The third episode of Season 4 of Succession, titled “Retirement,” finally arrived, plunging the Roy family and Waystar business into complete chaos. On their way to a crucial board meeting, Logan Roy’s sudden death on the airplane threw everyone into uncharted waters. Despite being unprepared and caught off guard, we all knew this moment would eventually come. It is not an exaggeration to say that Connor’s wedding was the most impactful and dramatic episode of the entire four-season run of Succession.
It is a highly traumatic event that hasn’t been forgotten, even amid what kind of show it is. The creator of Succession, Jesse Armstrong, decided to flex his team’s ability to operate as a razor-sharp, bracingly funny comedy by leaving the demand for any episode of comedy behind and instead focusing on a brief comic relief scene. But what has always been good about Succession is that it has always been a riveting television drama, above all else. The idea that their father, the tyrant, could actually die and the siblings, Roy, Jeremy Strong, Culkin Kieran, and Sarah Snook, would fall into their own grief and numbness against that idea is always what’s been cut above in the show. Watching the major players, particularly Jeremy Strong, Kieran Culkin, and Sarah Snook, deliver standout performances in this episode made it tremendously captivating.
Everyone in the cabin of the airplane is clearly shell-shocked and terrified as they watch Zoë (Winters) Kerry, their patron/employer/lover, who is smiling and stammering with an irrepressible, massive grin that is probably aware she isn’t even aware of. Karl and Friedman (David Rasche), Peter (Frank Macfadyen), Matthew (Tom and Dominczyk), and Dagmara (Karolina Dominczyk) all take on different forms in response to her trauma and grief. Unsurprisingly, Royco Waystar’s flunkies assemble in the cabin to strategize their next steps, with everyone too terrified to say a word, even as Logan lies dead.
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The lackeys escort her in with utmost confusion. Eventually, they guide her to another room to rest and recuperate while they strategize. Witnessing her emotional breakdown, resembling someone who caught a foul ball at Yankee Stadium, Tom quietly utters “what the heck?”. When Tom suggests Kerry as a potential candidate to make calls to important people, Karl promptly dismisses the idea, stating “No way! Chuckles the Clown is not the right choice.”
At the same time, insults and tears occur, while Succession continues to progress. The comedic show’s nastiness has been fueled by people who are not kind, but despite this, Karl can still deliver a perfect one-liner at Kerry’s expense. This series, which is at the heart of comedy, may also have tragic moments when Logan, who sits at the center of the series, may be dead in the next room. The flunkies at Waystar are always reliable when it comes to providing moments of levity, like the comic relief that goes beyond the “Chuckles the Clown” comedy. In an episode that didn’t seem to have any, there is also a wickedly funny moment. The line itself is a classic Succession put-down, as it is cutting and colorful.