TV Recap – Succesion S4E9: ‘Church And State’

With a final season that has felt like a relentless barrage of tension-filled build up for eight of it’s ten episodes, a feeling of finality for this part of the Roy’s story seemed to peak it’s head out from behind the end of the tunnel in this week’s episode, ‘Church and State’. In which, finally, after a gruelling week of lucrative deals, backstabbing siblings, douchey Swede’s, repressed emotions and literal death (well, eight weeks for us watching from home), the funeral for the media deity and loving (?) father, Logan Roy is happening. And in probably in a way Logan would think to make good TV, it’s not a funeral without its hiccups.

As the hours until their final goodbyes tick away, Shiv continues to push Matsson to release the news about his bogus subscriber count in East Asia, stating that with the election ruckus and protests on the forefront of America’s minds, the story would be lost in the sea of political despair and doom-gloom media saturation. Meanwhile, Roman coyly rehearses his self-nominated eulogy, running through bullet points of “great dad” and “loved all us children” with less mourning and more exhaustion by the forthcoming event.

Kendall receives a phone call from Rava, who has made the decision regarding her and her children’s safety, that they will not be attending the funeral, and will rather drive out of the state until tensions die down. Within minutes, a manic Kendall arrives before their departure, condescendingly criticising Rava for not being there for Kendall on the day of his father’s funeral, despite every false promise he’s made to Rava and their children falling through.

Despite learning about Shiv’s alliance with Matsson, the Roy siblings decide that unity, albeit forced, is the best way to front Logan’s funeral. Plus, a safety in numbers play isn’t a terrible idea considering protestors in New York are marching the streets, with ATN headquarters in their sites, angered by the early calling of Mencken as the new President – a title Mencken himself seems to be getting comfortable with. It’s during the car ride that Shiv also reveals to her brothers that she is pregnant. An announcement met with bitter-sweet reactions from Kendall, and deflective, crude incest jokes from Roman.

The heightened emotional state of Kendall is exacerbated when moments before the funeral, an inconspicuous calendar meeting with his assistant, Jess, sparks a conversation leading to Jess confessing that she wants to quit her job. With Kendall feeling like he’s losing enough power on this day as it is, he verbally torments and berates Jess with the warning that she’ll never have the status she desires in the business world without him, and thus, the manic power cycle of Kendall’s brain begins to run into overdrive.

The state funeral for Logan is an event as large as the death of a monarch. Streets blocked off for miles, police at every corner, and the wealthiest of the most powerful people in America in attendance. Even appearances from Marcia, Ewan (Logan’s estranged brother) and Caroline create more stress than needed for the Roy siblings, who struggle between trying to mourn their father’s death properly, and continue business logistics with every other snake in the room.

With the newsroom firing on all cylinders, Tom decides he won’t be attending the funeral, despite his position as wheelman for the casket. Tom’s version of a power play allows the chance for Greg to put his face in the centre of the show, and put him in the room for a chance to introduce himself to Mencken as one of the men who may have won him the election. With a sombre feeling in the air, the obligational feeling of some guests is felt as the whispers and gossip spread around the room before the proceedings begin. Proceedings that are led with an unexpected, and definitely not welcomed, speech from Ewan, who despite having brotherly bonding anecdotes about Logan, berates his brother for being a heartless, hard man.

Needing to ‘save face’, Roman prepares to give his eulogy, backed by the support of his siblings. But, Roman can’t do it. The words don’t come out. An emotional regression to the boy who lost his dad explodes out of him in a flurry of tears and regret. A boy who loved his dad, wanted to be like his dad, and wanted to be his dad’s favourite, finally realising that he will never have the chance to feel that love again, even if that love was disguising abuse and manipulation for his entire life. Being consoled by his siblings, Roman sits while Kendall attempts to recoup the situation by relaying his brothers speech, but instead decides to take back the power he felt he lost, and much like his Living+ impromptu speech, says what needs to be said to that room, at that time, even if he doesn’t believe everything he is saying, in true Kendall the CEO fashion.

Noticing that Ken forgot to harp on about how much of a great dad Logan was to his kids, Shiv also interjects with an unexpected eulogy that begins with the standard “loving father” routine, but soon pivots as Shiv realises this is her chance to finally say what she has always wanted to say about her father and his treatment of women in the business. The eulogy scene is scoreless right until Shiv’s final words, and is the perfect summary of who each Roy sibling really is. Roman just wants to be loved, but would rather push it away. Kendall wants the power his father held, and after so long is finally in a position to get it And Shiv wants to be recognised as a serious, powerful player in the game, and can’t be sidelined just because she’s a woman. 4 seasons of character arcs, perfectly arcing in an incredibly written scene.

Proceeding the funeral, Logan is laid to final rest at a $5 million mausoleum, which Connor confesses was purchased impulsively by Logan from a pet store dot com guy because he didn’t want to be buried in the ground. Emotions overwhelm Roman once more, and he retreats to the car, as Kendall watches on, realising the finality of his father’s impact on the world is here, being locked away in a cement tomb. It’s now that Kendall must strike, and to do so, he needs a Avengers’ style team of backstabbing dogs to get the dirty work done for him to finally achieve what he has always wanted to achieve – being his father. Offering millions to Hugo and recruiting his fathers former bodyguard, Kendall’s next mission is to make sure Mencken is willing to block the Matsson/GoJo deal from happening so he can retain his CEO status at ATN.

However, also in Mencken’s ear, and with a much more compelling offer, Shiv goes all-in on Matsson and convinces him to present Mencken with the idea of his company having an operational off-set in America, run by Shiv herself. As Kendall watches the interactions between Shiv, Matsson and Mencken from afar, he pounces on the emotionally vulnerable Roman for messing up the Mencken dilemma and alleging that Mencken is not going to uphold his deal with Roman. If there is any chance that Kendall and Roman are going to remain at ATN and block the deal with Matsson, they’re going to have to fight Shiv with everything they have.

Roman reluctantly agrees, and when he is left by Kendall, hastily removes himself from the room and out into the streets where he yells and shoves against a growing group of protestors, finally letting out the toxic, pent-up feelings of grief, rage and sadness out for the world to see. But, one final blow to Kendall’s plan comes crashing in when Mencken agrees to side with Matsson, allowing the GoJo/Waystar deal to happen, with Shiv as their US based CEO.

One. Episode. Left.

Succession is now streaming on BINGE.

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Nick L'Barrow
Nick L'Barrow
Nick is a Brisbane-based film/TV reviewer. He gained his following starting with his 60 second video reviews of all the latest releases on Instagram (@nicksflicksfix), before launching a monthly podcast with Peter Gray called Monthly Movie Marathon. Nick contributes to Novastream with interviews and reviews for the latest blockbusters.

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