Let's Talk About Connor's Brilliantly Terrible Karaoke Song Choice In Succession Season 4

It's a dark week for all the Conheads out there, aka all 1% of "Succession" fans. Things are moving quite fast on this season of the HBO series, and based on this week's episode, "Rehearsal," showrunner Jesse Armstrong is setting up what might be the most miserable wedding we've seen on the show so far (and we've seen many). While Shiv (Sarah Snook) and Tom (Matthew Macfayden) are at the center of this show's core fail-marriage, Connor (Alan Ruck) and Willa (Justine Lupe) are a fail-marriage in the making. In "Rehearsal," patriarch Logan (Brian Cox) cuts his children off from their helicopter privileges with no warning, so Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Roman (Kieran Culkin) and Shiv arrive late to the rehearsal dinner — only to find their oldest brother in distress.

After all, when it was time to deliver a speech, Willa said "I can't do this," and retreated from the venue after a rush to the bathroom. Of course, sad old Connor has been tracking her phone's location by the minute. Throughout the series, it's been obvious to everyone but Connor that Willa's relationship with him is purely transactional, but this episode dug deeper into Connor's psychology to show us why he holds onto her, and why he might be the saddest Roy of them all.

To cheer up their older brother, the siblings entertain his wish to go to a karaoke lounge "just like they do in the movies." What was Connor's karaoke song of choice? A brilliantly terrible take on Leonard Cohen's "Famous Blue Raincoat." A karaoke song can tell us a lot about a person, and Connor sings his heart out in a song choice that's appropriately melancholy and dopey in equal measure.

Why 'Famous Blue Raincoat'?

Now, there's no shame in a corny, emotional round of karaoke — but you have to build towards it and assess the vibes. No one goes to Karaoke to watch a lonely man sing a sad ballad. As the first singer of the night, Connor immediately becomes the wet blanket, and his siblings find his pity party excruciating. Ironically, even though he's campaigned himself for POTUS, Connor has always been the Roy sibling with the least going on, and here he is at his most pathetic breaking point. As Roman said, "This is Guantanamo-level s***."

So why "Famous Blue Raincoat"? On the surface, Leonard Cohen's song is about betrayal and infidelity; its lyrics are written in the form of a letter addressed to a man Cohen believes his wife is leaving him behind for. Throughout this episode, while Willa runs away from Connor, he's been increasingly paranoid that she has escaped to be with another man, or perhaps jumped off a bridge (his siblings notably don't reassure him that he's overreacting). That's probably enough explanation for why Connor chose this song as it is, but there's also a mysterious layer to Cohen's track that feels narratively fitting as well.

Though it is structured like a letter, the lyrics are vague and ambiguous enough that it's often debated whether or not the narrative of the song is literal or imaginary. Is it a man that has taken Cohen's wife and led her astray, or is the man a construction of his own mind? Maybe the man is a representation of fate itself. Cohen is blaming some force that is seducing his wife away, but there's an ironic denial that his relationship was on shaky ground as it was.

A profound display of loneliness

Connor doesn't make it very long into the song, as the siblings are interrupted by a shockingly calm Logan and Kerry (Zoe Winters), leading to one big messy confrontation in which Connor spills his own guts out. "The good thing about having a family who doesn't love you is you learn to live without it," Connor justifies to himself. If Willa doesn't love him back, he'll try to make peace with it. Or so he says. Throughout the entirety of "Succession," Connor has been trying to love Willa in a way that only he knows how from Logan — money and access. But, forging a transactional relationship into an authentic one is an uphill battle.

When we peel back the layers behind Leonard Cohen's "Famous Blue Raincoat," we see Connor Roy, a deluded man coming to grips with his depressive loneliness, but lacking the right amount of self-awareness enough to see the bigger picture. At least, that's why the writers chose the song. Knowing how simple and uncomplicated Connor is, he probably just thought it was a sad break-up song.