Succession Season 4 Episode 3 is the best episode of the entire series

“Succession” fans love to dissect the ethics of love for the deeply horrible people at the center of the show. Viewers spend their empathy sparingly in choosing characters, or claim to be watching the show just for glee. By now, however, it’s undeniable that Jesse Armstrong and his team have written a drama that is as much about family abuse as it is about wealth and corruption. In Marriage of Connor all ethical dilemmas fall away and we are left with people who just don’t know what to do when the oppressive presence that has ruled their entire lives disappears.

There are a dozen moments in this hour that shake me. There’s the fact that every Roy kid can’t pretend to have uncomplicated love for their dad in their final moments. Kendall tells Logan he can’t forgive him, “but it’s okay.” Shiv says “there is no excuse” for his actions, but she loves him. Roman is nice, but only because he’s obsessed with saying the “nice” after leaving a rude voicemail. And Connor, when he finally gets the news, responds with the first thought that comes to his mind: “Oh man, he’s never liked me.”

Portions of this episode will feel extremely painful to anyone who has experienced a sudden loss. There’s the immediate understanding, when you look at the face of a person you grew up with, that something is wrong. There’s the gentle delivery of bad news, like when Kendall asks, “Is he even okay?” and Tom (Matthew Macfayden) says, with all the gentleness in the world, “He’s not okay, no.” Then there’s the moment when in you revert to an earlier version of yourself in grief: Shiv briefly collapsing into Tom’s arms, or Kendall at the end of the episode nodding and teary-eyed, looking sort of like a little boy.

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