Succession: Ding ding ding, round one. At the end of episode 1, who has come out on top?


Succession season 1-4 spoilers below

In the wee hours between Sunday and Monday, Succession “television’s current greatest show” made a triumphant return to TV screens. The Standard called it dark and brilliant, and full to burst with its usual weapons-grade zingers.

The first episode was equally sad as it was thrilling, as it marked the beginning of the end: season four will be the last series of Succession. This means the ante has well and truly been upped, and someone is very likely to finally succeed.

So we thought that we should check in on all the power moves at the end of every episode, to see how everyone is progressing in the race to the top. In episode one, although the kids beat their dad to the top spot,

1. Nan Pierce

We didn’t expect it at all, but episode one was all about the Pierces. With the Gojo deal confirmed and set to go ahead in several days, the show opened instead with Logan’s attempted acquisition of PGM.

In a fascinating, unexpected power-switch, it meant that rather than the focus of the first episode being on Logan and Gojo owner Lukas Matsson, it was all eyes on PGM owner and head of the Pierce family Nan Pierce, who was enjoying every single moment of the bidding war that saw the price of PGM inflate from $6 billion to $10 billion. Not bad for an afternoon’s work.

Nan, in her signature waspy get up of glossy locks, shirt and headband, sat cooly in her mansion as she feigned having a headache, pretended that she found the bidding unrefined and that she didn’t care about the numbers of the sale.

While everyone else was running around hot under the collar, Nan sent Naomi to deliver her news, saying things like Nan “appreciates” the offer.

Bravo, Nan. You won the episode.

2. Shiv, Kendall and Roman Roy

Shiv, Kendall and Roman go for PGM (Sky)
Shiv, Kendall and Roman go for PGM (Sky)

The next winners have to be the young Roys who actually win the Pierce deal. For the first time in their life, it actually looks like they might have beaten their dad to something, as Nan agrees on their $10 billion offer.

And it looks like Logan is furious too as he calls them and swears at them after hearing the news. They laugh and seem pretty proud of themselves, so now the dust just has to settle on the deal. Will it go through? Can they raise the money? Will the three siblings – who are much more powerful together – manage to stay on the same team? Or will things start to quickly crumble?

3. Logan Roy

Logan should be on top here: he’s still the boss of Waystar Royco, the deal with Gojo is going through, his kids are still thinking about him constantly, even as they are trying to beat him, and everyone is still absolutely terrified of him.

But Logan does not come across like a heavy weight in the first episode. Not only does he not win the Pierce deal, but there’s something unhinged about the way he asks for people to roast him, something strange about the way he calls his bodyguard his best friend and talks to him about the afterlife, something sad about the way he walks through the park (with said bodyguard a few steps behind). We could be reading too much into it, but he seemed bothered and therefore comes third on our list.

4. Naomi Pierce

Naomi became an important player in episode one. Tom calls Shiv and explains that he has been on a “social date” with Noami, which seriously distracts and upsets Shiv, even though Tom says it’s nothing sexual. Kendall seems less bothered, which makes sense. Shiv and Tom are, after all, still married.

Then there is the glorious Naomi, the best dressed cast member by a long way, in Audery Hepburn sunglasses and a new haircut, sat next to Nan at one of the Pierce country estates as Nan squeezes the Roy teams in each of her hands. Although Naomi is the go-between, you never get the feeling that she is doing Nan’s bidding. She’s more like an extension of Nan, swanning into a room, declining offers, and disappearing again, aloof as ever.

5. Tom Wambsgans

Tom tries to have a heart-to-heart with Logan (Sky)
Tom tries to have a heart-to-heart with Logan (Sky)

Sure, Tom is still a top honcho at ATN, but he’s also spiraling a bit. His marriage is on the rocks and when he talks to Logan about what this might mean for his job Logan has no words of consolation, obviously. Instead Logan says, “If we’re good, we’re good.” Tom seems on unsteady ground, both in his love life and professional life.

6. Greg Hirsch

We were umming and ahhing over where Greg should sit in this list. Should he be below his date? After all, he was the one who brought her into the awkward situation she found herself in, and he was half of the bedroom fumbling situation. He also had the mortifying job of telling Logan that he had had sex in one of the patriarch’s room, and proved himself (for those who had momentarily forgotten) that he was a spineless, unscrupulous, goofball, blaming all the party events on the date, rather that taking some responsibility himself.

He was also giggling into Tom’s ear, calling them the Disgusting Brothers, which was extremely gross. The reason he’s so high up this list is that nothing seems to touch Greg. When he told Logan about the bedroom incident, Logan apparently cracked a smile. Somehow, despite being vulgar and lame, Greg’s doing really rather well.

7. Connor Roy

Connor Roy (HBO / Sky Atlantic)
Connor Roy (HBO / Sky Atlantic)

Connor never really has much power, but in the first episode he seemed to be particularly floundering.

He is under a lot of strain, as he’s only out in front of some of the pack by 1 per cent, and that is after spending millions and millions of dollars on his race. His eyes look more pinched than normal, his hair looks more white. And he’s actually coming across as more insane than usual, which is saying something, given that it’s Connor.

8. Willa Ferreyra

Poor old Willa. There she was living a life of freedom or fun as an escort, and now she might be getting married under the Statue of Liberty, with rappers and jetpacks, all because Connor wants to get free media coverage so he can save a dime or two (read: $100 million) and stay “in the conversation” in the Republican presidential candidate race.

We’ll never forget her super romantic response to Connor’s proposal: “F*** it! How bad can it be?” she said. Well Willa, getting married with rappers and jetpacks under the Statue of Liberty, that’s how bad it can be.

9. The date

We can’t stop thinking about Greg’s date, the true dud of the first episode. Zero power, and now completely out of the picture, she had a foot in the door of one of the wealthiest families in the world and completely blew it by being a total numpty.

And, look, we don’t want to judge too much, but she did make several social faux-pas that we wouldn’t have done. Fumbling around in a bedroom can be forgiven on certain occasions, but we’re talking about Greg here, so no. Just no.

Then there’s the bag. We hate to agree with Tom on anything, but it was particularly hideous. And then there’s the private questions and the selfies, and the selfies with Logan, more to the point (though maybe she gets some points for gumption). It all just screamed, not chic.

And while we don’t want to hold her to standards that a man wouldn’t be held to, we have to say if a man behaved in the same way, we would be equally upset. Out goes the date.

Succession season four is currently streaming on Sky and NOW