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‘Succession’: Is Kendall a Killer Yet? Brian Cox Thinks So

The Roys set sail aboard a refitted yacht in the Mediterranean in the Season 2 finale of “Succession” Sunday, but it was hardly a vacation. Logan Roy (Brian Cox) gathers his family (including Gerri, and some others) to figure out whose head will be put on a stake as Waystar Royco’s sacrificial lamb offering to its shareholders. Cox breaks down the shocking twist behind the episode, and what he suspects will happen in Season 3.

I guess the most obvious question is, is Kendall a killer yet?

Well, it looks as if he is. [Laughs.] We’ll have to wait until next season to see if he is. He’s obviously gone public, so he’s achieved his first steps towards killing. His father is both impressed and kind of got a frisson from it. 

Does that explain Logan’s Mona Lisa smile at the very end?

I think it does explain that. There has to be a blood sacrifice. Logan, of course, never thought for one minute it was going to be himself, except, when the shareholders said the need, he realizes that he’s in the frame to be the blood sacrifice. And of course, he ends up the blood sacrifice, because of what Kendall does.

What did you think of the finale when you first read it?

It was completely wonderful. I’ve been with this show for two seasons so I can see where they’re going, and it’s always surprising, but it’s also understandable. The end of it made enormous sense. The mystery as always, still remains. Does Logan need this, does Logan need that? It’s up for debate, and it should be up for debate. That’s what great drama is about.

Kendall has really grown since the pilot. Especially his relationship with his father.

Yeah, and the thing about Logan is: In the game you have to be a killer. You have to be a killer in that game. This is the thing that Kendall never quite steps up to. He always avoids. And of course his relationship, the relationships with the various women, the relationship with drugs, is all a kind of avoidance. And Logan is looking for a successor, and he wants it to be within his family. He now sort of said, “Well, this is your opportunity, if you’re not a killer, I don’t know if you are.” This immediately sort of, ratchets it up for Kendall, and then he turns on his father and Logan says, “Well, at least something’s happened.” [Laughs.] 

Obviously the show is about the succession of it all, do you now think it is shaping up to be about waging war between father and son?

I think we’ll see that. The thing that I’ve learned about this show, and what makes it complicated, is that they do love their father, and the other thing is that Logan loves his children, he really does love his children. But of course, the problem is, his children have not really stepped up to the plate. Now the thing that has happened at the end of this episode is that finally, finally, Kendall has declared himself. Finally, he has said “My dad’s a bad guy,” and that’s the beginning of something.

What’s going on with Roman now?

Now Roman’s come of age. Roman has shown himself wonderfully well in that last episode. His defense of Gerri was very honorable. And also his understanding of the fakeness of this private money, the foreign money that was going to come, and, of course, challenging Laird about the efficacy. Certainly he is not a f–k-knuckle, he has grown up. Suddenly, saying this boy is considerable, he’s lived through it. We’ve got Roman to look forward to as well next season.

Tom also has a moment when he takes your chicken. Was that scripted or improvised?

No, no, no it was all scripted. All scripted. In fact there was more to it, but they rightly cut it, which I thought was a good edit.

What did they cut?

They cut the fact that when Tom walks away from me he says, “Is he looking? Is he looking? How is he reacting?” He’s got this little thing with Shiv, whereas actually they cut that, which was quite right, so that we didn’t get into that. We didn’t get into the fact that Tom had second thoughts. Tom did the action that was done and it was a very judicious and right edit.

There is a huge political component in the show — Logan Roy obviously wants influence in the White House. What do you think of the upcoming 2020 election in America?

You couldn’t write this stuff, it’s so ridiculous. We have this pink Pinocchio in the White House and I’m surprised his nose doesn’t penetrate the television screen, the amount of lies that man talks. We have a similar thing in the U.K. with our Prime Minister, God knows how much longer he’s going to be Prime Minister, but it’s kind of nuts. I think that everybody is running around like headless chickens because nobody has ever seen this kind of animal at work before, the kind of mindlessness of him. And, now what’s happened to Turkey and Syria. The man is such an idiot, he really is. It’s unbelievable to be living in this time and seeing this kind of… Drama, drama looks so tame compared to what’s going on.

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