Succession’s Penultimate Episode, “Church and State,” Captures the Chaos of Grieving

[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for Succession, Season 4 Episode 9, “Church and State.”]

It’s finally the day of Logan Roy’s funeral (a more-than-fitting focus for the penultimate episode of Succession), a solemn occasion surrounded by the mayhem sparked in his name. Would Logan have wanted to see America on the verge of exploding, following a sure-to-be-contested and highly controversial election night? Roman sure thinks so — and it’s hard to deny that Logan definitely wouldn’t have hated the ratings.

This is a show that loves a good rug-pull, or put it another way — a comeuppance. So when the opening minutes of “Church and State” showcase Roman strutting his way through eulogy prep, there’s clearly a reversal to come, but what form that takes comes only after everyone gets to the church where Logan’s services will be held — not such an easy proposition, as “the people” have literally taken to the streets to protest the election results. (Shiv is trying to get Matsson to release the issues with his India numbers under the smokescreen of election confusion; he seems unconvinced that it’ll be enough.

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For the record, if you freeze-frame on the New York Times article that Tom’s reading, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see that the show’s art department put some real effort into making it feel authentic. No dummy lorem ipsum text here; instead, there’s some real insight into how the public at large might actually see these characters, whose own personal spin cycles dominate the show’s narrative. The Times blurb on Kendall, for example, refers to him as a whistle-blower whose reputation for doing so has been muddled by his continued involvement with Waystar, and the paper’s sources are good, accurately identifying Roman as the key voice behind calling the election for Mencken.

(Also, it refers to Darwin Perry as a “flailing handmaiden,” which might be a little overly editorialized, but who knows who’s running the Times in this universe? Point is, fingers crossed that as you’re reading this, HBO has already figured out a way to share the full breadth of “the Times coverage” with Succession fans online.)

Everyone has their issues that morning, between traffic, the Times, and a terrified Rava deciding to take her and Kendall’s children out of the city because of the growing violence, a move which inspires a furious Kendall to declare his interest in full custody of the kids. At least Kendall’s poor assistant Jess is going to be able to make her escape soon… If she can keep her meeting with Kendall on the books.

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Succession (HBO)

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