It’s too cliché to call a new season of “Succession” “highly anticipated.” When creator Jesse Armstrong announced in February that the upcoming fourth season would be the show’s last, it raised the stakes to their highest yet. How will we say goodbye to our beloved Roys, the terrible, no good, very bad family at the center of the Emmy-winning HBO series about a fictional family-owned media conglomerate? What final power moves do these irresistible characters (and the show’s skillful writers) have up their sleeves? And how exactly will the show tell us to “fuck off, be gone, bye-bye”?
Ahead of the Season 4 premiere Sunday, Erin E. Evans, Marina Fang and Ruth Samuel ― three of HuffPost’s resident “Succession” enthusiasts and observers of all things Waystar Royco ― convened to discuss what we think will happen to our favorite evil rich white family on TV, and how it will all end. As the show’s characters would say: “Action stations!” Or: “Buckle up, fuckleheads!”
Unanswered Questions And Lingering Threads That Might Get Tied Up
Marina: One of the many great things about “Succession” is the way moments — or even just a line or two of dialogue — that seem minor come back in later seasons. The writers will brilliantly lay the breadcrumbs for something that, in retrospect, may have been coming all along. As we head into this final season, what do we think may emerge (or reemerge)? It may be a fool’s errand to make these kinds of predictions, because the writers always know how to throw a huge shocker into the show. But we could start with some potentially safer bets.
I, for instance, am curious to see if Kendall [Jeremy Strong]’s vehicular manslaughter finally becomes public. On great shows, I always love the interplay between something we, the audience, know, but many of the show’s characters do not. In the Season 3 finale, Kendall’s admission to the siblings was stunning television. And in the same episode, there’s a bit of dialogue about how some podcast has been doing an investigative series on the Roys, so I wonder if that will get developed in Season 4 — or if Kendall’s vehicular manslaughter will come out in some other form.
What do you all think? And what are some other things you noticed from prior seasons that you’re wondering about?
Ruth: I love that you brought up the manslaughter case, because based on the teaser trailers we have seen for this season, I’m wondering whether Gerri [J. Smith-Cameron] will somehow weaponize the inappropriate (yet consensual) relationship between her and Roman [Kieran Culkin] as he tries to vie for company ownership. If I can recall, in one of the trailers, she alludes to leaking something. She says, “I will sue, and I will go public.” Will she take him to court for harassment? Will he finally be publicly revealed as the family “sicko”?
Erin: I’ve been obsessed with Marcia Roy [Hiam Abbass], Logan [Brian Cox]’s third wife. I want to see how much she figures into this final act. I’m hoping we see a lot more of her this go-round. Obviously in Season 3, the Roy kids thought they could trust their own mother (ha!), but I’m thinking it’ll be interesting to see if the dynamic between them and Marcia takes on a new leaf. Also, I would just DIE if somehow Vaulter was resurrected and Matsson [Alexander Skarsgård] had something to do with it. That episode with Vaulter ― Season 2, Episode 2 ― was the one episode that REALLY got me hooked into the mess of the Roy family. It was all too real seeing a startup media company fail, and the details are eerily similar to my own layoff at a certain media company in 2018.
Ruth: I really think Marcia may come out of the blue to get what’s hers. If Cousin Greg [Nicholas Braun] ends up being the successor, that might be my 13th reason. I’d be LIVID. Also, lest we forget Connor [Alan Ruck]’s attempt at a presidential run…
Marina: Marcia knows how to play the game! One of my favorite things early in Season 3 was when we were anxiously waiting for Marcia to return — and then she did, with all of her divorce demands, because she deserves.
Ruth, I am also always Team Gerri. Her last line in Season 3: “But it doesn’t serve my interests. How does it serve my interests?” It haunts me! She’s the best.
Erin: Rewatching that moment the other day had me cheering for her! Especially since Roman was on bended knee begging her.
Marina: Roman’s look of defeat and resignation when she says that = brilliant. Man, I’m gonna miss this terrible family so much.
Ruth: Gerri is truly my girl. Speaking of rooting for women, let’s talk about Shiv [Sarah Snook]. Now... listen... as much as I want to support all women, I simply do not. In theory, it’d be great! In practice — considering Shiv intimidated a harassment and assault survivor/former Waystar employee [Sally Murphy] into retracting their story — it’s going to be a no from me, dawg. Yes, all of these people are terrible and Shiv is no exception, but she is generally hated by her father. The likelihood of Logan passing the reins down to her is low. However, that moment when Tom [Matthew Macfadyen] swindled her at the end of last season? Remarkable.
Erin: It’s also wild to juxtapose Shiv’s reaction to the former Waystar employee with her trying to sway Gerri to make a complaint against Roman. The girl is only in it for herself! Also, Shiv and that hat from Caroline [Harriet Walter]’s wedding still haunts me. Why, girl, why!
Marina: YES! Great comparison. I shuddered through both of those scenes, and every time I’ve rewatched, I always forget how haunting that witness intimidation scene is. Shiv’s performative allyship (if we can even call it that), and keeping up a “progressive” facade until it is no longer beneficial to her, is another one of those real-life parallels the show is so good at exploring.
Ruth: And I’m interested in seeing if she’ll ever realize that she’s never going to be her father’s choice. How will she react? Is she going to run to Caroline? Does Caroline have any ownership stake left? I think the kids ambushed their mother to get her to sell her part last season, right?
Marina: I think it was in Season 2, but at the behest of Logan? But then of course, she AND Logan screwed them over at the end of Season 3, when they took away the kids’ power to override a sale. Tipped off by Tom, of course.
Oh, I also want to go back to Connor’s presidential run (lol). One of the funniest lines in the Season 4 trailer was when Connor says his 1% in the polls “could get squeezed,” and Cousin Greg goes: “Squeezed down? From one? ’Cause that’s the lowest number.” I wonder after his failed (I assume) campaign, does he angle for a Waystar job, or even try for the top job? It’s also alluded to earlier in the show that Logan sent Connor’s mom ― Logan’s first wife ― to a psychiatric facility, so I wonder if we get any sort of details on that this season, or any other details about Connor’s childhood, separate from his half-siblings. Remember, he IS the eldest son!
I’m just throwing out all these thoughts, because hey, it’s the last season!
Ruth: The 1% line absolutely sent me. The half-sibling theory is really compelling. I just wonder if the writers would have the nerve to annoy the entire fan base by bringing in third parties — but I don’t doubt it in the slightest. But we haven’t talked about Daddy’s #1 Boy: Kendall!
Marina: Our number one boy! Also, to be clear, I don’t think Connor would actually get the top job, but he probably wants to be considered, and he always hates being forgotten by the younger Roys. (“I love all three of you pricks, but what do I get from you chumps but chump change?”)
Erin: Oh, Kendall. The only thing I’m really looking for is another rap performance. It’s equally cringey and good. That mic drop at the end of Season 2 at that press conference when he undermines Logan is INCREDIBLE television.
Ruth: L TO THE OG! I wonder — nay, worry — about Kendall. I really do. Apart from driving his son into substance-abuse issues, I feel like Logan does see himself in Kendall — and that might be what terrifies or repulses him? Since he spent so much time attempting to stage a coup against and emerge from his father’s shadow, I could see him feigning as if he doesn’t want to be the successor or ultimately, botching it as per usual.
Marina: Oh yes, he’s gonna find a way to fuck it up. One of the through-lines of the show, and what makes him such a compelling character, is more than anyone else, I think, he’s had these dramatic cycles of rising and falling, and then rising again, and then falling spectacularly. At the end of Season 3, he went through another one again. Now he’s seemingly on the upswing, but how long do we give this sibling alliance? Based on past seasons, I’d give it maybe just a couple episodes.
Ruth: Three episodes at most.
Marina: OK, we’ve alluded to this already, but here we go. Time to make our (potentially foolish) final predictions. How does this spectacular show end? Who wins? Or does anyone?
Ruth: I’m not sure, but it better not be Greg or Connor. I’d absolutely lose it. Moreover, I don’t even think Logan will die. As for the core three kids, Shiv is super whiny and entitled, Kendall is consistently... incapable of finishing the task at hand, and Roman is a deeply unserious creep with no business acumen. (We saw how overwhelmed he was by the sheer volume of emails he got in Season 1, I think.) Once again, they are all terrible — just different strains of terrible. I’m still trying to discern whether being a wolf in sheep’s clothing and pretending you’re some martyr, as Kendall does, is worse or more dishonest than being a blatant, evil wolf, like Roman.
I don’t hate the idea of Tom getting it, but I don’t love it. All I know is Shiv is not getting it... and I don’t want to see her cry, but I have several friends who would laugh at the mere sight of her breaking down.
Erin: This is so hard to predict. But I think the whole family goes down in flames. Tom coming out on top would probably make me laugh, but I’m trying to imagine a scenario where that could happen.
Marina: Part of me wonders if it could be someone like Cousin Greg because he’s been playing the long game, and he’s always been smarter than he lets on. Just when you think he’s just kind of bumbling around in the background, he delivers in key moments, like the cruise documents in Season 2. He always seems to end up on the side of whoever is winning at a given moment.
Ruth, I’m gonna disagree and say: I actually think Logan will die, and I’ve become more convinced of it through rewatching the show in preparation for this final season. Hear me out. (“We hear for you!”)
In the pilot, he has a stroke at his 80th birthday celebration, and then spends the first half of the first season mostly incapacitated (including peeing on the floor of Kendall’s office). His health always looms over each season, with various ailments and moments of him totally losing it, like in Season 3, when he collapsed during that hike with Adrien Brody. And of course, we will never forget the UTI fiasco. It feels fitting to end with his death because it would be the whole show coming full circle, connecting the beginning with the end.
However, if he does indeed die this season — and maybe this is a cop-out — I also predict that in his will, he’ll declare that none of his children will get control of the company. That also seems fitting, because he thinks very little of each of them. Maybe Matsson will get full control, or someone else entirely. It will not remain in family control. Logan was prepared to sell them all out at the end of Season 3!
This would also bring everything full circle. Back in the pilot, Kendall assumed Logan was retiring and he was the slam-dunk favorite to succeed his father. But then Logan changed his mind (and also had the aforementioned stroke). The show’s title has always been a ruse. The process of succession never really happens. So in that respect, I think the show has to end this way.
But watch me be totally wrong, lol.
Ruth: I could see Logan selling it to a competitor and screwing all of his kids over for kicks and giggles, in one last eff-you to them. In the trailer, we see Logan tell the kids, “I love you, but you are not serious people” — and I wonder if that’s the scene where he’s breaking the news.
Erin: That’d be an epic send-off to this wildly dysfunctional but highly entertaining family.