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Sunday, April 14
The Indiana Daily Student


COLUMN: “Succession” ends not with a bang but a whimper


SPOILER ALERT: This column contains potential spoilers about "Succession"

“Succession,” perhaps the least predictable show to have ever graced the silver screen, has ended. Its fourth and final season featured major twists in nearly every episode, but the finale pulled out all the stops to take viewers by surprise. 

The show, while always entertaining, was not always as pleasant to watch. It provoked a sort of stress akin to watching a toddler build a house of cards, knowing that it’s only a matter of time before everything comes crashing down.  

And crash down it does. 

The first domino to fall is Logan Roy (Brian Cox), whose rapidly declining health has made his death feel inevitable since the very first episode. In fact, the series has delayed his passing for so long that when it’s announced in this season’s third episode, my first thought was that it was a political move. 

Although it is one of the most eventful episodes of the season apart from the finale, it also feels like the slowest.  

Because Logan was on a plane when he died, he could not be officially pronounced dead until landing, leaving his children and other characters to stew in their anxiety. As a result, much of the episode consists of characters’ panicked scrambling for information that doesn’t yet exist. 

This slows the usually-breakneck pacing to a near halt. While it certainly keeps the viewers in suspense, the sequence somewhat drags on.  

Worth acknowledging, though, are the performances of Logan’s children, Connor (Alan Ruck), Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Roman (Kieran Culkin) and Siobhan (Sarah Snook). The scene in which they learn of their father’s death is a grueling, 27-minute uninterrupted take that stretched their acting chops to the absolute limit.  

With Logan out of the picture, the show finally makes good on its title as the siblings clamber for power. Kendall and Roman cling desperately to the company and try to prevent its sale to Lukas Mattson (Alexander Skarsgård), while Siobhan covertly works with Mattson in exchange for a promise of the CEO position.  

The semblance of unity the siblings shared at the end of the third season is dashed upon the rocks in the power struggle, and it quickly becomes apparent that no one can be trusted. The Roys employ the dirtiest of tricks for personal gain, going so far as to interfere with the presidential election. 

Up until the series’ final moments, the issue of successor remains almost completely in the dark, and speculations ran wild in the weeks preceding the finale. Even with just minutes of runtime remaining in the episode, the position has yet to be filled, but two sides seem to have emerged. 

When it’s revealed that Mattson is no longer considering Siobhan for CEO, the siblings band together to keep the company and instate Kendall in the position. Going into the board meeting, they have the votes needed to do so, but, in true “Succession” fashion, there’s one twist remaining. 

When Siobhan — the deciding vote — has second thoughts during the meeting, Kendall shows his true colors, throwing a tantrum that is abrupt, but not altogether surprising. In the end, Siobhan votes against Kendall, leaving him emotionally destitute.  

Perhaps I was shortsighted, but I predicted a Roy sibling in the CEO chair until the very end: it seemed to me to be the natural conclusion. And in a different story, this may have been a satisfying ending, but in hindsight, I’m grateful it didn’t happen.  

“Succession” takes every opportunity to show that its main players are some of the most despicable, selfish people imaginable, and it speaks to their magnificent performances that I had any sympathy left by the end. The more I think about it though, ending on such a morose note, with all the Roy siblings unhappy only seems right in the context of the full show. 

It’s just what they deserve.  

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