Summary

  • Roman’s inability to take things seriously hinders his progress and leads to hilarious scenes, such as when he accidentally sends an explicit photo to his father.
  • The rocket launch disaster in season 1 showcases Roman’s incompetence and satirizes real-life situations, but it doesn’t play a significant role in his character arc.
  • Roman’s interactions with his father, particularly during a boardroom vote in season 1, highlight his vulnerability and the complexities of their relationship.

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Roman Roy is one of the most entertaining players in Succession, and Kieran Culkin’s character has many great scenes under his belt — though some hold up better than others. The youngest of the Roy siblings, Roman is often overlooked in the drama surrounding who will take over Waystar Royco following Logan’s departure from the media corporation. Although Roman isn’t pushed to the side quite as much as Connor, he’s the least likely contender among Kendall, Shiv, and himself.

Despite being the more likable of Logan’s sons, Roman tends to be the least competent — or at least the worst at looking like he’s accomplishing something. Roman has his moments, but his inability to take things seriously presents an obstacle he never overcomes. This leads to plenty of hilarious scenes from the character. Some of those land among his best moments, though Succession also lets him shine during more vulnerable displays of emotion.

Succession seasons 1-4 are currently available to stream on Max.

9 Roman Accidentally Sending An Explicit Photo To His Dad

Succession Season 3, Episode 8 – “Chiantishire”

Roman Roy accidentally sends a picture to Logan during a meeting in Succession

One of the funniest moments from Roman Roy over the course of Succession is when he sends his father an explicit photo in season 2. In the midst of Roman’s fling with Gerri, he accidentally sends a picture of his genitals to his father instead of her. This happens in the middle of a meeting, and it’s just as Logan is starting to put more responsibility on Roman. That makes this scene more hilariously tense, but it’s not just the humor that makes it stand out. This lack of professionalism is what keeps Roman from progressing, so this scene captures all sides of him perfectly.

While this Succession scene does a solid job of characterizing Roman, it’s not quite as compelling as some of his other moments throughout the show. There are scenes that paint a clearer picture of who he is. There are also more comical interactions from Roman, leaving this on the lower end of his best scenes.

8 The Failed Rocket Launch At Shiv’s Wedding

Succession Season 1, Episode 10 – “Nobody Is Ever Missing”

Another hilarious Roman moment occurs during Succession season 1’s finale, which sees him overseeing a satellite launch that goes terribly awry. The rocket explodes as it’s taking off, and Roman watches it happen in real time. This is one of the earliest demonstrations of Culkin’s acting talent, and it’s difficult not to feel sorry for his character, even knowing the mess is entirely his fault. This moment underscores how incompetent Roman is, and it does so better than the explicit photo. It also expertly satirizes similar mess-ups that have occurred in real life.

Although this is a great bit of acting from Culkin, the actor gets more chances to shine later in the series. The fact that the rocket disaster doesn’t play a bigger role in Roman’s character arc also prevents this from ranking higher. It’s a fantastic moment, but it’s just a hint of what’s to come after Succession season 1.

7 Roman’s Response During The Boardroom Vote

Succession Season 1, Episode 6 – “Which Side Are You On?”

Roman Roy and another woman looking frustrated at a board meeting in Succession

All the Roy siblings have complicated relationships with Logan, but Roman is perhaps the most vulnerable in his interactions with Brian Cox’s patriarch. While Kendall and Shiv often push back at their father, Roman tends to shrink under his gaze. This is seen clearly during Succession season 1’s “Which Side Are You On?,” which sees the board taking a vote of no confidence against Logan. Although Roman agrees to back Kendall, he quickly changes his decision after facing Logan in person. It’s a perfect depiction of his character, and it sets up his relationship with his father well.

Culkin’s acting is great during this scene, with his facial expressions capturing the full range of emotions that Roman is feeling. It’s enough to make viewers squirm alongside him. This season 1 scene would rank higher, but future interactions with Logan somehow hit even harder.

6 Roman Telling Off Matsson After Logan’s Death

Succession Season 4, Episode 5 – “Kill List”

Roman and Matsson talking in Succession season 4

Roman is left reeling after Logan’s unexpected death, and several Succession season 4 scenes highlight just how much he unravels. During “Kill List,” he finally gives Matsson a piece of his mind. Given the other man’s antics throughout the show, it’s a satisfying moment for the characters and fans. And it captures an angry side of Roman that viewers rarely get to see. It’s not the most emotional scene the character has following his father’s passing. Still, it ranks among Roman’s top 10, if only because it’ll leave audiences cheering him on — something that rarely happens.

Although Roman’s anger makes this scene a memorable part of his character arc, it isn’t as striking as other moments. It certainly ranks higher than his more comical scenes, but it can’t compete with the character’s more complex and vulnerable interactions. Those are where Roman truly surprises viewers, with Culkin’s skill shining through.

5 Roman Telling Logan About The Turkey Deal

Succession Season 2, Episode 10 – “This Is Not For Tears”

Roman Turkey Deal

Succession season 2 puts Roman in the most high-stakes situation of the whole series, as he, Carl, and Laird negotiate a deal in Turkey while there’s political upheaval. The trio is held hostage, and Roman keeps his cool surprisingly well. However, it’s clear the confrontation leaves him shaken. This results in another one of his best scenes from Succession: when he breaks down the Turkey deal for Logan, conveying a variety of emotions but still managing to come out on top. This is one of Roman’s rare wins, as he’s honest with Logan about the situation despite Laird’s posturing.

This scene doesn’t just showcase some growth for Roman; it also highlights Culkin’s brilliance, as he captures all the feelings Roman is having in subtle but noticeable ways. This is probably Roman’s strongest business-related scene in Succession. However, several personal moments rank higher, as they allow him even more depth.

4 The Bathroom Scene With Roman & Gerri

Succession Season 2, Episode 5 – “Tern Haven”

Roman and Gerri in a hotel room in Succession season 2

Roman and Gerri have one of the most interesting relationships in Succession, and it all starts in season 2’s “Tern Haven.” When Roman visits Gerri’s hotel room concerned about his future, the two wind up being intimate in the only way Roman knows how: with her degrading him and him getting off to it. It’s a hilariously awkward scene for both of them, but it sees Roman showing genuine vulnerability. This is a recurring theme during his interactions with Gerri, however depraved they are. Their fling also says a lot about how he perceives intimacy and love as a result of his familial trauma.

While many Gerri and Roman scenes prove memorable, this is probably the most iconic of them all. Culkin plays this new side of Roman well. In fact, it’s only due to his stunning portrayal of grief that this moment doesn’t make it into the character’s top three scenes in Succession.

3 Roman’s Last Call To Logan

Succession Season 4, Episode 3 – “Connor’s Wedding”

Roman On The Phone

Roman struggles the most with betraying Logan at the end of Succession season 3 and beginning of season 4. While the other kids mock their father’s attempts to make amends, Roman is genuinely interested in working things out. He shows as much during his interactions with Logan in “Rehearsal,” but “Connor’s Wedding” gives a better glimpse of his feelings. During his final call to Logan, Roman unleashes anger, fear, and regret as he leaves a voicemail questioning Logan’s motives for bringing him back under his wing. It’s Roman at his most human, and Culkin pulls it off.

Yet again, Culkin’s acting elevates this moment to one of Roman’s best — and it’s made all the more heartbreaking by what comes after. This is the perfect lead-in to the emotional moments surrounding Logan’s death. However, it’s not quite as powerful as Roman’s two greatest Succession scenes.

2 The Roys Find Out Logan Is Dying

Succession Season 4, Episode 3 – “Connor’s Wedding”

Shiv, Roman, and Kendall hugging in Succession episode Connor's Wedding

All the Roy siblings shine in Succession season 4’s most famous episode: “Connor’s Wedding.” Following the unexpected death of Logan, his kids are left reeling. Each member of the Succession cast blows this moment out of the water, and it’s definitely Roman’s second-best scene. From his shock and confusion during Tom’s phone call to his touching hug with his siblings after, Roman’s grief is palpable. Culkin makes sure of that, masterfully conveying all the complicated emotions Roman is feeling, especially after questioning his father just moments earlier.

“Connor’s Funeral” may be Emmy-worthy for everyone involved, but it’s not Roman’s best scene from Succession’s final season. Logan’s funeral brings the character’s greatest moment in the entire series. And much of its success can be attributed to Culkin’s standout performance.

1 Roman Breaking Down At Logan’s Funeral

Succession Season 4, Episode 9 – “Church And State”

Roman’s speech — or lack thereof — at Logan’s funeral is easily his best scene in the entirety of Succession, proving that even the worst characters are capable of making viewers break out their tissue boxes on occasion. Despite preparing to speak at his father’s funeral, Roman freezes at the podium. He’s unable to form a coherent sentence, and he breaks down in front of the entire congregation.

The perfectly delivered lines “Is he in there?” and “Can we get him out?” are harrowing and memorable. They make up Culkin’s best performance over all four seasons of Succession. In fact, this is likely the scene that won him an Emmy. It’s hard to think of a more hard-hitting moment featuring Culkin’s Succession character, cementing this as the highlight of Roman’s arc.

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Succession

Succession is a Black Comedy and Satire television show created by Jesse Armstrong. It stars Hiam Abbass, Nicholas Braun, Brian Cox, and Kieran Culkin and follows the story of an aging conglomerate owner as he deals with his declining health and the sudden realization that one of his children will soon inherit his position and run his company.

Cast
Hiam Abbass , Alan Ruck , Sarah Snook , Kieran Culkin , Natalie Gold , Nicholas Braun , J. Smith-Cameron , Matthew Macfadyen , Peter Friedman , Brian Cox , Arian Moayed , Jeremy Strong , Rob Yang , Dagmara Dominczyk

Seasons
3

Writers
Jesse Armstrong

Network
HBO Max

Directors
Mark Mylod

Showrunner
Jesse Armstrong

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