By Caitlin Kelly
This is not a television show for the faint of heart!
There’s no physical violence — not the endless gunfire of cop shows or the bloody murders of Dexter — but every episode means someone, and likely several, will feel a verbal knife between the ribs.
This much-lauded HBO series has been booked for a fourth season, its finale of Season Three tomorrow.
It follows the fortunes, (which are considerable), of the Roy family: the father, Logan and his three hapless adult children, (in age order), Connor, Kendall, Siobhan and Romulus. The family business is Waystar-Royco, a global media conglomerate, and the succession is who, if anyone, will take over from Logan.
Ten reasons I think it’s worth your time and attention:
Peeking into how the 1% live
They call their private jets PJs. How cute! No one ever drives because there is always a gleaming black Escalade, with driver, waiting for them. No cabs or public transit. No commercial flights. So many servants.
At the end of Season Two, the Roys convene in Croatia aboard a luxury mega-yacht — you know, the kind with a helicopter landing pad and its own swimming pool. If you’ve never boarded one (and lucky you, if so!) it’s an interesting peek at opulence. Their Hamptons house is enormous. Their Manhattan townhouse, typically, has its own elevator and is both restrained and very luxurious.
It’s both absurd and scary to see the sniping between these supposed adults, especially between Roman and Shiv, endlessly jockeying for Logan’s fickle favor. Connor is a low-key buffoon and Kendall is determined to bring down the whole castle.
Here’s a profile from the Hollywood Reporter of Kieran Culkin, who plays Roman.
The endless courting of investors
It all looks so shiny and effortless, but if your company’s health or survival relies on fellow billionaires investing millions of dollars in your abilities, things can get dicey very quickly — as they do in Season Three.
Tom Wambsgans (played by Matthew MacFadyen)
Marrying into money? You’ll earn every dime!
The marriage between Tom Wambsgans and Siobhan is…troubled. He’s a midwestern schlub — and I still have no idea how they met or what she ever saw in him?! — and she’s a spoiled rotten heiress who’s never held a job, apparently. She’s a skilled manipulator but, especially in this current season, he’s become wary and withholding. About time!
It’s all about the power, baby! If your lawyer can’t get you the results you want, hire another one!
Nicholas Britell’s unforgettable theme music and score
Here’s a fascinating look at how he makes these musical decisions; a 5:24 video explaining his choices for Season 2.
Once you hear it, you’ll never forget it, a mix of discordant notes played with abandon. He uses his music in so many ways, from a funereal dirge to a gentle acoustic guitar to a stately symphonic rendition.
Kendall Roy (played by Jeremy Strong)
This is one deeply sad human being. He has no apparent relationship with his two children. His current flame, another heiress, seems less than. There’s a deep sadness in his eyes and everything he says, with hearty bravado, just feels off. Actor Jeremy Strong is extraordinary.
How perfect that her nickname is Shiv — the home-made knives prisoners make to stab a guard or fellow inmate with. Played by Australian actress Sarah Snook, Shiv is a slippery shape-shifter, all cooing suck-up to her father and cold-as-ice to her hapless husband. She desperately wants power but never seems to find a way to legitimately earn it. Even when she does (in Season Three), her achievement is undercut and dismissed by Logan. It’s brutal to watch.
Here’s a Harper’s Bazaar profile of Snook.
He is a true brute, whose tactics may make this show unwatchable for some. His typical reply of “uh-huh” speaks volumes — by never committing to anything he hasn’t already planned or sabotaged. The definition of ruthless.
Wealth doesn’t protect you from abuse
Read this brilliant analysis, from Vox, of how deeply traumatized the Roys really are.
And this, about Kendall and the actor who plays him, Jeremy Strong.
If you’re already watching it — here are some interesting re-caps/analyses.
If you have been watching it, what do you think?