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Succession Season 4's Big Episode Had No Business Going That Hard - And It Messed With My Emotions

Contains spoilers for "Succession" Season 4 Episode 3 — "Connor's Wedding."

If you, like me, are terminally online, you probably also knew that the third episode of the final season of "Succession", titled "Connor's Wedding," was going to be pretty huge. Critics were buzzing about it on Twitter. I was ready for the episode and whatever came to pass — except that, when it happened, I actually wasn't.

At first, I really thought a big character death would be cheap. In my mind, a writing team talented enough to make "Succession" one of the best dramas in recent television history wouldn't go for the obvious choice. I was completely wrong, because while it was the "obvious" choice — Logan Roy (Brian Cox) absolutely had to die this season — it was also done in the least obvious and most stunning way any fan could have imagined.

Logan's death was both inevitable and impossible, and forcing the viewer to experience it in real time along with his children Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Shiv (Sarah Snook), and Roman (Kieran Culkin), huddled around a speakerphone while their father receives chest compressions 30,000 feet in the air aboard his private plane was truly, completely shocking. I genuinely did not know I could feel this strongly about Logan Roy's demise, but that's why the trick "Succession" pulled off is so impressive.

Logan Roy was one of the cruelest characters in television history

It would be hard to pin down a meaner, worse character than Logan Roy, an absent father to his four children and an abusive boss to everybody in his company. Cox has repeatedly said that Logan's biggest problem is that he does love his children, but he's got a hell of a way of showing it, likely because Logan was rarely shown love in his own childhood (we previously saw that Logan's back is covered in scars from some sort of abuse, but now that he's dead, it's possible we'll never learn more about that).

I, like so many other Succession fans, admired Cox's legendary performance and understood that Logan was a complicated character crafted by some of the best minds working in television today. I also never liked him. This is a man who had his grandson taste his food when he thought it might be poisoned (and, not for nothing, asked if his grandson's autism diagnosis was "getting any better" in the very same scene). Logan was despicable from the beginning to the end, whether he was obviously carrying on an affair with his younger assistant Kerry (Zoe Winters) or cutting his children out of the family company to maintain the upper hand. There's very little that's sympathetic about the man — and yet, his death hit me like a ton of bricks.

How Succession managed to make Logan's death so impactful

It's the smaller moments of the episode that made Logan's death feel like the most game-changing, earth-shattering moment. Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen), loyal lieutenant to Logan and soon-to-be ex-husband to Shiv, tries to call Shiv twice, only for her to screen the call — and when he calls Roman to tell the kids their dad is "sick," it becomes apparent that Shiv really should have answered. We barely see Logan as he dies, and during those brief scenes aboard the plane while Tom holds his phone next to the dying man's ear, it was the sound of ongoing — and useless — chest compressions that paralyzed me.

Snook, Culkin, and Strong should be handed every major acting award immediately: cancel the Emmys this year and just have a "Succession" party. I felt like I was watching three real human beings in a documentary grapple with losing their complicated, awful, distant, larger-than-life father. Tethered to him by a shaky phone and talking through the speaker as they toss the mobile back and forth like a hot potato, the three kids are unmoored and unraveled, lost at sea while they're stuck on a boat that doesn't move for most of the episode. It's the stillness and laser-sharp focus of this episode that makes Logan's death — a not-so-special death, where he collapses by a toilet — into the largest possible event "Succession" will ever show.

This episode secures Succession's legacy as one of the best dramas of all-time

Within one hour, the team behind "Succession" — specifically, Jesse Armstrong and Mark Mylod, who wrote and directed "Connor's Wedding" — cemented the series' legacy for good. When people bring up the best dramas in television history, they typically mention "The Sopranos" or "The Wire," and now, "Succession" will stand with these giants ... and I'm really, really sorry, but I have to stop pretending I'm eventually going to watch "The Wire." Life is grim enough, you guys. I don't think I have it in me. But I digress. Armstrong and Mylod came at this episode from exactly the right vantage point, which is that Logan's death needed to be simultaneously unremarkable and the biggest thing to ever happen to every single character on-screen. They went so far as to film the scene with Culkin, Snook, and Strong in one take

In addition, it was an extremely conscious decision to keep Logan's death mostly off-screen. Logan's death isn't, in the end, about Logan. It's about the family and the business he leaves behind and the empty throne somebody will inevitably inhabit. Mylod and Armstrong, as well as the rest of the "Succession" creative team, pulled off a high wire performing act with "Connor's Wedding," and it makes sure the show's legacy is secure.

The huge twist in this Succession episode sets up a hell of a final season

Not only did this episode of "Succession" make me actively weep for an odious man and his equally terrible children — Shiv's voice cracks broke me at every turn, even though she has done so many cruddy things on this series — it made me realize that we're just getting started. This was only the third episode of the final season. There are 10 episodes in total. Logan's death, as well as everything he leaves behind, will be the inevitable focus of the rest of the season, and without him, "Succession" gets the opportunity to spiral wildly out of control — a manufactured lack of control helmed by some of the best minds in the business.

I'm not worried that "Succession" will get too sensational. I'm not worried about these remaining seven episodes in terms of plot or narrative structure or storytelling, because Armstrong, Mylod, and the writers and directors know what the hell they're doing. I am worried that this series — a show about the worst people on earth — will keep ripping my heart out until it ends.

I didn't come into "Succession" expecting to have my heart broken, and I certainly didn't come into it expecting to shed a single tear for Logan Roy. That's the magic of this show, though. Just when you think you know what to expect, it hits you where it hurts the most ... by giving you a front-row seat to the worst day of somebody's life.