But as soon as everyone enters the church, the mood calms down. The tone is set by the Roy brothers’ mother, Lady Caroline Collingwood (Harriet Walter), who takes it upon herself to ask Kerry – who has brought in a lawyer, in case anyone tries to stop her from the funeral – to sit with her, Marcia, and the superstitious Sally Ann. (Caroline introduces Sally Ann as “my Kerry”). These ladies share a bond that they loved a tough man. And when Marcia extended Kerry’s hand, Kerry sighed.
Then the service begins with a surprise. Logan’s fiery liberal brother, Ewan (James Cromwell), ignores his grandson Greg’s attempt to stop him from taking the pulpit. Ewan first shares some poignant stories about Logan: about how they comforted each other as boys when they crossed the Atlantic during World War II; and about how Logan blamed it on their sister who died of polio, which he was convinced he had brought home from the boarding school he hated. With that out of the way, Ewan ends by igniting Logan’s legacy, saying his brother nurtured “a certain kind of tenderness in men.” (The ever-sycophantic Greg, after his grandfather sat down: “That was a tough, tough thing you made.”)
Here is where reaction shots really start to become a factor. While removing Ewan, we see the appearance of an injured Roman. He has come to this day feeling frightenedly optimistic, planning to follow up his coup on election night with a true adult eulogy for his father, in front of some of the most important people in America. But Ewan’s commanding words and power shake him. Roman never had this kind of spotlight; And now his brothers expect him to “tell the other side” of Logan Roy’s story.
He can’t. Roman begins by giving his “Great, Great Man” public speech, but then freezes and tells his family to save him. He collapses in front of everyone, pointing to the coffin containing his father and moaning, “Take him out.” It’s another shattering performance from Kieran Culkin. (The face to watch during Roman’s meltdown is Jerry’s. She looks really hurt for her former stepson.)
So Kendall fills in; Because he is so experienced at putting together sentences that his social peers can understand, he does a good job. He acknowledges the pain his father can cause, but also celebrates how Logan led a “bloody, complicated life.” “If we can’t match his identity, then God knows the future is going to be slow and gray,” he says, as Mencken and Lucas Mattson both look on with grudging admiration. For all the gossip about how Jeremy Strong’s intensity during filming can frustrate his co-stars, the results are on screen in scenes like this one, and they’re very exciting and real.
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