How 'replacement' helped me grieve my father's death.

Shortly before my father died last summer, before a two-week hospital stay recovering from a bacterial infection, I was looking forward to a good old-fashioned TV binge.

Neil Gaiman’s adaptation of his darkly legendary work; Sandman, was about to be released on Netflix. I’m a huge fan of graphic novels. But my grief for my father killed my enthusiasm for the show – all but episode 6, which I found myself playing over and over again as a source of solace. “The Sound of Her Wings” shows Dream identifying with his sister’s death: a kind, gentle grim reaper, with warmth even as she leaves for the dead.

One scene, new to the show, landed on my eye like an onion every time I watched it. A man on his honeymoon tries to tell her that he needs one more minute of life to die, please – not for himself, but for his wife to give him the password on her phone, so she can get her plane tickets home.

My father’s health declined so quickly, he never got a chance to tell my mother the password to his laptop, which had all their financial details on it. I managed to intercept her and my sister as they planned the funeral, which we guessed at his unknown wishes.

Seeing the same situation play out on screen, even for a show length, was very rewarding. We don’t often think of visual novels as part of grief therapy, but we should — especially in light of the sudden death of uber-dad Logan Roy Success.

Oh yes, I didn’t know when my dad died last summer: the tears I shed during an hour of parental grief television, “The Sound of Her Wings,” resembled the Hudson River next to the Atlantic Ocean. .

What’s more: This time the emotional roller coaster comes courtesy not of a sympathetic grim reaper, but some of the most unlikely characters on TV.

It probably goes without saying that right now, “Connor’s Wedding” (with HBO and What Things Die at a Wedding?) is one of the biggest shows of the year, the decade, maybe even all time. I’m not alone when it hits home.

For anyone who has lost a loved one during the Covid lockdowns, and had to improvise a farewell over loudspeakers, the parallels in this episode are too painful to bear. Anyone who has ever witnessed a death on an airplane knows that this phenomenon is real: The crew is required by law to continue doing chest compressions until they land or become too exhausted. And anyone who has lost a parent will understand the reality-shattering emotions captured here.

Although this is probably just a pause in the Roy family’s horrible streak – Kendall can still “go on a killing spree in a 7-Eleven” and Roman can say his “dick is stuck in an AI jerk machine.” As Shiv recently prophesied – our hearts are broken. But why exactly?

“The Connor Wedding” isn’t the first TV episode to depict the experience of suddenly losing a parent in a poignant way. A surprising amount of DNA was found with the “body” of his distant ancestor in 2001. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Our heroine lost her beloved mother not to a supernatural enemy, but to a brain aneurysm.

That episode’s use of off-kilter framing and choppy editing to convey Buffy’s sense of flip-flopping after coming home to find her mother’s cold body was a novelty at the time, and it still holds rewatches.

So what makes “Concer’s Wedding” feel like it captures the lost-in-a-bottle experience like nothing else? Many reviewers, including my former colleague James Poniwoczyk b New York Times(Opens in a new tab)The characters seem to live through the well-known stages of grief described by psychologist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in 1969: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.

In particular, I would like to correct this, considering that the science of grief has moved away from the Kubler-Ross model. (A big part of the grieving process: research.) Rather, it shows how all these levels collide with each other, chaotically and with great force, like a vast ocean wave, overlapping, pulling us down with the bottom and the only thing. What can save us is caring for each other.

Making the viewer feel this shock of conflicting emotions alongside the characters is a special trick of this episode.

Let’s start with the setup, which will keep us in the continuity of a regular replacement episode. Nothing about last week’s trailer, neither the title nor the cold open, seems out of the ordinary. Logan is up to his old tricks with Roman, testing the loyalties of his much-loved son by asking the company’s Wistar Royco to fire his highly-qualified CEO, Gerry. Logan plans to fire the head of ATN (read: Fox) news. He flies to Sweden to renegotiate his deal with the tech giant and is about to miss his first child’s wedding due to sudden brutality.

Each of these narrative threads can last an entire season. We don’t know if they are all going to be cut in episode 3.

Yes, Logan had some amazing survival moments in the new series, Part 1, but in Part 2, he roared like a lion in the ATN offices, where he was left to fend for himself after the deal. He had big, vague, plans. Yes, his death could be in this finale, as the final season of the show always tells which of his children will replace him. The character is 84 years old, and in the first episode of Season 1 he suffered a series of health scares after suffering a stroke.

But here’s the thing about postponing your appointment with death – once you do it a few times, you’re going to look like you’re immortal. Rupert Murdoch, his family struggles Success After beating prostate cancer decades ago, he said of himself: “I am now certain of my own immortality.”

That’s shocking New profile by Useless fair(Opens in a new tab) What Murdoch calls “no desire to live forever” – despite recently suffering “a broken back, epilepsy, two bouts of pneumonia, atrial fibrillation and a torn Achilles tendon”, or cause.

My family was not immune to such magical thinking. My father had his first heart attack in his 40s, a second in his 50s, a stroke in his 60s, and cancer in his 70s. The second cancer diagnosis didn’t look good, but no one, not even him, expected it. This large oak tree was cut down before chemo with a simple infection.

You can see something similar happen in four seasons of success. Compare “Connor’s Wedding” with the second episode, “Shit Show at the Fuck Factory”. Post-stroke Logan is in the hospital, on a ventilator, expected to die, the family is already grieving and the executives are planning for the worst.

But from that and other health scares he returns, full of anger and more vicious each time. So when death rings in the toilet at 30,000 feet, kids and companies are caught flat-footed. “You’re going to be okay because you’re a monster and you always win,” Roman tells someone over the phone. Or maybe he still doesn’t have Logan’s consciousness.

At first we the audience are with him, in denial. It is as if an actor falls on the stage in the middle of a speech. Wait, weren’t we just watching an episode about a wedding, two shootings, and a key meeting? You definitely won’t mess up this massive plot. It can be a challenge, right? Logan, who had only had one class before, tried to take advantage of the children by apologizing with questionable sincerity.

Throwing Logan’s situation into suspense allows us to see Roy’s family struggle against the dying of the light — something that’s amazing, even if she’s just dealing with an ailing parent. When Kendall told his assistant, Jess, to set up a conference call with the world’s top experts, including “flight medicine,” I couldn’t help but remember my own frustration that my father’s cancer care wasn’t being coordinated or moving quickly. Nor does it take supplements that I have researched.

In a world where we carry connected supercomputers in our pockets, you don’t have to have Royce’s wealth or connections to believe that science and technology can stop loved ones from dying. Or to get angry when you can’t.

My father, to be clear, was not Logan. His politics were the antithesis of Murdochian, his sense of humor and moral justice crucial. He cares a lot about the environment. He was a northern Englishman, not a Scotsman; He is a local lawyer, not an international businessman; Humorous self-censorship, not silly swearing.

But he shares a few traits, as well as more than a few quirks, with the fictional villain. He was dull on the surface and suspicious of many things outside his worldview. With a strong gaze and cold silence, he can often convey the feeling that, in my 30s, I’m crying out for my fill of Cousin Greg.

Strange thoughts and strange reactions creep into our grief, like Carey’s hilariously inappropriate smile. We inject the tension with dark humor as Kendall and Roman say, “You’re so crazy.” (Visiting the funerary wilderness burial grounds, my sister and I often find ourselves giggling at what other residents have written on their graves.) We try to mask our anger with social expressions of “sorry for your loss.” (Mine Loss? I often wanted to shoot back. Why not? yours Loss?)

Words are not enough. Sentences collapse on themselves. We have arrived at the meaning but everything is wrong. The Roys are at the center of dozens of high-drama plot threads, and now they’re useless with their personal interests on autopilot. No one can think of the right thing to say or even the right way to hug.

This, in my viewing of the “Connor’s Wedding” series, seems to be the most O-y aspect of the script: bits of dialogue all over the place. The last words of the episode are “Okay. Okay. So…yeah. Okay.” Before that, Shiv begs Tom to tell her what happened, again from the beginning, and this is one of the characters’ many attempts to piece it all together. This is what we do at the end of life that we have been sadly following. We’ll pick it up again with a series like episode review.

Final words, too, are often muddled and messy. We never knew what Logan was. Before my father died, I thought we’d at least have time to say all the words that were rarely spoken in his stoic world. But as it turned out, my last physical words – as I was about to fly back from the UK, days before the infection sent me to hospital – were “I’ll be back”.

“Arnie said so,” he smiled.

“And he was!”

If Roman abandons his duty to his brother, he can be with Logan on the plane. If I had left my job in America, I could have stayed with my father, and I will never stop regretting that I didn’t. His last text exchange with me was ten days later. The only part he saw and understood was the following.

“Blood pressure and oxygen levels were low but now stable.”

“Text levels are stable too! Are you waiting?”

“in case.”

He probably wouldn’t worry about the last words his father heard being “are you an ass” in a Roman drama. But after a few minutes, Roman dropped to the ground, preparing everything he had said into the phone, “I think I said I love you, didn’t I?” I was very embarrassed when he told me.

Fact check: He hadn’t.

Take it from me Roman: You It’s easy to beg for death, you go every day, just for a minute with the complicated, beloved.

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