Succession’s third season is in full swing, and it’s as intense and convoluted as ever. The Roy family and its numerous factions are once again at each other’s throats. Kendall is still vying for power, attempting to take the company from Logan. The family is facing a criminal investigation and everyone is lawyering up. But Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun) has maneuvered himself to the middle of the fray — and a high-strung Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen) has attempted to court Greg’s favor.
It’s a dynamic that stood out to viewers, with the fancams and TikToks to prove it. But one particular cinematic parallel has caught fans’ eyes. It’s a parallel between Tom’s declaration towards Greg in the fourth episode — namely, “I’d castrate you and marry you in a heartbeat” — and a similar declaration from another iconic character Macfadyen has played. And though this isn’t the first time fans have noticed this specific casting, season 3 has provided unique fodder for new memes.
Matthew MacFadyen, always here to deliver the most romantic lines of dialogue #Succession pic.twitter.com/yxaNjYx8s8— francesca (@francescaaahhhh) November 8, 2021
succession season 3 episode 4 pic.twitter.com/EeF3xBkWP6— L (@nicholasocrown) November 8, 2021
That rain-soaked gent is none other than Macfadyen in the 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, starring Keira Knightley. Specifically, this is the scene where Mr. Darcy finally pulls his head out of his ass and admits his love to Elizabeth Bennet, before promptly sticking it back in by way of abrupt marriage proposal.
If you haven’t watched Pride and Prejudice — or if you’ve somehow never encountered the plot of one of the most famous romances in the Western canon — here’s a refresher. The two eldest Bennet sisters are of marriageable age, and their mother is determined to match them with men of suitable standing. Elizabeth Bennet, the younger of the two and the main character played by Knightley, has an unfavorable first interaction with the rakish Mr. Darcy, who makes unflattering comments about the Bennet family’s social standing and Elizabeth’s eccentric, unbecoming (read: independent) behavior.
After a few hours of gorgeous pastoral scenes, drawing room chatter, and increasingly sexually tense misunderstandings between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy — largely fueled by archaic social norms and Darcy’s inability to communicate — he finally admits his feelings. Of course, it’s in this iconic, rain-soaked scene, and Elizabeth turns him down, leaving him in the downpour.
tom writing rough drafts of his love letters he’ll send to greg when he’s in prison #Succession #SuccessionHBO pic.twitter.com/ofdgnjyBnt— kathleen (@kathleen_hanley) November 8, 2021
Though Succession’s Tom has literally none of the sex appeal of Macfadyen’s former role, it nonetheless showcases his penchant for playing men who have a certain way with words. By “certain,” I mean very out-of-pocket, or more specifically, the tendency to say sweet nothings after spending a significant amount of time playing odd power games with the recipient. Tom and Mr. Darcy have a real zeal for bizarre proclamations of affection — or at least a zest for delivering love lines that drip with dramatic irony.
So cheers to Tom and Greg. Even if they don’t find a match as fortuitous as Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, may their affection — and these excellent crossover memes — live on.
ok it's INCREDIBLY funny to me the guy who plays Tom in Succession was Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice like what's more Tom Succession than this pic.twitter.com/yiRzAvr0sM— Kinsey @ BIRTH (@JudgementKinsey) November 9, 2021
In the meantime, I will patiently wait for memes that take advantage of Emmy nominee Braun’s own storied back catalog of acting roles. I’d recommend starting with Sky High.