Kendall Roy Can't (And Won't) Die On 'Succession'

- Succession -
Kendall Roy Can't (And Won't) Die On 'Succession'

As funny as Succession is, never forget its foundation is that of a Shakespearian tragedy. Spoilers ahead. In the penultimate Season 3 episode, "Chiantishire," Kendall pushed his head into the water of a Tuscan pool. Kendall dying on Succession has been hinted at throughout the show with images of him standing at the edge of tall buildings, seemingly contemplating suicide. And with his absence in the Season 3 finale promo, Succession certainly wants you to think Kendall is dead. But is it all too obvious for the Emmy-winning HBO show?

The promo for the Season 3 finale doesn't feature Kendall at all and instead shows shots of the family seemingly receiving bad news. Shiv's face drops. Roman presses his fingers to his forehead. Logan has his arm around his own personal Halotus, Iverson. Tom kisses Shiv's head (she doesn't love you, Tom!). Then, there's the language used. Alexander Skarsgård's Lukas Matssen says things like "sinking like a lead balloon" — inevitably conjuring up the image of Kendall pushing his face into the pool and the parallel of Andrew Dodds' death by drowning. And Roman teasingly utters, "All will be revealed, all will be revealed," at the end.

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All of this signaling is the equivalent of a red light with the words, "Kendall Is Dead," flashing. And that's not the subtle Succession I know and love... even if Kendall's 40th birthday party featured the actual sign: "Notorious Ken: Ready To Die." But plot points and people's agendas aren't typically advertised; the show is as cagey as Logan himself. So if Succession really wanted to kill Kendall, wouldn't they do it without the promo preamble?

No one is wrong to think that Kendall's death is imminent. As mentioned, there has been foreshadowing that he could die by self-harm, drug abuse, or suicide. If this is Shakespeare, Kendall's firmly in a Tragedy. And, as absurd as it sounds, The Ringer outlined how Kendall has been sort of a Christ-figure in Season 3 — viewing himself as a savior and his near-crucifixion stunt at his 40th birthday bash. But rather than these moments being clues of Kendall's death, maybe it's a big old red herring swimming in that Tuscan pool alongside him.

I don't think what Kendall was doing in the pool could have killed him. (Unless he was more intoxicated than he appeared.) That's not to say he couldn't die by suicide after that moment or be hospitalized after an attempt. But another interpretation is that the pool scene is indicating what Kendall intends to do next. Some fans have pointed out that the holding his head underwater might have been Kendall trying to experience what Andrew Dodds went through on the night he died.

Earlier in the episode, Logan had asked him, "How long was that kid alive before he started sucking in water? Couple of minutes? Three, four, five? Long time? Two minutes?" Was Kendall in the pool trying to experience that (like the actor who portrays him, Kendall takes his acting seriously)? Was this to psych himself up to confess about the server's death? If Kendall confesses, it might free of him the guilt he's been carrying since Season 2. And, bonus, it might also hurt Logan since the Waystar Daddy is the one who masterminded the coverup.

Need more evidence that Kendall isn't done for? Well, as Decider noted, in the "Weeks Ahead" preview released in October, there are scenes of Kendall seemingly at his mother's forthcoming wedding. Connor yells at him and he looks to be seated at the long tables during a wedding event. These could have been cut scenes from "Chiantishire," but they could be scenes from the season finale. Plus, if you're into the Kendall-BoJack Horseman connections, as I am, his actions in the pool could be a bleakly promising sign for Kendall and Kendall stans alike.

Perhaps I'm just desperate for Jeremy Strong's Emmy-winning performance to continue into Season 4. But the Roys can look shocked or upset in the finale promo for reasons that have nothing to do with Kendall's death. So even though the writing appears to be very much on the wall when it comes to Kendall's fate, take a little comfort in the fact that Succession is often not a show that features wall-writing. And rather than the pool scene being Kendall's kiss of death, maybe it was Logan's.

Images: Graeme Hunter/HBO, HBO, Colin Hutton/HBO

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