With all due respect to my fellow journalists, I think everyone has been focusing on the wrong developments since the penultimate episode of Season 3 of “Succession” aired. Instead of discussing Kendall (Jeremy Strong)’s future or Roman (Kieran Culkin)’s face dissolving and his soul leaving his body after sending an ad**k pic to his dad (Brian Cox), we should be discussing something more important: the show’s continued dedication to visual gags. Brilliant.
Specifically, why has no one touched on the fact that Roman has a picture of a fluffy white cat on his camera roll or that his lock screen is giving his finger to Chef (Sarah Snook)?
It may sound trivial, especially given the obscure way in which the episode in question ended, but “Progression” is one of the few shows on TV that doesn’t hold back when it comes to the technology or visual gags that make it possible. While other shows put minimal effort into what viewers might see on TV or on the phone in any given scene – the final episode of “Hawkeye” wants us to believe that Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) starts a new text conversation with his wife (Linda Cardellini) at Every time he texts her (this is a common problem across TV and cinema) – the creative minds behind “The Caliphate” here create literal works of art that may only appear for a few seconds but help immensely not only in enriching the show’s world and deepening its characters but also entertaining us as viewers.
RELATED: “Succession” and the End of the American Merit Myth
In Chiantishire, just before Roman accidentally sends the aforementioned illicit photo to his father and sets off a chain of events from which he may never recover, he receives an encouraging text from Jerry (J. Smith-Cameron). Congratulates him for a job well done after he smoothed things over with Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård) and persuaded Logan to entertain discussions about a possible merger between Waystar and GoJo. Roman’s lock screen is clearly visible behind Jerry’s text (I’ll forgive him for enabling text preview while his phone is locked because it’s essential to the story here), and the picture is clearly of him flipping over his bird sister. Many say about Roman that his choice of image shows his family and puts his place in it. But he also reveals his general feelings towards Shiv. While this isn’t exactly breaking news, it does reinforce the complex relationship that exists between the two brothers.
Once Roman decides to respond to Jerry’s text, we see him open the camera roll in search of the now infamous photo. Since he’s trying to be discreet, we can’t see a whole lot of Roman’s camera roll (although we do see plenty of Roman photos). But what we can do is a nighttime picture of a big house, a picture of a cat, and what appears to be the aforementioned Schiff picture. Roman is hardly someone to own a cat as a pet, and he doesn’t seem to be the type to save random animal pictures on his phone to send to other people (that’s totally something people do, right?), so being put here is just noteworthy.
what does that mean? Is it supposed to reveal that Roman might have a secret soft side (no way) or that Roys is actually just like the rest of us (unlikely)? Is it just there to make us laugh? maybe.
This isn’t the first time the show has put that much effort into what is stored or displayed on someone’s phone. Earlier this season, in “Wartime Requiem,” we saw that Schiff had her father saved in her phone with a picture of Saddam Hussein, which obviously says a lot about how she saw Logan but says a lot about Schiff too, since she’s still picking him And company on Kendall. And of course, there was the time Mattson peed on Roman’s phone at “Too Much Birthday” as a token of how he felt about the Waystar streaming app.
Want a daily wrap-up of all the salon news and reviews? Sign up for our morning newsletter, Crash Course.
In 2021, our phones are our lifeblood to the world. What we saved on them says a lot about who we are, what is important to us and how we view ourselves as well as the people in our lives. What we do with them says more – for Roman, it makes no difference whether Matson pees on his phone because he has a lot of money to replace it. The creative minds behind the “caliphate” clearly know all this, and are implementing everything to reflect it. It’s pretty impressive when you really think about it. After all, someone had to take a picture of Snook turning over even though she would be on TV for a few seconds at most. This requires effort and preparation.
Of course, these are also just the latest examples of how the “Caliphate” has used technology to advance its ongoing narrative. Viewers have always welcomed the show’s fake news that came out on the show. In the second season, someone read, “Sex illegals may enter the country twice.” Another asked, “Why do so many of our older celebrities die?” In another episode, the Prime Minister asked the most important question of all – “Wait, is every Taylor Swift lyrical a Marxist in secret?” – While the latest parody of current “news” practices was: “Meet the world’s richest smuggler (he’s a surprisingly nice guy).”
These are incredible vision gags, little bonuses for eagle-eyed viewers. But it also fits into the context of the show because of how important the use and presence of media is in his story. However, they also feel like real news one can find in the wild. This now extends to the use of cell phones as well.
Obviously, we’re supposed to believe that Roman Roy is someone who has pictures of cats on his phone. what does that mean? It is still not entirely clear. But we may actually be asking the wrong questions. Perhaps we should ask: Is the cat imaginary? did he die? And does Colleen need to take it out in a paper bag?
The “Succession” finale, in which all of these questions will or may not be answered, airs Sunday at 9 p.m. on HBO.
More stories you might like: