‘Succession’ finale: Kendall and Roman’s weird hug, explained

The last episode of Succession was a tragedy, bidding a devastating farewell to the Roys and crowning a new CEO: Tom Wambsgans. The inescapable board meeting inaugurating the new CEO was the backdrop of several symbolic and painful moments that reveal the extent to which the Roys have undone each other. One such moment that has thrown the internet into a tizzy is the incredibly unsettling “hug” that Kendall and Roman have before the board meeting. Kendall hugs Roman to comfort him, but the hug quickly spirals out of control as Kendall forcefully pushes Roman’s head onto his shoulders to undo the stitches on his forehead. The hug spoke volumes about the brothers’ relationship.

There are different interpretations of what really happened in that hug. It is possible that Roman needed to feel pain to be comforted because that’s how he defines affection, and Kendall was willing to give him what he needed. Alternatively, Kendall may have been using the hug to overpower Roman and remind him what he’s capable of. Roman’s hyper-fixation on his stitches before the hug suggests that the scar on his forehead is a metaphor for all the wounds he’s been feeling this season. Although it’s stitched up, it can easily be popped because it’s not done healing. Roman isn’t okay, but he thinks he is. By opening his stitches, Kendall was acknowledging how fragile Roman is and highlighting his mental state.

Regardless of whether the hug was against Roman’s will, it was an assertion of Kendall’s power. But it was also an embodiment of Roman’s fragility, a twisted saving grace for him to ultimately find comfort in. Roman is the baby brother who needs a lot of therapy, and Kendall will always be there to remind him of that.

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