Welcome to the final countdown.
Succession Season 4 Episode 1 starts the clock ticking on the final season as we wait to find out exactly how the title pans out. Who will succeed Logan Roy, and how will they do it?
It begins with the idea that Kendall, Shiv, and Roman might go their own way rather than step into their father’s shoes. But would that ever be good enough for them?
The Roy kids have shown slivers of brilliance on occasion, but their idea for The Hundred isn’t one of them.
Kendall: The Hundred is Substack meets Masterclass meets The Economist meets The New Yorker.
Roman: I feel like we said iconic, and you guys are leaning ironic.
It’s clickbait for smart people with the ethos of a nonprofit. Oh my word, will we miss this family or what?
As they bandied about what they thought it was (they really have no idea, and the logo sucks), I laughed out loud when they wondered if the concept was just too good; otherwise, why hadn’t anyone done it before?
There’s no doubt, given their upbringing, without their father, they would be nothing.
That’s a sadder statement on their upbringing than on them personally because, as I said, they have shown great flashes of brilliance. In this instance, it’s down to Roman, who is the only one of the three fully invested in whatever it is they’re trying to create.
Maybe because of that investment, he’s also the first to reconnect with Logan. Dealing with Kendall and Shiv must put the fear of poverty into his mind because they obviously do not work together well — at least when they’re attempting to share control of their project.
It wasn’t always like this, though. They’ve been through so much in three seasons that it’s easy to forget Shiv’s successful career as a political strategist or that Kendall was a fully capable and functioning member of Waystar Royco with Logan’s full support. Or so he thought.
Not to mention whatever Roman did, which, if I recall, was being a bit of a renegade party boy without much focus. Hey, at least he did it well, and it earned him valuable connections. He’s also the one most fully invested in their new venture, and it makes sense for that reason.
Just two seasons ago, he was training at the very bottom of the company learning the ropes of the amusement park business. He’s never had as much invested in the family business to want to continue it exactly.
But we always knew that The Hundred or whatever a venture between them might be would never come to fruition, let alone be successful, right?
If they buy Pierce Global Media, they begin with an empire rather than building one from scratch.
When it comes to the wire, they put all of their efforts into topping Logan, proving that at the heart of it, they want his approval and respect more than anything, and nothing earns that faster than through business transactions.
Although he doesn’t know it, Logan often wears his heart on his sleeve, and he was having a terrible birthday. The people he loves (and hates) the most weren’t there.
The three children who count, Gerri — they were all elsewhere. And why wasn’t there a Cardinal at the party, Logan wondered, to prove how essential he is to the goings on in the world?
So, of course, it would be during his party that the fight for dominance began. The Waystar Royco sale is three days away, and with that, the power balance will shift.
The kids have a chance to topple their dad from his top spot, and despite everything that says they want to be with him rather than against him, they begin the push on his special day.
It’s ripe for so much humor but also so damn tragic. Life doesn’t go on forever, as Logan knows with another birthday soon in his rearview mirror.
When he slipped away from the party, Logan turned to Colin, bending his ear and telling him he’s his best pal. A guy who offers no pushback and is paid to be by his side is the best Logan can do when he needs to get a load off.
Logan sees the world as one big business transaction in which he’s 100 feet tall and everyone else is a pygmy, but for him, it works. Except it doesn’t.
As he’s ruminating on existence, trying to look at it clinically and transactionally, he’s aching for human connection, and it can only come from the people he’s pushed so far away that they’ve become like fellow gladiators in a fight to the death.
His kids want what he has, whether it be business or love, and Gerri was too good in her recent stint as his successor, so he’s pushed her out of the sandbox, too.
All Logan has left are hangers-on like Connor, Tom, Greg, and Carrie, all of whom want a piece of him for different reasons, but none of them want his love and respect as much as Kendall, Shiv, Roman, or even Gerri.
But oh my goodness, are Tom and Greg still making the grade in their incredibly odd friendship, which has graduated to a place only they could love as they call themselves the Disgusting Brothers, something Shiv heard through the grapevine, but which she could have witnessed in person at the birthday party.
Because she’s brought a ludicrously capacious bag. What’s even in there? Huh? Flat shoes for the subway? Her lunch pail? I mean, Greg, it’s monstrous. It’s gargantuan. You could take it camping. You could slide it across the floor after a bank job.
Greg chose Logan’s party to bring around his skanky “girlfriend” to use the term loosely, which immediately raised eyebrows. It’s funny that it got Carrie’s attention in much the same way that her existence raises the ire of Roman, who speaks of her and to her with terms we can’t mention here.
This isn’t fuckin’ Shake Shack, Greg. This isn’t a pre-fuck party; it’s a birthday party.
Greg is still so eager to please Tom, who he simultaneously admires and dislikes, that he fingered his “whore” date on the premises to up the ante on his new moniker.
That opened the floor for plenty of laughs, but even though Logan ultimately used it as a throw-away laugh line himself, it was just one more black mark on his awful birthday.
Who wants to smell Greg’s finger, huh? Guess the scent; win a buck.
Nobody there had a lick of affection for the old coot, and it was just so sad.
Even though the Roys are often despicable, there is a rawness to their emotions that makes you want to cuddle them for their sadness, just as you want to smack them silly to snap out of their smug entitlement.
The way they tossed billions at Nan Pierce’s feet in their game of one-upmanship was downright gross, but it wasn’t an empty gesture. There is so much pain behind those actions, and they use money as a salve on their open wounds.
Roman’s astonishment that his siblings tacked on another 500 million as if it was nothing was incredibly astute, as was Logan’s “congratulations on saying the biggest number, ya f–king morons!”
At some point, you need to step back and take control of your emotions before they get the better of you.
Nothing was a better reminder of that than when Tom and Shiv finally shared the screen in what is arguably the most emotional scene the show has portrayed to date.
There has always been a deep love between them, but they’re so afraid of feelings that they push each other away viciously.
When Tom and Shiv do connect, though, it’s heartbreaking, and when they were on that bed, slowly reaching toward each other, clasping hands with tears in their eyes as their marriage fell apart, it was Succession at its best.
This is the final season, and I can’t help but root for this lost and lonely family to find solace with each other before it’s all over.
That’s not what Succession is all about, is it? Maybe it is. Every family has some degree of the Roys in them, or there wouldn’t be so many memes about Thanksgiving dinner.
Where does it go from here?
We’re about to find out.
For now, I’d love to know what you think. Hit the comments with your thoughts on the premiere.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.