It’s been about 15 months since Logan Roy, aided by a last-minute betrayal from his son-in-law, Tom, stabbed his own children in the gut. Since then, we’ve learned that the upcoming fourth season of Succession will also be its last. Along with the thrill of seeing what happens to the most dysfunctional family on television comes the sadness of knowing that they’ll soon be gone forever, and the question of whether the show did the right thing by ending after just 39 episodes. But days before Season 4 premieres, now is the time for hype and prognostication, so, like Dr. Alon Parfit, let’s dive headfirst back into the fucked-up world of the Roys.
1. First things first: How do you feel about Season 4 being the last season of Succession?
Succession really ending after Season 4??? pic.twitter.com/ZUyL7cWcU4— Oluwajomiloju (@JomiAdeniran) February 24, 2023
Ben Lindbergh: Four on the floor! Four on the floor! I’ll miss Succession, but I’m also in favor of finishing stories before they start recycling. Not every successful series needs to run forever or form the foundation of a franchise. (Looking at you, Billions.)
Alyssa Bereznak: In terms of feelings, I will miss it dearly. But in terms of what’s best for the story, I am pro ending mid–victory lap. Historically speaking, prestige TV gets considerably worse when it becomes too popular and goes on for too long (see: Game of Thrones). Plus, if we’re using the aging Murdoch empire as source material, it’s only a matter of time until that well runs dry.
Miles Surrey: Not going to lie, it’s bittersweet. I was hoping they would make it to five seasons, but if this is all the story that’s left to tell, at least Succession won’t be overstaying its welcome like some other Emmy-winning prestige dramas. (No offense, but when was the last time you thought about The Handmaid’s Tale?)
Austin Gayle: Great! The world of Succession is as fantastic as any, but how many times can we watch swings at the king miss before we get bored by the crown never toppling? Just sign me the fuck up for whatever Jesse Armstrong does next.
Katie Baker: I was originally very sad about it, which is why I know it’s the right decision. Now it’s like reading a book—I know it’s good when I’m as eager to keep turning the pages as I am distressed by the end being so visibly nigh!
Alan Siegel: Sad but excited. Great TV shows, like great athletes, should be able to go out on their own terms. If Armstrong and Co. think that this is the place to end the show, then I sure as hell trust them.
Khal Davenport: Personally? I prefer brevity in my Peak TV. Something about creators knowing the story they want to tell and being able to put a date on when it will be done is always fascinating to me. Plus, Season 3 was a banger. I’m ready for the final showdown.
2. What are you most hyped about heading into this season?
Siegel: Seeing what new and exciting ways the show finds to depict the miseries of being disgustingly wealthy. (When describing the Roy family, I’m running out of adjectives to stick in front of “wealthy.”)
Surrey: I say this with the understanding that characters are constantly shifting allegiances: the Roy siblings (sans Connor) are finally working together against their dad. We’ve spent so much time with Kendall, Roman, and Shiv trying to undermine one another; it’ll be really interesting to see what it’s like when they’re all playing for the same team. At least until one of them goes turncoat; if that happens, my money’s on Roman.
Gayle: What the fuck is Tom doing? He made an alliance with Cousin Greg and tipped Logan off to the kids’ plan to overthrow him in an all-time betrayal of Shiv. He used to be an afterthought, but he definitely isn’t anymore. And even though the guy is WAY over his skis, I kinda love it?!
Bereznak: I’m so curious about how Tom’s power play will shift the dynamics of his marriage. Will Shiv divorce him? Or will she stick around and attempt to milk his “in” with her father? Perhaps he’s earned a new level of respect from her, given that “bitter betrayal” is her family’s love language? No matter what, it’s safe to assume that Shiv will not be wading back into the waters of emotionally destructive sex talk anytime soon!
Khal: Oddly enough, where Cousin Greg fits. Toward the end of Season 3, it looked like he was finally understanding the art of finessing; I can only hope that he’s still failing upward.
Baker: Greg’s beef with Greenpeace (I hope); Shiv’s wardrobe choices; Stewy’s mere existence; Traitor Tom; the competent and clownish machinations of the Gerri-Karl-Frank brain trust …
But above all else, I’m just genuinely excited to see how Armstrong and Co. decide to tackle an Ending. A few years back, the New Yorker writer Helen Rosner tweeted one of those random things that will forever stick in my brain: “The secret to writing a good short story is to end it with a minor plagal cadence.” I’m absolutely no music theorist—I’ll leave the IV-iv-I analyses to minds like Rosner and Nicholas Britell—but I can’t wait to see what chord progression, so to speak, Succession goes with, considering it’s a show that has always used its tone as a tool.
Adeniran: I need to see who ends up at the top. It’s why we got invested in the first place: Who will sit on the throne when it’s all said and done?
Lindbergh: I’m excited to see the succession.
3. Who will be Season 4’s most valuable player?
Surrey: I’m buying all the available Tom Wambsgans stock. This Fly Guy is soaring.
Lindbergh: Each Roy scion has spent a season in the spotlight, save for the firstborn failson. Season 4 is for the Con-heads. Hail to the Conman-der in chief.
Adeniran: It’s Kendall’s time to shine. I need our no. 1 boy to remind everyone why he’s the best this season.
Gayle: I could see a redemption arc for Kendall in which he swallows a grenade that finally kills both him and his dad in a sacrifice that gives the company to Shiv or Roman. How the fuck would he pull that off? I have no clue. By killing his mom? Another waiter? Everything is on the table for Little Lord Fuckleroy.
Khal: I doubt I’m right, but this is Tom’s time to truly shine—or hilariously fuck up everything he was building toward. It’s always cool to see someone finally get the toy they think they wanted; will he be able to do the job, or is this one more step toward inflating his power trip?
Baker: I keep writing new names in this space, thinking better of it, and then deleting them. (Sorry, Roman and Tom!) So I’ll go with a sleeper candidate: Kerry, queen of the maca root virility smoothie? Possibly banging Logan, AND she has those bangs? I don’t like her, but I respect and fear her.
Siegel: Logan. I’ve never seen him get fucked. Not once.
4. Pick an IRL story about the über-rich from the past two years that you hope Succession rips from the headlines.
Bereznak: That’s too easy.
Siegel: Like Jared Kushner, Tom brokers a shady billion-dollar deal with a foreign government.
Baker: Welp, I was all set to write an ode to the bond lord Bill Gross’s divorce saga (two words: fart spray!) until I noticed the “past two years” qualifier. Luckily, at that very moment, this tweet hit my timeline:
JPMORGAN CHASE OWNED BAGS OF MATERIAL KEPT IN A DUTCH WAREHOUSE THAT WERE SUPPOSED TO CONTAIN NICKEL BUT TURNED OUT TO BE FULL OF STONES - WSJ— *Walter Bloomberg (@DeItaone) March 20, 2023
This has “failed Roman Roy rocket launch and/or soccer team initiative” written all over it.
Surrey: It wouldn’t be the most pressing subplot, but I’d love to see Kendall dabble in the NFT space. Maybe we can have an episode set in an art gallery in the metaverse?
Adeniran: I want to say “Elon Musk buying Twitter and then realizing it was a horrific idea,” but I just threw up in my mouth a little.
Khal: I hate to sound like the guy who edits the pro wrestling content over on the Ringer dot com, but with everything that’s happened with Vince McMahon over the second half of 2022, I imagine something from that mess could find its way into this series. Brian Cox can apply a headlock, right?
Lindbergh: I’m sick of crypto, and Kendall buying Twitter to improve the ratio of good tweets to bad tweets is probably too obvious, so how about a Good Morning America–esque affair? Maybe Mark Ravenhead and fellow ATN anchor Cathleen Carmichael are secretly in love.
Gayle: Dan Snyder is basically Logan Roy Lite, right?
5. Which random, seemingly meaningless loose end do you desperately want the show to wrap up before it ends?
Bereznak: The verdict in Hirsch v. Greenpeace.
Baker: For a long time I really needed there to be a big blackmail-y payoff to Marcia’s son, Amir, being in the room when Kendall’s deadly Season 1 car accident was being discussed, but I’ve given up on that and am now fixated on glimpsing some characters we’ve only ever heard tell of, as Greg might phrase it. How about Gerri’s daughters (can we PLEASE meet Gerri’s daughters?) team up with Frank’s trophy girlfriend to take down the whole enterprise? (“Your girlfriend is sucking some waiter’s dick in Palermo, so now you’ve come crawling back like a fucking worm,” Logan tells Frank in Season 2, establishing that Frank’s girlfriend could potentially be, and I’m sorry to sully her, Lucia from Season 2 of The White Lotus. This parenthetical will self-destruct.)
Wait, also, speaking of Greg: Based on the Succession pilot, I really thought we would be getting so much more of his mom.
Gayle: Where is Rat-Fucker Sam?! Did he ever find anything about the leaks in Waystar? Is he, despite Tom’s comments to Greg, a nice guy? I must see Rat-Fucker Sam in action.
Adeniran: I want Gerri and Roman to kiss and ride off into the sunset together. Forget the company, forget the billions—they have each other and that’s what matters.
Lindbergh: When is that unauthorized bombshell bio of Logan coming out? Has Roman’s “intellectually promiscuous but culturally conservative” friend Brian designed any great rides? How is Waystar Royco’s European animation division doing under Amir? And is Lawrence Yee raising funds for Vaulter 2.0?
Khal: The remaining verticals of Vaulter need a swan song.
Surrey: I don’t care how, please bring back this legend:
6. Is Succession’s status already solidified? What’s at stake for the show, in terms of its legacy?
Gayle: Of course Succession’s status is solidified. Its legacy is the writing. The dialogue between characters and their relationships are what make the show so fantastic, and there’s just no way Armstrong fucks that up in Season 4. As long as the ending isn’t completely heinous—either too big of a joke or too happily ever after—the show will go down as one of HBO’s best ever.
Lindbergh: For all the internet oxygen the show consumes, Succession’s expanded Season 3 viewership was much smaller than the audiences HBO’s other active tentpoles—The Last of Us, House of the Dragon, Euphoria, and The White Lotus—have drawn since Succession last aired. I’ll be watching to see whether the Roys’ ratings take a leap in the series’ last season. If Succession remains a more modestly sized hit whose Twitter virality and critical acclaim exceed its mass appeal, then how it ends could affect its place in the prestige pantheon—especially because cutting it off after fewer than 40 episodes raises expectations for a well-crafted climax.
Baker: I think there’s mostly just upside since it’s already a somewhat “divisive” show—a lot of people simply do not like it, and a lot of people simply do not watch it. So even, like, a meh C-plus final season wouldn’t materially change much about that. (And I do not think it will be a meh C-plus final season!) On the other hand, if Succession nails the dismount in some sort of satisfying—or, likelier, some sort of deliberately unsatisfying—way, it definitely could cement the show as “one of the greats.”
Adeniran: It has to land the plane in a way that makes logical sense. It’ll remain one of the greatest TV shows to do it as long as Shiv doesn’t randomly burn down ATN with a dragon in the penultimate episode.
Surrey: With Better Call Saul ending its run last year, Succession is the best drama on television right now. A final season that sticks the landing would put it in conversation with The Sopranos and The Wire as one of the greatest HBO series of all time. So, uh, no pressure.
Khal: Yes, Succession is already up there with the greats—and I’m not just talking about “The Greatest HBO Series, Ranked” or whatever; it’s that damn good. That said, you have to land the plane. Even if there’s a little turbulence, the end result should be a satisfactory finish (whatever that means to you).
Siegel: It’s already one of the best TV dramas ever. I’m mostly curious to see how/if any of the main characters surprise me by redeeming themselves, at least a little. It might not be possible, but I’m dying to find out if it is.
7. Prediction time: How will Succession end?
Lindbergh: Logan leaves his empire to the newborn progeny of his maca-root-strengthened sperm, who’ll be mentored by BrOTP Tom and Greg.
Baker: Ideally with Tabitha and Naomi lounging on a yacht somewhere, clinking champagne flutes while in the background you see Connor on TV in the VP debates. A gal can dream! (Alternate fantasy ending: the Six Feet Under finale, except it’s the Roys, and Tom is the one driving away.)
Surrey: I feel like we bring this up every season, but: Logan has to die, right?
Bereznak: It’ll end the way it began: Logan has another health crisis, but this time, he dies. That’d round it out to three weddings (Willow + Connor nuptials god willing), and a funeral across the whole series. Imagine the surprises in the will! The ATN chyrons! The eulogies!
Adeniran: How will it end? With Logan dead and none of the Roys in charge, because none of them deserve it and they are too foolish to understand that.
Gayle: Logan dies. Kendall, too. Shiv and Tom rekindle their marriage because Wambsgans finally shows evidence of a backbone. Roman gets the keys to the castle just to immediately blow it up. Gerri, Karl, and Frank are all casualties in the wreckage. Stewy moves on to the next thing. Greg, very quietly, gets his $250 million from Uncle Ewan and rides into the sunset.
Khal: Logan Roy’s death brings about a kumite-style penultimate episode, in which the Roy kids battle TO THE DEATH. Whoever wins fucking deserves to win, too.
Siegel: Whoever makes it out alive will be very, very unhappy.