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Succession S4 Episode 6 Is The Spiritual Sequel To Too Much Birthday

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Succession Season 4, Episode 6 — "Living+."

Over the four seasons of "Succession," Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) has primarily operated in two modes. There's sullen Ken, head hung low and dead-eyed, doing his best sad Charlie Brown in "Arrested Development" walk. Then there's power-hungry Ken, impish and grinning with doomed confidence, usually blasting rap out of some $700 headphones.

That latter mode is on full display in two "Succession" episodes that mirror one another: "Living+" and "Too Much Birthday." In Season 4 Episode 6, titled "Living+" after Waystar Royco's burgeoning real estate brand, Kendall is getting manic with power. The co-CEBro is conceptualizing outlandish plans for his shareholder presentation, bullishly disregarding lower-level employees' pragmatic pushback, and generally not taking "no" for an answer. Those plans, by the way, include an on-stage construction of a house and fabricated clouds, delivered ASAP.

Kendall's behavior in "Living+" is strikingly similar to his antics in the Season 3 episode "Too Much Birthday," in which he obsesses over his immersive, over-the-top birthday party, replete with a birth canal-inspired entryway and a VIP treehouse. The evening ultimately ends with Ken having an emotional breakdown. "Living+" serves as a spiritual sequel to its Season 3 predecessor, albeit with a vastly different conclusion.

Living+ and Too Much Birthday put Kendall's over-inflated sense of showmanship on display

Kendall's flashes of frenzied enthusiasm and extreme sense of showmanship are obvious to his siblings, who endure the proceedings with some combination of exasperation and disdain. In "Living+," Shiv (Sarah Snook) senses that the Kendall of "Too Much Birthday" is looming. "He's got that gleam in his eye," she tells Roman (Kieran Culkin).

For Kendall, his birthday and his first big presentation as co-CEO are both opportunities for some hubristic, rich-guy flourishes, whether it's a high-concept "compliment tunnel" or speaking to his late father via a hologram-esque video. Sure, both occasions are ostentatious, but they also share a real longing for connection.

Of "Too Much Birthday," Jeremy Strong told Thrillist, "It's a very solipsistic birthday party ... He wanted to throw a big party with lots of spectacle and bravura," said Strong, adding, "I think what Kendall wanted from this party is a feeling of human connection." With "Living+," Kendall is bringing that vision to life in the form of a real estate gambit that synthesizes Waystar's technologies to offer longevity and community.

Redemption for daddy's number one boy

Both "Too Much Birthday" and "Living+" capture the lofty aspirations of TV's biggest failson, thanks in part to director Lorene Scafaria, who helmed both episodes. (Notably, both episodes were also co-written by Georgia Pritchett.) "Throwing a birthday party for yourself just naturally is [a little sad]," Scafaria told Thrillist, "but when you're taking such giant swings like this, when you're putting it on this scale you're just bound to have a temper tantrum."

In "Living+," Kendall's big swings seem doomed to fail. He's muttering about big shoes, his siblings and the old guard alike are mocking him behind the scenes, and he's donning a costumey flight jacket à la his "Too Much Birthday" bomber. Improbably, however, he doesn't crash and burn. In fact, the presentation plays well, despite a cruelly timed Twitter temper tantrum from Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård).

At the end of "Too Much Birthday," Kendall is broken and alone, tearfully digging through a mountain of presents before retiring to his penthouse. He's alone again at the end of "Living+," but this time Kendall is at peace, floating in the ocean. If the ever-changing "Succession" power rankings are any indication, Kendall's high note may not last. For now, however, he's content staring skyward, even if he's just treading water.