Succession: Inside Roman’s Mountaintop Breakdown and Shiv’s New Alliance

Warning: Spoilers for Succession season 4, episode 5 to observe. 

The primary moments of Succession’s new episode, “Kill Listing,” really feel acquainted for good cause. The episode opens with Kendall (Jeremy Robust) at the back of a chauffeured automobile pumping himself up with music forward of strolling into the empire his father constructed, Waystar RoyCo—“a throwback to the pilot,” factors out director Andrij Parekh, who was additionally the cinematographer on Succession’s first episode, “Celebration.” 

In that episode, 4 seasons in the past, Kendall’s father Logan (Brian Cox) was nonetheless alive; his psych-up monitor was Beastie Boys’ “An Open Letter to NYC;” and the phrases he selected to open his assembly have been, “Are we able to fuck, or what?” This time round, Logan is lifeless, and Kendall and his brother Roman (Kieran Culkin) have just lately been given the Waystar reins. So, Kendall’s psych-up monitor is, aptly, Jay Z’s “The Takeover.” His opening phrases to workers are equally jarring: “All proper, take a look at you fucking chumps.”

Kendall has skilled rather a lot for the reason that Succession pilot—most notably, his Chappaquiddicking of a cater-waiter, his close to drowning, numerous humiliations by his father, and, now, his father’s loss of life. However the opening sequence of “Kill Listing” and the ego excessive that Kendall rides a lot of the episode make you wonder if the entitled Roy inheritor has matured in 4 seasons. “I don’t know that he’s modified,” Parekh laughs. “I feel he nonetheless needs the identical factor.”

Although the brothers have been elected equals by the Waystar board, they strategy their new roles in a different way—Kendall jamming out to Jay Z and peacocking in entrance of his subordinates, whereas “we discover Roman within the workplace nearly enterprise as typical, avoiding mourning,” and curled up in a nook, Parekh says.

Whereas the final episode, “Honeymoon States,” befell nearly completely in a single location, Logan Roy’s penthouse, “Kill Listing” “abruptly explodes the opposite means,” Parekh says. Two days after their father’s loss of life, at Lukas Matsson’s (Alexander Skarsgård) insistence, the siblings and senior Waystar crew fly to the GoJo summit in Norway to try to shut the deal their father began. “They go to a overseas nation the place they’re whole fish out of water,” says the filmmaker, who has directed not less than one Succession episode every season. “It’s this double whammy of not being in their very own factor, but additionally emotionally being on the again foot, with the patriarch having handed away.”

Upon arrival, Kendall and Roman meet Matsson for an preliminary dialog on the highest of a mountainside in a glass-enclosed restaurant. Regardless of all of their private-jet prepping for the showdown, the brothers clumsily fall over one another in dialog. “We’re watching Matsson grow to be the brand new alpha” in negotiations, Parekh says. Kendall and Roman, in the meantime, “rapidly fall into the identical sample that they had with their father—they’re responding to an alpha male, versus changing into alpha themselves.”

Roman remains to be very a lot grieving—and when Matsson reveals that he needs to purchase Logan’s prized possession, the ATN information community, Roman visibly smarts. “For Roman, his relationship together with his father was far more sacred than Kendall’s,” says Parekh. “The ATN deal for Roman is a really private and sensitive topic. When the concept comes up, Roman is instantly like, ‘No means.’ He digs his heels in—‘We’re not going to do that.’ Whereas [Strong] form of performs it as Kendall could discover one thing attention-grabbing in that deal.”

Negotiations culminate with a cinematic assembly atop an precise mountain. The Succession forged and crew traveled to the fjords of Norway, between the Molden viewpoint and the Ålesund port city, to movie the episode, and “you form of wish to go to Norway for a cause,” Parekh says of selecting the majestic backdrop. “I wished the scene to really feel very harmful for the brothers—the truth that they must take this tram to climb this mountaintop and there’s no person round…. You don’t know what’s going to occur and no person’s going to witness it.” 

Although Roman’s been emotionally frayed since Logan’s loss of life, he reaches a breaking level on the gondola trip up after receiving an image from Connor (Alan Ruck), again in New York, who’s with Logan’s physique on the funeral parlor. 

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