It’s not an exaggeration to say that what we’ve just experienced over the last 10 weeks is nothing short of historic. The Succession series finale has finally arrived, and to no one’s surprise, Jesse Armstrong and Mark Mylod have achieved perfection once again. Speculation was at an all-time high over the last week following the penultimate funeral episode, with some fans correctly predicting the outcome based on incredible attention to detail.
In an age where many shows run too long or wrap things up with a lackluster conclusion, it’s refreshing to see creators afforded the opportunity to execute their vision on their own time. It’s no small task to land the plane in a series finale where expectations could not be higher, especially after building on one great episode after another throughout the season.
Like many people, I had no idea what to expect going into the Succession series finale, but it is so delicately crafted down to the smallest details that I’m struggling for words to describe an achievement this monumental.
*Warning: Spoilers ahead for the Succession season 4 finale*
Classic sibling strife in the Succession series finale
The Roy children at the center of this story go through a devastating arc in the Succession series finale. Getting along has obviously never been their strong suit, but they share brief, tender moments that give us a semblance of hope for reconciliation. Like many good episodes of television, we see our favorite spoiled brats run the entire gambit of emotions.
This episode comes out of the gate hot. Everyone is on edge about the upcoming board meeting to vote on the GoJo merger, and they have no one to take it out on but themselves. It’s nonstop disagreement between Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Roman (Kieran Culkin), and Shiv (Sarah Snook) until a shocking revelation throws a wrench in all of their plans: Shiv was no more than a pawn for Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård), a piece to be moved around the board and simply discarded once she was of no further use to him.
Amidst the anguish and frustration of being cast aside by Matsson like a broken toy, it’s clear Shiv is eager to thrust herself back into the fight in the Succession season 4 finale. It would have been easy for Kendall and Roman to turn their nose up at her, but they’re quick to welcome her back into the fold.
Is this an example of good sibling love, or a business decision to gain some leverage in the fight against GoJo? Realistically, it’s a bit of both. Kendall and Roman want to make it to the top and claim their father’s throne, but they’re also going to look out for their little sister.
Unfortunately, as is the common theme for this season and the series at large, these kids cannot stay out of their own way. When it comes down to the final vote, they have everything they need to put Matsson in the dirt, but as we’ve seen many times, one of them calls an audible at the last second. Shiv sees a different path forward. Rather than just hitching her wagon to Kendall and watching him run the company, she has her sights set on a new king.
Tom Wambsgans ascends the throne in the Succession series finale
Matsson is a smart guy, and his plan to move on from Shiv is not folly. He milked that relationship for everything it was worth and decided on someone else for his US CEO—someone more controllable. Tom and Shiv turning their backs on one another is second nature at this point. Their marriage has been nothing more than a power alliance since its conception, and this holds true to the very end.
It’s not only fitting for Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen) to be the one with the crown at the end of the Succession series finale, it’s also poetic. This is a race between Tom and Kendall, and one that appeared to favor Kendall all the way to the very end.
It isn’t until Shiv sticks the knife into her brother’s back (shivs him, so to speak) that Tom’s succession is legitimized. This has very much been Kendall’s story since his failed takeover in the pilot, but the narrative has been why he isn’t fit to lead, not why he is.
Kendall’s past is peppered with red flags, so much so that you don’t take anything Shiv says as unreasonable. She has every right to feel like he may not be the best leader, given that he literally killed someone and has turned his back on his siblings and his father on multiple occasions. Kendall may have some of his father’s business sense, but he’s never been smart enough to keep himself out of trouble, nor to anticipate the right time to strike.
Tom has been a sound and smart choice to take over since the very beginning. Even when things were stacked against him, he has not only consistently made the right choice, but waited until the moment was ripe to let his play be known.
He’s been mistreated for years by his wife, father-in-law, and everyone in his business space, and he never deserved any of it. Although Greg (Nicholas Braun) missteps at the last second and overextends his hand, Tom still finds a place for him in his new kingdom. He truly is fit to be the leader.
Succession cements its spot as the best TV show of all time
What Succession has accomplished in its four season run is a triumph. To take a cast of characters that are all so deeply flawed with little to no positive qualities and force the audience to not only sympathize with them, but love them? That’s a feat no other show has accomplished on this level in television history. Jesse Armstrong is a creative genius, and he will go down as one of the most successful show creators of all time.
But brilliant writing and directing can only carry you so far. To thrust into the upper echelon, you need a talented ensemble to execute your vision; the cast of Succession has done exactly that. Oftentimes, there are one to two stand-out performers across a series, and if you’re lucky, you pick up a few more along the way.
From the top of the call sheet down to the extras, whenever Succession called someone to rise to the occasion, they answered with extraordinary prominence. Season four is sure to collect a lot of hardware in many categories, but none more than the breathtaking performances.
It also extends past generational performances and writing. You can tell everyone who’s ever worked on this show put every bit of their pride into it. Each episode is shot in a way that’s unique to the last, but stunning enough to collect awards for cinematography. From the stars all the way down to the costume designers and sound mixers, it’s clear everyone with a fingerprint on this show cares for it very deeply.
The Succession season 4 finale checks all the boxes
Succession will be remembered forever as one of the best TV shows of all time, if not the very best. We’re lucky to have been born during a time to experience this series, and while there will undoubtedly be attempts to replicate it, none will reach the same highs.
There is no better way to cap things off than such a beautifully crafted episode. Watching Succession has been one of the true pleasures of my life, and I don’t think I’m alone in that regard. I envy the generations of fans to come who have yet to experience this show for the first time. They’re in for a treat.
The Succession series finale is now streaming exclusively on Max. Follow the Agents of Fandom socials for all the latest TV news and reviews.
'Succession' Series Finale Review'Succession' Series Finale Review
- Incredibly satisfying ending
- Show continued to push its own boundaries until the very end
- Unfathomable level of performances from every cast member
- There's no more 'Succession' to enjoy