Roman has slowly but surely become a more competent businessman and human being throughout all four seasons of “Succession.” His first brush with humanity began with his participation in Waystar’s management training program. Later, he’s handed the opportunity to close a deal that could potentially save the company, but he admits to his father that he doesn’t trust the buyers rather than playing the hero. There are also many references to Roman’s troubled childhood that add depth and vulnerability to the spoiled prince.
Shiv and Kendall both claim that Logan hit his youngest son as a child, and the American titan delivers a teeth-chattering blow to Roman’s cheek in season 2. At Tom’s bachelor party, Roman reveals that his older siblings used to lock him in a cage and force him to eat dog food. He was even sent to military school so his father could establish a “hierarchy” among his siblings, instilling competition between them at an early age.
Culkin has always enjoyed playing up Roman’s less endearing qualities and has been consistently drawn to roles with a bit of a problematic edge, like Wallace in “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.” “Some characters are supposed to be a piece of s***,” he explained in a 2021 interview with The Guardian. “Just be unlikable, it’s fun.”
Still, the actor has always rooted for his character’s good side to prevail over his darkness. “Roman might be the most acerbic of the Roy siblings but I still root for him and am willing him to step up,” he admitted.
Over the course of the series, Roman has grown from an egomaniacal pervert that revels in torture into a compassionate man that helps others before himself. He might not be Mother Theresa — or anywhere close — but his evolution is a glimmer of hope in a family full of bleak alienation.