By Anne T. Donahue
This Sunday, the series finale of Succession will air, and it brings me no joy to announce that I will not be watching it.
Please understand this: it is not Succession’s fault. I love Succession. I love it in the same way I love Succession memes and singing “Kiss From Daddy” to my cats, hoping they consider me as such. In the same way Mad Men ruled my life from 2002-2015, this godforsaken drama about the second-most dysfunctional family on the planet (the first being the Tudors, in my humble opinion) has become an obsession. I hate and love Tom. I root for Shiv (sometimes). I’m worried about Kendall every waking moment. I hate how much I want Roman to hold me. I wept when – SPOILER ALERT – Logan died. I pray that Greg the Egg gets hit by a bus. And so I refuse to say goodbye.
I am, in the words of Kate Hudson as Penny Lane in Almost Famous, no good at goodbyes. Long, drawn-out endings destroy me, and countdowns to ones on television stress me out. Am I stressed out by default? Absolutely. But the hypotheses, the chance that something terrible could happen, the risk that the ending will not stick and instead be an abomination – it’s all too much. I’ll finish a miniseries. (It’s like reading a book.) I’ll read the recaps. I’ll scroll through Twitter and Instagram, soaking up as many hot takes as one human can without losing her mind. But I cannot watch the finale live. It’s too much pressure.
By now you may be telling me to grow up. Reader, I wish I could. I wish I could be a version of myself who doesn’t get emotionally involved in fictional stories (enter: why I like to read non-fiction). I wish I could be a person who watches TV shows and logics away all feelings and analysis. I wish I could see the end of a TV series as a finished chapter instead of the emptiness that accompanies the realization that all things end. Am I too existential? No, I’m just a small child; a toddler with separation anxiety that’s rooted itself not in real people, but in a land of pretend. I need to operate under the illusion that my stories are somewhere in another universe, continuing to exist. I barely made it through the last scene of Mad Men. If Kendall doesn’t come up with a Coca-Cola campaign, I may perish.
Will this be my downfall? No, but it’s certainly not an adorable trait. I am a 37-year-old woman who will log on at 10 30 p.m. on Sunday night and read every possible recap and analysis, likely sighing in relief that I didn’t have to watch it play out in real time. I will talk about it to excess, share my opinions as if I’m entitled to having them, and post screencaps like something’s fundamentally wrong with me. But I’m Billy Beane in Moneyball, a hero (sure) unable to witness history in real time; a lone wolf who prefers to absorb and acknowledge her emotions through filtered mediums.
Because here’s the thing: Succession already tricked me. When Logan died, I wasn’t ready. I spent the first half of the episode believing he was playing an elaborate trick, and I spent the second half weeping because a) I’m bad at death, and b) it hit a little too close to home, and I wasn’t ready to joke my way out of it. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice? I will cry again, and I hate doing that. I decide when I will feel things, and I prefer not to feel sadness, sorrow, or anxiety unless I’m re-watching Chernobyl for the 16th time (a thing I really do re-watch to excess because, again, something is fundamentally wrong with me). I am not a fan of surprises, and I will not be unpleasantly so.
“But Anne,” you ask aloud. “What if you are pleasantly surprised?” Will I be? Do you think that, fellow Succession watcher? Fellow understander of the phrase, “Sad sack wasp traps”? Do you think that Jesse Armstrong will tie up his saga with a bow and sprinkling of smiles? Or do you think that we will be morphed into living, breathing boars on the floor, desperate for sausages in a sad attempt to buoy ourselves with any pathetic scrap of sustenance? Exactly. I don’t have it in me to fight for a metaphorical sausage. I have it in me only to read Vulture’s extensive post-episode offerings, your tweets and Instagram postings, and then process it all very slowly, if at all.
So here we are. Me, admitting to you that my emotional wall is so sound that I will happily rest against it while the rest of you fight the finale good fight. I hope it ends well. I hope they all get kisses from daddy (whoever daddy ends up being). I hope the ghost of Logan Roy appears in the sky and speaks to Kendall like Mufasa did to Simba. But more importantly, I hope you know how much I love and appreciate spoilers. But that’s a piece for another day.
Need a little more Anne? Read more from Anne T. Donahue right here!