May 24, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Succession “Rehearsal”

Season Four, Episode Two

I caught a recent interview with Kieran Culkin where he was asked who the most despicable member of the Roy family was.  His choice surprised me:  Connor.  I always looked at Connor as the oddball guy who was off doing his own weird thing, but as Culkin explained it, Connor is basically holding a woman (Willa) in a gilded cage like he can own a person.  And, that’s not wrong.

But this episode actually made me feel something for the guy.

It’s been somewhat easy to overlook Connor.  He’s a clown of a character on a show full of clowns.  He only rarely asserts his status as the oldest child, and even then, only when he thinks he’s being ignored.  He says in this episode he sees himself as being on his father’s side of the business feud, but he doesn’t really work for the company.  And sure, he does let Logan know where the other three are, but let’s face it, Roman might have set that up in the first place.

Roman, despite appearances, has always been the most empathic of the Roys.  But, just as I have always said Kendall was the most self-aware and Shiv was the most competent, that’s not a high bar to clear.  It’s just being the best of something out of a collection of the worst people.

Still, this is Connor’s rehearsal dinner, something his siblings are late for thanks to Logan, and something that ends with the four Roys at a bar and then off doing karaoke because Connor wants to do something real people do (they can’t because none of these people even know what that is).  Willa had left early after proclaiming in the middle of her speech that she couldn’t go through with it, and Connor keeps checking a phone app that tells him where she is at all times…or at least where her phone is.  See above for the comments on Connor’s holding a woman like a possession, even if Willa can at least give the appearance of being a willing possession.

All this is going on as Kendall and Shiv are tempted to force a renegotiation for the deal to sell the company.  Roman isn’t sure, but Roman has been a lot more cautious in general these days.  Yes, Roman will maybe go back to Logan when the episode ends, and I do wonder if this is because Logan saw Roman as an asset to himself, a weakness to the alliance of his kids, or both.  Possibly both, but I’ve seen Logan try to make nice to one child or another since this series started, and there’s a part of me that thinks Roman can’t possibly fall for it this time.  He’s seen this before.

But he’s also seen Kendall and Shiv disregard him before.  Logan, at least, acknowledges his own business acumen.

However, I said this was an episode that finally made me feel something for that oddball Connor Roy, the guy who never seems to fit in with the others, who only occasionally seems relevant to what the others are doing, the one that the others humor at best.  What could cause something like that?

Well…Logan shows up at the karaoke bar to…apologize?  Sort of?  He’s not really good at it, whatever it is.  Connor shuts down.  Shiv hits back with grievances of her own, some of them fresh since her father is advising Tom on how to handle the divorce.  Roman tries to sort of keep it together.  Kendall perches above the others in a manner that suggests he really enjoys hitting his father where it hurts.  And then Logan has what may be the truest statement he’s ever said in this entire series:  “I love you, but you are not serious people.”

Who made them that way, Logan?

But then Logan leaves, and Connor finally has his say.  Connor, who sat silently through that whole mess like he usually does.  Connor, who is perhaps the least serious of these not-serious people.  Connor, who was sited as an example more than once by the others for Logan’s bad parenting.  Connor has his say at last, and like his father, he isn’t wrong.

He says, basically, he learned to live without love because he grew up in a loveless family, and his younger siblings are all very emotionally needy love sponges.  Whether Willa loves him or not, well, he’s learned to go without.

Somehow, Connor’s behavior all night suggests he has not learned to live without love, but he’s certainly less emotionally needy from his distant father than the others.

So…Connor believes he doesn’t need love.  He doesn’t have a very good or healthy view of himself.  He’s just that neglected child who grew up weird and learned to deal with it in his own unique fashion.

Yeah, I didn’t see that coming.

But did I know before this episode that Logan had Connor’s mother committed to a mental hospital?  Between that and Logan’s talk in the season premiere of what happened to Greg’s father, I feel like I am learning a lot about these absent family members in ways I wasn’t expecting.