aching for her former protégé.)

So Kendall fills in; and because he has a lot of experience putting together sentences that his social peers can understand, he does his job well. He acknowledges the pain his father may have caused, but also celebrates how Logan made a "bloody, complicated life." "If we can't measure up to his spirit, God knows the future will be sluggish and gray," he says, as Mencken and Lukas Matsson look on with what appears to be grudging admiration. For all the gossip about how Jeremy Strong's intensity on set can frustrate his co-stars, the results on screen in scenes like this are so captivating and real.

Shiv follows with an impromptu eulogy of her own, mostly focused on how terrifying Logan could be when she and her siblings were little kids. Like Culkin and Strong, Sarah Snook nails her big moment, letting this speech land squarely between "here's a funny story about a grumpy old man" and an accusation of abuse. Shiv calls his father "hard on women" - and the Kendall shot that follows is a reminder of his problems with Rav and Jess.

Interesting to hear Shiv give such a harsh assessment of Logan's parenting after what she said to Matsson before the funeral. Adapting their strategy for Mencken's upcoming presidency, they decided to show that they could play with the neo-fascists. Step 1: Promise that GoJo-Waystar will have an American CEO...like maybe Shiv. But when Matsson mentions that he's heard rumors about her pregnancy, she invents a version of motherhood where she's "e-mailing via c-section" and her child will "never see her." It's positively Logan style.


After the funeral, the fight for Waystar begins. Kendall capitalizes on his eulogy momentum by authorizing Hugo to begin press releases about Matsson's shaky position on the Waystar board. ("You'll be my dog, but the scraps will be millions," he tells Hugo about the state of their business relationship. "Whoa, whoa," Hugo replies.) He also persuades his father's former bodyguard/confessor Colin to come work for him. And he's getting more Logan-y by the minute.

But as it turns out, Shiv's game has juice. Kendall realizes he may have miscalculated when he corners Mencken at the post-funeral reception, and the presumptive president-elect hints that ATN might need him more than the other way around. "I thought you were the sound system," Mencken tells Kendall. "Now you want to choose a song?" It doesn't help that Kendall is interrupted by a series of unpleasant family members: first Greg, then Roman (Mencken: "It's the Grim Weeper!"), then Connor.

No wonder Mencken seems relieved to talk to Shiva and Matsson, who seem... well, cooler. Both encourage him to expand his thinking, with Shiv reminding him that Logan was more about "money, winning and gossip" than ideological purity, and Matsson discussing the potential benefits (including "fun") of teaming up with "thought leader" technology. . bro So, as we head into the "Succession" finale next week, Kendall and Shiv both, seen in the right light, seem to have the upper hand in the battle to become Waystar's new CEO.

So where does that leave Romano? He is still recovering from his funeral disaster. As Kendall enlists his brother's help in the upcoming board fight against Shiv, he openly chastises Roman for screwing things up. Roman then leaves the reception to crash into one of the protest marches taking place outside, where he is shouted down and beaten by angry leftists.

This suits him perfectly. When it comes to reactions, Roman would always rather people look at him with anger than with pity - or, even worse, with indifference.

In-depth analysis

  • Here's another one for the "Kendall can't stand being bullied by his family" file: When Mencken makes fun of Roman's whiny misery, Kendall cuts the joke right off the bat.

  • And here's another great reaction: when Kendall talks at the funeral about how Logan "made" him and his siblings, the editors cut to Lady Caroline, looking a little annoyed.

  • Not much gut-wrenching comedy this week, though Roy's kids get some good riffs as they stare at Logan's tomb, an ornate shrine he bought from a dot-com pet vendor. Shiv calls the saleswoman "cat food Ozymandias," asks if her dad was "in a bidding war with Stalin and Liberace," then suggests the grave might be a tax write-off because, "It's technically a residence."

  • The tomb has enough room for multiple family members, should any of Logan's children wish to spend eternity with their troubled patriarch. Connor speaks up and says he wouldn't mind the top bunk. Kendall hesitates, saying, "I had trouble finishing the whiskey with him." And Roman? "I was breathing strangely," he says.

  • Shiv, disturbed by how little she knew—or perhaps wanted to know—about her father's character, asks Frank and Karl, "How bad was dad?" They assure her that he is "a salty dog, but a good egg," adding, "What you saw is what you got." Then, after she's gone, Karl half-shrugs, looks at Frank, and asks, "Is that so?" Frank, under his breath: "Right."

  • Shiv, as the funeral ends and the cemetery prepares for her father's burial: "I'm intrigued to see how she gets out of this."


  • 551


Continue reading the main story


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Tuan Roob DDS

Last Updated: 06/02/2023

Views: 5569

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (42 voted)

Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Tuan Roob DDS

Birthday: 1999-11-20

Address: Suite 592 642 Pfannerstill Island, South Keila, LA 74970-3076

Phone: +9617721773649

Job: Marketing Producer

Hobby: Skydiving, Flag Football, Knitting, Running, Lego building, Hunting, Juggling

Introduction: My name is Tuan Roob DDS, I am a friendly, good, energetic, faithful, fantastic, gentle, enchanting person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.