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Succession season 4, episode 9: high drama as friends and foes gather at Logan’s funeral

The Roys and Willa sit on the front row at the funeral  ( ©2023 HBO. All Rights Reserved)
The Roys and Willa sit on the front row at the funeral ( ©2023 HBO. All Rights Reserved)

Succession spoilers 1-4 below

It’s frankly unbearable to think about: there’s now just one episode of Succession left – ever. But given just how good episode nine was, we’re as excited about the prospect of seeing the conclusion of the show as we are anxious.

Week nine, titled Church and State, was Logan’s funeral. All of the show’s key characters gathered in a stunning New York Cathedral for the Catholic service that Logan had requested in his will. It was, predictably, an emotional and drama-full affair, as the exquisitely dressed guests said goodbye to Logan Roy.

Here’s everything that happened in this week’s moving episode.

New York, I love you, But you’re bringing me down

Roman Roy (Kieran Culkin) at his father’s funeral (©2023 HBO. All Rights Reserved)
Roman Roy (Kieran Culkin) at his father’s funeral (©2023 HBO. All Rights Reserved)

The episode opens with the sibs at their respective incredibly luxurious apartments, preparing for the funeral. Roman, who is giving the main eulogy, is looking over his pink Post-it notes. He seems frazzled and nervous, as usual, but also seems to have a pip in his step. “I am the man, I am the man,” he says looking in the mirror. Kendall calls to check in, but Roman says he’s fine. “Discord makes my dick hard”, says Roman, rhyming the two words.

At Shiv’s, the news is on in the background. The election is still very much playing out as people take to the streets across the country; the news anchor reports incidents of “street violence and intimidation”. On the phone with Matsson, she tells him to release the information about the inaccurate subscriber numbers – it’s the perfect time as it’ll be completely swallowed up by election news. “It’s just so golden,” says Shiv.

Rava calls Kendall, who is in his car. She’s taking the kids and getting out of town because she feels like New York isn’t safe today. Kendall is furious – he sees this as Rava abandoning him when he needs her the most. He arrives at her apartment minutes later, meeting her on the street as she’s getting in her own car. But despite threatening her with a court order to stop her from leaving the city, Rava takes off.

Kendall tells his head assistant Jess that after the funeral, he wants her to look into getting full custody of the kids. Jess tells Kendall that she thinks she’d like to move on to another job. Kendall is at first accepting of her decision, then gets angry. He says she has unprecedented access with him, something she won’t get anywhere else. “You’re being f***ing dumb,” he says.

Shiv, Roman and Kendall travel in the same car to the funeral. There’s something in the air; the city is gridlocked. Rava was on to something when she said the city feels unsafe. Protestors bang on the windows. Shiv chooses this moment to tell her brothers that she’s pregnant. She plans to tell her mum that day, too, so they should know too.

“Is it mine?” blurts out Roman. He then says, “If I see you breastfeeding I will have to jerk off.” Given that there’s a strong correlation between Roman’s disgusting behaviour and his mental health, his comments really don’t bode well for the upcoming eulogy.

Meanwhile, Tom is at the ATN offices looking under the cosh, to put it mildly. Tom releases Greg to head to the funeral, saying he’ll be along in a bit. “Tell the Menken team I made the call,” says Tom.

Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today

Marcia Roy (Hiam Abbass) at the funeral (©2023 HBO. All Rights Reserved)
Marcia Roy (Hiam Abbass) at the funeral (©2023 HBO. All Rights Reserved)

It’s the funeral and, by Jove, it’s as drama-packed as you might expect. All of Logan’s friends and foes are fathered in the exquisite Cathedral, which could very well be St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral in Lower Manhattan (the same church used in Godfather part three – we’ll update when we know more).

Connor’s at the door speaking to Shiv about giving a potential eulogy of his own (in the end, they think it’s best if he doesn’t). Marcia, chic as always, is prowling the aisles. “Wait til I have sex with her on Dad’s coffin,” says Roman. Yikes.

Matsson is with Ebba; Karolina, Gerri, Karl and Frank are standing together. Hugo is slithering around. Potential next president Jerryd is in attendance, as is a very emotional Kerry, who is there with her brother and a lawyer friend she brought in case she was denied entry.

Greg rushes over on a city bike. Tom can’t make it anymore – it’s all going down at ATN as political analyst Darwin might quit and there’s a fire in Baltimore.

The sib’s mum, Lady Caroline Collingwood, is also present. “Here she comes, thought I could hear the sound of Dalmatians howling,” says Shiv. Instantly, Caroline spots that Shiv is pregnant. “Well well,” she says. Conversation is barbed between the mother and daughter, as always. Caroline can’t believe Shiv didn’t care to tell her, Shiv brushes it off.

Caroline’s very posh, very English husband – who Roman once described as a “bowl of porridge” – is also there. “Daddy’s here,” he says, bizarrely, to Shiv, before excusing himself. “Now he’s going to roll around like a labrador in a lovely pile of senators,” Caroline says. As people start to assemble in their seats, Caroline scoops up Kerry and introduces her to someone called Sally Anne, and then Marcia. “Sally Anne was my Kerry, so it’s all water under the bridge now,” she says, and all four of Logan’s exes sit together in one pew.

Shiv is talking to Matsson. There’s been no blowback from the number release so far, Matsson tells her. Shiv proposes a plan to win over Menken in which Matsson offers her up as an American CEO of GoJo if the deal goes through. Matsson says he’s heard she’s pregnant – news travels fast – but Shiv placates him by, speaking about herself in the third person, saying, “She’s one of those hard bitches, right? She’s going to do 36 hours of maternity leave, emailing through her vanity caesarean. The poor kid’ll never see her.” Matsson laughs.

Showtime

The younger Roys speak to their mother, Lady Caroline Collingwood (Harriet Walker) (©2023 HBO. All Rights Reserved)
The younger Roys speak to their mother, Lady Caroline Collingwood (Harriet Walker) (©2023 HBO. All Rights Reserved)

As the funeral begins, Kerry starts to cry and Marcia reaches out and holds her hand to support her. Logan’s brother Ewan stands up and walks towards the front. Greg tries to stop his grandfather, but Ewan barges past him. Oh dear, Ewan isn’t known for pulling his punches – and he doesn’t. “What sort of people would stop a brother speaking for the sake of a share price?” he says to the packed congregation.

He then tells a few incredibly insightful stories about his brother. They first went to America during the war, but the engines of the ship they were travelling in died, and the rest of the convoy, which was evacuating children went on without them. They couldn’t speak or cough or make a sound for three nights and two days, or submarines would be able to locate them and would sink the boat.

“We stayed quiet, a four-year-old and five-and-a-half-year-old, speaking with our eyes,” he says, gruffly.

He also tells the story of how Logan was sent off to a fancy boarding school, but hated it, got sick and brought himself home. Around the same time, their baby sister, Rose, died of Polio. No one was sure whether Logan brought the Polio home, or not. But Logan apparently blamed himself for Rose’s death for the rest of his life, and their cruel uncle and aunt “did nothing to disabuse him of that notion”.

In his will, which we only got a snippet of in episode four, Logan wrote “I wish to be buried with the attached copy of my sister Rosie’s photograph.”

But then Ewan goes off on a tirade, saying that his brother, “darkened the skies a little, closed men’s hearts, fed that dark flame in men... the hard, mean hard-relenting flame that keeps their heart warm while another goes cold.” Bloody hell.

“God speed my brother, and God bless,” says Ewan. “That’s a good hard take that you gave,” says Greg to his grandfather as he sits back town.

The Roys, Willa and Karl at the funeral (©2023 HBO. All Rights Reserved)
The Roys, Willa and Karl at the funeral (©2023 HBO. All Rights Reserved)

“You’re going to say the other side yeah?” says Kendall to Roman, who is looking insanely freaked out. Roman goes up to the front of the church, and immediately starts fumbling his words. Frequently glancing over at his dad’s coffin, he falters, and then seems completely unable to speak. Shiv and Kendall rush to speak to him and Roman starts to whimper and cry.

“Is he in there?” he says, pointing to the coffin. When Shiv says yes, Roman replies, “Can we get him out?” His sobs grow more desperate, and he cannot go on. Kendall takes over, and rises to the occasion, giving an astonishingly moving and rousing speech.

“It’s true what my uncle said, my father was a brute. He was, he was tough,” begins Kendall. “But also, he built, and he acted... He had a vitality, a force, that could hurt, and it did, but my God the sheer… the lives, and the livings and the things that he made… and the money…yeah, the money... The life-blood, the oxygen of this civilisation that we have built from the mud.”

“He made life happen,” says Kendall. “And now people might want to tend and prune the memory of him, to degenerate that force... But my God I hope that’s in me.”

Shiv follows after Kendall, with a few words of her own. She gives an anecdote about their childhood, and talks about how Logan kept everyone out, but how “it was warm in the light.” She says it was hard to be his daughter, that Logan was hard on women. The camera flashes to Gerri and Karoline who are looking pensive in their seats. “He couldn’t fit a whole woman in his head,” says Shiv.

“But he did ok... You did ok dad…” Shiv says looking at the coffin. “So goodbye my dear, dear, world of a father.”

After the party, there’s the after party

Roman outside the mausoleum (©2023 HBO. All Rights Reserved)
Roman outside the mausoleum (©2023 HBO. All Rights Reserved)

The coffin is taken to the cemetery in a motorcade, which is led by two NYPD motorbikes, passing demonstrations and protestors. They arrive at a giant stone mausoleum that Logan apparently bought for $5 million in an auction.

“Was he in a bidding war with Stalin and Liberace?” jokes Shiv. Connor explains that, “Pop sort of... I think he didn’t want to go in the ground.”

Inside there’s one central stone coffin that’s elevated from the ground where Logan will rest; at the sides, there’s space for the children to go, if they like. Connor says he will speak to Willa about it; Shiv’s not sure. Roman, who is hovering at the door, says that his father made him breathe funny. Kendall says “I had trouble finishing a scotch with him.”

Then it’s the committal service – the second, more intimate service, just before Logan’s coffin is taken into the mausoleum. It’s markedly less devastating than the previous one, but it’s far from a jolly affair. “I’m intrigued to see how he gets out of this one,” says Shiv.

In the moments after, Marcia says to Shiv, “I love him very much, I miss him very much. He broke my heart, and he broke your hearts too.”

Still outside, Shiv goes to speak to Frank and Karl. She asks him about her father: just how bad was he? “He was a salty dog, but he was a good egg.” A wide-eyed Shiv looks at them both and nods. As she walks away Karl says, “Right?” Frank, nods slowly. “Right.”

Just before the group head to the wake, Kendall gets a moment with Hugo. It’s been brewing for a long time, but the emotion of the day seems to have activated something in Kendall.

“Life isn’t nice, it’s contingent. People who say they love you also f*** you,” he says. “So this is an explicit plan to f*** the deal, me rule the world.” He asks Hugo to anonymously leak it to the press that certain members of the family are unhappy with the GoJo deal. He says he wants Hugo on his team, that Hugo will be his dog, but that the scraps will be millions and millions. “Woof woof,” says Hugo.

I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man

Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) speaks with Jerryd Menken (Justin Kirk) at the wake (©2023 HBO. All Rights Reserved)
Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) speaks with Jerryd Menken (Justin Kirk) at the wake (©2023 HBO. All Rights Reserved)

The wake is less of a wake and more of a shark tank. Everyone is gunning for their chance to speak to Menken. Eyes are darting everywhere as Kendall looks over at Matsson, who is looking at Shiv, who is looking at Roman.

Kendall is the first to find a moment with the right-wing politician. After episode eight, and even more so after the funeral, where Menken shakes Kendall’s hand as he’s leaving, saying “that was perfect”, it seems obvious that Menken has chosen to align himself with the CE-Bros. But this brief chat appears to indicate otherwise: “Oh I thought you were the sound system, now you want to choose the track?” says Menken, when Kendall asks him about the deal. Menken continues to brush Kendall off, saying he’ll “try to help” about the GoJo deal.

Before Kendall has time to reply, Greg pops up and introduces himself to Menken. In a second, Roman and Connor are there too. Menken calls Roman “tiny tears”; Kendall defends his baby brother: “Maybe easy today, yeah?” Connor’s angling for a “Pan-Hapsburg, American-led EU alternative” with him at the top.

Shiv manages to pull Menken to the side to speak to Matsson. Menken, now face to face with the giant Swede, asks Matsson what his philosophy is and Matsson replies, “privacy, p***y, pasta”, repeating the now infamous phrase he used at Kendall’s 40th birthday party.

Matsson gets straight to the point. He wants Waystar. Menken, once again worming out of making any commitments, says the fate of the deal will be out of his hands. But then Matsson proposes Shiv’s idea of a US CEO, and puts forward Shiv as a potential candidate. Menken thinks it’s odd Shiv is willing to work with him, but she says she’s flexible. Menken appears not to loathe the idea.

Tom arrives at the wake. He picks up a glass of champagne from a waiter, and so does Shiv. As she takes a sip, staring at him, he says slowly “It’s fine...” “I know it’s fine,” says Shiv.

They try to talk about the baby, but not many words are said – they’re both utterly exhausted. “I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep it... Because it seems so sad... And we were in the honeymoon phase...” says Shiv. Tom regrets not going to the funeral, and starts to break down a little. He tells Shiv that he did get to say goodbye to Logan on the plane, because he was the first one in there with him. Shiv – very bleary-eyed – says he should get some rest, and invites him to stay at their apartment.

Kendall is speaking to Roman. Turning on his brother, he says that Roman “fucked it” at the funeral, stinging Roman. “You f***ed it with Jerryd,” repeats Kendall. He argues that he’s going to need Roman to back him now they’re going to have to work harder to win the GoJo deal. Kendall also speaks to Colin, his dad’s old bodyguard, asking him to come and work for him.

Shiv gets a call from Matsson: “It’s a yes,” he says. “It’s a yes? From?” “Yeaaaah,” he says.

Dear New York, I hope you’re doing well, I know a lot’s happened and you’ve been through hell

Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård) at the wake (©2023 HBO. All Rights Reserved)
Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård) at the wake (©2023 HBO. All Rights Reserved)

There’s a video that’s already circulating the internet of Roman hysterically crying at the funeral. Karl’s playing it to the cronies.

At the same time, a distraught Roman – who hasn’t seen the video yet – walks out of the wake and down towards a rowdy demonstration which is marching through the street. The police warn him from going towards it but he strides on, jumping over barricades, still wearing his suit.

In keeping with his masochistic tendencies, but as a clearer cry for help this time as he puts himself in real physical danger, Roman starts swearing and throwing insults at the crowd who march by him. Some of them ignore him, but others push him. He falls on the floor and pulls himself into a foetal position, protecting himself from getting trampled.

As the episode ends he manages to get up and walks forward through the crowd.

Final thoughts

Kendall and Shiv at their father’s funeral (©2023 HBO. All Rights Reserved)
Kendall and Shiv at their father’s funeral (©2023 HBO. All Rights Reserved)

It was perfectly pitched and unbelievably moving, yet Church and State never felt overwrought, nor untruthful to Succession for a second.

It was the high drama we expected – Shiv talking to her mum, the kids talking about their dad, and Menken and Matsson on either side of the aisle while Logan’s close contacts gathered under one roof.

But there was also a tenderness that we didn’t see coming: Marcia and Kerry, Frank, Karl and Shiv and Ewan, are just a few examples. And although we really don’t need reminding at this point, it once again reinforced just how good Succession’s writers are, as characters who had been almost forgotten for weeks of the show were suddenly integral to the plot, vivid and impactful.

Now, there’s just one week left and although some of the final allegiances are formed, such as Kendall and Hugo and Shiv and Matsson, there’s still so much that needs to fall into place. Will Roman back Kendall? Who will Frank side with? Who will Tom side with? And so on. Next week is going to be an explosive 90 minutes.

Succession is currently streaming on Sky and NOW