Monday, April 22, 2024

Review, “Succession,” Penultimate Episode: The Greatest Filmed Funeral Since “Chuckles Bites the Dust” Is Heartbreaking and Brutal


We have reached the second to last episode of “Succession.” The funeral of Logan Roy has arrived. Even though Logan (Brian Cox) does not appear, he is the central character of this chapter. Not since “Chuckles Bites the Dust” on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” has there been a dramatic filmed funeral with such intensity and raw emotion. All I can say is, it’s heartbreaking on many levels.

There are surprise eulogies that will leave you breathless. There are guest appearances from James Cromwell as Logan’s brother and Harriet Walter as his second wife– the loathed mother of Kendall, Shiv, and Roman — that are unforgettable.

Set against what looks like a common funeral is the Deal. Shiv has chosen sides with Matsson, Kendall and Roman are trying to the stop The Deal and keep Waystar by putting the absolutely evil Trump stand-in, Mencken, into office. (Apparently the election will be settled Congress. ATN’s calling of it for Mencken was not the last word.)

I feel like the “Succession” writers and Jesse Armstrong have slowed the pace a bit in the last couple of episodes and especially this Sunday. They’re explaining what’s happening more clearly as they head to the final showdown. It’s very helpful.

The three main players — Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook, and Kieran Culkin — outperform not only everything on TV, but everything ‘I’ve seen far in Cannes. For their work they should somehow all get Emmys, as well as Matthew MacFadyen as Tom. The whole motif of Tom not getting any sleep has not been dropped, by the way, but amplified. It’s obviously going to mean something in the final 90 minute episode.

In the background of the family drama, Armstrong has recreated the massive demonstrations following Trump’s election. He places the funeral in what looks like a war zone, which, of course, has been wrought by the Roys.

The end is coming, and it’s not going to be pretty.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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