*Minor spoilers for the Succession finale below
On Sunday night, after four seasons of treachery, tension, and torturing each other with food, the story of the Roy family finally came to an end. And while much of the discussion of the series finale has been centered around how each of the Roy children fared — personally and professionally — following the death of their father, the episode also showed this trio of mentally scarred siblings can put scheming aside and just act like a family, if only for one night.
As Kendall and Shiv arrive in Barbados for a “Caribbean air clear” at the home of their mother, Caroline, they’re working different angles. Kendall is trying to shore up Roman’s vote for their “Roy Boys” takeover of Waystar Royco, while Shiv is trying to prove that she made the right decision in siding with the Gojo founder, Matsson, and not her brothers, a duo of eternal fuck-ups. Meanwhile, Roman is just strolling around the island in a stained shirt beneath a head of mussed hair, clearly still deeply traumatized by his father’s death. After agreeing to set aside their differences and work together at last, the siblings decide to celebrate by playing their favorite disgusting childhood game, “meal fit for a king.”
The game involves pulling the most revolting dregs from the refrigerator, throwing everything in a blender, and serving it to the “king.” In this case, that meant Roman gleefully pulling from Caroline’s refrigerator zero-fat milk, “frozen knobbies” (a sack of bread heels stuck in the freezer), hot sauce, and ranch dressing. Shiv, equally giddy, then pours the ingredients into a blender and purees them until they come together into a putrid brown glop. As she presents it to Kendall, our cursed “king,” she adds a final, special ingredient — a dollop of her own spit. Kendall drinks the concoction (for real, apparently) with only a little peer pressure from his siblings, determined to prove that he can handle anything. After Kendall downs a respectable amount, Roman dumps the rest of the smoothie on him and plops the blender jug on top of his head like a wretched crown.
As Kendall sits there, grinning ear to ear and covered in his taupe-toned “feast,” it becomes clear that this is, somehow, one of the most touching moments in the series. Here, we finally see the Roy children act like siblings, like family, in a way that’s recognizable to us normal, non-billionaire types. In a fucked-up way, this is the closest we’ve ever seen them, and in that closeness, they actually find a moment of happiness. That’s in stark contrast to the way that this family has, throughout the series, wielded food as a weapon. Remember the time Logan sent donuts to let his kids know he was on to one of their little plots? Or when he made his grandson Iverson try a pasta dish at a dinner with Kendall to make sure that his son wasn’t trying to poison him? But this scene functions a little differently in the Roy family dynamic, and in many family dynamics, where a little bit of good-natured torment can sometimes actually mean love.
“Meal fit for a king” is sadistic, to be sure. It’s also not too far off from the pranks my brother and I used to play on each other as kids. Siblings, even ones who aren’t fighting with each other for control over a multi-billion-dollar company, torture each other. Who among us hasn’t slipped salt into our brother’s lemonade, or tricked them into eating something doused in hot sauce, all for the sake of comedy? Making your siblings eat gross shit is a rite of passage, and in the Roy family, that’s only amplified by their inherently competitive relationship.
“Meal fit for a king” isn’t about any one Roy’s specific victory, or even their broader struggle over the company. It’s a desperate attempt to find the warmth of nostalgia in the midst of a truly hellish ordeal. And it feels especially fitting that the Roy children can only find that warmth in the context of something as objectively repulsive as a spit-spiked smoothie.