‘Succession’ Director Praises ‘Perfectly Painful’ Series Finale: ‘This Show Has Always Been a Tragedy’

“It was heartrending… yet, so inevitable,” says director Mark Mylod of the brutal “With Open Eyes” episode

Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook and Kieran Culkin in "Succession"
Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook and Kieran Culkin in "Succession" (HBO)

Note: This article contains spoilers from the series finale of “Succession.”

“This show has always been a tragedy,” said director Mark Mylod of “Succession” in a segment that aired after the series finale of the Emmy-winning HBO series Sunday night.

Mylod, who has directed 16 episodes of the series, called the finale “perfectly painful,” as the Roys literally came to blows before completely losing control of their father’s company.

He praised series creator Jesse Armstrong, saying, “Jesse stuck the landing with this climactic showdown between the three siblings,” referring to the brutal scene where Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Roman (Kieran Culkin) and Shiv (Sarah Snook), lashed out physically and verbally over the decision to sell the company.

“The final ripping off of the bandage to expose that terrible, terrible truth put so simply by Roman,” he said of the scene in which Roman proclaims, “We are bulls—t. We’re nothing.”

Added Mylod, “It was such a heartrending moment. And yet, so inevitable. And that’s again, good tragedy should be essential, shouldn’t it?… Everything led to that one moment, so on that level, it was perfect. Perfectly painful.”

He admitted there was “an odd emotional kind of tension” while shooting the last episode, which was partly filmed in Barbados.

“The counterpoint to that was the lovely, symbolical meal fit for a king. That sense or recaptured innocence, kids being kids, no matter what their income. Everything seemed possible,” he said of the playful scenes between Kendall, Roman and Shiv, when they were, for once, on the same side.

He added, “And yet… my understanding of the show has always been that it’s a tragedy. And therefore every moment of hope like that is so cruel, because you’re just waiting for that [other] shoe to drop and waiting for their essential natures to be exposed and to break your heart again.”

All episodes of “Succession” are now streaming on Max.