This post contains spoilers for the series finale of "Succession."

The Roy family likes to play games, and more often than not, they're games you don't want to lose. The family's traditions are as enduring as they are cruel, often mentioned with a casualness that lets us know they've been baked into family time for decades. There are the mostly benign traditions, like the kids' birthday roast of Logan (Brian Cox), and the particularly brutal ones, like "Boar on the Floor," in which the family patriarch makes the kids fight and grovel like pigs. There are games that start out innocuous and end up awful, as when a lighthearted word game called "I Went To Market" ends with Logan hitting his grandson across the face, and games that never had any business being called such to begin with, like how Kendall (Jeremy Strong) used to keep Roman (Kieran Culkin) in a cage.

As ruthless and disturbing as the Roy family's games and traditions can be, it's still kind of delightful when the series suddenly elucidates a different, strange piece of the family's history. Few shows utilize context — or lack thereof — in as realistic a way as "Succession." The series has turned the casual bombshell revelation into an art form, as the Roys drop bits of traumatic family history into passing conversation with zero exposition or explanation. The show's knack for ambiguous backstory and the Roy family's love of games collide one last time in the finale, in which they introduce what might be the best tradition yet: Meal Fit For A King.

The Roy Family Makes Some Memories – And A Nasty Smoothie

If you've ever been a bored kid at a sleepover, Meal Fit For A King might sound familiar, although the name seems to have been coined by the Roy kids. You take whatever you have on hand in the kitchen — in this case, a nasty mix of expired foods, raw eggs with shells, and condiments — and toss it in a blender. Then (at least in my experience) you basically dare your friend to drink it and watch them try not to puke. Hilariously, Roman and Shiv (Sarah Snook) decide that this is the best way to inaugurate their newly chosen CEO, and they bounce around the kitchen with the slap-happy attitudes of kids up way past their bedtime.

The "Meal Fit For A King" scene is one of the best in the finale, if not the entire series. Much fuss has been made about the insidious danger of "Succession" humanizing the evil people at its center, but I personally think there's nothing dangerous about trying to understand what evil looks like when the news cameras are shut off. It's easy to get that some people are simply bad for the world; it's tougher to acknowledge that those same bad people are humans, with human relationships and desires and silly sleepover traditions. "Succession" doesn't need to be morally useful to be a great show, but I think there's something to be gleaned from its understanding of human psychology — and its complete unwillingness to make its characters the type of morally coherent supervillain that blockbuster movies are made of.

One Last Humanizing Moment Before The Consequences Kick In

At any rate, before the show reminds us one last time that these people are awful and deserve awful things, it shows us what they look like when they're, well, not too awful. We get a glimpse of what the Roy kids may have been like when they really were kids, and it's as creatively mean as we might expect, but also lot more joyful. Meal Fit For A King at first seems like a game they made up on the spot, but when Caroline (Harriet Walter) comes in the room, they act as if she'll know what they're talking about — it seems they've done this before.

There's something to be said, too, about the fact that this moment of togetherness comes after Logan's death. The Roy family patriarch is singlehandedly responsible for every "game" gone wrong in the series, whether he's hitting Iverson or hurling insults at Greg during his attempt at a birthday roast. With Logan gone, there's no tension hanging over this scene, and the kids finally seem to get that, too. Roman can lick fancy cheeses and pour a disgusting smoothie on Kendall's head, and no one will show up to berate or beat him. The worst they'll get is a rather endearing exclamation of "Blimey O'Reilly!" from their mother.

The Roy Family Traditions

"Succession" doesn't end happily. Despite the kitchen respite, no cycles of abuse are broken. In the final scenes, we see Shiv return to a dysfunctional marriage and a company that will now make her ask for power rather than be given it. We see Roman sink into pure nihilism, convinced more than ever that power and money are meaningless playthings. And Kendall all but becomes his father, sitting alone on a bench with only a bodyguard for company. The series' ending is as bleak as its subjects deserve, but the joyful kitchen scene exists as a perfect counterbalance to that bleakness. The family is fractured and lost, which in itself might just be another Roy family tradition.

Yet we walk away knowing that they're also one make-up away from a night of ridiculous bonding over pickles and Tabasco sauce. Is it likely? No, but it's nice to know it happened once. As much as "Succession" is about power and corruption, it's also about overcoming trauma — or drowning in it. The show's end is about as dark as they come, but I appreciate that it left us with a bit of brightness, in the form of the one fun game the family ever played, before its lights went out forever.

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The post The Succession Finale Introduced One Last Wild Family Tradition, And It's The Best Yet appeared first on /Film.