Succession is a show that constantly forces us to question our own moral compass. Should we root for certain characters? Should we laugh at certain jokes? Should puffer vests and turtlenecks look that good on the human frame?
But perhaps the greatest moral conundrum this HBO drama presents targets our baser instincts, our biological imperatives, our sexual preferences, the ramblings of our own inner hormone monster: Why do we find Succession’s resident sad boy, Kendall Roy, so damn attractive?
Kendall was the heir apparent in season one, a billionaire manic pixie dream boy who got hyped for board meetings by listening to the Beastie Boys and probably climaxed to the thought of “controlling the narrative.” Played by the multifaceted, unfairly talented Jeremy Strong, Kendall gave off mad sad fuccboi vibes. He was a Silicon Valley wannabe-John Keats, an Edgar Allan Poe raised in the Hamptons. He had ambition and drive, but no backbone to sustain them, stuttering through proposed takeovers and questioning big initiatives at the slightest hint of criticism from his overbearing, abusive father.
He was a daddy’s boy masquerading as the bold heir apparent to the Waystar Corp., a young-blood intent on reshaping his father’s legacy but unsure of how to go about it. Kendall Roy was the kind of Wall Street hotshot who’d gleefully swing his dick around the boardroom one second before apologizing when it inevitably slapped someone in the face the next.
And in season two, he only grew worse.
After launching a hostile takeover of his father’s company, Kendall, an embattled addict, rediscovered his love for nose candy – a doomed courtship that led him to seek drugs from a 20-something busboy during his sister’s wedding across the pond. The trip to score some powder ended with Kendall driving off into a ravine, the young waiter drowning, and the eldest Roy slipping back to the sanctuary of his family’s castle, into the arms of his manipulative father who used the whole affair to re-establish dominance over Kendall and the Waystar brand.
This season, we’ve watched as Kendall Roy descended further into Techno Gatsby madness, drowning his guilt and regret in model p*ssy – lots of it, just ask him – and more drugs. He’s limp-dicked his way through mergers and acquisitions, played errand boy to his father’s nastiest whims, cried at the kitchen sink of the family whose son he killed, shit the bed (literally) and, perhaps most embarrassing of all, performed a cringeworthy rap to honor his father’s fifty-year anniversary in the media business.
We should, in all fairness, hate Kendall Roy. So why then has he become a fan-favorite character on this show?