Wrapping Up “Succession,” and Ranking the Characters
Well, there are “Succession” spoilers in here. I’m sorry about that, but we’ve just watched the final episode, and it was brilliant, and I am thinking about all sorts of things, and let’s be honest: JoeBlogs is as much about unloading thoughts clanging around in my brain as it is anything else.
Also, I’m old enough to have lived in a world where “spoilers” didn’t exist because television shows only played one time. On Wednesday morning, nobody said: “Don’t tell me what happened on ‘Happy Days’ last night; I’m going to wait three months for the rerun to find out if the Malachi Brothers got Fonzie with the Malachi Crunch.*
*Forty-seven-year-old spoiler alert: They didn’t.
Anyway, my “Succession” thoughts include some baseball, so here we go.
“Succession” seemed precisely the opposite of the sort of television show that Margo and I would watch passionately. Margo, in particular, normally has little use for shows or movies without a single sympathetic character. Later in this post, I’ll rank the characters based on the level of sympathy we felt for them, and it won’t be pretty.
Anyway, it’s hard to fully explain why we got so hooked on “Succession.” I mean, part of it is easy: The show was just so well-written and so well-acted that no matter how awful these people got, they were still mesmerizing and funny, and if you squinted and twisted just so, you could see a glimmer of humanity in them.
Plus, for me, it was a weekly morality play about the corrupting influence of power. Some of my favorite pieces of art — “The Godfather” movies, Robert Caro’s “The Power Broker,” “All the Kings Men,” “The Sopranos,” “The Wire” and so on — are about the way power perverts and destroys. And no show, in my mind, has done a more thorough job of showing the effect week after week because these are all such meager characters, transparent beyond reason.
There are so many scenes that stick in my mind, but one I think about all the time is
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