‘Succession’ Is Over. Why Did We Care? (2023)


Continue reading the main story

Supported by

Continue reading the main story

For five years, the series and the question of who would end up in charge captivated a chatty swath of the TV audience. But did anyone really win in the end?

  • Send any friend a story

    As a subscriber, you have 10 gift articles to give each month. Anyone can read what you share.

  • 40

    (Video) ‘Succession’ Is Over. Why Did We Care?
‘Succession’ Is Over. Why Did We Care? (1)

By Alexis Soloski

This article includes spoilers for the series finale of “Succession.”

For nearly five years now, certain homes and offices and the punchier corners of social media have dilated around a billion-dollar question: Which wounded nepo baby would succeed Logan Roy, the founder and chief executive of Waystar Royco, as the head of a baleful empire that includes cruise ships, theme parks and ATN, a scaremongering media conglomerate? Turns out: None of them. On Sunday night, with the second son, Kendall, poised to take it all, his younger sister, Shiv, betrayed him. The company would be sold to Lukas Matsson, a Swedish tech anarchocapitalist, with Shiv’s husband, Tom Wambsgans, as C.E.O.

And while the problem of who had won the presidential election was left open, the show’s fans were reassured that Willa, the wife of Connor, the eldest Roy scion, planned to redecorate Logan’s townhouse with a cow print sofa.

In its final season, “Succession” drew fewer than half the viewers, across all platforms, of “The Sopranos” or “Game of Thrones.” So if this was a water cooler show, that water was filtered. Yet its queasy, stinging satire of the ultrawealthy exerted an outsize influence on its audience. If you hardened your heart, or if your heart came pre-hardened, it made for a mutinous kind of comfort viewing, in which pleasure, envy and outrage could twine.

You could have watched the finale wearing a black Waystar Royco baseball cap (though the characters prefer the $525 logoless Loro Piana version) or gulped your morning-after coffee out of a mug, available in 11 ounce and 15 ounce sizes, emblazoned with Tom’s email, “YOU CAN’T MAKE A TOMLETTE WITHOUT BREAKING SOME GREGGS.”

There are “Succession” memes, GIFs, drinking games, remixes of Nicholas Britell’s hypnotic, brittle theme. There’s a subreddit devoted to gossip and fake sightings. A sample post describes a rumor that Kendall has small feet: “Small small small feet.” “Saturday Night Live” created a parody, “Black ‘Succession,’” though the sketch was cut for time. On Twitter, viewers have thanked HBO for scheduling the finale on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, guaranteeing most workers a full day to recover, or complained bitterly about its disruption of holiday plans.

Since Season 2, nearly every episode has inspired concomitant think pieces. Writers have argued that we love “Succession” because of what it says about America, what it says about class, what it says about money, family, trauma and abuse. These characters are just like us. They’re not like us at all. They’re fake. They’re real. We hate them. We love them. We’re rooting for them. Are we? Did we? Why?

Because now we know: Some of the wealthiest people in the world got just what they wanted. Some didn’t. None of it really mattered.

Still, the pull was undeniable. For a few moments, sometimes even for an entire episode, the show could entice a viewer into the orbit of a particular character, then a line or a look would break that gravity, leaving that same viewer lost in space.

Perhaps you allied for a time with Alan Ruck’s libertarian dingbat, Connor; Jeremy Strong’s rap fan Narcissus, Kendall; Sarah Snook’s knives-out girlboss, Shiv; or Kieran Culkin’s red-pilled Pinocchio, Roman, the youngest son, still dreaming of becoming a real boy. They were all wounded. They were all suffering. They were all mostly terrible.

(Video) Will KENDALL Finally Be A Killer In The SUCCESSION Season 4 Finale

Opposites of Midas, they injured anyone they touched, unless those anyones were also armored in their own wealth and privilege. Another show might have offered characters to contrast this — an innocent, someone genuinely good. Not this one. Everyone was venal. Everyone was for sale. Nearly every relationship was a transaction. This was a place where altruism went to die.

If the characters did not encourage loyalty, neither did the plotting reward much scrutiny. Although certain episodes — the season finales in particular — had more switchbacks than an Alpine mountain pass, the show was, at its core, almost entirely plotless. When it began, Kendall was poised to supplant Logan as chief executive, but Logan shreds that plan in the first episode. What followed were four seasons of machinations, intrigues, betrayals and reconciliations, none of which changed the characters or advanced the story.

The finale emphasized this, beginning as it did, with Kendall’s attempts to rally the board, a deliberate Season 1 retread. “Huge board meeting,” Harriet Walter’s Lady Caroline, the mother of the three youngest Roys, quipped. “That’s never happened before.”


Despite its sophistication, “Succession” had plenty in common with a Looney Tunes short, with the Roy children chasing after the prize until they run right off a cliff. Again. Again. Again.

Billions were at stake, and yet those zeros added up to so little, because the show’s not-so-wily coyotes had been outfitted with trusts and parachutes made of something more precious than gold. They would have those billions — or, at worst, many hundreds of millions — whatever the outcome. No one would have to become a governess. No one would starve.

(Video) Succession Finale - What It REVEALS About Power

For a show with stock options and private asset management in its very DNA, “Succession” maintained a marrow-deep ambivalence about the worth of that prize, which separates it from the wealth-porn offerings of the 1980s like “Dynasty,” “Dallas” and “Falcon Crest.”

Although “Succession” was set and shot in beautiful spaces, those spaces were typically rendered airless, sterile. Few of the characters seemed to enjoy their made-to-measure suiting, their palaces in the sky. It takes an upper-middle-class striver like Matthew Macfadyen’s smiling, boneless Tom to derive any pleasure from the accouterments. And that pleasure, as when he has a morning-after tummy ache after downing too much edible gold, is fleeting. Will he enjoy the top job for even the length of his chilly Escalade ride with his wife?

There’s a familiar anecdote about a conversation, probably apocryphal, between F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway: Fitzgerald says, “The rich are different from you and me,” and Hemingway rejoins, “Yes, they have more money.” Was that all “Succession” was? That seems to have been a lot of it.

For its mostly middle-class viewers, “Succession” offered both a backstage look at the lives of the ultrawealthy and the comforting assurance that maybe those lives, despite the expensive trinkets that adorned them, weren’t especially nice. (Recent research has challenged the idea that the wealthy aren’t any happier than the rest of us, which makes “Succession” a cozy fantasy.) These characters still got stuck in traffic in their hulking town cars or inconvenienced by decomposing raccoons in their lavish vacation homes. They were ignored, insulted, belittled.

Yet the excellence of the writing and acting meant that viewers couldn’t dismiss them entirely. Lesser scripts would have reduced these men and women to caricatures, but “Succession” insisted on complication. And the actors could find midnight-zone depths even when the siblings and their retainers were at their shallowest. These were awful people, but they were also damaged people, with Culkin, Snook and Strong all able to show flashes of startling vulnerability just below the cashmere plate mail.


Pain and comedy went hand in clammy hand. Remember boar on the floor? Kendall’s rap? Nicholas Braun’s Cousin Greg, vomiting out of a theme park costume’s eyeholes? Schadenfreude would sustain a show for only so long. Instead, viewers had to oscillate, in a seasick-making way, from sympathy to contempt. And the luxurious beige interiors and sweeping drone shots meant it all went down as smoothly as a glass of 20-year reserve.

In making these characters easy to watch and difficult to hate, the show ultimately encouraged a kind of cheerful nihilism, a gleeful desire to see what they might break — democracy, one another — in each new episode. Beneath the Shakespearean insults and the Upper East Side penthouses, there was something empty at the heart of “Succession.”

This was reassuring, yes, as viewers could tell themselves — as I could tell myself — that our lives were richer, no matter our bank balances. But were you to watch too many episodes in a row, you could feel the show doing to you what Ewan Roy, in his eulogy at his brother Logan’s funeral, accused Logan of doing to his ATN viewers: feeding a dark, mean flame in their hearts. In the series finale on Sunday night, as we have on so many other Sunday nights, we watched sister turn on brother, brother on brother, husband on wife, Greg on Tom — interactions that confirmed and suckled a belief in human nature as hollow, grasping, void. Four seasons was probably enough.

Perhaps there was no better illustration of that emptiness than in the funeral episode. After the eulogies, a cortege of town cars fast-tracks Logan’s body through the Manhattan grid to a mausoleum purchased from a onetime pet food mogul. All that wealth, all that privilege, delivering an embalmed meatsack to a perpetual nowhere. And the worst part or the best part: You had to laugh.

(Video) Succession - We here for you.

Alexis Soloski has written for The Times since 2006. As a culture reporter, she covers television, theater, movies, podcasts and new media. @Asoloski


  • 40


(Video) succession's shareholder meeting but only the chaotic parts

Continue reading the main story


Was that the end of Succession? ›

After four riveting, profane seasons and two best drama Emmys (so far!), “Succession” — the story of the Roy dynasty — came to an end on Sunday night. Creator Jesse Armstrong, who conceived the story of the Roys loosely around the mythology of the Murdochs, announced in February that Season 4 would be its last.

Who is Logan Roy's first wife? ›

Caroline Collingwood
Originally From:London, England
Current Location:Eastnor Castle England
Husband:Peter Munion (Current) Rory Collingwood (Former) Logan Roy † (Divorced)
15 more rows

Who ends up CEO in Succession? ›

In the end, it was Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgard) who succeeded in taking over the company, with Minnesota-born Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen), Shiv's estranged husband, appointed to a job as a compliant American CEO.

Who will take over in Succession? ›

We've got two surprises. Eldest son, leading candidate for successor Kendall Roy was not able to take control of his father's company. Instead, Tom Wambsgans, the estranged husband of Logan's daughter, Shiv, was installed as the company's CEO, and the deciding vote was Shiv's.

Did Tom betray Shiv on Succession finale? ›

The line was made painfully ironic in the season 3 finale, when Tom did in fact betray Shiv, and he did so in Logan's favor.

Why did Shiv turn on Kendall? ›

Although Shiv's vote seemingly hurt Kendall, she actually did it to save him. Shiv knew that if Kendall becomes CEO he would turn out just like their father, Logan Roy. Shiv's vote was an attempt to stop Kendall from going down their father's path.

Are Shiv and Roman twins? ›

Roman Roy and Shiv Roy are definitely siblings in Succession, but the show has hinted that the two characters are actually twins.

Who did Logan cheat on Marcia with? ›

Marcia is Logan's third wife, and she's been in the show since the very beginning. However, Logan's infidelity caused a rift between them that never fully repaired. In Season 2, as Logan attempted to buy PGM, he entered into an affair with Pierce's CEO Rhea Jarrell.

Why is Shiv called Pinky? ›

Conversation. always thinking about shiv's contrasting nicknames, shiv and pinky, both presumably given by logan. one is the dangerous weapon she needs to be to live up to him, & the other is the reminder of how she'll always be seen by him — the fourth finger, the youngest child, the baby!

Why didn't Shiv vote for Kendall? ›

One Last Curtain Call for 'Succession' Initially, Shiv says she won't vote for Kendall because she doesn't think he'd be good at the job.

Who was following Kendall at the end of Succession? ›

We see Kendall leaving the building in a haze, and the last scene of the show catches up with him walking towards the sea, with Colin following behind him.

Does Shiv become CEO? ›

At the last possible minute, Shiv voted to let her family's company be sold to Swedish tech weirdo Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård), who handed the CEO position to Tom. This dealt a devastating blow to her older brother Kendall (Jeremy Strong), who has only ever wanted to be CEO (and maybe become a rapper).

What happens to Kendall at the end of Succession? ›

Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) will not run Waystar-Royco, and her estranged husband, Tom Wambsgans, a nobody from Minnesota, will instead become the American CEO of the newly merged company.

Who betrayed the siblings Succession? ›

Tom betrays Shiv by giving crucial intel to Logan during the Succession season 3 finale.

Does Shiv love Tom or not? ›

Yes, Succession's Shiv Roy Really Does Love Tom – Here's The Evidence - IMDb. Of the three main Roy children, Shiv (Sarah Snook) has always been the hardest to pin down.

Are Kendall's children adopted? ›

Kendall shares two children with his ex-wife Rava: Sophie, whom they adopted, and Iverson. He's never had a particularly great relationship with them, but it's more as a result of his selfish pursuit of the corporate world than any resentment over his own kids.

What did Roman mean about Kendall's kids? ›

Roman says that Logan Roy (Brian Cox) never viewed Kendall's kids as "real," calling them a "pair of randos" and insinuating that while one child was adopted, the other is the product of infidelity on the part of Kendall's estranged wife Rava (Natalie Gold).

Why does Shiv change her vote? ›

When it was Shiv's moment to vote, she just realized something pretty simple: “if I vote 'no,' if I support Kendall, he will be the CEO, and I won't.” Following the simple instinct that drives every Roy in Succession: everything they do has always been oriented to gain something on a personal level.

Why did Kendall throw away batteries in Succession? ›

Kendall then throws the batteries away as soon as he leaves the store. The theft was never about the prize; it was about feeling some semblance of power.

Who does Shiv sleep with in Succession? ›

While Shiv and Nate slept together while she was still engaged to Tom, they'd each agreed to somewhat of an open relationship.

Who is Connor Roy's mother? ›

The Roy Family assembles in England for Shiv and Tom's wedding. The children reunite with their mother, Caroline Collingwood.

How old is Shiv supposed to be? ›

Shiv is the youngest sibling, as confirmed by a Succession family tree video released by HBO. Logan also nicknames Shiv “Pinky” referring to the smallest finger, which could refer to her position as the youngest. It's estimated she's in her early-to-mid thirties. Snook, who plays Shiv, is aged 35.

Was Shiva monogamous? ›

Shiva is the only god within the trinity who has a monogamous relationship. Shiva and Parvati have appeared throughout mythology in different avatars, but always together.

Why did Kerry laugh when Logan died? ›

She watched someone she has devoted her life to die slowly, and for some, laughing through the pain is the only way to process that trauma. In many ways, Kerry's grin was a more authentic response to grief than immediately drafting a press release.

What did Kerry whisper to Roman Succession? ›

As she's crying, she mutters something to him that you may have missed, so here's every word she says. “We were talking about getting married and he was making arrangements about it, so could you check? He was gonna make an annulment, he was gonna write to his lawyers or something, so can you check?”

Does Marcia actually love Logan? ›

Marcia Roy is initially introduced as cold and abrasive, especially when it came to speaking with Logan's children. While she is deeply loyal to Logan and loves him despite his myriad of flaws, right up until he betrays her repeatedly.

Does Tom know Shiv is pregnant? ›

After a fierce argument in the prior episode, Shiv pulls Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) aside to apologise for her comments – only to meet further hostility from her husband. After Tom says Shiv “sort of” killed her father Logan (Brian Cox), she reveals to him that she's pregnant with his child.

Is Shiva half female? ›

Ardhanareeshvara is a combination of three words “Ardha,” “Nari,” and “Ishwara” means “half,” “woman,” and “lord,” respectively, which when combined means the lord whose half is a woman. It is believed that the God is Lord Shiva and the woman part is his consort Goddess Parvati or Shakti.

Is Shiv from Succession pregnant in real life? ›

Actor Snook is pregnant in real life and is expecting her first child with husband Dave Lawson, whom she married in 2021. The 35-year-old first showed off her baby bump at the "Succession" Season Four premiere.

Why did Shiv marry Tom in succession? ›

Throughout the series, it's been clear that their marriage doesn't consist of an honest relationship between two functioning adults, but of a power struggle between them. Shiv is with Tom, so he could be her token in Waystar-Royco and a tool for her to get back at Logan.

Is Kendall on Succession bipolar? ›

Conclusion. Based on the evidence presented in Succession, it is possible that Kendall Roy may be experiencing bipolar disorder, as he displays symptoms of both manic or hypomanic episodes and depressive episodes.

Is Rhea CEO in succession? ›

Rhea Jarrell is the former PGM CEO and a former Waystar Royco CEO. Cunning and brave, Rhea's motives are unknown but she does whatever to get the best of her interests.

What is Shiva real name in succession? ›

Sarah Snook (born December 1, 1987) is an Australian actor. She portrays Shiv Roy on Succession.

Who is the smartest character in succession? ›

1. Ewan Roy. Ewan Roy (James Cromwell) is the smartest Roy for a simple but powerful reason: He stays out of it.

Is Kendall Roy a sociopath? ›

Kendall Roy: Psychopath, narcissist and Machiavellian - Fluctuates between grandiose actions and existential crisis, his struggles manifest as drug addiction.

Are there any likable characters in succession? ›

Recently, though, Willa has been proving to be more likable and genuine, especially after her reassurance to Connor that she's happy and content with him. Plus, a snarky comment she makes to Marcia (Hiam Abbass) in season 4 was satisfying and earned her some points in the fandom.

Who wins in Succession Season 4? ›

The winner of Succession is ultimately...Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen). The GoJo deal goes through with Lukas Matsson acquiring Waystar Royco and he names Tom as CEO due to his American nationality and submissiveness.

Who is the smartest child in Succession? ›

Siobhan Roy (Sarah Snook)

You bet. Logan's youngest, smartest child and only daughter is shrewd, shark-eyed and fatally underestimated.

Does Tom know Shiv cheats? ›

Gerri Kellman is Shiv's Godmother. Greg Hirsch informs Tom of Shiv's cheating.

What is wrong with Connor in Succession? ›

Connor's Fatal Flaw Is Being the Emotionally Mature One

His love of history, in fact, is an expression of his understanding of his family's position in the world, even though he never really had any actual contact with the said world.

Is Succession picked up for season 4? ›

HBO has officially confirmed that Succession season four will return on March 26, 2023. According to the Emmy Award rules, for any program to be eligible, it must air in its entirety between June 1 and May 31 of any given year.

Is there a 4th season of Succession? ›

The Succession season 4 cast was confirmed by HBO in August 2022.

Is season 4 the end of Succession? ›

The Succession season 4 finale is finally out, officially concluding the beloved HBO series.

Is episode 10 the last episode of Succession? ›

"Nobody Is Ever Missing" is the tenth and final episode of the first season of the HBO satirical comedy-drama television series Succession.

Is Succession based on the Murdochs? ›

While showrunner Jesse Armstrong told HBO that the events of the series are inspired by a mix of different media families – “like the Hearsts, to modern-day Redstone, John Malone, Robert Fitz of Comcast, Murdoch, and Robert and Rebekah Mercer, who founded Breitbart”– fans believe that the Murdochs, the family behind ...

Will there be season 5 of Succession? ›

Succession Renewed for Fifth and Final Season and I wouldn't bat an eye. Only four seasons for one of the most popular TV series of the last decade?

Is Succession based on a real family? ›

The short answer: yes, it's clearly inspired by a number of rich, powerful families, including Rupert Murdoch and his children. In the early 2010s, Armstrong penned a screenplay titled Murdoch.

Why Succession is so good? ›

But the thing that makes Succession so compelling is not its storylines, which are minimal, but rather its whip-smart writing and detailed character studies; a complicated cocktail of privilege and trauma keeping the protagonists entrenched in patterns of narcissistic self-sabotage that fill the audience with ...

What year is Succession set? ›

Setting the Stage

While it's hard to make a case for the exact start date of Succession, at the very least Season 1 is taking place in 2018. The show started in June 2018, but the first episode of the show revolves around Logan Roy's (Brian Cox) 80th birthday in October 2018.

Who is Naomi Succession? ›

Who plays Naomi Pierce in Succession? Succession's Naomi Pierce is played by actress Annabelle Dexter-Jones. Aside from her successful portrayal as Naomi on Succession, Annabelle, 36, has been acting under the radar for many years now.

How many episodes are in season 4 of Succession? ›

Season 4 of Succession is 10 episodes in total, and they have all aired. Since there are no current plans for Season 5, this is all we've got.

How many episodes are in season 4 of you? ›

When was Succession season 4 filmed? ›

Succession Season 4 filming started on October 2017 to October 2022.

How many people watched Succession finale? ›

Succession's shocking Season 3 finale on Sunday marked a series-high for the Roy Family. According to HBO, the latest installment rife with twists and betrayal, earned 1.7 million viewers across all platforms, including HBO proper and HBO Max.

Is Succession series complete? ›

The series centers on the Roy family, the owners of Waystar RoyCo, a global media and entertainment conglomerate, who are fighting for control of the company amid uncertainty about the health of the family's patriarch, Logan Roy (Brian Cox). The series' fourth and final season premiered on March 26, 2023.

Will there be an episode 10 of Succession? ›

Succession Season 4 Episode 10 was the tragic send-off for my favorite sad man, and I will never be the same. Astonishing and ruinous, this episode delivers a tragic ending that surprises and supersedes every expectation.


1. Kendall Blames Logan | Succession S02 E10 | HD Clip
(TV Clips)
2. Thank You, Succession! Vaibhav's take on series finale [Spoilers]
(Chalchitra Talks)
3. "It's Corporate Day Care." - Succession Season 2, Episode 8, "Dundee"
(Samet Turgut)
4. Succession: Feel Sorry for the Rich
5. Why Succession's Dialogue Works | Video Essay
(Failure On Command)
6. Tom and Shiv Clear the Air | Succession | HBO


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Jamar Nader

Last Updated: 08/09/2023

Views: 6210

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (75 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Jamar Nader

Birthday: 1995-02-28

Address: Apt. 536 6162 Reichel Greens, Port Zackaryside, CT 22682-9804

Phone: +9958384818317

Job: IT Representative

Hobby: Scrapbooking, Hiking, Hunting, Kite flying, Blacksmithing, Video gaming, Foraging

Introduction: My name is Jamar Nader, I am a fine, shiny, colorful, bright, nice, perfect, curious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.