‘Succession’ Season 4 ending defined: Who’s the brand new CEO?

A vote, a smoothie from hell, and one final spherical of backstabbings closed out the fourth and closing season of HBO’s Succession.

“With Open Eyes,” the present’s finale, was a beast of a more in-depth, taking Succession‘s mixture of dramatic household infighting and darkish humor to morbid new heights… and crushing new lows. Sure, by the top of “With Open Eyes,” Waystar Royco formally has a brand new CEO — one thing many viewers members and the present’s characters themselves view as “successful.” However the journey to get to there may be one filled with devastating betrayals that fracture relationships past any restore. It is an episode filled with burned bridges, scorched earth sibling rivalries, all resulting in the inevitable: selecting Logan’s (Brian Cox) successor. For actual this time. Let’s break down how we received there.

Kendall and Shiv sq. off to get Roman’s vote.

The Roy siblings sit in chairs overlooking the ocean.

Jeremy Sturdy, Sarah Snook, and Kieran Culkin in “Succession.”
Credit score: Sarah Shatz/HBO

By the top of Succession‘s penultimate episode, battle traces have been clearly drawn within the battle for who will get to regulate Waystar. In a single nook, now we have Kendall (Jeremy Sturdy), who hopes to maintain Waystar within the household. Within the different, now we have Shiv (Sarah Snook), who has allied herself with GoJo CEO Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård) in an try to amass the corporate. As “With Open Eyes” begins, Kendall and Shiv are vying to safe votes from Waystar’s board members earlier than the board assembly. One key vote is up within the air, although: Roman (Kieran Culkin), who’s gone lacking after breaking down at Logan’s funeral.

As each Kendall and Shiv shortly discover out, Roman is not actually lacking. He is within the Caribbean with their mom Caroline (Harriet Walter), who needs the 2 to return down and communicate to him. They do — to not consolation him, however to debate enterprise. Roman is in no place to take action, having been injured and shaken by a run-in with individuals protesting the presidential election. (Talking of the election, the Wisconsin votes are topic to a court docket case, so Mencken might not be the winner in spite of everything.) Nonetheless, his siblings don’t have any hassle treating him as a “human fucking vote,” in his personal phrases.

Matsson considers totally different CEO choices.

Lukas Matsson lounging in a bar.

Alexander Skarsgård in “Succession.”
Credit score: Macall B. Polay/HBO

Because the board vote grows nearer, Matsson wavers on his and Shiv’s settlement to make her the American CEO of Waystar. He claims he is not fazed by a caricature depicting her as his puppetmaster, however between that and his admitted need to sleep together with her, Matsson has opted to go in a unique course. He admits as a lot to Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen), on certainly one of their many cringeworthy “hangs.” Tom thinks he is on the chopping block, however Matsson suggests one thing else: CEO. The provide is much less certainly one of energy, and extra certainly one of being Matsson’s private “ache sponge.” However, Tom accepts.

The scene echoes certainly one of Succession‘s Season 3 finale’s most iconic scenes: when Tom asks Greg (Nicholas Braun) if he needs to make a take care of the satan not lengthy earlier than betraying Shiv and her brothers. Right here, although, Tom is in Greg’s place (what’s Greg, if not a “ache sponge”?), and Matsson takes on Tom’s position. Each scenes finish the identical means although: with Tom screwing Shiv over.

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However we won’t depend Greg out simply but. Tom’s lackey makes use of a translating app to decipher Matsson’s Swedish discussions and inform Kendall of Matsson’s alternative. In fact, he asks for one thing in return for the intel — all the time making an attempt to make “the quad” occur, that Greg! In the meantime, Kendall passes the information on to an understandably mad-as-hell Shiv. And similar to that, the Roy siblings are a united entrance once more. Sort of.

Kendall, Shiv, and Roman determine which ones must be CEO.

The Roy siblings stand on a beach overlooking the ocean.

Jeremy Sturdy, Sarah Snook, and Kieran Culkin in “Succession.”
Credit score: Sarah Shatz/HBO

Because the clock ticks all the way down to the board assembly, Kendall, Shiv, and Roman repeat certainly one of their favourite arguments: Who did Logan wish to be CEO? Who amongst them would have gotten the kiss from daddy(opens in a new tab)? The arguments vary from Roman’s declare that he was Logan’s most up-to-date option to Kendall’s reminder that Logan promised him his empire at age seven. (No stress.) After a lot arguing, Shiv and Roman inform Kendall it must be him.

What follows is certainly one of Succession‘s funniest scenes ever, the place the trio make Kendall “a meal match for a king,” aka the world’s most disgusting smoothie. (Tabasco, eggs, and bread nubbies all make the minimize, together with some Shiv spit.) Kendall bravely provides it a chug earlier than Roman dumps it throughout his head. Ceremoniously, after all.


‘Succession’ finale: Here is each ingredient within the Roys’ ‘meal match for a king’

Between the anointment-by-smoothie and Roman and Shiv coming to their determination whereas Kendall floats on a platform within the ocean, “With Open Eyes” continues Succession‘s motif of associating Kendall with water. Earlier this season, after his profitable presentation on Dwelling+, Kendall took a swim within the Pacific Ocean. It was a second of rebirth for him, in addition to a form of thematic baptism of him because the extra highly effective of the “CE-Bros.” Nevertheless, Kendall’s affiliation with water has not all the time been so optimistic. Within the Season 1 finale, he and waiter Andrew Dodds crashed right into a lake, the place Andrew drowned. In the direction of the top of Season 3, Kendall falls off a pool floatie and makes an attempt to drown in a very despairing second. In each instances, Kendall plus water spells out all-time low. Does his floating on the ocean in “With Open Eyes” correspond extra to his rebirth or “anointment” as future CEO? Or will it spell doom for him?

The tables flip earlier than the board assembly.

Willa and Connor stand together smiling in their apartment.

Justine Lupe and Alan Ruck in “Succession.”
Credit score: Macall B. Polay/HBO

Tensions are excessive earlier than the board assembly, however that does not cease Connor (Alan Ruck) and Willa (Justine Lupe) from internet hosting a gathering the place individuals can declare the objects in Logan’s house by means of a “sticker perambulation circuit system.” (Connor has additionally created tiers of grievers to find out who will get precedent.) Because the Roys declare their objects, they locate a video of Logan having dinner with Connor, Frank (Peter Friedman), Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron), Karl (David Rasche), and Kerry (Zoe Winters). Because it performs out, the Roys get a second to bond with their father from past the grave — one the place he is not berating them, however is quite having fun with Connor’s impression of him performing “I am A Little Teapot.”

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However the enjoyable and video games finish when Tom tells Shiv he’ll be CEO. From that time on, each side rally the troops in a last-ditch effort to get the votes they want. Tom additionally discovers that Greg leaked Matsson’s option to Kendall, giving us the definitive TomGreg scene of the season: the 2 of them slap combating it out in a rest room.

Shiv throws a wrench into the Waystar vote, and a brand new CEO is topped.

A group of business people gather for a photo around signed documents on a table.

The ensemble of “Succession.”
Credit score: David Russell/HBO

The board vote proceeds, with six members voting for Kendall, and 6 voting for GoJo. Shiv has the deciding vote, however on the final second, she has doubts. And as she tells Kendall it should not be him, his smarmy, assured enterprise persona melts away into pure desperation. “I’m like a cog constructed to suit one machine… It is the one factor I understand how to do,” he pleads.

However it’s all too straightforward for Shiv to close him down: “You’ll be able to’t be CEO since you killed somebody.”

Kendall enters disaster spin mode, nevertheless it’s too late. If he agrees that he killed Andrew, he is admitting he is a killer. If he claims he made the loss of life up (which he does), he appears to be like manipulative and loses his siblings’ belief. Is it wealthy for Shiv to make use of this towards him after being so blasé about it again in Season 3? Completely. However does it make for a brutal blow to Kendall’s CEO candidacy? Certainly.

The Roys aren’t carried out knifing one another although. Roman needles Kendall for his youngsters not being a part of the Roy “bloodline,” as they aren’t his organic kids. That is the final straw for Kendall, who assaults Roman whereas Shiv casts her deciding vote. In what has felt inevitable this complete season, GoJo acquires Waystar. In a twist, Tom really does grow to be CEO.

With Tom changing into CEO, the place does that go away the remainder of our characters?

Tom and Shiv hold hands in the backseat of a car.

Matthew Macfadyen and Sarah Snook in “Succession.”
Credit score: Courtesy of HBO

As Tom and Matsson formally take over Waystar, it is clear modifications are afoot. Tom appears to wish to hold Gerri and Karolina (Dagmara Dominczyk) onboard, however needs to axe Hugo (Fisher Stevens), Karl, and Frank. (To be truthful, these final two do not appear significantly eager about staying on.) Tom additionally plans to maintain Greg with him, although he “fucked it.” He seals the deal by pasting certainly one of Connor’s stickers to Greg’s brow. One final hurrah for the Disgusting Brothers, everybody!

And as for the opposite Roy siblings? Shiv did ask Tom earlier within the episode if we was “interested by an actual relationship,” and by the appears to be like of her using out of Waystar with him, it seems like they might be giving {that a} strive. She even takes his hand after he affords it to her on their automotive journey! Granted, it is much less of a hand maintain and extra of a “relaxation my hand in yours” state of affairs, so it is clear their intimacy and belief aren’t solely again. (Are you able to blame them? Extra importantly, can we pray for his or her kid’s upbringing?)

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After Roman indicators Waystar over to a gloating Matsson, he heads to a bar and has a drink alone. His closing scene is simply as ambiguous as Shiv’s, as he provides a smirk after which a frown, caught someplace between pleasure and disappointment. Does he really feel freedom at now not being tethered to Waystar? Or does he remorse destroying his relationship with Matsson and never pushing more durable to be CEO? Both means (or maybe a mixture of each), it is a quiet farewell to certainly one of Succession‘s wildest, most bombastic characters.

Succession closes with the tragedy of Kendall Roy.

Kendall sits in a park looking sad.

Jeremy Sturdy in “Succession.”
Credit score: Courtesy of HBO

Once we first met Kendall Roy, means again in Season 1, he was on prime of the world: rapping alongside to the Beastie Boys, hoping to shut a deal to amass Vaulter, and subsequent in line for Logan’s CEO throne. The Kendall we half methods with in Season 4 is totally damaged: His closing scene with Shiv and Roman minimize him deep, and with the sale of Waystar, he has misplaced the one factor in life he fought so onerous for. His place at Succession‘s finish remembers the aftermath of Season 1’s vote of no-confidence towards Logan — solely right here, he is additional at all-time low, and sure has no salvageable private relationships left.

When telling Shiv and Roman about how being CEO is the one factor he’d know methods to do, he tells them, “I’d die” if the vote does not go his means. And for a second, it appears as if Succession goes in that course. In Succession‘s final scene ever, Kendall walks by means of Battery Park on the southern tip of Manhattan. As he heads in direction of the railing bordering the river, it appears for a second that he may very well be able to throw himself in. However Succession doesn’t go that route.

As an alternative, Kendall pulls away from the railing and sits, nonetheless gazing out on the water, together with his father’s previous bodyguard (Scott Nicholson) trying on. Colin’s presence is actually a reminder of Logan and of Kendall’s ambitions to be like him, and in that means, he is additionally a reminder of Kendall’s failure. At this level, he is the final particular person Kendall has left.

However the higher focus of this scene is as soon as once more the pairing of Kendall and water. Succession leaves Kendall’s actions open-ended as he contemplates the river. He might nonetheless select to leap, an motion that may play into the despair-linked water motif we have seen earlier than in scenes involving Andrew and the Tuscan pool. Or might he be contemplating a rebirth, like we noticed in his Pacific Ocean and Caribbean swims?

If that rebirth entails Kendall beginning his personal enterprise and leaping again into the enterprise world, that may be a tragedy in itself. He would proceed to perpetuate the hurt his father and he and his siblings wrought on the world, and he would by no means break freed from the field he is positioned himself in. Like Shiv staying with Tom now that he is CEO, Kendall actually solely is aware of one lifestyle. Perhaps the cycle continues in spite of everything. Perhaps the poison continues to drip by means of.

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