‘Succession’ season 4 recap – episode 3: ‘Connor’s Wedding’
(From left to right) Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook and Kieran Culkin hug in an episode of “Succession.” The third episode of the fourth season of the HBO series premiered Sunday. (Courtesy of HBO)
Directed by Mark Mylod
April 10, 2023 10:23 p.m.
Warning: spoilers ahead.
There is no other way to say this: Logan Roy is dead.
“Succession” took a simultaneously startling and predictable turn Sunday, achieving a twist in the third episode that changed the entire trajectory of the final season. Although it is titled “Connor’s Wedding,” the event itself was merely the setting and footnote to Logan’s (Brian Cox) shocking demise.
The episode begins with the quintessential “Succession” formula, luring the viewers into a false sense of security. Logan skips Connor’s (Alan Ruck) wedding to fly to Sweden to close the GoJo deal and calls Roman (Kieran Culkin) to fire Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron) in a test of his loyalty as Kendall (Jeremy Strong) and Shiv (Sarah Snook) arrive at the boat that will be taking them to Ellis Island for the ceremony.
Logan boards the plane speaking to Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) in what viewers have yet to learn will be the final words he utters on screen before his death: “Clean out the stalls, strategic refocus, a bit more fucking aggressive.” With that anticlimactic parting gift, Logan enters the plane and exits his living presence in the series.
The wedding is business as usual until a call from Tom changes everything. After Tom’s multiple failed attempts to reach Shiv, Roman picks up the phone with Kendall to hear, “Your dad is very sick,” which begins an almost 30-minute scene shot in one take. Initially, it is unclear whether this is another one of their seemingly invincible father’s tests, but in Tom’s hasty, convoluted retelling of difficulty breathing and chest compressions, it becomes apparent Logan’s death is imminent.
Spliced over background sounds of chest compressions, each sibling is given the cell phone to speak their last words to their father, who may already be dead. Roman, whose vision is clouded by denial, struggles to speak and assures his father that he is a “monster” that will win as he always does. Unable to voice his emotions, Roman hands the phone to Kendall who stumbles out “I love yous” while also delivering a final line that sums up their relationship, “I can’t forgive you. But it’s OK, and I love you.”
Kendall wades through a sea of blurrily shot wedding guests, conveying his state of shock and emotional disconnect from the party, to find Shiv. As he recounts events and fakes smiles to passing guests, Shiv’s initial shock gives way to devastation. Her hands shake as she sobs holding the phone, reverting to almost childlike expressions, begging Logan not to leave and calling him “daddy.”
As per usual, the last to find out is Connor, whose first response is a resigned, “He never even liked me,” and that he never was able to make his father proud – not with the presidential race or his wedding. Throughout this extended scene and the remainder of the episode’s runtime, the camera is constantly zeroed in on each of their faces, heightening the audience’s anxiety and adding another layer of hyperrealism. Underlying each conversation is suffocating disbelief and never-ending what-ifs.
But the Roys are not given the breathing room to grieve or come to terms with this recent tragedy. Almost immediately, the team from the plane led by the head of PR Karolina (Dagmara Dominczyk) calls to discuss drafting a statement given that Logan’s death presents a “material event” and that the board needs to “reassure the market.” The siblings deny their “estranged” relationship with their father and decide to take point on writing the statement because as Kendall puts it, “What we do today will always be what we did the day our father died.”
Finally escaping the wedding boat to meet the plane, the Roy children prepare to read their statement to the press, with Kendall and Roman trading playful jabs back and forth in their familiar coping mechanism. Shiv is barely able to get out their empty statement, briefly hugging Tom for some degree of comfort before sharing an embrace with her two siblings. As all of this unfolds, Colin (Scott Nicholson) aimlessly observes the plane and PR spectacle; with his purpose lost, Logan’s bodyguard is reduced to an outsider looking in.
The four siblings’ paths diverge to conclude the episode, giving a hint of what is to come. Connor does actually get married despite recent events, Shiv and Tom leave together, and Roman meets the ambulance to see his father’s body as a concrete reality to accept his death. Meanwhile, Kendall looks on from afar, choking back tears with the sun setting on Logan Roy’s chapter of the family tragedy.
It’s time for “Succession” to live up to the promise of its name – the king is dead, and his crown is up for grabs.