Warning: Spoilers ahead for the Succession season finale.
Succession, the HBO series filled with power struggles and family drama, has finally concluded after four seasons. The story began with Logan Roy, the head of Waystar Royco, realizing his mortality and the need to plan for the future. The finale addresses this need with Logan’s unexpected death midway through the final season.
Although only one of Logan’s children, Kendall, initially showed interest in taking over the company, the other siblings soon joined the race when the possibility of their father’s love and public recognition was presented. However, none of them possess the necessary skills and qualities required to lead the company effectively. Logan recognizes this and refuses to pass the baton to unqualified hands. Thus, the burning question throughout the series remains: Who will take over?
The events leading up to the finale
After the betrayal of Tom and Greg at the end of season 3, Logan contemplates selling the company to Danish tech billionaire Lukas Mattson. Seeing the inevitable decline of Waystar Royco, Logan plans to let go and focus on his news network ATN. However, a bidding war among his children disrupts his plans.
Despite Roman’s initial alliance with Kendall and Shiv, he succumbs to his father’s charm and decides to work with him. Logan’s words, “I love you all, but you are not serious people,” resonate deeply with Roman. Tragically, these words become some of Logan’s last as he dies while en route to meet Mattson and finalize the deal.
Now, it’s up to the siblings to navigate the future. The board pressures them to make a decision to prevent a stock drop. Eventually, Kendall and Roman are appointed as co-CEOs, with Shiv as an advisor.
The siblings’ shortcomings
As the story progresses, each sibling proves that Logan’s assessment of them was accurate. Roman acts impulsively, firing anyone who disagrees with him, believing it aligns with his father’s approach. Kendall, on the other hand, makes erratic decisions and questions the plan to sell to Mattson. He secretly sabotages the deal to assert his control. Shiv, feeling sidelined by her brothers, becomes a mole for Mattson, providing guidance to secure the deal. She also nominates herself as the new CEO to address regulatory concerns.
During their leadership, the siblings demonstrate their inadequacy. Roman’s impulsive actions strain his relationship with Gerri. Kendall’s irrational behavior and reckless decision-making are evident in his presentation and personal interactions. Shiv, while strategic, finds herself back at square one when it is revealed that Mattson plans to appoint Tom as CEO.
The final board meeting
At the decisive board meeting, Shiv believes she has the advantage, but Kendall receives crucial information from Greg. It is revealed that Mattson is considering other American CEOs, including Tom. Shiv, now aware of this, changes her stance. She no longer believes Kendall is fit for the job and raises concerns about the accident involving Kendall. Ultimately, she opts to have Tom as CEO, despite the hurtful consequences for Kendall.
With the deal signed, the Roy children have lost control of Waystar Royco. Tom becomes a figurehead for the foreign-owned company. Shiv and Tom coldly hold hands, Roman finds solace in a bar, and Kendall, devastated, sits on a park bench. Waystar Royco is no longer in the hands of the family that let it crumble.
In the end, Logan’s desire to separate his children from the company comes to fruition, but it is the children themselves who contribute to its downfall. The finale leaves viewers with the image of Kendall’s despair, questioning what lies ahead for him.
Succession concludes with the Roy children’s failure to preserve their father’s empire, ultimately allowing it to implode.