Logan’s complicated legacy is explored, as those responsible for preserving it continue to become the worst possible versions of themselves.
This recap of Succession Season 4 Episode 9, “Church and State”, contains spoilers.
Succession used to be about who would win. At this point, it’s clear nobody will.
I know it’s not an interesting observation, since it’s the one everybody is making, but Jesse Armstrong has made the theme of this fourth and final season so clear that it’d be negligent not to talk about it. Every Roy sibling got a glimpse of a potential future without their father, a path to power and personal sovereignty, finally freed from his long shadow.
And every one of them, without exception, ruined it for themselves and each other out of spite, greed, delusion, anxiety, desperation, and ignorance. When they were finally allowed to show who they really are, they revealed themselves to be even worse than we imagined.
Succession Season 4 Episode 9 Recap
Perhaps the very worst is Roman, who begins “Church and State” happily reciting the speech he’s giving at his father’s funeral while ad-libbing lines about his own success as a kingmaker, having been instrumental in declaring Jeryd Mencken the new President of the United States in Episode 8.
The key word there is “declaring” since the votes still haven’t been officially tallied up yet and the country is up in arms about it to the extent that Kendall’s wife and children are getting out of the city for their own safety.
Kendall is barely holding it together. He wildly overreacts to this news, and when Jess tells him she’s considering moving onto greener, less fascistic far-right pastures, he goes ballistic about that too.
Shiv, meanwhile, pushes Matsson to leak his fuzzy South Asia subscriber numbers so the scandal will be swallowed up by the media furor surrounding Mencken’s election and Logan’s funeral. She also tells her brothers she’s pregnant.
But it seems everyone knows about Shiv being pregnant. Caroline, her mother, senses it immediately. When Shiv pitches Matsson the idea of a US CEO to appease Mencken if he’s elected, and naturally suggests herself for the role, Matsson’s worried about her impending motherhood. (Shiv assures him she’ll be totally neglectful of the baby and get straight back to work, and thus the Roy parenting cycle begins anew).
Who speaks at Logan’s funeral?
But most of “Church and State” is devoted to speeches. One at a time, Logan’s family members stand before those assembled — to grieve, to gladhand, to potentially benefit — and regale them with stories and opinions of Logan. Ewan starts, despite Cousin Greg having been instructed not to let him speak at all. Roman follows and, after all his bluster, immediately collapses into a quivering mess and has to once again hand the reins to Kendall.
Kendall, as always, makes the most of it. He describes Logan as one might some kind of terrifying creator-God. Shiv explains that he tried his best but never quite managed to square having a daughter with his deep-rooted misogyny (I’m paraphrasing). Connor, who had prepared a speech that may or may not have included some things that could have later been used in court, thankfully doesn’t say anything.
Succession Season 4 Episode 9 Ending Explained
The funeral is, to put things mildly, a mess. But between all the speeches and odd outpouring of legitimate emotion, shady backstabbing ploys continue apace.
With Roman having shown himself up during the funeral, he has also lost face in the eyes of Mencken, and thus his blocking the GoJo deal is no longer a sure thing. To make matters worse, Shiv and Matsson team up to schmooze Mencken with the idea of installing someone — maybe Shiv, maybe not — as a Stateside CEO, so Kendall’s secret plan to just rule Waystar himself seems to the only viable alternative for keeping the company under Roy management.
He’ll love that, of course, but nobody else will.
“Church and State” ends with Roman rushing out into the crowds of protestors, antagonizing them all until he’s struck and trampled by the masses. We all grieve differently, I suppose.
You can stream Succession Season 4 Episode 9, “Church and State” exclusively on HBO and HBO Max.