“Chiantishire,” the penultimate episode of Succession Season 3, was a game-changer for all involved. Connor proposed to Willa, Caroline told Shiv she isn’t cut out to be a mother, Tom was blatantly told that Shiv doesn’t love him, Greg successfully wooed a woman... and that was just the first half.
Later, the business side of the Roy family went up in flames. Logan and Kendall finally had a face-to-face, Roman faced consequences for his actions and, in the final moments of the episode, Kendall laid face down in the pool. He may have chosen to drown himself, much like he let a caterer drown after Shiv’s wedding in Season 1.
But is Kendall really dead? A close look at the scene — and a glimpse at next week — paints a different picture, albeit not a cheery one.
It’s clear Kendall isn’t mentally well. The crisis haircut and apathy towards his children are only a prelude to his dinner with Logan. Their relationship is tenuous: Kendall cares for Logan enough to provide food suitable to his diet, but Logan is skeptical of Kendall’s intentions and uses his own grandchild as a poison tester.
In their conversation, Logan airs the dirtiest laundry Kendall has: the young waiter he accidentally let drown while on a bender after Shiv and Tom’s wedding. “How long was that kid alive before he started sucking water?” Logan asks, while Kendall crumbles across the table.
At the end of the episode, we see Kendall reckoning with this while lying face down in a pool. If you look closely, you can see bubbles from his nose as he exhales... and then the show cuts to credits.
So is Kendall dead? This moment could be a reference to the end of Sunset Boulevard (or an allusion to the opening sequence of BoJack Horseman). Just as his victim drowned, so will he. Outside of Succession, the New Yorker’s recent profile of Jeremy Strong certainly read like an actor’s farewell to a role he’s held for years.
However, there’s more evidence for Kendall surviving until at least next week. First, the promo for the season finale shows the rest of Caroline’s wedding going off without a hitch. In fact, you can just make out Kendall seated at the head of the reception table.
Also, a pre-season feature by Vulture described the set of Succession while they filmed in Italy. The scene involved Shiv’s reception speech and described all of her siblings, including Kendall, looking on. But that doesn’t mean Kendall is home free, especially since he doesn’t have the best relationship with family weddings.
Maybe Kendall’s waiting until after the festivities to fully reflect on the trauma in his past. A suicide would be a shocking send-off for the closest thing Succession has to a protagonist, and maybe just the jolt the series needs to keep from going stale.
Succession is now streaming on HBO Max.