Succession Season 4 Episode 9 Review: Church and State

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Saying goodbye to your father is one of the hardest things you will ever do.

It doesn't matter what kind of relationship you had with him, whether he was a good man or not. The enormity of saying goodbye to the man who gave you life is hard.

Succession Season 4 Episode 9 put that to good use, setting up the finale in which all of the siblings could very well be at each others' throats.

Logan Roy's Children Attend His Funeral - Succession

Learning to live without someone who loomed large in your life can be very challenging. Doing it after the death of a man on the level of Logan Roy seems nearly impossible.

There comes a point when the reality of your loss slaps you across the face. You either break down and sob or stand tall, and "Church and State" played all the angles.

Laying Logan Roy to Rest - Succession Season 4 Episode 9

It's only in moments when the siblings are forced to face their grief, moments that they simply can't outrun it, that we see its weight and effect on them.

Those times, such as when they saw their father's body wheeled from the plane or during the funeral, reveal the siblings to be at their most human, revealing their most visceral thoughts about what it's like to lose the man who had so much influence on their lives.

Connor is an outlier, but when Kendall, Shiv, and Roman are together, they're most likely to reach those levels of grief, which could be part of the reason why they're driven to essentially stab each other in the back to claw their way to the top of their father's empire.

The siblings represent a dichotomy in our humanity. Our desire to be close, to be kind and considerate, to love one another, and our conflicting desire to be powerful, to stand above, to be better than those around us.

Caroline Speaks with Her Children - Succession Season 4 Episode 9

Simply put, people are more likely to engage in the latter than the former because of the emotional hold being kind -- being connected -- has on us.

And if there's one thing we can say about people in 2023, it's that we're less able to process serious emotional situations, bonds, and influences than ever before.

Before the funeral, Shiv was plotting with Matsson to get the numbers out. With the news cycle watching Mencken after the election results and Logan's funeral, there wouldn't be a better time to drop the news of GoJo's bogus numbers.

Roman was hyped and eager to give his father's eulogy, playing into his sarcastic wit even with himself, which is never a great sign of where his head is at.

Kendall on the Road - Succession Season 4 Episode 9

Kendall seemed the most prepared for the day as it was until Rava called to tell him she was depriving him of his children on the day he needed them most.

Rava had determined that Mencken's name being attached to the presidency made her children unsafe. Of course, she blamed Kendall and ATN for making it happen, and whether she admitted it or not, she was punishing Kendall for it.

It was crass and petty, but it lit a fire in Kendall when there was scarcely room for more to burn.

Rava wasn't the only woman to upend Kendall's day. Jess had put a meeting on his calendar to discuss moving on to greener pastures. Kendall channeled Logan when he flatly told her she'd never have a better opportunity than the one he's given her.

Kendall and Shiv Have a Word - Succession Season 4 Episode 9

It's with this and the news of Shiv's pregnancy, which she finally shared with her family, that they amassed at the church to say goodbye to Logan.

Given the self-centeredness of the whole bunch, it's not a surprise nobody considered consulting Ewan about the eulogy. Maybe they did, and he went rogue regardless. Ewan loved his brother, but he used the occasion to share how little he cared for him with anyone who would listen.

Roman was always going to have a hard time with the eulogy. His bravado is more often than not false, especially when it comes to his father. But Ewan riled them all up to some degree, and cue cards or not, trying to follow that display would be difficult.

Roman broke before he even got a chance to begin, breaking at the fact his massive-egoed father, a living legend, was inside a box before him. At that moment, the reality of what they were facing -- a life without their father -- hit Roman like a brick, and he was unable to carry on.

Kieran Culkin's range is often overlooked with Roman's darker, comic side, but here, he was brimming with the pain only a boy who lost his dad could feel.

Roman Keeps His Head Down - Succession Season 4 Episode 9

That left it up to Kendall. I've wavered substantially over Succession's four seasons about which child, if any, should follow in their father's footsteps. But when Kendall went to the pulpit, tossed aside Roman's words, and spoke from the heart, it became clear that Kendall would best suit the job.

If I could have captured his entire speech in a quote, I would have done so. I got the gist of it in my recap because it was a brilliant soliloquy.

It was insightful and moving. Kendall understood his father to be a great man, a very flawed man, but one who could move mountains like no other. Kendall spoke of his father's vitality, a powerful force that could hurt. And it did.

He mentioned all of the things that Logan had created, from ships to amusement parks to shows and films, the lives that were made and touched by Logan Roy.

Ewan Roy - Succession Season 4 Episode 9

Kendall noted all of it, including how much being in Logan's orbit could hurt, making him an easy target after his death to denigrate his memory and throw salt in old wounds, but regardless, the world would be sluggish and gray in his absence.

In a show made for soliloquies, this one hit the tone of Logan Roy and most people in history who have become titans of industry. No doubt, any building in Logan Roy's name would eventually be stripped of it when the novelty of his contributions waned.

And who didn't laugh at the idea of Logan buying a mausoleum on a $5 million whim, which his kinds consider a pretty good deal for an eternal resting place?

Once the pomp and circumstance of the occasion were over, it was back to the mission at hand -- keeping Waystar in the family, with the Roy Boys at the helm, each of whom was actively making it known they were hoping to ascend to the top as the sole heir to the seat of honor.

Jeryd Mencken Attends the Funeral - Succession Season 4 Episode 9

Mencken wasn't a man of his word, and Matsson's promise of a US CEO, Shiv Roy, landed his favor. Kendall, once again needing his brother by his side, told Roman the Roy Boys have to shiv Shiv with the board.

The board wasn't eager to have Shiv running the company with her father's support, but now they can engage their golden parachutes, so sentiments will change. The board will be gone with the sale, so what would they care?

Shiv doesn't have the experience necessary, nor does she have the desire to be CEO. She's working from a different place, which comes from being the only girl in the family who has always believed she was seen as less than her brothers.

Her pregnancy doesn't matter, but I wish for her to do what she loves, not secure a role she wouldn't. Roman, too, has no desire to be at the top of the company. His talents are more suitable elsewhere, where he can maintain his abrasive wit and do as little damage as possible -- to the company and himself.

Matsson and Shiv Share Thoughts - Succession Season 4 Episode 9

Everyone else now, outside of the family, is orbiting the siblings. Tom didn't even bother to attend the funeral. Greg is browning his nose, hoping to find a spot no matter in whose control the company lands. Connor is still hoping to secure an ambassadorship.

Gerri, Frank, and Karl are watching from a distance while Hugo is still in the thick of it with Kendall, agreeing to the meaty scraps he'll drop if Hugo remains loyal.

With only one episode left, imagining how the credits will roll on the finale is impossible. I would have thought we'd know the successor of Succession, but I now believe that it was never meant to be a literal succession, but rather how people would react in Logan's absence.

In that regard, Kendall is in the lead, hopefully with a kinder, gentler presence than the old man had on those around him.

I guess we'll find out soon enough.

Church and State Review

Editor Rating: 4.75 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (14 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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Succession Season 4 Episode 9 Quotes

Kendall: You’re not bringing the kids to their grandfather’s funeral? Are you insane?
Rava: I don’t consider it safe.
Kendall: You’re too online. OK? You’ve lost context. Everything is fine.

Frank: This is it, huh? He’s gone. He’s really gone.
Gerri: How much of you is glad?
Karl: Well, we had our fights, but I miss him.
Gerri: Stockholm syndrome, crossed with a little bit of China syndrome.