Succession season 4, episode 9 recap: Church and State

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 12: Sarah Snook, Arian Moayed, Brian Cox, Jesse Armstrong, Kieran Culkin, J. Smith-Cameron and Alan Ruck attend the HBO's "Succession" Season 3 Premiere at American Museum of Natural History on October 12, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 12: Sarah Snook, Arian Moayed, Brian Cox, Jesse Armstrong, Kieran Culkin, J. Smith-Cameron and Alan Ruck attend the HBO's "Succession" Season 3 Premiere at American Museum of Natural History on October 12, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images) /

Church and State, the second-to-last episode of HBO’s Succession, begins with a reminder that ATN News called the Presidential election for Jeryd Mencken before all the votes were counted in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The decision is all the more controversial because other networks hadn’t called it, plus votes had been lost due to a firebombing incident at a voting facility.

Meanwhile, Rava Roy is concerned about safety due to protests and refuses to take her children to the funeral of Logan Roy. Though Kendall “Ken” Roy attempts to strong-arm her into attending the funeral, she successfully eludes his efforts and presumably leaves the city to wherever she feels she’ll be safe.

Next, careerist ATN leader Tom Wambsgans tells underling Greg Hirsch to tell Mencken that Wambsgans made the call to declare him, President. It’s an obvious attempt to remind Mencken that ATN has his back, and it’s heavily implied he expects some reciprocation.

It should also be noted that, as Tom’s relationship with Shiv has totally soured, he will likely focus even more on his career as a coping mechanism. After all, what else does he really have going on?

Succession season 4, episode 9 recap: Rifts

On the way to Logan’s funeral, Shiv informs her brothers that she is pregnant, and Roman Roy responds by saying disgusting things to her, including sexualizing her hypothetical breastfeeding. Then, as if to verify Rava’s fears, protesters bang on their limo door.

Moments later, in a semi-private moment, Ken tells assistant Jess Jordan (Juliana Canfield) that he wants to arrange for custody of his kids. She seems to agree, but then strongly suggests she intends to leave her job, possibly due to ATN’s support of Mencken.

At the funeral itself, Roman continues more of his offensive comments, telling Ken that he plans to have sex with Marcia (Hiam Abbass), his stepmom, on his father’s coffin. Next, Roman puts Greg on “Ewan watch,” to prevent Ewan Roy (James Cromwell) from stirring up controversy by criticizing his brother Logan.

Shiv is at the funeral, too, but is almost more focused on making the GoJo deal successful, hoping to get a CEO gig under the company ownership of Lukas Matsson. Recall that Shiv had been sidelined from becoming CEO by her father, whose sexism no doubt played a role in exaggerating her lack of qualifications, (Roman was obviously not qualified due to his outrageous behavior yet was chosen anyway).

On that note, it’s only fitting that Logan’s exes all sit together, and it’s made abundantly clear they have mixed feelings about how Logan treated them.

Succession season 4, episode 9 recap: Logan Roy’s polarizing and brutally honest eulogies

For those who thought Succession should have more thoroughly explored the conflict between Logan and Ewan, this episode brings some of that back. Ewan actually does make it first to the microphone to offer a controversial eulogy.

After mentioning that Logan probably gave their sister Rose a fatal case of polio, Ewan says that, through Waystar’s ATN far-right propaganda, Logan has, “wrought the most terrible things.” He also says that, even though Logan did occasional charity events, “he was not a generous man,” and he was mean.

Not everyone disagrees with Ewan entirely, and some even respect his courage; Greg sheepishly says, “That’s a good, hard take that you gave.” Moments later, Roman totally fumbles the ball with his eulogy and even says “F***” in the church, (something people are probably not supposed to do).

Roman sobs, unable to even begin, but also revealing he was probably overcompensating a “tough guy” image by making his gross jokes earlier. The previous eulogy moments seem to embolden Ken, who steps up and admits his, “a brute,” but mentions all, “the lives, and the livings, and the things that he made, and the money,” and that, “he made life happen.”

Let’s also not forget that Ken had a pretty brutal relationship with Logan himself, to the point where the two were basically enemies. Next, Shiv gives her brief eulogy, noting that Logan, “was hard on women” but nonetheless that she will miss him.

After this particular funerary dust settles, Ken makes a bit of a deal with Hugo Baker (Fisher Stevens), saying it’s not a “collaboration” and “you’ll be my dog, but the scraps from the table will be millions.” Ken then tries to solidify his bond with Mencken, but Mencken seems only lukewarm about it.

In Ken’s mind, this may be partly due to Roman’s emotional display during the eulogy, which could be construed by some as weakness, (never mind that it was a funeral).

Succession season 4, episode 9 recap: The Roy boys vs. Shiv the Shiv?

As the episode draws to a close, Matsson tells Mencken he wants Waystar RoyCo. Then Shiv mentions to Matsson that she wants the deal to go through and that she wants to be the American CEO, which might be considered somewhat of an image makeover.

However, the episode doesn’t make Shiv seem solely interested in business; she encourages Tom to go to their formerly shared apartment to sleep and to hide from any media attention. However, we know the series finale might be big, as Ken becomes quite aware of what Shiv has planned, calling the eventual showdown, “the Roy boys vs Shiv the Shiv.”

Succession season 4, episode 9 recap: Roman takes a beating

Near the end of the episode, Roman harasses protesters, then actually walks among them, all but ensuring he will get a hostile reaction. Indeed, one of them punches him, after being somewhat provoked.

While it’s tempting to say Roman is just defending his dad’s honor and legacy, this is no doubt also Roman’s way of punishing himself for failing to deliver a proper eulogy and also for not properly controlling the outcome with Mencken. Ken’s idea was to flip the script and have Waystar take over GoJo.

Roman, who has exhibited masochistic elements before, no doubt felt obligated to take a beating from someone, and this protest was a perfect opportunity.

Next. Breakdown and review of Silo season 1, episode 3: Machines. dark

What are your thoughts on this episode of HBO’s Succession? Let us know in the comments!