Succession she has been together satire of power, apology of power, critique of power but most of all ruthless vivisection of power. An autopsy on a live subject that in the last episode of the Hbo series, broadcast this week on Sky in Italy practically at the same time as the USA (where it was broadcast on Sunday 28 May), reaches for the viewer almost intolerable levels of embarrassment for what the characters are subjected to. If there was the crime of «abuse of a fictional character», Jesse Armstrong, the creator and monarch of Successionwould be sentenced to the maximum penalty. But that’s the not-too-hidden secret of the series, which started out as a dark dramedy and soon rose from its fictional fiction stereotype about the Murdoch family to take the place of the most influential, successful and magnetic TV series of recent years.
The numbers prove it. Let’s start with Won Emmys: 13, two for Outstanding Drama Series (2022 and 2020). Let’s add the endless list of social accounts born during the four seasons. There are Instagram profiles dedicated only to the clothes worn by the protagonists, who coined the expression quiet luxury: basically, they look like us mere mortals, but their wardrobes are full of Armani, Loro Piana, Saint Laurent, Acne (to find out more, @successionfashion, 171,000 followers at the time of writing). And how many series boast articles — real — based on — fictitious news? — come directly from the episodes (attention, First spoiler if you haven’t seen it all: the article is thispublished on Los Angeles Times after the third episode). We finish with the soundtrack, winner of one of the Emmys, in 2019, as an original composition: there are countless times when only the musical theme that acts as the theme song has been used to highlight the highlights of the series. Played with strings or piano, in major or minor key, andante or adagio. The variations are hundreds (25 those of the last season, according to Spotify’s official playlist) and made the composition a lineup that according to the New York Times «you could also play in an auditorium».
But let’s take a step back. If you have never seen Successionit is worth remembering thebackground texturewhich is not complex. There is an old man, very powerful, Logan Roymedia mogul, head of a communications and entertainment conglomerate that brings together an influential right-wing American TV network (type Fox News), newspapers and tabloid magazines (such as those of News Corp by Murdoch), cinemas, but also theme parks (such as Disney and Universal), cruises and much more. Since the first episode, of Logan we know that begins to show clear signs of physical and mental declinewhich opens the scenario of the succession from which the series takes its title. There are four heirs. One, Connor, is never in the running: son of Logan’s first wife, he’s out of business at Waystar RoyCo (he’ll run for the White House during the series). The other three, with an English noblewoman (Logan is Scottish by origin), are the ones who are competing for the role of CEO of the company: the two males Kendall (Ken), the most ambitious and at the same time fragile, and Roman (Rom), sarcastic and irreverent; the daughter Siobhan (Shiv), who has built a career as a spin doctor but aspires to return to the company. Beside them moves a crowd of other characters, from the top management of Waystar RoyCo to the husband of Shiv (Tomwho will play a key role in the final season) up to his cousin Greg. Among them, forgetting his age and shaky health, stands Logan Roy who gradually becomes a very human and at the same time super-human figure, a minor deity of malice and manipulationa kind of galactic black hole that everyone looks at in disgust but can’t help but be attracted to.
The actor Brian Cox he recounted that people stop him on the street and yell at him fuck off!, Logan’s signature interlayer from the series. During an interview with the New Yorker creator Jesse Armstrong said, “There’s a version of this character that’s a caricature — which is simply the worst man in the world — but I hope we didn’t represent it that way.’
*** Who – ATTENTION – we have to enter the territory of the SPOILER. ***
Ewan, Logan’s anti-capitalist brother who hates Waystar RoyCo but loves his brother, makes it an anti-eulogy that agrees with Armstrong. Logan Roy is not just a parody of Rupert Murdoch, he is a character with a thousand nuances who, over the course of the series, humiliates his children, tears them apart, pits them against each other, promising each of them that the role will fall to him. (or her). Yet, as Armstrong explains, “Logan continually expresses his desire for this sort of imperial or monarchical succession but, at the same time, as a human being, he desperately wants to win. And that includes winning over these very people that he sees before him, that he wants to give power and influence. He wants them to be able to inherit it.”
The latest installment is surgical in tearing apart Rom, Shiv and above all poor Kendall (who has become a living meme over the seasons, look for @kendallroylookingsad on Instagram to get an idea), whose road apparently seems paved after perhaps the most human and warmest scene of all the 4 seasons. The three brothers, in Barbados, simply become brothers again, between a midnight bath and a disgusting meal cooked in their mother’s kitchen. But then, back at the Waystar RoyCo headquarters, for the final act of tragedy, the brothers are swept apart and once again become an explosive coarc of resentment, ambition and fragility. It is no coincidence, as Linda Holmes writes are E.g ) if he last man standing he’s the only one (let’s avoid giving you the name) who knows how to navigate that world of intrigue and treachery better than anyone else, because he didn’t grow up in it. “When there are no principles and no loyalty, one has only to humiliate oneself in any way to obtain, or maintain, one’s position.”
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03 June 2023
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