Logan Roy, bully, entrepreneur, puppeteer
By Caitlin Kelly
If you haven’t watched Succession, this blog’s not for you!
If you have, you’re familiar with this filthy rich dysfunctional family — including three ex-wives and a young assistant who had so hoped to become the fourth Mrs. Roy, but — damn! — the old dude died right in front of her, in his private jet en route to Sweden to close a business deal.
I love this show, but some of its moments hit me hard personally, often echoing my own dysfunctional family.
Here are six:
It’s not a family in any meaningful sense of the word
Logan Roy has three ex-wives; one he dismissed to a psychiatric hospital; one, very English and very cowardly and the last, Marcia, whose venom comes wrapped in a husky French accent. He has four adult children, including one from the first marriage — Con, likely 10 to 15 years older than the rest, who has always felt unloved and excluded by his father. As the oldest of four adult kids of our own father, by two wives, and two affairs, with none of us who ever lived together, I’ve felt this as the only child of my father’s first marriage.
The daughter, Siobhan Roy (aka Shiv), always, always shut out of power
Logan Roy loves to play his needy and insecure children against one another
Painfully familiar. My father, now 94, has always favored his youngest, 23 years my junior and who refuses to have any relationship to me at all. The sister I haven’t met only shows up every few years and the brother closest to me in age has created huge success for himself — but our father never seems able to celebrate us.
Having someone die after you’ve just argued with them is haunting and painful
My last conversation with my late stepmother, who died at 63 on my husband’s birthday, was an argument. It was a truly terrible time, with a lot of long-repressed and ugly emotions finally blasting to the surface. When so much remains unaddressed for decades and any chance of reconciliation is suddenly gone, it is a terrible shock and leaves even deeper family wounds.
Kendall Roy, whose past conceals a terrible secret he fears might one day emerge
Money changes everything
We’re certainly not wealthy in Roy style — private jets, helicopters everywhere, multiple huge houses — but two of my male ancestors were very successful in creating their own business, and the money they made very much affected their offspring and how they view(ed) money. It’s a useful and familiar way to wield power, to bestow or withhold affection. It’s also weird to grow up around opulent spending (my maternal grandmother was a literal heiress) and never earn or acquire such means yourself. It was normal to have Granny’s chauffeur — Raymond — and her jewelers, Jack and Adrian — attend her annual Christmas party. So I get Tom Wambsgans’ admission, coming from a less wealthy family, that he actually does like money.
Tom Wambsgans, Shiv’s hapless husband
When a man as calculating and manipulative as Logan Roy dies, beware
I’ve never met my half-sister (5 years younger) and have no wish to. My two half-brothers have an off-on relationship. With no clear communication between all four of us, it’s quite something to navigate.
There’s so much the Roy “kids” still have to figure out — like what emotional intimacy and trust even look like
While the Roys are spoiled rotten materially, and are putative adults, there’s an awful lot about the real world they just don’t know and will finally and suddenly need to learn without their father’s protection and power. Surrounded from birth by bodyguards and helicopter pilots and maids and chauffeurs, paid people who say yes to almost everything, they also seem to have no friends anywhere. Every conversation is about getting, keeping or getting more money. Forget love or affection or the joy of something basic — like actually enjoying a pampered life in New York City, with every cultural richness literally on their doorstep. As Season Four progresses, its final season, they’re finally, for a while, able to love and support one another.
I finally, gratefully, have a relationship with one of my half-brothers. But that’s it.
As I always joke, there’s no Hallmark card for a “family” like ours.