Logan is gone, but the damage lives on in a lockdown for one of the best TV moments of 2023.
Just like that, the king is dead. Not with a dramatic speech or even a glorious, final “fuck off!” Media titan Logan Roy (Brian Cox) takes his last breath on a toilet. It’s so unceremonious it doesn’t even happen on camera, which is the point. Most of us don’t have a satisfying ending or get to say the perfect thing to our loved ones before they pass, even billionaires. Show runner Jesse Armstrong gets this aspect of the human condition and uses it to pull the rug out from under us in this staggering episode of television.
Succession is consistently the funniest show despite being an anti-capitalist modern Shakespeare tragedy, but the only funny thing in this episode is the title. “Connor’s Wedding” is a hilarious bait and switch because seeing this episode title out of context would make any fan of the show assume this is going to be a raucous, devastatingly funny episode about the weirdo oldest Roy child and the bride he paid for. Instead, the main character of the series dies one-third of the way through this episode, which is only one-third of the way through the final season.
But before we say goodbye to Logan, we got that wedding to attend. On the way to Connor (Alan Ruck) and Willa’s (Justine Lupe) nuptials, Roman (Kieran Culkin) gets bullied by his father one last time when he calls him and demands he fires Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron). Logan can’t do this himself because he’s a true coward and he won’t be at the wedding. It’s okay though, they got Connor some Napoleon and Josephine letters as a gift.
Since this is technically a Succession wedding episode, we’re expecting an exotic locale, right? In the episode’s first tiny subversion of our expectations, the wedding venue is on a gaudy boat covered in red, white and blue colors, sitting in New York harbor instead of the Italian countryside.
Roman stumbles through the Gerri firing, trying to push off the talk till later, but Gerri sees right through it. She knows there’s a reason why she wasn’t invited to the Sweden trip with Logan to get Matsson to close the Go-Jo deal, and it might have something to do with all those dick pics Roman sent her. Even if their “relationship” was perverse, it’s still a sad end for these two, mostly because Culkin and Smith-Cameron have undeniable chemistry, but also because Roman is genuinely devastated. He calls his Dad and leaves a voicemail berating him and ending the call by asking him if he’s a c-word.
Then the scene happens. It runs almost 30 minutes and is shot in real-time, verite-style. It’s a scene with great theatrical power because it feels like a play. Director Mark Mylod (if you see him directing an episode, you know it’s important) rehearsed extensively with the actors before shooting it in one go, using film canisters hidden around the set so they could change the film stock as they went.
From the plane en route to Sweden, Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) calls Roman to tell him the bad news. Logan has collapsed and is now getting chest compressions. It all seems like a bit until Nicholas Britell’s brooding score slowly comes in, making us realize along with Kendall (Jeremy Strong) and Roman that this is real. Their father is dying and this is the last time they will speak to him. Like most people who are forced to say goodbye to a loved one over a broken phone connection, they are blubbering idiots.
Roman barely gets out “You’re a good dad” before throwing the phone at Kendall. The entire series so far seemed like it was leading towards a train collision between Kendall and Logan, which makes the audience as disoriented as Kendall at this moment. He never got that final clash with his dad, and we won’t get to see it. Kendall (and the audience) will have to live with an awkward karaoke room sit down as the final scene between the two. It’s jarring at first to have that narrative expectation taken away, but in real life we always assume we’ll get one last conversation, even though it rarely works out like that.
As the chest compressions continue and hope fades, Kendall runs and grabs Shiv (Sarah Snook) to say her goodbyes, but by the time they get back to the phone, it’s too late. They finally tell the news to Connor, who has the best reaction out of all of them with, “Oh man…he never even liked me.”
Connor sits down with Willa to ask her if she still wants to go through with the wedding. Even though he did technically buy this poor woman, this is still a lovely moment between the two. He shares that he’s scared she’s gonna leave him and she’s only there for the money. She confirms that, yes, it’s mostly about the money, but also she feels safe with him and isn’t going anywhere…at least not today. In the closing montage, we see them tie the knot on an empty boat, and it’s automatically the sweetest marriage in the show’s history.
Meanwhile, on the plane, Logan’s lieutenants Tom, Karolina, Frank and Karl are already scheming the next move. They want to put out a statement to make sure their names are included to help calm the stock prices, but also mostly to stay relevant in this soon to be mad scramble for power. Hugo relays this news to the kids, who for once actually team up and accomplish something concrete and real. They craft their own eloquent statement about their father’s death. At the tarmac for the arrival of their dad’s body, Shiv reads the statement to a group of reporters before making sure they know they’ll be around for whatever happens next.
In the final moments of the episode, the Roy kids give each other an authentic, meaningful hug on the tarmac in a beautiful act of sibling love. They’re all they have now. We can already see the dividing lines between the kids and the Waystar exec team shaping the final seven episodes, but for now let’s mourn the death of one of TV’s greatest characters. The statement Shiv reads mentions Logan built a “great American family company.” It’s safe to say the character, and the incredible Brian Cox performance behind it, helped build a great American family show.
Boars on the Floor:
- “You’re my number one (director)!” Someone needs to go ahead and mail the Emmy to Mark Mylod’s house now because it’s game over. Mylod has had an incredibly steady hand with directing classic episodes of Succession, but he rarely gets good marks on the style or camera work. “Connor’s Wedding” proves he has the ability to pull great performances and moments out of these actors while also showing he can stage a difficult scene with several moving parts, all coming together to perfection.
- From the plane, Tom calls Greg at the wedding in tears to tell him “I lost my protector.” How is Tom gonna survive post-Logan and post-divorce from Shiv? We must protect Wambsgans!
- Also, I love that the name of the folder Tom wants Greg to secretly delete is just named “Logistics.”
- The most devastating moment of this episode was the look on Colin’s face on the tarmac. It was like a dog patiently waiting for their owner to come back home, but they know it’s not going to happen.
- We finally get to hear from Willa’s mom who seems…cool with her daughter’s arrangement?
- Logan’s last line: “A bit more fucking aggressive.”
- “Mr. Scrooge was a huge wealth creator.”- Connor
- “I’m good. This is fine. This is nothing at all.”- Gerri, after being fired from Roman. I hope they make up!
- There’s a lot to unpack about the “Loony Cake,” but I loved Justine Lupe’s resigned expression when she hears the backstory and says, “Oh, okay…loony cake.”
- “My father’s dead and I feel old.”- Connor, or a line from any Cormac McCarthy novel.
- Kendall already has some great ideas for his dad’s funeral. He thinks it should be like “Reagan’s with tweaks.”
- Poor Kerry. She walks through the plane completely in shock (“That was fucking crazy, huh?”) but it leads to the line of the episode with Tom saying, “Judging by her grin, it looks like she caught a foul ball at Yankee Stadium.”