Alan Ruck as Connor Roy on Succession singing karaoke

‘Succession’ Just Did the Impossible With Connor Roy

When it comes to the Roy family of HBO’s Succession, I have my favorites among these horrible people—mainly, I love Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) and his nonsense. One of the siblings who I never particularly cared for, though, was Connor (Alan Ruck). It had nothing to do with Ruck’s brilliant performance and everything to do with Connor and what he stood for, especially in his political endeavors.

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But then, episode 2 of season 4, titled “Rehearsal,” came to be. Now, we know that Connor has often been the sibling left out. Everyone thinks he’s a joke and despite being the oldest Roy kid, he’s never even been a serious contender to take over the family company. Everyone just, well, ignores Connor. That’s why this episode really came out of left field in how it made us, as the audience, care for him.

When Connor’s rehearsal dinner before his wedding to Willa (Justine Lupe) ends with Willa saying that she “can’t do this” and leaving, Connor is left alone and wondering what is going to happen to his marriage. His siblings show up after it is all sad and done, and for a brief moment, Shiv (Sarah Snook) is still trying to make a deal and not caring about her brother.

But it takes Kendall and Roman (Kieran Culkin) showing her that Connor is not doing well for the Roy kids to all decide to hang out together. And boy oh boy did watching it fully break my brain because I was, as previously stated, not a fan of Connor and now I would … die for him? Like, I truly feel so badly for Connor in this episode of Succession what is HAPPENING to me?! It starts with karaoke …

Sometimes, you just need karaoke to sort your life out

Connor Roy and Willa sitting in bed together on Succession
(Macall Polay/HBO)

Kendall, Roman, and Shiv all decide that they’ll go do whatever Connor wants within reason. And for them, his request to go to karaoke is not within reason, because instead, they go to Peter McManus Cafe, a bar that I personally used to frequent after improv shows at UCB Chelsea. So who on the Succession staff used to go to UCB?

Anyway, they’re at this bar that I spent way too much time in, they’re all talking and ignoring Connor who is still, again, clearly not okay, and it takes Kendall to finally ask Connor what he wants to do. Again, he says karaoke, and finally we get to see the Roy kids at a karaoke bar in Koreatown. And it is then that I … suddenly find myself relating to Connor Roy.

Now look: Karaoke is one thing, but Connor also opens up to his siblings a lot in this episode. One of the things that really hits is when Connor tells them that he was always the one without love. And sure, we can laugh at it, but when you think about why he thinks that, it is incredibly sad. Connor, for three seasons, has always been a joke. He was the one no one took seriously and he knew it. And he says as much to his siblings.

A doomed marriage

Justine Lupe and Alan Ruck in Succession
(Macall B. Polay/HBO)

What Connor says to his siblings is that he’s never had love so he’s never really longed for it. They’ve all been loved at some point or another, mainly by their family and each other. For Connor, he’s been left on the sidelines by everyone in his life. So if Willa doesn’t marry him, he’ll find a way to just carry on. And that is so incredibly sad.

Willa, from the jump, was clearly in a relationship with Connor because he’d pay for her theatre projects. She didn’t seem to love him, but as the show went on, their relationship seemed to shift to where you thought that maybe she cared. However, saying that she “can’t do this” really confirmed that she still doesn’t necessarily love him.

What we see in the preview for next week, though, is Connor straight up asking her the truth. Their relationship has always been doomed, but this episode really makes you see where Connor’s thinking on it is and whether or not he’s actually ok with being unloved, and man, I can’t believe Succession made me feel for Connor.

(featured image: Macall Polay/HBO)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.