Judging by the lengths Kendall, Shiv, and Roman were willing to go to screw each other over, predicting that the Succession Season 3 finale would feature a moment of vulnerability between them was out of the question. Sincerity in any form was impossible to expect anytime soon. But in its most culminating season finale yet, “All the Bells Say” gives the audience a moment with the Roy siblings that can potentially change the trajectory of the entire course.
It results in what might be one of the most haunting shots in Succession’s history as the vulnerability of the moment has the power to stay with viewers long after the episode has ended. (And it has, at least for two of us here.) But it ultimately comes down to the fact that the scene represents their inability to truly let go of the other. No matter how vicious they can be or the cruelty they’re capable of, there’s still potent love buried deep beneath for each other.
Kendall Roy is broken. They all are despite how little they show, but his inability to hold back any longer reveals a surfeit of the anguish that’s long been bursting to come through. And more than anything, the desperation for something bigger than himself—companionship, from his siblings especially. Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook, and Kieran Culkin are the most promising they’ve ever been in a sheer moment of sincerity, where even as they try to deflect with sarcasm and time constraints, there’s still tremendous empathy for each other. For everything they’ve been through and everything they’ve seen.
When there’s nothing left to be said, actions do the talking. And in this case, it’s a tight grip on the shoulder and a hand on the head. It’s this mere shot that shows so much of the heart that’s still present, and it’s later paid in return when Kendall holds Roman in the end through a similar position.
Kendall might be their eldest brother, but both Roman and Shiv understand that right now, he needs them. Despite how unstable he is (or how precarious they all are as they fight for their father’s attention), Kendall’s exhibition of vulnerability evokes something profoundly moving in the other two as well. This time, the three of them aren’t at each other’s throats. In the Succession Season 3 finale, they aren’t turning on each other. When he says, “can I be with you guys?” and Shiv responds with “yes, of course,” she means every word of it.
They’ve all gone too far. They’ve done things that are close to unforgivable, and this moment doesn’t change how deeply unlikable they all are, but it does make it clear that they’re victims of power, destruction, and emotional abuse. They’ve each been lied to and manipulated, and they’ve done equal damage because of it.
It’s a showcase of the detail that they’re capable of taking care of each other amidst their terrorizing antics. That no matter who or what stands in their way, they’ll never leave a sibling alone when they’re at their wits’ end. And perhaps, as a more physical manifestation, completely alone and secluded, it’s a picture of the detail that they’re all they have left. Neither has someone they can trust with everything in them and though they cannot trust each other either, what’s between them is more prominent than anything they’ll find elsewhere.
There’s something to be said about the cloud solely above their heads, the darkness in an otherwise naturally illuminated scene. It is a scene that is felt in every way as it poignantly encompasses the throbbing cuts of loneliness.