In the penultimate episode of Succession, Roman completely botches his chance to be seen as a strong family leader. After Logan’s brother Ewan (James Cromwell) invades the funeral stage—Greg was supposed to be holding his grandfather back, preventing him from making a scene—to give a fantastic eulogy, Roman’s up next. He makes a complete fool of himself. After spending the last few episodes stomping around, firing everyone, trying (and usually, succeeding) to take as much control as possible, Roman loses everything as he crumbles on the stage.
It’s unclear if Roman is sobbing from sadness or embarrassment. It’s probably a mix of both, though the latter makes more sense, considering how emotionally unaffected he has seemed to be following their father’s death. (On the ride over the funeral, Roman was joking about how he might find Shiv sexy during her pregnancy. How sad can he be?)
Roman disappears for a while, before he gets his dignity back at the wake, in which all the attention has been diverted from Logan to Mencken. Again: Roman can’t be in mourning, because he wastes absolutely no time sauntering up to the president-elect, to ask when he’ll block the deal with GoJo. But Mencken has been playing the idiot brothers this entire time—he tells Roman that he’s “still thinking about it,” before Greg walks up to interrupt their conversation. Then, suddenly, everyone’s trying to have a chat with Mencken. It’s Shiv who gets the final word, stealing Mencken away to chat with Matsson—later on, they get the “yes.” Matsson and Shiv will take over Waystar.
The biggest power play at this funeral wasn’t about the company at all, though. Rather, it involved all of (unless there are more hiding beneath the woodwork) Logan Roy’s ex-lovers. Caroline (Harriet Walter), the mother of Shiv, Kendall, and Roman, totes her new husband around at the funeral. She makes a grand gesture, when she accepts Kerry (Zoe Winters), Logan’s assistant and most recent woman of the hour, into her loving arms, supporting her through lots of tears. Caroline guides Kerry through the crowd to Sally Ann, another woman whom she pulls beside her. The three walk like a line of ducklings up to Marcia (Hiam Abbass), Logan’s widow.
“Sally Ann was my Kerry, so to speak,” Caroline says to the group of women. “But it’s all water under the bridge now.”