TV Editor Josie Scott-Taylor explains why Kendall Roy is a character who will never be forgotten
Kendall Roy is a character who will undoubtedly go down in history. The show has documented his epic saga, starting as the obedient, doting son, and slowly transitioning into the rebel whose only mission is to take down his dictatorial father, Logan Roy (Brian Cox). Jeremy Strong’s performance has been outstanding the entire time, worthy of every single award nomination and win he has received.
Succession follows the Murdoch-esque media conglomerate Waystar Royco, a family-owned business where the members of said family would stop at nothing for money and power. The show is rife with betrayals and deception, with sibling turning against sibling every other episode, and Kendall is no exception to this chicanery.
From the moment Kendall first appeared in Succession, rapping along to music to hype himself up for an important meeting, he was destined to become a fan favourite. He has not disappointed thus far. Arrogant, pitiable, and stunningly artificial, Kendall acts like he has known since birth that whatever he does will not live up to his father’s unreachable standards, but he is desperate to try to please him anyway.
Season Two ended with Kendall forging his own path, an unexpected attempt to destroy the reputation of his legendary and unstoppable father. His decision to take down his father does not stop him from pathetically vying for Logan’s attention and approval, though; Kendall simultaneously wants to hurt his father and make him proud, a complicated combination that makes him such an incredibly nuanced character to watch develop onscreen. Possibly one of the most iconic father-son moments in the entire show is Kendall’s rendition of ‘L to the OG’, a vaguely humiliating rap he writes and performs to celebrate 50 years of Logan running Waystar Royco.
The most unique thing about Kendall is his vocabulary – ‘words are just complicated airflow’, after all. Strong manages to make Kendall likeable despite his pretentiousness and obnoxious way of speaking, with his performative faux-feminism displayed loud and clear in Season Three. Throughout the three seasons, Kendall has randomly and spontaneously decided to take on the mantle of Woke Feminist King, truly seeming to believe that he acts selflessly and in the best interests of the world, rather than just to gain more power for himself. He hires women to help him in key areas of his attempt to dethrone Logan, using them as a shield to protect him against society’s judgements, but spread a rumour earlier on in the show that the women who rejected his business proposal were ‘junkies’ and ‘sluts’. Kendall’s fake feminism is indicative of the distorted way he views both himself and the world around him, but you can’t help but feel sorry for his pathetic and misguided attempts to appear as though he’s helping others.
Watching Kendall’s metamorphosis from the cocky and optimistic character we see in Season One into someone who would give Machiavelli a run for his money has been one of the most thrilling character transitions ever seen on television. Kendall Roy will never be forgotten.