We’re halfway through “Succession” season four so it’s time for an update to the review. There is no way to properly do this without spoilers so… SPOILER ALERT
The Roys are back for one final run of “Succession” and, after the season four opener, we knew they were heading out with a bang. Everything good about the show was evident in that opening episode – amazing one-liners, family feuding, high-stakes business deals – but we also see some of the character’s deeper emotions – and it has not really stopped since.
One of the most meaningful scenes in the season opener was when Logan skulks out of his own birthday party, accompanied only by bodyguard Colin. They end up in a diner and Logan declares his bagman his “best pal”. He still doesn’t let him really offer up an opinion though as they discuss the afterlife.
Logan was clearly reeling because none of his children had attended his birthday bash. They were in LA, initially plotting the launch of their new product The Hundred – “Substack meets Masterclass meets The New Yorker.” I could only think of the cricket competition!
Despite financiers sitting outside waiting to meet them, they almost instantly abandoned their startup when they realise they could potentially usurp their father and buy Pierce instead of him. Off they head to wine country to negotiate with Nan Pearce where Roman delivered one of that episode’s many great lines:
Great, I’m meeting an old woman about newspapers.
They won the bidding war and tension between father and offspring continued to build up in the opening episodes, climaxing with a confrontation at a karaoke bar where the kids were for Connor’s “bachelor party”. It really showed the love and anger that exists between them all and Logan branded his kids “not serious people”.
The next day, the day of the wedding… he collapsed on the aeroplane and died.
End of an Era
Season four, episode three of “Succession”, in which Logan dies, is one of the best hours of television I have ever watched. The cascading emotions of the children, the sniping and manoeuvring of the WayStar Royco execs, it all played out perfectly. The next episode, which is set at the wake/board meeting, continued all this and was similarly incredible. With the Roys and their associates, there is never a divide between the personal and business.
Each episode has too many great lines to recount here. Tom’s “Little Greglets” was particularly superb in episode three. That said, nothing is beating “Hey Buddha, nice Tom Ford’s” from Roman in episode two so far.
I was not shocked that Logan died this season. I was shocked that the writers killed him off so early in the season. It was an extremely bold thing for them to do, but it has not been to the detriment of the show. Yes, the central focus of “Succession” has gone, but a) he still dominates everything his children and former employees think about b) his absence has let others get more of the spotlight.
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“Succession” Kids Team up
Not only does Kieran Culkin’s Roman have the best lines, but he also seems to be the only Roy child with any sense of what money is worth. Connor even considered spending $100 million on ads for his presidential campaign in order to keep polling at one per cent and buys his father’s old home for $63 million at his wake.
Early in the season, Shiv, Ken and Roman teamed up, united against their father. This alliance is now fraying. Ken and Roman came together to be joint CEOs, promising to keep Shiv in the loop. Obviously, they are going back on that and it even looks like Ken is cutting at Roman as they both attempt to crash the GoJo deal. The confrontation at the top of the mountain in Norway was spectacular, revealing again Roman’s emotional vulnerability and Kendall’s weakness. Can they stop Mattson and not break the law? Based on all their previous business dealings, that is hard to believe. This may be where Shiv steps up. She certainly seemed to be… close… with Mattson. Or maybe it will be Gerri to the rescue. Again. She has been a calm and authoritative presence throughout, even though Roman was told to fire her by Logan at the wedding.
The Disgusting Brothers
You cannot discuss “Succession” without discussing Tom and Greg, the self-appointed “disgusting brothers”. Throughout this season their interactions have been absolutely amazing. Never forget Tom’s comments about how embarrassing Greg’s date’s large handbag is. His ability to wind Greg up, including about that date and Logan’s home CCTV system in episode one, is incredible. They need one another too, though. Tom still has some power and Greg has a canny way of knowing the gossip, such as the so-called “kill list”. This skill may help him survive when others do not.
There is also the rather sad end of Tom and Shiv’s marriage. There are moments when it seems like there is still love between them, such as the end scene in episode one or when Shiv asks Tom to get in the car with her after Logan’s death. However, there is plenty of animosity and cruelty too, particularly from Shiv. She has not yet told him that she is pregnant either, so we surely have at least one more giant confrontation to come.
But who will win in the end? If the deal does tank and it is not Mattson I’m shifting towards Cousin “Quad Squad” Greg. However, I still think it’s worth keeping an eye on Kerry. Who knows what Logan left in his will…
[Photograph credit: Claudette Barius/HBO]