Succession series 4 episode 10: a fitting finale with betrayals, brawls and – finally – a successor


Calling this 90 minute finale of Succession ‘feverishly anticipated’ would be like describing that Burberry tote bag as a little bit capacious.

To wait out this (too) long bank holiday weekend was to be bombarded with WhatsApp group theories, and to see the Saturday and Sunday broadsheets become Reddit obsessives. Their pages served up interviews with anyone – the actors playing Gerry (J Smith-Cameron), or Frank (Peter Friedman), or Willa (Justine Lupe), or even Roman’s absent-since-season-two ex-girlfriend Tabitha (Caitlin Fitzgerald) – who might be able to provide the smallest of clues as to how the last hour and a half of Succession could play out.

Just as discussed was how this ending might measure up to all the great series’ endings past. Or, God forbid, might not. Because, as was endlessly noted, for every Six Feet Under there is a Game Of Thrones, every Sopranos a Dexter.

And Succession’s had the added problems of a) not really being able to, following the funeral to end all funerals, have anyone die; b) having so many characters to provide with satisfying conclusions; and most of all, c) its audience expecting a new CEO: an ultimate show-winner that must feel neither too obvious nor too implausible (So not Kendall, not Connor…).

But in the end, when all the noise had subsided, it delivered… on pretty much everything. There was of course fabulous swearing (“C***t is as c*** does,” mutters Kendall to Shiv at one point). There were physical brawls. It had twisted sentimentality (the sibs gleefully whipping up a George’s Marvellous medicine in their mother’s kitchen was beautiful; Connor wheeling out the video footage of dad being folksy and fun a chance for us to say all to say goodbye).

It had twists, via one last dollop of Greg-sneakiness (will anyone ever again think they can hide what they are saying in a foreign tongue?). And it had – one last spoiler alert klaxon – in Tom, a worthily hideous winner of the ultimate crown.

 (©2023 HBO. All Rights Reserved)
(©2023 HBO. All Rights Reserved)

It is perhaps after the fact to spot this, but in the final season of Succession there has been a pattern of whoever spends the first scene swaggering around is being screwed over an hour later. Episode three began with Logan boarding his fateful last flight bellowing about his new strategy being “a bit more fucking aggressive”.

We saw a loved up Tom serving up breakfast and “father sexmas” to Shiv at the outset of a seventh episode that ended with him and his wife tearing each other apart on their Manhattan balcony. And then there was Roman declaring himself “the King Of Dong” in a penultimate episode that ended with him being trampled underfoot: a beaten, blubbering, broken little boy.

Now here, at the outset, was Shiv: pulling strings attached to soon-to-be new owner Lukas Matsson – literally, in a Vanity Fair illustration – while bragging to anyone who would listen that she had already won. The moment we knew she hadn’t and wouldn’t was when Matsson looked her husband in the eye and told Tom that because he wanted to fuck Shiv “a little bit” and that “given the right circumstances” Tom’ pregnant wife would “fuck him too”, he could not install her as his patsy US CEO of Waystar RoyCo. Would Tom instead fancy it? Tom paused for maybe a second. Considered. Didn’t blow up like Kendall, Roman or Shiv undoubtedly would have. Then threw his wife under the bus.


It worked because, in retrospect, Tom has always been the most desperate, pathetic, willing-to-do-anything snake in the snake pit. A not-from-money winner who wins the chance to be puppet mastered by yet another maniacal, erratic billionaire and married with child to a woman who cannot ever, ever trust him, much less respect him. As they drove off into the sunset, you just thought, “That sunset is not going to work out very well for you at all, Tom.”

And that, really, is the minor gripe here. At the very end Succession delivered on pretty much everything but not absolutely everything, because this felt slightly like it could be just another series finale.

Tom having screwed over the Roy sibs, just as he did in Italy at the end of season three. Shiv playing along with him… for now. Kendall sat, staring at the sea, shellshocked and beaten, just as he was in the UK at the end of season one, but clearly not believing he is done. Roman sat in a bar, nihilistically smirking to himself, thinking that none of this really matters just as he… well, just as he always has done. It felt, in truth, like there was still a way back for everyone.

But maybe that’s the point. Maybe we needed to leave these preposterously privileged people as we first found them: always uncertain, always looking over their shoulder, always wondering about everyone, never able to settle and relax, much less escape the awful game of chess that they have been born into. And if they are all made to feel like this, maybe we ultimately deserve to wonder how things might pan out tomorrow as well.

Succession is available on Sky Atlantic and NOW