Succession fans, we’re nearly there – the final episode of the final season is upon us.
So what’s going to happen? What do we know? What do the stars of the show know?
We’ve got everything every Succession fan needs to know – including interviews with Jeremy Strong, Kieran Culkin, Sarah Snook AND Alexander Skarsgard.
We also weigh in with our thoughts (and would love to hear yours too – email us at [email protected], or head to our Instagram or Facebook pages to let us know!).
The season finale airs Monday 29 May, but in the meantime, you can check out past episodes of Succession on Monday evenings on Neon, and, take a look back over this last season with us here.
On this page you’ll find:
THE FINALE: Sarah Lang makes her predictions for the final episode, ever.
THE ODDS: A betting company gives their odds on how the public is thinking the finale will go down
THEY SAID WHAT? Look back over Season four in quotes:
Alexander Skarsgård: On Gold Bomber Jackets, Sexual Tension And… Sweet Justice?
Jeremy Strong: On Acting Methods, Addiction & Why He Doesn’t Yet Know Kendall’s Ultimate Fate Either…
Kieran Culkin: On Roman, his ‘Relationship’ with Gerri and the Scene He Doubts We’ll Ever Get to See…
Sarah Snook: ‘Once They Called Cut, Everyone Was Crying’
THE DEEP-DIVE: How this Week’s Episode has Shaped Sarah Lang’s Week – and Got Her Thinking About Loss, Grief and Eternal Life
THE DEBATE: The Dance Card
THE RECAP: Episode Four: Honeymoon States
LET’S UNPACK: Shiv’s Pregnancy
THE DEBATE: Was it Crossed Out, or Underlined?!?!
The Finale: Logan 2:0
Sarah Lang has a theory about how Succession ends.
On one hand, I’m counting down the hours until Monday’s finale of Succession. On the other hand, I’m having fun speculating about how all this might end.
My prediction? That Kendall will end up ‘on top’. He personally, or some other factor, will convince the board not to go ahead with the GoJo deal, and Kendall will become the head of Waystar-Royco.
He will win the crown and lose his soul. His ascent to the throne will also be his descent into personal tragedy.
Hear me out.
When Kendall asked Logan if was ever meant to be him (as the successor), Logan replied ‘You’re not a killer. You have to be a killer.’ Kendall wasn’t a killer then, but he is now. Kendall Logan Roy. KLR. Killer. He’s become the killer his dad thought he wasn’t.
No, I’m not talking about Kendall’s role in the waiter’s death, insulated as the Roys are from real-world consequences. I think Kendall effectively kills the person he once was and could have been – and not through suicide (I hope).
Kendall will be Logan 2:0. Hear me out.
Kendall says in his eulogy that “people might want to denigrate that magnificent, awful force of him. But my God I hope it’s in me’. The tragedy is that, now, it is.
Kendall is like Logan in that he recently justified his absentee fatherhood by saying that everything he does is for his kids.
Kendall is like his father when he lets ATN call the presidency for Mencken. In doing so, Kendall chooses power over safeguarding his daughter and, TBH, America. Kendall’s action doesn’t even guarantee the deal will be stopped, which kinda makes his betrayals worse – because he might have done this for nothing. ATN’s call fuels violence in the streets and may have terrifying consequences for the country and democracy, even if Mencken doesn’t actually become president (remember January 6 at the Capitol, and the misinformation and the division Trump brought about?).
Kendall is also like Logan when, after the funeral, he tells a distraught, reeling Roman that ‘you fucked it’ at the funeral and pressures him into supporting Kendall at the upcoming board meeting.
Because of his support of Mencken, Kendall has probably lost Rava’s goodwill and respect. He has also lost Jess. And in both situations, Kendall (like Logan would) tried to put the blame back on the other person. Yes, even though Rava was understandably concerned about their kids’ safety – and even though Jess, as a woman of colour, felt understandably uncomfortable about being an assistant to a man who sorta elected a fascist. Kendall will now be surrounded by yes men, like Hugo, who don’t actually care about him.
Kendall has become good at blaming others. When he found about Shiv’s secret alliance with Mattson, Kendall called her a ‘piece of dirt’. This is rich, given Kendall initially kept Shiv in the dark when he and Roman began to try to ‘fuck the deal’ – and, also, Kendall kept the ‘Bad Dad’ publicity strategy a secret from his siblings. Kendall was also like his father when he blackmailed Hugo into instigating the ‘Bad Dad’ PR campaign.
Kendall was like his father when he offered a job to Colin, Logan’s bodyguard and ‘fixer’, by sort of blackmailing Colin about seeing a therapist? That was probably because he doesn’t want Colin talking about that waiter’s death, or maybe it was just a power trip.
As Ewan said in his eulogy, “sometime Logan decided not to try anymore and it was a terrible shame”. Kendall is like his father in that he has stopped trying. He has stopped trying to be a good person. It’s a terrible shame indeed.
If Kendall is the successor, we’ve come full circle. The terrible irony is that none of the posturing and power plays, none of the backstabbing and betrayals, needed to happen, because we’re back to square one. There was literally no point – and perhaps that’s the point.
Then again, however Succession ends, showrunner and Jesse Armstrong is so brilliant that I’m sure I’ll think ‘oh of course, the ending is exactly what it should be’.
Bovada, an online betting company, have the odds on how the final season will wrap up:
Yip, many people are putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to guessing how the final episode is going to go down. So, what are the current odds?
Who will be Waystar’s CEO at the end of the 4th season of Succession?
Kendall Roy -115
Shiv Roy +400
Lukas Matsson +500
Roman Roy +600
Greg Hirsch +800
Tom Wambsgans +800
Gerri Kellman +1000
Connor Roy +6000
Season 4 Betting Specials
Waystar to acquire GoJo by the end of the 4th season -105
GoJo to acquire Waystar by the end of the 4th season +125
Shiv to name her baby Logan by the end of the 4th season +300
Kendall to go to prison as a convicted felon by the end of the 4th season +2000
On the Record
The Best Quotes
“Is he in there? Can we get him out?” – Roman (in a tear-jerking moment, where, about to give his father’s eulogy, he realised that in fact he had not pre-grieved after all and was hit by a freight train of grief)
“Is it mine?” – Roman (giving a very Roman response to Shiv announcing her pregnancy)
“Nice timing, Jess. Lovely day to tell me. Really thoughtful.” – Kendall (to Jess, who let him know she was resigning, after he basically forced her to tell him)
“He always believed that he brought home the polio with him which took her. I don’t even know if that’s true, but our aunt and uncle certainly did nothing to disabuse him of that notion. They let it lie with him.” – Ewan (Explaining during his eulogy why Logan felt responsible for their sister, Rose’s death.
What sort of people would stop a brother speaking for the sake of a share price? – Ewan (on the attempt to stop him from speaking at the funeral)
“I was crazy for cryogenics, but yeah — I wouldn’t say no to a top bunk.” – Connor (still scouting for top real estate options, even within his father’s crypt)
“He couldn’t fit a whole woman in his head” – Shiv (summing up her father’s view of women)
“I danced with an old man. He didn’t want to dance, but they made us dance. He was so confused. I drank things that aren’t normally drinks.” – Greg (after his night out with Lukas)
“Greg, I have to be clear! I have to! If I get drowsy and I miscall Colorado, instability, right? The U.S. loses credibility, China spots an opportunity and invades Taiwan, tactical nukes, fucking shit goes kablooey and we’re back to amoeba. It’s a long way back from pond life because you failed to get me a double shot.” – Tom (on why he needs Greg to fetch him a coffee.
“Greg, it’s medically good for your brain! It is! What are you saying, all Aztec’s are stupid? Don’t be a racist little bitch about it.” – Tom (on why he want Greg to snort a line of cocaine with him)
“You hated him, Siobhan[…] Well it was complicated but sometimes you certainly hated him. And you also sort of killed him.” – Tom (after taking the coke, talking to Shiv)
“Greg, do not put anymore more lemon water or wasabi in his eyes, OK?” – Tom (again to Greg – who was eating sushi at an unfortunate time…)
“I’m so glad I didn’t drop out. It just makes an election so much more interesting when you’re in it.” – Connor
“Maybe the poison drips through.” – Kendall (to Shiv, after he said he thinks he might not be a father – which Shiv reassured him, he is ‘ok’ or at least ‘good enough’)
“I guess he has expressed distaste in the past for my particular flavour…of…me” – Greg (on how he thinks Lukas feels about him)
“Mr. Nephew” – Lukas (referring to Cousin Greg)
“I don’t think I want to go anywhere that doesn’t have nukes” – Connor (on where he might take up a diplomatic post…)
“I’m pre-tired” – Tom (Roman’s pre-grieved, and now Tom is pre-exhausted)
“I don’t like you. I don’t even care about you” – Shiv (her final blow to Tom, after an intense five minute argument)
“You’re scheduling your grief?” – Tom (to Shiv when he finds her, upset in a meeting room)
“If I cringe any harder, I might become a fossil.” – Roman
“It’s really well-edited.” – Greg (about the video, that he was in charge of secretly editing)
“How am I supposed to follow this? He just promised them eternal life.” – Tom (to Greg, before going on-stage for his presentation right after Kendall)
“I was…caught between you and your dad. And I really, really, really love my career and my money…and if you think that’s shallow, why don’t you throw out all your stuff for love? Throw out your necklaces and jewels and come and live with me in a trailer park.” – Tom (to Shiv, who sarcastically replied “I’d follow you anywhere for love, Tom”)
“You want to play Bitey?” – Shiv (to Tom, before things really got weird)
“Deniability is difficult, given that she has so much of your blood” – Shiv (to Lukas, about his iiiiiinteresting idea to send his ex-girlfriend/employee a half-litre brick of his blood)
“I’m helping you, Tom. This is why people don’t take you seriously because your shoes are so fucking white.” – Shiv (while scuffing up Tom’s sneakers)
“Your earlobes are thick and chewy, like barnacle meat” – Tom (Tom’s response to Shiv’s ‘helping’)
“Oh, excuse me! The Economist! S’il vous plait, tell us more” – Tom (in response to Greg talking about an article he had read)
“Hey, come on, guys. Listen. Sure, they’re young, and they’re fit, but they’re European. They’re soft, hammocked in their social security safety net, sick on vacation mania, and free healthcare. They may think they’re Vikings, but we’ve been raised by wolves, exposed to a pathogen that goes by the name Logan Roy, and they have no idea what’s coming to them. OK?” – Gerri (trying to give the other Waystar execs a pep talk)
“You might want to put down that fish taco. You’re getting your melancholy everywhere” – Gerri (in response to Tom saying he was feeling sad about Logan’s death)
“Inside Marcia’s trunk, inside an anaconda, inside a sarcophagus.” – Roman (on where Kerry is)
“You’re a clumsy interloper and no one trusts you. The only guy pulling for you is dead, and now, you’re just married to the ex-boss’ daughter, and she doesn’t even like you. And you are fair and squarely fucked.” — Karl (to Tom, on why he might not be the right choice for CEO right now)
“Dad sounds amazing, I would have liked to have met Dad.” —Shiv (on the newspaper obits for her dad)
“Why not just burn them for the insurance, no?” “Yeah, that would be the dream, financially speaking.” — Shiv & Karl (on what to do with Logan’s Gaugains that were hidden away in a vault somewhere)
The Dance Card
On the fifth episode of Succession, when Kendall was convincing Roman to tank the deal with Mattson, Roman asked if they should discuss it with Shiv. Kendall asked “Can Pinky dance?”. Pinky was Logan’s nickname for Shiv – and Kendall’s question is answered later in the episode. Pinky can dance. She can dance with Mattson. The question is, what kind of dance is it?
Her conversation with Mattson in his room is clearly no casual chat. Putting any hints of flirtation aside – we don’t think they’ll go there – this is a transactional relationship in the making.
Here are two theories. The first is that Mattson is playing Shiv. He says “I like you, you’re cool. You’re not judgy. You can take a joke. I like that.” Like your dad.” Is this flattery a ploy? Is Shiv she looking for another Logan to gain approval from, and can Mattson sense that? He gets her opinion on what it would take to seal the deal: ‘offer more money’ may seem obvious, but we’re dealing with male ego and market fluctuations.
Also we doubt Mattson would mention the disturbing bricks-of-blood story as a ‘hey, this happened, would love your thoughts!’ kind of thing. Because he could have asked someone confidential for advice on this – and she could rat him out. I think he’s seeing if Shiv will flinch – and she doesn’t, outwardly at least. In fact, her first reply to the joke that became a joke that became not a joke is “obviously, first of all: good one!” Is Mattson making up the story to see if she tells her brothers, as a loyalty test? Will Mattson offer her a dance card: a position of power or influence? Or does he just think she’ll be of value as an insider?
The second theory: Shiv is playing Mattson. She feels cut out of power and decision-making by her brothers, she suspects they’re leaking negative info about their dad to the press, and she can see they’re going to flame out. So she wants a more direct route to the upper echelons of GoJo-Waystar. She also wants the revised deal – and not just for the money. As she tells her brothers, ATN is a “toxic asset”, with a far-right presidential candidate listening into morning editorial calls. Does Shiv think she can use her influence to change the direction of ATN under Mattson?
Also, in their convo, Shiv vouches for Karolina and Gerri. Neither of them ends up on the kill list, and neither does Tom. Shiv appears to have Mattson’s ear on this at least. And the fact that she’s willing to send Mattson a photo of her brothers’ dejected faces, when they realise they’ve failed to tank the deal, shows she’s backing Mattson not them.
The third theory: they’re both trying to play each other while also realising the other is trying to play them. I’m going with this theory.
Either way: yes, Pinky can dance. Pinky has moves.
Episode Four: Honeymoon States.
After one of THE greatest episodes of television ever, this week, we are reunited with our characters as they reel from the death of titan Logan Roy. And while we’ve had a week for the news to sink in, the family (and the Waystar team) have woken up for the first morning without Logan in this world (or, in Kendall’s case, they haven’t actually slept.
Roman is doing well, he says, because he’s “pre-grieved”, but the biggest piece of news is from Shiv’s grey apartment, where her doctor has given her what should have been the good piece of news, that everything is well with her BABY and that she should book in for that 20-week scan.
There’s a struggle this week for power between the old guard Waystar team, and “the kids”, with a curve ball thrown when Frank discovers a late, undated will which names Kendall as the successor CEO – but… is his name underlined in the will by Logan, or, in fact, crossed out. And why is cousin Greg’s name written on the will with a query? (My personal take is, my God, I’d love for it to be underlined. It’s all Kendall ever wanted, as this episode showed. And no, I don’t believe all he’s ever wanted is to have control of Waystar, I believe all he really wanted was his father’s approval. I’d love for Logan’s final act to be that he took his son seriously [and that, after cousin Greg told him that his grandfather was cutting him out of his will, that he made a note to look after Greg himself]. But, alas, I think it was a vindictive cross-out, or just something he carelessly mused about whilst watching TV late at night)
Eventually Shiv loses out again, as Kendall and Roman are named as interim joint CEOs. Marcia’s also returned back on the scene and sells Connor the lavish apartment she and Logan lived in, for a cool $63 million, on the spot – which they agree to by spit-hand shake?!? Within a few hours, Willa (and her food-hoarding mum?) are already walking around the mansion, with Willa musing about which walls she could take out (IMO, this is the exact opposite reason as to why Connor wanted the place, and will certainly want it left EXACTLY as it currently is).
Kerry also returned to the apartment to try to pick up her personal items but was blocked from going upstairs by Marcia. Did the rest of you do what Sarah and I did and freeze-frame on her bag spilled over the ground, trying to work out what items she was coming back for? There were definitely a couple of bottles of prescription meds, plus one other large bottle that looked more like over-the-counter medicine – all of the labels were carefully obstructed from view though. So… did Kerry need help with sleeping, or her nerves? Or, is there another potential pregnancy on the show? The kids DID talk about how Logan was taking maca root last series, potentially to increase his fertility…
If you’ll remember back to season three, it was laden with pregnancy talk – so much, that many of us wondered at the end of the series, if Shiv was pregnant.
Tom (joked??) many times, that he wanted to get Shiv pregnant before he got sent off to jail (which he thought was a given conclusion at the time). There were the HIDEOUS conversations with her mother, Caroline, about how “some people just aren’t made to be mothers”, which led Shiv to tell Tom that she does want to have a baby.
There were two major clinchers in the series finale though – 1. The fact that Shiv appeared to only be drinking water at her mother’s wedding reception. It was particularly noticeable when she did a toast with water – a faux pas, that Shiv would never normally commit (nor would she ever likely voluntarily pass up the opportunity to dull the awkwardness/pain of getting through her mum’s wedding). And…. 2. The FINAL shot of the season saw Shiv grab her belly, just after she realised the kids had been double-crossed by Tom, her mother, and her dad.
But here we are, with the news confirmed, and it creates for one very complicated situation.
On HBO’s official Succession Podcast this week, host Kara Swisher checked in with actress Sarah Snook, to get her take on that call. Sarah’s response to Shiv being so indifferent to what should surely have been good news, that the Amniocentesis test showed no abnormalities, was that, yes, things are veeery complicated for her.
“I think Shiv’s got some pretty complicated feelings about becoming a mother,” she said. “It’s almost to hard to face – Shiv doesn’t like dealing with emotions, it’s easier to repress things.”
And in terms of hearing the positive news about the viability of the pregnancy, Sarah thought it might not actually be the news that Shiv was secretly hoping for. “I think for her in a way it would have been easier if there was something wrong, so that she could have a reason to terminate and not feel guilt. But with nothing wrong, there’s no reason to not continue, so it’s a very complex ‘hoping for the worst’ sort of way.”
Then there was the other aspect of the pregnancy – the fact that it seems Shiv has told NO ONE about it. It makes a lot of sense why she hasn’t though. For a start, we already saw Shiv cut out of the deal once more, when it was decided Kendal and Roman would become joint CEOs – Shiv touched on the sexism of how she is treated by, tongue, retorting that yes, she might not be a good choice because her mascara might run. Shiv likely thinks that being pregnant, then being a mother, having any kind of vulnerability – may all just complicate things too much.
And speaking of complicated, she’s yet to tell the likely father, Tom, who she is in the process of divorcing. So why hasn’t she said a peep to him, especially given how far along she is? Sarah’s theory is:
“It’s too complicated. It changes too much, there’s too much going on – her father just died, there’s so many business machinations happening, to then bring Tom into it in a familial sense would confuse it again – she doesn’t know how she feels about it herself. I think she’d prefer to decide what her own feelings are before having Tom’s feelings muddying the waters.”
Was it Crossed Out, or Underlined?!?
Was Kendall’s name underlined or crossed out? That was the question on the lips of viewers of Succession this week. If you’re not up to date, please consider this your spoiler alert for Season Four, Episode 4.
After the third episode, in which Logan died, it seemed difficult to imagine that a follow-up episode could be anywhere near as good. But episode four was very good.
At Logan’s wake, his family members, associates, staff members and friends (did Logan actually have any friends, except for ‘best pal’ Colin?) gather in his apartment to ‘grieve’ (jockey for power/see how things shake out).
Here, Frank hands Kendall a piece of paper from Logan’s safe. It suggests Logan wanted Kendall to be his successor – and sees Kendall make a case to be interim CEO. Notwithstanding the legal issues here (it’s ‘not germane’), the question remains: is Kendall’s name underlined or crossed out?
The paper states his full name: Kendall Logan Roy. Initially, it looked to me like Logan had underlined ‘Kendall’ but the line wobbled upwards to the point that ‘Roy’ was accidentally crossed out. I’m not the only one who paused the episode and stared at that line without blinking for five minutes. I’m also not the only viewer who looked up what other viewers and reviewers think.
Someone on Twitter had a good point. When you start underlining some words, you begin under the first word (which Logan did). Whereas if you’re going to cross out some words, you start by crossing out the first word (which Logan didn’t do). And if Logan wanted Kendall’s name gone, surely he would have properly crossed it out and added someone else’s name – or would have shredded the document or had it redrafted? So is this an underlining gone awry?
Then again, the word ‘Roy’ looks properly crossed out. If Logan had done that accidentally, surely he would notice and correct that? Also, if he still wanted Kendall’s name there, why bother underlining it at all? Also, Succession writer/executive producer Lucy Prebble says: “I think it’s much more likely to have been crossed out”. But she’s just speculating based on her opinion of Logan. Perhaps not even showrunner Jesse Armstrong knows the answer. He likes leaving viewers to make up their own minds and, well, read between the lines.
I have a theory about whether it was underlined or crossed out. I think that Logan purposefully made it unclear in order to mess with Kendall (and maybe cause strife between the siblings). Is Logan taunting Kendall from the grave, knowing he will always be tormented as to whether he was chosen or reviled? Could the crossed-out/underlined words be a test set by Logan – asking Kendall if he’s just Kendall, or really a Roy?
What matters most is what Kendall thinks. After he looks at a photo of the piece of paper on his cellphone, he blackmails Hugo to initiate the ‘BAD Dad’ PR strategy on the downlow. My initial reading of this was that Kendall thinks his name was crossed out, so he’s angry and wants to tarnish Logan’s reputation. On the other hand, if Kendall thinks it is underlined, he might have decided to ‘go Bad Dad’ for the good of the firm – because that’s what Logan would do.
Or maybe Kendall simply decided to do what his father didn’t think he could: become a killer. Before we saw this piece of paper, did we know that his full name was Kendall Logan Roy? Initials: KLR. Killer. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.
Kendall Logan Roy? Initials: KLR. Killer. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.
There’s also my conspiracy theory about the piece of paper that so worries Logan’s ‘lieutenants’ Karl, Frank and Gerri. In an hilarious scene, Karl speculates to Frank in a “comic mode” – in a “humorous vein” – that the piece of paper might blow away in the breeze or get flushed down the toilet. Gerri says pointedly that “that’s a very funny joke”. We don’t see Frank, Karl and Gerri make a decision onscreen. What if they did flush a ‘worrying’ piece of paper with a different successor’s name on it – and the piece of paper they hand to Kendall is an older, different piece of paper?
Remember, Karl initially says: “We’re not gonna let that little princess screw things up, right Frank?”. Maybe princess is their nickname for Kendall, and they really think he’d screw up. Maybe Karl actually said ‘princes,’ should Kendall potentially pair with Roman. Or maybe, just maybe, there were two documents and the first one had Shiv’s or Kerry’s (underlines intended) name on it. That would explain the ‘joke’ about the paper disappearing and “the little princess”. Also, Kerry – before being brutally banished by Marcia – wants to go upstairs to get her things and asks Roman to see if Logan left any document that makes arrangements for her (and, in an even-wilder-conspiracy theory, their potential unborn child). I LOVE this theory, but I don’t think there was a second piece of paper. There’s only so much storytelling time left in the season.
In any case, the person from the props department who produced the paper with the underlined/crossed-out line deserves the props equivalent of an Emmy. Can you imagine how many practice lines were drawn? Dozens? Hundreds?
So, crossed out or underlined? Most likely, no one will ever know.