The end of Succession is near its fourth and final season. Arguably, one of the greatest TV shows in recent years. A perfect mixture of comedy, drama and suspense. After the emotionally charged second last episode, “Church and State”, fans are left to guess how they will end the show.
Oh, also: spoiler alert. Stop reading if you haven’t seen season 4 or are behind.
Things are shaping up for the finale after the funeral episode featuring an incredible performance by Kieran Culkin (give the man an Emmy already). We saw Roman completely break; after saying he had already “pre-grieved”, he fell apart. This pinnacle moment of the episode saw the threads of power unravel.
We are used to seeing Kendall in a situation like this like we did when he killed that waiter (that daddy covered up). However, in this episode, we saw Kendall being more Logan Roy-like than ever. After filling in for Roman and finishing the speech, we saw a brief glimpse of a chillingly cold Kendall telling a visibly broken Roman he fucked up. Roman seemed sensitive to the criticism (a stark difference between episodes and seasons prior).
We also saw Kendall doing a very Logan thing where he berated his ex-wife over custody but fell short of the mark while trying to stop her from leaving, something we know Logan would have accomplished in the same situation. This highlights that while Kendall might be stepping up, his children are weak imitations of the once great, feared and respected man Logan Roy.
Like every other Succession season finale before it, the Season 4 finale takes its name from the poem “Dream Song 29” by John Berryman, originally published in 1964. The finale is titled “With Open Eyes” – John Berryman’s ‘Dream Song 29’ delves into the psyche of a profoundly sorrowful and distressed character named Henry. In the confines of this brief verse, Berryman’s narrator illustrates Henry’s melancholy as an unshakeable burden resting heavily upon his heart. At its core, the poem speaks of an overwhelming onslaught of guilt.”
You could argue that everyone is dealing with guilt right now. Roman is dangerously lost and broken, which could be a liability. His influence and sway with Mencken appear to have been lost, and Mattson is on the in. Shiv is scheming as usual, but as we’ve seen, when it comes to Shiv wanting to step up, she gets close and pulls the rug beneath her. Shiv has US CEO being dangled in front of her, but we all know she isn’t going to be CEO. We’ve seen this before.
One noticeably absent figure from Succession these past few episodes is Stuey. And we know Stuey has some sway. He’s critical of Kendall being able to lead (they have a complicated relationship), and Kendall has fucked Stuey over before.
This is all leading up to a boardroom fight, which is, once again, something we have seen. I suspect we will see a repeat of an earlier episode where Kendall attempts to challenge his dad and doesn’t get the votes needed to win. Connor is Connor and seems happy getting an international appointment.
Kendall has the whole “killing the waiter” thing hanging over his head. Tom has the whole shredding papers thing over his head, Roman has the sexual assault dick-pics thing with Gerri, and Shiv is probably committing fraud or some other violation by backchanneling the GoJo acquisition.
It’s possible we are going to see the Roy Boys and Shiv The Shiv end up with nothing. The acquisition goes through, Kendall goes to jail, and Roman is so broken that he does something stupid and kills himself. As for Shiv? Maybe she and Tom get into an argument, and he pushes her, and she falls down some stairs.
The ending feels like it will be very Shakespearian, which would align with how this show operates. Or, it’s possible, we’ll see something else happen.
But, there is one person we are forgetting: Greg Hirsch.
Season four has been big for Greg. We’ve seen him go from errand boy to having actual power. He’s also in with Mattson and other key players. Despite coming across as the bumbling cousin, Greg has shown more leadership and cold-calculated corporate shill-like behaviour than any siblings.
Let’s not forget that Greg is one of the few people aware of all these things. I am unsure if he knows about Kendall killing the waiter, but who knows?
In episode eight, Tom said something to Greg that stuck with me:
“Information, Greg. It’s like a bottle of fine wine. You store it, you horde it, you save it for a special occasion — and then you smash someone’s fucking face in with it.”
Was this foretelling what we might see Greg do in the finale? Hirsch is holding onto some seriously juicy information, valuable information that Greg could use to elevate his position even more.
Could we see the GoJo acquisition go through, and the US CEO is Greg Hirsch? We’ve already seen Greg mass-fire people without a shred of emotion. A cold and calculated killing machine willing to follow corporate orders and not think of the humanity behind them. Wouldn’t it be fitting to see Greg become CEO, and his first act is to push out the Roy siblings?
What the ending may be, I think we know it will be discussed in the years to come. Succession is a masterclass in dark comedy, drama and top-tier story writing.