I’ve Convinced Myself I Know How Kendall Roy’s Story Will End on ‘Succession’
HBO’s Succession has everyone divided on who their favorite characters are. For me, it’s always been Jeremy Strong’s performance as Kendall Roy. He’s a mess and just wanted his father’s approval, and I love him very much—vehicular manslaughter and all. From season 1 of the series onward, Kendall and water have always been a terrifying combination. At the end of the first season, Kendall (while high) wrecked a car, killing one of the servers from Shiv’s wedding while almost killing himself. It was there that Logan (Brian Cox) told him that he was his “number one boy.”
But Kendall’s connection to water has continued. He almost died in a pool in season 3, and he was on a boat with his family during season 2 when he was thinking about what his father was asking him to do. Point is: There’s lots of water, and it’s rarely a good time for Kendall. And in season 4 episode 6, titled “Living+,” we got to see Kendall just “unwind” by walking into the ocean.
You know who also walked into the ocean when the world got too much for her? Edna Pontellier in the Kate Chopin novel The Awakening, and seeing Kendall staring at the ocean and walking into it unlocked a fictional character fear that I often have since reading that book: I’m terrified that Kendall’s story is going to end with him just walking into the ocean like Edna and never returning.
It’d fit with Kendall as a character, and given his track record with water, I wouldn’t put it past the show, either. But if it is truly and honestly a connection to The Awakening? That’d be a fascinating look at character, mental health, and privilege all rolled into one.
Edna and Kendall, oh my
In The Awakening, Edna Pontellier is a wealthy woman who seemingly has everything she could want but still isn’t happy. Kendall Roy is the son of a billionaire who is essentially destined to work for his father’s company and still, he struggles. The two are wealthy white people who should have no problems but they are, mentally, not happy about the lives they lead. For Edna, it is trying to find love while on vacation with her family. For Kendall, it is about finding acceptance with his father.
The two are self-destructive and make a mess of their lives, but they are not that dissimilar. That’s why I’m so fascinated by the use of water with Kendall in Succession. He’s a lot like Edna, privileged and yet unfulfilled, and that privileged life leads a lot of opportunities to crash and burn it to the ground. Maybe their similarity is why I’m so convinced Kendall will walk into the ocean as Edna did by the end of the series, but it would also narratively make sense for both Succession and how similar Kendall Roy is to Kate Chopin’s Edna.
I think about The Awakening a lot
The Awakening was reading that was assigned while I was in high school. It was revolutionary to me because it was written by a woman and had a complicated female character who wasn’t exactly all happy about motherhood, while it was published in 1899. I thought that was radical as a teenager, but I couldn’t have predicted just how much I still think about it all these years later. I read that book the summer between my sophomore and junior year of high school. That was back in the late ’00s, and still, I think about Edna walking into the ocean.
Every time I see someone just staring out at the water, I think about it, and honestly, if Kendall Roy thought about this novel? He’d be doing the same thing I am. So it’s not far-fetched, at least in my mind, to think that this show would end with Kendall Roy just saying “f**k it all” and walking into a watery grave just as Edna did. And with all three seasons leading up to this having to do with water and Kendall almost dying?! I’m not coming out of left field with this prediction, and you cannot convince me that Kendall hasn’t at least heard of Kate Chopin. I think he probably owns a first edition copy of The Awakening somewhere.
(featured image: HBO)
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