Succession (Season 4 Finale), Episode 10: Succession is over. Writing it and reading it out loud still doesn’t make sense. The HBO show has taken its final bow on television with the final episode of season 4. The action-packed finale brings curtains to a deeply observant and emotionally stirring journey for the Roy family. The saga of who would take over from Logan cleverly hid all the important human conceits beneath. It was a compelling creative choice to forge the finale more around the latter than tangible schematics of plot and story.
One cannot escape the suggestion that this aspect of Succession’s universe was always the more important and exciting option. But the actual ending of season 4 does leave a few – like yours truly – with a specific emotional bet on one horse, disappointed. In this piece, we recap the entire finale for our readers and explain that heartbreaking ending and how it is fitting for our characters.
Succession (Season 4 Finale), Episode 10 Recap:
With Open Eyes
The GoJo deal still hangs in the balance with a slight bias towards Matsson’s camp. Mencken getting on board with the deal was a defining moment in this long-drawn saga. And that might just push it decisively in their favor. Kendall hasn’t given up, though. “I’ll get the votes,” he confidently claims to Tellis and the others at the office, uncertain if he actually can but willing to die to make it happen. Stewy, one of his best friends, isn’t agreeable to not selling. It isn’t as much about not believing in Ken but wanting out with a nice package.
What does Shiv tell Matsson about Tom?
Shiv’s confidence is on more solid ground. She has Mencken, the numbers on the Board of Directors to green-light the deal, and Matsson’s ear that will make her the next CEO. Matsson is concerned about Tom and ATN and asks Shiv about it. She admits he is “highly interchangeable” but advises Matsson to keep him around both for continuity and his slavish loyalty to power (which he will prove in the end). Roman has gone to the Caribbean island to visit Caroline, their birth mother. After his tussle with the protestors, Roman has a deep cut on his forehead and is pretty banged up mentally.
Why do Shiv and Ken rush to the Carrieban Islands?
Caroline phones Shiv about it. Since Roman will have a vote as he is part of the Board, Shiv scampers to get to him first. She does, as Ken gets there later when Hugo gets a whiff of it and informs his boss. As she is leaving, Shiv has another heart-to-heart with Tom. She professes her wish to start a “real relationship” to consummate their marriage, but Tom ”isn’t sure.” Stewy’s vote is still uncertain, and Ken is getting more anxious as the minutes pass by. He harasses Stewy with voicemails and finally gets the vote of confidence. When he gets there, Ken, without even asking how Roman is, lands a barrage of questions on him about his vote. Roman is quite shaken from the incident, and it seems like Shiv has also had his ear. And Caroline’s, as we discover a dinner.
But Caroline has her own agenda. Peter’s friend from Monaco, Jonathan, has a “new business opportunity” for the siblings with “creamy margins.” Unsurprisingly, Shiv is cocky about her “victory” over her brothers. She was deeply hurt when they came up with the plan to block the deal earlier this season and pushed her out. That has been her beef this entire time, not being included and being made to feel less important. “I’m sorry for winning. But I did.” Matsson’s dinner with Tom is where this finale changes gears and alters the complexion of how things will end.
What does Matsson propose to Tom at their dinner?
Among other things, Matsson feels like Shiv is being a little “pushy” with her move to the top. He doesn’t even need her: “I know everything.” Is he about to ditch the person who gave him hope to complete the deal? Yes! Matsson remarkably offers the CEO position to the guy who put the baby inside her instead of the baby lady?” Tom, if he plays his cards right, will be the new CEO of Waystar Royco. Let that sink in…even if it might be as Matsson’s “puppet,” the quiet, charming, and nice-guy takes the cake in the end.
Greg, whom Tom doesn’t tell about this deal, has drinks with Oskar and the others. They talk in Swedish about Matsson not giving the CEO position to Shiv, and he uses a translator on his phone to get all of that. He immediately informs Ken of the developments, who takes his siblings aside and communicates the information. At first, Shiv is like Tom when she tells him she was pregnant, not believing it to be true. But when Ken asks her to talk to Karolina, the communications head for Wasytar, the truth spills out. In the draft that the company will release to the public, the space against the CEO’s name is blank.
Matsson has played her beautifully. But she still thinks it should be her, as do Ken and Roman feel about themselves. A late-night swim seals the deal for Ken as Shiv and Roman mull it over between themselves and agree Ken should take over. To anoint him, they make him chug a gross smoothie made of random fridge remnants and then pour the rest over his head. For once, we see them enjoying the sibling dynamics of their relationships, which is nice as a shakeup.
Succession (Season 4 Finale), Episode 10 Ending, Explained:
Who wins the game of ‘Succession’?
It is the day of the all-important board meeting at Waystar’s offices. But first, the siblings make a pit stop at Logan’s house, now Connor’s, to stake their claim on possessions before it is completely renovated. Connor has accepted the offer to become Slovenia’s Ambassador, while Willa will stay back in the apartment and prepare for her table read for a play. The real prize, though, is in the dining room, where Connor has set up an old video of Logan where he can rattle off all the presidential election losers in order.
The trio shed tears and comfort each other, seeing Logan at his best. In conversation with Tom after, Shiv concedes that she won’t be the CEO. Her knowledge of it strikes Tom, and she even tells him that Greg told Ken. In good faith, he tells her that Matsson has asked him to be the CEO, and Shiv loses her wits. She storms out of the house with her siblings, even more, determined to sabotage the deal. Tom physically assaults Greg in the bathroom after the siblings leave. Even though Tom knows the leak wasn’t vicious or targeted towards Tom because Greg simply didn’t know Tom was offered the position, it was frustration.
He immediately phones Matsson to discuss options, who then animatedly gets his team to spring into action. Shiv and Roman are perturbed to see Ken sitting in Logan’s chair with his feet on the table, promising Stewy the chairmanship of the Board without even consulting his siblings. When Roman sees Gerri, who has come to pick up her large settlement, he gets sentimental. He asks why isn’t he the one to take over, and Ken shuts him up by hugging him so tight and pressing Roman’s forehead against his chest with such force that the stitches come off, and he starts bleeding. It is a pure dominance power show, something that Logan would be proud of.
“Let’s do it for my dad, guys,” is what Ken says to the Board before they take the vote. They go around the table, and the vote is tied at 6-6. Shiv has the last one, and she freezes. She storms out, and Ken runs after her. Roman does, too, and the siblings discuss what she will do next. In a remarkable turnaround, Shiv has decided not to vote against the GoJo deal. Ken is absolutely livid and starts shouting at her. When she mentions Ken has killed someone (the young man at the wedding in season 2), he immediately distances himself from the incident.
He is so desperate to become the CEO that he is willing to risk his relationship with his brother and sister. Things get really sour as Roman questions Ken’s bloodline (as Sophia is adopted), and he angrily presses against Roman’s stitches in the act of intense anger. Shiv leaves, calling Ken “a child,” and votes against the deal. Ken is still not willing to accept reality and encourages Roman to try again. He calls both of them “bullsh*t” and says that the deal is over.
Kendall, lost in a dazed state, meanders with no purpose towards the waiting elevator, his mind filled with unspoken thoughts. Tom, navigating the office’s bustling atmosphere, graciously accepts the congratulations bestowed upon him by the board members, his composure unwavering. Passing by Greg, he assures him of his protection, affixing a playful sticker on his forehead as a symbol of their bond. Greg will have a place with Tom yet. Reluctant to be positioned beside Matsson during the significant signing photo, Roman begrudgingly complies, his discomfort evident, while Matsson revels in his latest triumph.
Sharing a ride home together, Tom and Shiv find themselves in the same car, a subtle gesture of unity as he extends his hand, and she deliberates before finally accepting the connection. She now has a husband who is the CEO of Waystar; that is how you look at Shiv’s angle and why she betrayed Ken. In a solitary moment, Roman seeks solace at a dimly lit bar, the weight of his thoughts accompanied only by the clinking of glasses. Meanwhile, Kendall aimlessly wanders through the park, his footsteps echoing in the empty spaces, with Colin, his father’s ever-watchful bodyguard, silently trailing close behind, an unwavering presence in the background.
Succession (Season 4 Finale), Episode 10 Review:
Even in its dying moments, Succession remained relentlessly authentic and original to the ethos of the story and its characters. There was no happy ending; there rarely is in life. But a compromise that finishes the journey about corporate megalomaniacs fittingly. The dysfunction was too deep to be changed by a night of sibling love and revelry.
Jesse Armstrong and the writers went for the unspectacular by following the show’s lineage and concluding things as they ought to have been. There were many red herrings in this last season, but there are no complaints about how this ends. All the characters have proven to be morally bankrupt over and over. There is no redemption or moral-high ground for anyone; just the acceptance that this is the reality of their lives.
Shiv didn’t wait to admit defeat, so she used her power as the final vote to flip it, have her husband become ‘king,’ and take her seat next to him. With Kendall as CEO, she’d just be working under her brother, and she didn’t think she could control him. She found a place at the top once again, despite all the scheming to exclude her. Her Macbethian move has destroyed Ken from the inside forever. Roman is still hungover from the previous episode, and his feeling of inadequacy will linger in whatever he does. Succession is one of the greatest shows ever made about family dysfunction. Its characters, story, and aura will be timeless and will be looked back with envy and admiration.