I finally watched the Season 2 finale of Succession, a television show that is not deep but has the aesthetics of deep and so is often mistaken for deep. Still, each episode offered a new version of grotesque that was generally hard to look at, which also felt like the point. It was like staring into the sun, if the sun were bad.
Part of that was attributable to Jeremy Strong’s incredible ability to conjure the saddest bitch you can ever fucking imagine and really become that sad bitch. Every week, I would find myself asking if Kendall could be any more of a husk of a person. The answer, always: yes.
As a belated goodbye to the show’s second season, here is a collection of Kendall’s saddest moments—a tribute to the true heir of the void.
I am so filled with love and contempt here! The big headphones and sunglasses combination—it’s like your 13-year-old cousin adorned in the accessories handed out by the DJ at your aunt’s wedding except he also knows that life is pain. He’s a little boy and also a fully destroyed adult! It’s too much!
The show’s costume designer, Michelle Matland, seems to have an amazing talent for dressing Kendall for humiliation. The bathrobe is such a vulnerable garment! (Have the words “silica mud treatment” ever sounded so full of despair?)
The coat is just slightly too big in the shoulders, the shape swallowing him as he prepares to see his brother and sister for the first time since a failed coup attempt and also vehicular manslaughter. This shell of a man! Call me!
You can only see Strong’s eyes here, but the sorrow is so piercing that it radiates through the helmet. There is also something about the idea of being wordlessly escorted around on someone else’s motorcycle that really fucks me up. You are holding onto a stranger—there’s intimacy, but there’s no intimacy. Motorcycle sadness through the city at night—fuck!
The hat is too big, but it is also just big enough to hold all the melancholy of preparing to betray your brother as a part of an endless maneuver to feel loved by your father. (Neither of these men deserve love, it’s incredible!)
It’s like his body is pissing dejection and the long-building consequences of not having healthy boundaries with loved ones who can’t support your emotional needs. Bravo!
Here, Kendall realizes that at some level his coping mechanisms are actually trapping him in a cycle of more pain for himself and others! This is the look of a man who knows he will still go back to that well and drink some more. Call me, again!