Kendall Roy’s 9 Best Scenes In Succession, Ranked

Summary

  • Kendall Roy’s character arc in
    Succession
    is marked by his struggles with his father and his own identity, which leads to powerful and dramatic performances from Jeremy Strong.
  • Kendall’s best moments in the show include his hilarious and cringe-worthy rap performance for his father, an emotional scene where he reveals the truth about the waiter’s death, and a devastating interaction with Logan.
  • Kendall’s press conference, where he deviates from the agreed-upon story and declares war on his father, showcases a rare moment of success in standing up to Logan.



Succession follows all the Roy siblings in their efforts to take over their father’s empire, but Kendall Roy is arguably the beating heart of the show — and Jeremy Strong’s character has some of the best scenes in the entire HBO series. The eldest of the Roy siblings — aside from Connor, who never seems to get any recognition — Kendall is the most obvious choice to inherit the most-coveted position at Waystar Royco. This drives the series, as Kendall rarely sees eye to eye with Logan, creating conflict between the two characters over Succession‘s four seasons.

Kendall’s issues with his father may have taken centerstage throughout the HBO show, but his drug addiction and other interpersonal relationships also set the stage for some truly dramatic moments. Kendall’s entire character arc sees him struggling with who he is and who he’d like to be. This leads to some great performances from Strong, and many of which make up Kendall Roy’s best moments.


Succession
seasons 1-4 are currently streaming on Max.


9 Kendall Singing “L To The OG” To Logan

Succession Season 2, Episode 8 – “Dundee”

One of the most hilarious and cringe-worthy Kendall moments in Succession is when he raps “L to the OG” for Logan in season 2’s “Dundee.” This moment is particularly memorable for how uncomfortable it is, but it also shows a funnier side to Kendall that offers a nice change of pace given his serious nature. This scene became iconic after it aired, being turned into memes left and right. It doesn’t compare to Strong’s more tragic performances, but it still ranks among Kendall’s top moments for its humor and general impact.


8 The Roys Anointing Kendall

Succession Season 4, Episode 10 – “With Open Eyes”

Shiv and Roman Roy giving Kendall a full blender in Succession

The Succession series finale, “With Open Eyes,” features one of the few scenes where the three main Roy siblings get along. While at their mother’s home, Roman and Shiv decide to anoint Kendall “king” and make him a “meal fit for a king.” This involves creating a disgusting concoction in the kitchen to celebrate — or “mourn” — their joint decision to keep the firm. It’s one of the most hopeful moments of Succession, even if it doesn’t last an entire episode. And it shows the Roys at their most childish, which is a pleasant surprise, especially for someone as serious as Kendall.


What really cements this as one of Kendall’s best moments is his relief that things will finally be good for the Roys. Strong shows his acting talent through this brief and subtle moment, which makes what comes after that much more heartbreaking. It’s clear throughout Succession that the Roys might actually like a healthy family dynamic, and this shines through during this scene. Sadly, it’s not long or powerful enough to rank above Kendall’s other great moments — and the fact that the kids’ ambitions win out doesn’t help its case.

7 Visiting The Waiter’s Family With Logan

Succession Season 2, Episode 7 – “Return”

Jeremy Strong as Kendall Roy looking upset in Succession


Logan certainly knows how to play games with his children, and bringing Kendall to the home of the waiter he kills in season 1 is one of the media mogul’s cruelest moments. Kendall’s reaction is heartbreaking, and it offers a rare display of humanity from the character. Strong captures the complex feelings going on in Kendall’s mind well, and he does so using minimal dialogue. This is one of the early displays of Strong’s talent, though he has more powerful scenes in the midst of certain tragedies and confrontations — including when the waiter actually dies.

6 Insisting He’s A Better Person Than Logan

Succession Season 3, Episode 8 – “Chiantishire”

Brian Cox and Jeremy Strong as Logan and Kendall Roy eating a meal in Succession


Kendall and Logan have the most strained relationship in Succession, and “Chiantishire” demonstrates that during their dinner together. After an entire season at odds with one another, Kendall and Logan attempt to have a civil discussion. That’s made impossible by Logan’s suspicion that Kendall is trying to poison him and Kendall’s insistence that he’s a better person than his dad. It’s clear that Kendall is trying to convince himself of the latter, and Strong’s performance drives home how little it’s working. Logan’s jabs hit home, making this a devastating scene. It’s not as powerful as the top five, but it comes close.

5 Kendall’s Press Conference

Succession Season 2, Episode 10 – “This Is Not for Tears”

Kendall talks into microphones in Succession


After much discussion about who will take the fall for the scandal within Waystar Royco’s cruise division, Kendall finally agrees to go to prison for his father. However, when Kendall sits down to give his press conference during the Succession season 2 finale, their agreed-upon story isn’t what comes out. Still resentful towards his father — perhaps more so after realizing how disposable he is — Kendall tells a room full of people how problematic his father really is. He also confirms that Logan knows about everything that happens at his company, declaring war on his father.

While this isn’t Strong’s most emotional performance of the series, this scene marks one of Kendall’s biggest wins throughout Succession. He’s rarely successful when it comes to standing up to his father, so the season 2 finale marks a turning point of sorts. While he never truly manages to outsmart Logan, it’s clear from Cox’s expression that his power move here even made Logan proud. Kendall’s more emotional moments are more compelling, but this is still a top five scene for the character.


4 “I’m The Eldest Boy!”

Succession Season 4, Episode 10 – “With Open Eyes”

Kendall, Shiv, and Roman’s final scene together is one of Succession‘s greatest, and Strong’s character shines the most during this dramatic interaction. After Shiv goes back on her decision to keep the firm and appoint Kendall the head of it, Kendall completely loses his temper. His attempts to change Shiv’s mind highlight the incompetence that put the Roys in this situation in the first place. And Kendall’s assertion that he’s “the eldest boy” is as hilarious as it is sad. Kendall assaulting Roman also marks a new low in his character arc, and Strong plays the entire scene expertly.


Strong captures all of Kendall’s emotions throughout this Succession scene well, embodying the resentment and grief that’s been building since the beginning of the show. Kendall’s actual moments of grief rank higher, but this scene is powerful enough to be in the top four. It’s also iconic given that it brings the main storyline of the series to a tragic close.

3 Telling Shiv & Roman He Killed The Waiter

Succession Season 3, Episode 9 – “All the Bells Say”

Shiv, Roman, and Kendall in Succession episode All The Bells Say

The Succession season 3 finale sees the Roys realizing their father is about to screw them over, and Roman and Shiv attempt to recruit Kendall to put an end to his dealings. However, Kendall is utterly disinterested in what they have to say. In an emotional moment, he breaks down in front of his siblings and tells them what happened to the waiter at Shiv’s wedding. He finally voices how he truly feels about himself: that he’s a terrible person. Strong’s performance is believable and harrowing, and he conveys the emptiness inside Kendall during this period well.


Strong’s perfromance also showcases a vulnerability that’s only visible in rare moments throughout Succession. Kieran Culkin and Sarah Snook also put on great performances during this touching and heartbreaking scene. Still, Strong steals the show, landing this among his character’s top three moments. Of course, there are two that are far more difficult to watch.

2 The Death Of The Waiter During Shiv’s Wedding

Succession Season 1, Episode 10 – “Nobody Is Ever Missing”

Kendall Succession Season 1 Finale


One of the tensest moments of Succession takes place during the season 1 finale, when Kendall attempts to score cocaine from a waiter at Shiv’s wedding. Unfortunately, he drives his car into a river on the way to meet the boy’s contact. Kendall survives the accident, but the waiter drowns. It’s hard to deny Strong’s immense acting skills as the realization of what he’s done washes over Kendall. After attempting to rescue the boy, Kendall is overcome with fear and regret. This is obvious from Strong’s expressions alone, which convey everything his character is feeling as the tragedy unfolds.

As though Strong’s performance during the crash isn’t powerful enough, the actor really lets loose when Logan confronts Kendall about the waiter’s death. It’s enough to make viewers feel for Kendall, even knowing he’s in the wrong. It’s undoubtedly one of Strong’s top performances, but it doesn’t compare to his reaction to another major death.

1 Kendall Realizing Logan’s Dead

Succession Season 4, Episode 3 – “Connor’s Wedding”


The Roys unexpectedly learning of Logan’s death during “Connor’s Wedding” is one of the saddest moments of Succession, and this scene features some of the best acting of the entire series. The entire Succession cast gives it their all here, and Kendall’s solo interaction with Frank offers a heartbreaking and accurate depiction of grief. Accustomed to getting whatever he wants, the eldest Roy sibling demands to speak to the pilot. When that doesn’t work, he’s forced to grapple with the fact that he has no control over this particular situation — and that his father is truly gone without resolving their relationship.

Kendall’s teary-eyed defeat drives the seriousness of Logan’s death home, forcing the Roys and the audience to accept the media giant’s fate. Strong’s discussion with Frank is nearly on par with Culkin’s breakdown at Logan’s funeral, which is Roman Roy’s best Succession scene. Both moments highlight how emotional Succession can be, pushing viewers to feel for characters who are otherwise unlikable.


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Succession

Succession is a Black Comedy and Satire television show created by Jesse Armstrong. It stars Hiam Abbass, Nicholas Braun, Brian Cox, and Kieran Culkin and follows the story of an aging conglomerate owner as he deals with his declining health and the sudden realization that one of his children will soon inherit his position and run his company.

Cast
Hiam Abbass , Alan Ruck , Sarah Snook , Kieran Culkin , Natalie Gold , Nicholas Braun , J. Smith-Cameron , Matthew Macfadyen , Peter Friedman , Brian Cox , Arian Moayed , Jeremy Strong , Rob Yang , Dagmara Dominczyk

Seasons
3

Writers
Jesse Armstrong

Network
HBO Max

Directors
Mark Mylod

Showrunner
Jesse Armstrong