From Sophocles to “Succession”, we’ve always loved family sagas

Caroline Crampton in New Humanist:

The best moments on television shine for lots of different reasons. They can be heartwarming, tearjerking, shocking – or, sometimes, so viscerally uncomfortable that they keep replaying in your head long after the episode or even the series is over.

“What It Takes”, the sixth episode of the third series of the HBO drama Succession, ends with just such a moment. Logan Roy, ruthless patriarch of both his family and their media empire, has chosen to support a repugnant, near-fascist presidential nominee and is demanding that his children line up for a photograph with this man. His daughter, who has already aired her opposition to the choice and been ignored, is hovering on the sidelines of the photoshoot refusing to get into frame. This is when Logan (played by a magisterial Brian Cox) walks over to her and in a menacing undertone delivers the killer line. “Siobhan, are you part of this family or not?” For a second, the choice to answer “No” flickers across her face. Then she knuckles under, lines up and pastes on a smile for the camera. It’s a brutal and brief encapsulation of the show’s fundamental tension: the three-way fight between morality, loyalty and self-interest. In Succession, the family always wins even as its members lose.

More here.