Succession is all about power—who has the most, who can wield it the best, and who is disastrously blinded by it. So, as we did last season, every week during Succession’s fourth and final installment, The Ringer will check in on how the hierarchy at Waystar Royco shifts with each passing episode. Even after Logan made a deal with GoJo (and screwed over his kids), it’s still safe to say everything is in disarray—and to steal a line from another HBO series, chaos can be a ladder.
1. Hans Christian Anderfuck
It might be difficult to remember after Logan’s destruction of three of his children in one fell swoop, Tom’s Godfather-style betrayal of his own wife, and Greg the motherfucking Egg getting one step closer to the Luxembourg crown, but Lukas Matsson is the one at the top of Waystar Royco’s org chart by the end of Season 3. After a conversation about a merger of equals gave way to a Hail Mary pitch for GoJo to acquire Waystar, Matsson became the first person in the history of human civilization to consume Logan Roy, rather than be consumed by him. Logan felt in his bones that it was the right time to sell, and indeed, he may have just struck a deal that, for Matsson, could age worse than Elon Musk buying Twitter—but in doing so, Logan did poke a couple holes in his previously unassailable legacy as an indomitable bastard.
A wise man once noted that he’d never seen Logan get fucked once. Going off that precedent alone, Matsson may find in Season 4 that owning Waystar isn’t exactly the same as owning Logan Roy and that he just dropped billions on a dying brand and the privilege of being told to “fuck off” in increasingly creative ways. But for now, Matsson’s on top of the world. I hope the guy’s enjoying it, firing off dope emoji tweets, wolfing down all the garganelli he can find, and urinating on other people’s cellphones.
2. Logan Roy
Let’s put aside any judgments on Logan’s aptitude as a father. This is a ranking about power. We’re not supposed to care about how he reopened his divorce agreement with Kendall, Roman, and Shiv’s mother—an idea that originally came from Kendall in Season 2—to strip them of their veto power in any sale of the family company; how he dangles attention and responsibility in front of his kids as a way to control them, and then ices them out the second they get even an ounce of comfort; how he was going to send his own son to prison; or how he promised the job of CEO to Shiv and then pretended like that never happened the second she quit her job working for his nemesis. No one is going to buy Logan Roy a “World’s #1 Dad” coffee mug; on that, we can all agree.
But in terms of sheer power, and the ability to wield it, Logan is basically unmatched. At the beginning of Season 3, he was facing off against the FBI, Congress, Kendall, Sandy and Stewy, and a growing number of disgruntled shareholders, and episode by episode, he thwarted those attacks. The FBI investigation went away; the bad press from Kendall’s whistleblowing fizzled out after a series of self-owns; he made a deal with Sandy and Stewy to avoid a shareholder vote that would’ve likely stripped him of his controlling power of Waystar; he went from fighting with the president of the United States to personally selecting his successor; and when his three children finally put aside their minuscule differences—which he had fueled for years—to challenge him, Logan beat them to the punch and utterly decimated their advances. Plus, he’s got a new girlfriend who makes great smoothies and is super supportive of his budding friendship with a fascist.
Logan wins. That’s what he does. If Succession ever feels repetitive, it is simply because of this immovable fact and others naively thinking they can move it.
After spending their whole lives getting railroaded by their own father, Kendall, Roman, and Shiv are still going to try to take him down in Season 4. But honestly? The Grim Reaper might be the only one who can defeat Logan Roy—and even that feels like a long shot.
Kerry’s got Logan working on his jism! He’s gonna have a more adhesive and potent gloop!
Nah, but, for real, what if the show ends with Kerry announcing her pregnancy and Logan naming the new Little Lord Fuckleroy as his heir? Succession and House of the Dragon already air on the same network—they might as well share story lines too.
4. Tom Wambsgans
The Transformer from the Twin Cities has always played the patsy. He’s been an eager and loyal servant to the Roy dynasty, a buffoon who’ll shovel and eat shit, and an oaf who’ll never sniff the inner circle no matter how many Patek Philippe watches he buys or how many self-sacrifices he makes. And yet, no one on Succession has knifed anyone quite like Tom shivved Shiv in the Season 3 finale. And then he walked right up to her and said, “Hey, Shiv. You OK?” What a beast!
Shiv’s methodical emasculation of and indifference toward Tom have been some of the hardest things to witness in this show’s run. She’s actively hurt him, knowingly abused his loyalty, and hasn’t even cared enough to try to hide her carelessness. There are too many demerits to list, and they all add up to Tom’s decision to help Logan thwart his own wife’s maneuverings.
Being smack-dab in the belly of the beast—stuck between an angry, old lion and his fire-breathing daughter—isn’t exactly safe, and it’s still more likely than not that Tom will end up as a casualty in the Roy family’s disgusting mess. But going into Season 4, his position has been solidified, and at least now everyone knows: Don’t fuck with Tom Wambsgans.
5. Jeryd Mencken
We haven’t gotten a ton of time with Mr. “Have You Read Plato?” but that ought to change in Season 4. Anointed with a Coke in last season’s “What It Takes,” Mencken has the inside track to the Oval Office despite being, at best, a soulless carnival barker and, at worst, a full-on Nazi. (Mencken winning a presidential election would say a lot about how Succession’s writers feel about the American republic.) His politics—or lack thereof—will surely pose problems for Waystar once the heat of the campaign gets turned up. Logan, and by proxy, Roman, may find out there are some unwanted side effects of making deals with guys whose rhetoric gets dangerously close to the great replacement theory. At the very least, Mencken’s going to pose major problems for Connor, who’s polling at a strong 1 percent.
6. Cousin Greg
My man sold his soul (they’re boring) and hopped on the Tom Express at the perfect time. Now, he’s getting accelerated at Waystar, where he’s gonna have at least 20 Gregs under him, and he parlayed a wedding plus-one with the out-of-his-league Comfry into a potential spot in Luxembourg’s royal family. Things are going pretty well for the guy who once projectile vomited out of the eyes of an amusement park mascot.
7. Stewy Hosseini
Stewy and Maesbury Capital probably stand to make a boatload of money in the GoJo acquisition, so it’ll be interesting to see how Kendall convinces him to join forces and take down Logan. “Don’t fuck with my money” has always been Stewy’s guiding principle, which is why he’s been living the high life, eating octopus in Greece, while the Roy siblings have been putting themselves through a gauntlet of familial horror that decades of therapy can only hope to resolve. Selfishly though, I need a Kendall-Stewy team-up to happen. Those two were made for each other, and it’s been far too long since they’ve walked the streets of New York City while holding ridiculously large umbrellas.
Fuckin’ sisters doin’ it for theyselves, you know?
8. The Shit-Fuckers
Gerri is a power-hungry shape-shifter who assumed the role of corporate dominatrix to her boss’s son because it was beneficial to her position (until said son sent a dick pic to his dad instead of her); Frank is a lifelong shit shoveler whom Logan keeps around only because he’s untrustworthy (plus, his girlfriend is sucking some waiter’s dick in Palermo); and there have been so many jokes about Karl being a pervert that they must be based in truth.
But these three have always been better at asking themselves, “How does this benefit my interests?” than Kendall, Roman, and Shiv. They’re parasites on the belly of a great white shark, and they’ll never die because they’ll never try to kill their host.
9. Connor Roy
The Con man is in the thick of a presidential race! (Polling at 1 percent is a lot, OK? George Soros will be calling any day now.) He’s the no. 1 boy by default! And above all else, he’s getting married to a woman who definitely loves him! This is gonna be Connor’s season. I can feel it.
I gotta say: It looks like Willa has really taken to this whole “future first lady” thing.
She was never going to be a playwright. Sands sucked. But I think she might have a future as the former call girl behind the man.
Comfry got used as a “date ladder” by a boy so gangly and tall that he’s probably never needed to use a real ladder. I don’t know if a person can come back from that.
12. Roman Roy
It probably goes without saying that the three other Roy kids are at the bottom of the totem pole going into Season 4, having had a shit sandwich fed to them by not only their father, but also their mother. The only real question is: Which one of them is best positioned to rise from the ashes and “make their own fucking pile”?
My money is on Roman for a couple reasons. First of all, he’s relatively new to the whole patricide thing, whereas Shiv spent her early professional years running campaigns for politicians who opposed ATN, and Kendall, you know, has tried to bury his dad so many times I’ve lost count. Logan might be a little more forgiving to Roman since it was sort of his first time. But Roman also spent most of Season 3 as a rising star, even potentially proving that he might be the sibling best suited to take over the whole shebang. (Or, as he disgustingly once put it to his sister, “[Dad] loves fucking me, and he just doesn’t wanna fuck you anymore.”) He successfully argued for Mencken to be ATN’s candidate, and he was the one who tamed Matsson and kicked off the GoJo deal. That also means Roman’s still necessary: Logan is going to need to maintain those relationships, and for that, he’ll need the guy who started them.
Roman was the last of three siblings to enter into the dad-killing pact in Tuscany at the end of Season 3—and his trepidation was almost immediately validated. Now, it’ll be interesting to see if he goes back to his dad with his tail between his legs, or if he sticks by the brother who used to put him in a dog crate.
13. Kendall Roy
Tom was certainly right when he told Kendall halfway through Season 3, “My hunch is that you’ll get fucked.” But isn’t there a simmering sense that Kendall has arrived at a place of peace going into these final episodes? Most importantly, he was finally able to unload the truth about what happened to the waiter at Shiv’s wedding—a secret that had been eating him from the inside for two whole seasons. And at this point, he’s so used to losing to his dad that what happened in “All the Bells Say” might not even dent his psyche. This is not to say that Kendall’s in a good place—we’re only two episodes removed from wondering if he drowned in a pool in Tuscany. But after unloading his cosmic burden, he certainly doesn’t seem to be as devastated by Logan as he has been in the past.
14. Shiv Roy
One way to look at Succession is as the story of a woman who gets completely decimated by her own family. Having wisely stayed away from the business for years, she’s lured in by the promise of becoming CEO—a carrot that gets taken away the instant she has burned the rest of her prospects. From there, she makes concession after concession, throwing away her own principles in order to stay in the sun. She lets Logan use her as a female shield during the cruise scandal. She stands for a photograph with a man she believes to be a fascist. She repeatedly and emphatically tries to appease her father, when it’s her mere effort that he despises. She spends the first three seasons believing that she’s the smartest person in the room, but evidence for that belief hardly ever materializes.
Now, she finds her career in flames, and not only is her father holding the blowtorch, but her husband is the one who gave it to him. No one is in a worse spot heading into Succession’s final season. After a lifetime of getting to act with an air of superiority, Shiv’s gonna have to actually earn it now.