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Succession fans disagree over meaning behind major moment in season finale

What did you think about this Roman and Kendall moment in the season finale?

What did you think of the Succession finale?
Emmy Griffiths
TV & Film Editor
30 May 2023
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Succession’s season finale has been widely praised by fans and critics alike, but there is a very interesting moment in the last episode that fans can’t quite agree with. Warning, spoilers ahead…

In the episode, the Roy siblings are at Waystar Royco waiting for the board meeting to commence when Roman panics when he sees Gerri. After appearing to unravel while questioning what people will think when they see him - and why he isn’t being named the CEO - Kendall hugs him tightly, breaking the stitches on his forehead. 

Fans can’t quite agree on what the moment was all about, with some believing that Roman wanted Kendall to make him appear injured as a reason for him not becoming CEO, while others believed that it was Kendall asserting his power over his younger brother. 

One person wrote: “Kendall slowly and quietly pushing Roman’s head into his shoulder to burst his stitches open probably the scariest scene on tv this year so far,” with another fan replying: “Is this how you saw it? I really thought it was Roman pushing his forehead hard against Ken in self harm.” 

Kendall was shocked when Shiv decided against the deal in Succession© Home Box Office
Kendall was shocked when Shiv decided against the deal in Succession

A third viewer added: “The more I think/read about it, the more it seems like it was a scene where Kendall could tell himself he was helping Roman, but he was willing to physically hurt him to do it, which Kendall had never done before.”

“I saw it as a mutual (but awful) thing,” another fan pointed out. “Kendall pushing his head in as an assertion of dominance/control (a la Logan) but Roman also leaning into it, not trying very hard to get away due to his own masochism & the way it ‘comforts’ him (a la Logan).” What do you think? 

Kendall lost out on being the CEO of Succession© HBO
Kendall lost out on being the CEO of Succession

The show ended in tragedy, with Roman, Shiv and Kendall divided after Shiv’s decision to ultimately agree to GoJo’s deal cause in-fighting between the three of them. With the deal successfully going through, Lukas Matsson makes Tom the new CEO, while Kendall is left bereft and with nothing, Shiv denigrated to the CEO’s wife rather than the CEO herself, and Roman appearing to return to his party-goer ways while numbly ordering a drink at the bar. 

MORE: Succession’s Sarah Snook announces birth of first child in bittersweet tribute

MORE: Sarah Snook's first project after Succession sounds seriously good

Speaking about deciding to end the show where he did, creator Jesse Armstrong explained: “I thought about all their stories. You know, they don’t end. They will carry on. But it’s sort of where this show loses interest in them because they’ve lost what they wanted, which was to succeed – which, you know, was this prize that their father held out.” 

He continued: “In a reductive, brutal way, Roman ends up exactly where he started. Shiv is still in play, I’d say, in a rather terrifying, frozen, emotionally barren place.

Roman in the Succession finale© Home Box Office
Roman in the Succession finale

“For Kendall, this will never stop being the central event of his life, the central days of his life, central couple of years of his life. Maybe he could go on and start a company, or do a thing. But the chances of him achieving the sort of corporate status that his dad achieved are very low. And I think that will mark his whole life.” 

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