Succession Finale: What Does This Blood Sacrifice Mean For Season Three?


The following contains spoilers for the Succession season two finale.

During Succession’s season two finale last night, Logan Roy decided who to sacrifice to the cruise coverup scandal at Waystar Royco. At one point, there is a very awkward meal during which Logan asks everyone points fingers at who they think should be sacrificed. True allegiances are revealed. Roman, who has seemingly matured many years since he returned from his business deal turned hostage situation, proves his loyalty to the (secret) love of his life, Gerri. Shiv, however, proves she is willing to throw her own husband under the bus. (Poor Wamsgans.)

Logan ultimately sacrifices Kendall, claiming that he loves him so much that this is the only blood sacrifice that would hold any weight. He trusts him to handle the situation well, given how well he handled Congress. He also tells Kendall that he never had a chance of becoming the CEO because he wasn’t enough of a killer. Yikes. Logan announces this decision over another meal with everyone — Roman comes to Kendall’s defense and is given the title of COO from his father.

Good old Cousin Greg chaperones Kendall’s trip back to New York to have a press conference. Somewhere along the way, Kendall decided to use the papers Cousin Greg saved that prove the coverup to throw his father under the bus. He emerges as a killer, but reveals his target to be his father. Logan, with a subtle twitch of a smile, is a bit proud of him and not entirely scared of the challenge this presents.

If you kick the king, you have to kill him…

First of all, how is Logan going to handle this? He’s proud of his son, but he still has to deal with the trouble this creates for him specifically. He has dirt on Kendall, but will he use it? Kendall was in the passenger seat of a car where the driver was under the influence of drugs (as was Kendall) and crashed into a small body of water. The driver died. Kendall emerged physically unscathed and emotionally forever changed. Kendall has kicked the king, but is he prepared to kill him? Or is he going to face the consequences of his involvement in the fatal accident?

Where will the Roy sibling allegiances lie in season three?

Early in the episode, we get to enjoy a solid 30 seconds of Roman encouraging a healthy relationship among his siblings. We catch a glimpse of what emotional maturity could look like among the siblings, but Shiv and Kendall shut down his comments with infantile babble. They’ve never been good at playing nice, but how will Kendall’s stepping out against his father affect their relationships with one another moving forward?

Roman’s maturity has sky-rocketed this episode. So much so that one almost forgets how absolutely terrifying it was to see him attempting to be intimate with Tabitha, his former girlfriend (who was also the participating party in Tom’s closed-circuit system cheating). He seems to be learning how to appropriately handle the feelings he has for Gerri (coming to her defense, sitting beside her and having a normal conversation that doesn’t make me cringe). He also has matured in the way he handles business. Logan trusts him with important deals and he is proving that he can be trusted.

Historically, he has flaked on Kendall. When Kendall was organizing the vote of no confidence in season one, Roman backed him. However, when it came down to it, Roman didn’t have the gall to vote for his father’s removal. But perhaps Roman is tired of being slapped around, both figuratively and literally, in the pursuit of being taken seriously by his father.

Roman surely wants to screw over his father now more than he wants to be the future CEO of Waystar Royco. He never really idolized the position, he seemed to want it simply because of his own insecurities. I feel a Roman/Kendall team up coming (with Cousin Greg too, of course).

Shiv, on the other hand, has always been willing to go against her father. She spent time working with Gil Eavis, a politician who is very much against Logan and everything he stands for. She also momentarily considered taking over Pierce, a company her father was in the middle of trying to acquire. Shiv and her power suits really want to be the CEO of the company, so much so that she essentially put her marriage on the line by suggesting that Tom be the blood sacrifice.

By siding with Kendall, she could take down her father. However, if she stayed with her father, she could probably manage to escape this situation somewhat intact and lock down the CEO position. And she seems to want that more than she wants to take down her father.

Connor will float around and do whatever seems like it will give him the most money. He’s not content to be the world’s poorest rich person.

One thing is for sure: Logan has made his blood sacrifice, but he will be the one bleeding out in season three.

Edgar Wright Reinvents How Sound Can Be Used In Film


Sound is typically a boring and overlooked aspect of movies, not because it is inherently boring, but because most directors do not recognize the advantage of using it in different ways. Director Edgar Wright takes sound and, as he does with everything else, makes it extraordinary in his films.

Wright uses something called intensified continuity, defined by David Bordwell in Intensified Continuity Visual Style in Contemporary American Film as “traditional continuity amped up, raised to a higher pitch of emphasis.” Wright uses sonic intensified continuity particularly in scene transitions throughout his feature films, including Hot FuzzShaun of the Dead, and Baby Driver, among others.

Wright’s Use Of Sonic Intensified Continuity

In one scene from Hot Fuzz, Danny (Nick Frost) is showing Nicholas (Simon Pegg) a flip book and the flip book sounds become amplified and morph into the short and exaggerated sounds of a door opening, a pen writing on paper, and general motion sounds before transitioning to a conversation between the two in a different setting.

While the typical establishing shot used as a transition can be effective, it is overused and there is nothing special about it. In most cases, the boring transitions are the times when viewers will take out their phones and scroll through Twitter until something draws their attention back in. Wright never needs to draw their attention back in — he never loses it.

Excessive Swearing In PG-13

Wright also creatively uses sound to circumvent R-ratings. The MPAA allows only a few swear words in PG-13 movies before it becomes an R-rated movie. The MPAA enforces these rules so that audiences are aware of what they are walking into (or what they are letting their children walk into). Many directors try to avoid an R-rating because it limits the audience and therefore the box office success.

Edgar Wright manages to keep the spirit of swear words in his movie by using sound to cover them up. In one scene from Scott Pilgrim vs the World, Julie (Aubrey Plaza) is swearing at Scott (Michael Cera), but a beep sound and a black box over her mouth mask it. In this situation, adults will understand that she is still swearing and children will not, therefore maintaining the intended dialogue while keeping it PG-13.

Wright’s Use Of Diegetic Music

In a scene from Shaun of the Dead, the main characters are in a pub hiding from zombies. Doors are barricaded; lights are off. Ed turns on an arcade game and suddenly the zombies approach the noise from outside. When a single zombie enters the bar, the juke box turns on to Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now.” Everyone grabs a cricket bat and begins circling the zombie while hitting him over and over again to the beat of the song.

In a scene where non-diegetic music (music that only exists to us viewers) would typically be used, Wright found an opportunity to introduce diegetic music (music that is playing within the world of the film) for heightened effect.

Wright’s most recent film, Baby Driver, didn’t just make sound an interesting part of the film — it made sound the whole film. Most movie trailers are intensified by matching the beats to the visuals or cuts. Edgar Wright does this throughout every single one of the film’s 113 minutes. The film is an action musical.

In Baby Driver, Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a getaway driver who drowns out his tinnitus by always listening to music. With the use of this diegetic music, the sound is as critical to his role in the film as it is to ours. Baby dances along streets to the music just as his car swerves and screeches to the music.

When you think about the qualities of certain movies, sound is probably the last thing you think of. All films have good sound — if they didn’t, nobody would watch them. But what the majority of films fail to do is use it creatively.

There’s something incredible about watching a film that a director has seemingly poured every ounce of his creativity into and then watching his next film and realizing he had more creativity than you thought possible.

Ad Astra Is Not A Space Movie… And That Is Why It Succeeds



The following contains spoilers for Ad Astra:

One of my favorite movies is About Time — a movie about life’s small moments and the people we share them with. It just so happens that it also involves time travel.

I feel the same way about Ad Astra. It is the only space movie I like because it is not a Space Movie. Space Movies like Gravity and The Martian are likable but forgettable. Space Movies like Interstellar are simply awful — yes I’m sure.

Ad Astra was set in space, but it is about something much smaller yet much much bigger than that: human relationships.

It shows us that a father and son’s relationship is more exciting than the marvels of taking commercial flights to the moon or landing on Mars. It doesn’t propose that space is exciting at all. It has normalized it, but the contrast between their casual space travel and our lack of such doesn’t draw attention to itself or feel unnatural.

Roy McBride, played by Brad Pitt, is struggling with the new knowledge that his father is believed to be still alive. He goes along with the mission he is sent on: to communicate with his father in an effort to stop him from causing further damage to the whole solar system with the project he was sent out there to work on.

McBride tries to be stoic while beginning this mission, though emotion creeps in in small, but visible, doses. A subtle portrait of masculinity, he tries to repress the feelings of love and abandonment he feels for and from his father. Only when he sends out several radio communications to his father does he begin to assess what he is feeling and come crashing down.

These emotional scenes are enhanced because of the juxtaposition with the ordinary feeling of seeing space exploration.

It never makes us feel like we are being pulled out of the film. Rather, we are pulled in to the emotional journey, for which space is simply the backdrop.