Warning: the next article incorporates spoilers for episodes one to 6 of Succession season 4.
Only one episode of Succession is instantly set in Scotland (Dundee, season two, episode eight), but shadows and symbols of the nation are threaded all through the present. Whether that’s by means of the Roy siblings’ horror at stepmother Marcia’s (Hiam Abbass) plan to bury Logan “in a kilt like a fucking Bay City Roller”, or youngest son Roman Roy (Kieran Culkin) hilariously shopping for his father “The Hearts” soccer workforce by mistake – Logan’s precise workforce is their arch rivals, Hibernian.
Succession follows the sparring Roy household and their eccentric companions. Siblings Connor (Alan Ruck), Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Roman and Shiv (Sarah Snook), vie for his or her father Logan’s (Brian Cox) approval and his management function within the household’s international media leisure conglomerate, Waystar Royco. That is, till he dies unexpectedly within the third episode of the ultimate season.
The energy and expertise of the forged is plain, however the present’s portrayal of locations and their pasts can also be a part of its irresistible on display screen chemistry.
Succession’s illustration of Dundee presents a glimpse of the distinctive Scottish metropolis recognized for “jute, jam and journalism” that each Logan Roy and Brian Cox name their hometown.
The Dundee episode’s putting panorama pictures embrace Magdalen Green, the town’s oldest park, which has been loved for round 400 years. In distinction, the episode culminates in lavish scenes at V&A Dundee, launched in 2018 as a part of Dundee’s contentious waterfront “redevelopment”.
V&A Dundee offers an opulent backdrop to Kendall Roy serenading his father with a now much-memed birthday rap music (“L to the OG” by composer Nicholas Britell), earlier than throwing a tartan cap on Logan’s head.
The scene’s touristic tone differs to moments of reflection within the episode, when Logan wistfully recollects the Dundee of yesteryear. This symbolises the gap between Logan’s connection to Scotland and his youngsters’s disconnection.
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Tartan at V&A Dundee: a celebration of the sample’s disruptive energy
Logan Roy’s Scotland
Tensions between the previous and new and between the vacationer’s notion and native actuality in Dundee buoy this memorable episode. They’re maybe finest articulated in a scene wherein Logan indignantly declares: “The water used to style sensational … it’s modified.”
The second foreshadows a few of Logan’s remaining phrases in season 4. Shortly earlier than his demise, he wistfully displays on life along with his bodyguard, Colin (performed by the aptly named Scott Nicholson). “Nothing tastes prefer it used to, does it?” he asks. “Nothing is similar because it was.”
Unlike Logan, the Roy youngsters seem to have a indifferent and floor degree notion of Scotland as Roman scoffs at “Scottish kicky-ball” and Kendall exclaims: “Dundee within the motherfucking home!”
This contrasts with Logan’s earnest complaining about misconceptions of his hometown: “This place, you take a look at the previous footage they usually all need you to suppose it’s all so fucking easy, but it surely wasn’t.”
Then once more, Logan’s sighs and feedback in regards to the metropolis could also be a part of a strategic framing of his hometown and childhood to swimsuit his stoic private narrative. Even although Logan’s childhood concerned a component of tragedy (because the “Dundee” episode alludes to) his upbringing might have been much less hand to mouth than he’d have folks imagine, as pictures of his snug childhood residence indicate.
Succession’s enterprise into Scotland toys with a romanticised “rags to riches” storyline, however strikes past this straightforward take to as an alternative poke enjoyable at stereotypical perceptions of the place.
Scotland and the artwork of ‘nation branding’
When lately re-watching Succession from the start (once more), I used to be reminded of my time at Washington DC’S Library of Congress. I used to be there researching the historical past of promoting within the UK and the US, as a part of my research of the ways in which massive manufacturers are monitoring us.
While studying by means of archived materials on the work of David Ogilvy (ceaselessly known as the “father of promoting”) who was initially from Scotland, I got here throughout correspondence from the Fifties about efforts to promote the nation to America. The letters detailed the advertising potential of kilts, whisky and different distinctly Scottish objects.
The letters showcase the early days of what would ultimately turn out to be nation branding – the strategic branding of a rustic and its tradition for a world stage. “Americans thought I used to be loopy,” Ogilvy writes in his 1963 autobiography. “What may a Scotsman learn about promoting?” That provocation could possibly be at residence in Logan Roy’s memoirs.
As Succession portrays, worldwide perceptions of Scotland typically invoke a way of novelty. But in creatively invoking the nation’s affect in ways in which spotlight how totally different concepts and experiences of locations are implicated within the ruthless world of massive enterprise, Scotland turns into a conjuring pressure that’s as a lot part of the Roy household because the charming and clashing relations themselves.
Francesca Sobande ne travaille pas, ne conseille pas, ne possède pas de elements, ne reçoit pas de fonds d'une organisation qui pourrait tirer revenue de cet article, et n'a déclaré aucune autre affiliation que son organisme de recherche.