Exploits Feature


This is a reprint of the Television essay from Issue #63 of Exploits, our collaborative cultural diary in magazine form. If you like what you see, buy it now for $2, or subscribe to never miss an issue (note: Exploits is always free for subscribers of Unwinnable Monthly). 


Spoilers, yeah? If you don’t like it I can call you a taxi to the subway so that you can go home to your little apartment. Imagine, if you will, watching the entirety of the final episode of Succession, wherein the Roy siblings form a panicked alliance to fuck the Waystar GoJo deal by putting all their eggs (board votes) in a Kendall Roy-shaped basket, seeing Roman Roy barely fit his mouth around the word “no” when it comes time for him to keep his word and vote against the deal (mere moments after melting down in his dead father’s office and having his newly stitched headwound opened afresh against Kendall’s shoulder in a rough embrace of brotherly “affection” which would rival the one Michael gave Fredo if Fredo leaned into the kiss of death like a little masochistic weirdo and Michael were somehow also Fredo, or at least equally as dumb), witnessing Kendall scream petulantly (not to mention inaccurately!) “I’m the eldest boy” over and over within earshot of the rest of the voting board and every other poor intern scheduled to work that day, and then deciding to get on Twitter to call Shiv Roy a cunt and accuse her of throwing a temper tantrum after she does something so perfectly in character as changing her deciding vote to “yes” at the last minute. Imagine, for that matter, watching the whole of the series and seeing the Roy siblings, whose loyalties to themselves and everyone else ebb and flow like the tides, laughing and joking together in their mum’s kitchen like children after forming the slapdash alliance and thinking, ah yes – this is how it’s all going to end. My kingdom for an iota of media literacy.

The Succession series finale was good – great, even. Each character behaved exquisitely true to form, like the filthy creatures of money and darkness they all are (yes, even the Roy with the vagina, and no, she’s not any shittier than the others – let us all endeavor to fit a whole woman in our heads, yeah?), the ending was unpredictable yet screamingly inevitable, just as frequent series director Mark Mylod describes tragedy to be in a post-show interview. The penultimate episode, though, was the real star in the stellar final run. It gave us a monster’s funeral that allowed his family to give him the grace of humanity and in doing so, grab white-knuckled onto bits of their own. Not me getting misty for little Logan Roy as his brother described how their guardians planted the seeds of emotional abuse that would bear overripe fruit once he raised children of his own. Not me wiping away the wet watching his youngest son Roman, who made me wince with recognition more than once over the course of the show, lose his words for weeping. Grief comes like a shiv to the ribs, even for people who don’t deserve it.

The writing on Succession was so good it could wound. It was so good it made you laugh at pain and flinch at a joke. It was so good whole swaths of people missed the narrative forest for the quip-laden trees and got on Twitter to talk about it anyway. Did it make me give a shit about horrible people, at least in a way that ultimately delivered the comfort of knowing I contain the empathy to see the human in the brutes? Uh-huh. Will I miss it? Fuck off.

Ad Free, Exploits, Feature, TV