15 October 2019 00:52

Jodie Comer Emmerdale Robert Sugden

Succession Season 2 Finale: Brian Cox on Logan and Kendall

Succession (Sky Atlantic) reached its dazzling finale with a bloodbath brunch, as the billionaire Roy clan turned on each other like snarling hyenas in designer cruise-wear. In the first scene of the Season 2 finale of HBO's "Succession," Cousin Greg, like a page boy or lanky messenger shyly stalking to center stage, enters a Senate hearing to testify about systemic sex crimes and coverups in the cruise division of Waystar Royco, his employer. In this column I've stated my admiration for how Jesse Armstrong, the show's creator, constructs a carnivorous idiom of power for the Waystar Royco patriarch, Logan Roy, and also his brood and their élite competitors, in the war of all against all. Logan and Kendall, in a last-ditch effort to retain control of the company, fly off to meet Stewie—Kendall's former partner in a botched hostile takeover of Waystar Royco—who almost immediately rejects the deal that they offer. Offended, Kendall defaults to his money-bro trash-talk style of emasculatory invective: "I will cut your fuckin' dick off." But Stewie finishes the thought in a way that empties it out: You can threaten to stuff a million severed dicks into my ball bag, but the actual fact is we're persuading more and more shareholders every day that we offer them just a sightly better chance for them to make a little bit more money on their fucking dollar, and that's all that this is.

The first season of the show ended after a long and mostly silent sequence: the mute nightmare of Kendall wriggling from a sinking car, one with a dying human being inside it, and scrambling into the grasp of his omniscient father and his fixers. The second season ended with an inversion of that dynamic: Logan tells his son that he "is not a killer," and Kendall rises to complete the bit of attempted patricide that previously went off the road. The second run of the critically acclaimed HBO drama Succession came to a close after a season of cringe-worthy moments, killer put-downs and some dramatic dynastic drama for the media royalty that are the Roys. Logan Roy (Brian Cox) faced challenges on all sides, as a fresh takeover bid emerged and various dark secrets in his company's past came out. Meanwhile, Shiv (Sarah Snook) grappled with her ambitions, Roman (Kieran Culkin) with his sexual desires, and Kendall (Jeremy Strong) with his demons, ending in a game-changing twist.

The Roy family patriarch was left as the surprise "blood sacrifice" in the final scene of season 2 as son Kendall scapegoated him for the company's recent troubles, but Logan looked impressed with his son. The oldest doltish son of Logan seems to have given up his ridiculous presidential campaign, but will he manage to keep his romantic relationship with wannabe playwright Willa? Having undergone a complicated dynamic with his father in season 2, the COO struggled with addiction and had an affair with Naomi Pierce before looking set to be the scapegoat for the company scandals. However, Kendall appears to be in a prime leadership position for season 3 as he went off-book and publicly made a statement that sacrificed his father to save the company. Logan's bumbling nephew was at the centre of a scandal for the company but managed to emerge unscathed and supportive of the now empowered Kendall.

Logan's third wife looked set to end their marriage in season 2 following Logan keeping secrets from her and growing close to Rhea Jarrell (Holly Hunter). Appearing to be a bit broken by his experiences, can Tom really stay in the Roy family for good? The chief counsel and advisor to the Roy family, Gerri emerged as a partner in crime (and sadistic sexual pleasure) for Roman in season 2. The former COO and old friend of the Roy family survived the corporate bloodbath of season 2. The legal advisor of the Roy family was dismayed when Kendall went off-book and publicly denounced his father's involvement in the company.

Kendall's former friend, company board member, and proponent of the takeover bid wasn't backing down in season 2. We also expect further guest appearances for James Cromwell as Ewan Roy, Logan's antagonistic brother, and Dame Harriet Walter as Caroline Collingwood, the icy mother of Kendall, Roman, and Shiv Despite appearing willing to sacrifice himself to be the scapegoat for the various scandals that had befallen Waystar Royco, Kendall showed no weakness in throwing his father Logan under the bus and using him as the "blood sacrifice" instead - to the shock of Shiv and Roman - but the slightly impressed looking Logan. Meanwhile, the Roy marriages were in crisis by the end of the season, with Marcia now estranged from Logan and Tom admitting to Shiv that he's unhappy with how her family treats him and with their marriage being an open one. After alternating between ghostly, grieving man-child and coked-up zombie (a self-ascribed "techno Gatsby") all season, Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) emerged from his cocoon of sorrow with a vendetta in the season two finale of Succession. And it wouldn't have been possible without Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun), who was on hand to provide him with the evidence (squirrelled away on Thanksgiving in season one) to take Logan down.

1. Can Kendall and Cousin Greg take down Logan Roy? In episode one we saw a broken Kendall take Cousin Greg, who told him explicitly last season that he possessed documents that proved wrongdoing at Waystar Royco, under his wing. Nine episodes and an untold amount of time later, it's Greg, the "Machiavellian f**k" standing at the back of the room with the murder weapon that Kendall intends to stick in his dad's back. In the final moments of the episode, Kendall showed some of the Hamlet-esque gusto that he has been lacking this season. Logan and a handful of his dirtiest "rat-f**kers" are the only people who know that Kendall was heavily involved in the accidental death of the young waiter in England during the afters at Tom and Shiv's wedding. After everything we've seen from him this season (boar on the floor, setting Shiv up for a fall with Rhea, countless psychopathic power plays with his second-born), it is certainly not out of the realm of possibility that Logan would use this to derail Kendall's case against him. It's not exactly clear what has passed between Gerri and the jester of the family since he proposed marriage to her a couple of episodes back, but his staunch defence of her in the finale suggests that their "rock star and the mole woman" plan is still in the works. After the Roy family gathers on a yacht in the Mediterranean to choose their blood sacrifice, Logan Roy picks his son Kendall to take the fall for Waystar Royco's cruise scandal — unless he actually picks him to commit patricide? Succession's second season concluded Sunday night, but the 73-year-old actor has a busy week ahead: In glasses and a South Texas drawl, he's currently starring as Lyndon B. "I'm going between Logan Roy and LBJ!" Vulture talked to Cox about his presidential run on Broadway, the shocking twist at the end of Succession's finale, and why the white male is past his "sell-by date." When you found out how Succession would end this season, what was your first thought? It was inevitable but surprising, in terms of Kendall having been so careful through the whole second season. Finally, he's the heir apparent to Waystar Royco." In a way, it's a completion. Why do you think Logan trusted Kendall to deliver that death sentence over Shiv or Roman? Do you think Marcia will come back to Logan? Logan makes Kendall kick Naomi off the yacht. The problem with her and Kendall, to Logan, is that they're both addicts. I was talking to your Succession co-star Arian Moayed on opening night of The Great Society, and he said that you told him about the play right before you guys jumped into the Adriatic Sea together.