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. Nan Pierce
Setting aside the fact that Logan two seasons ago offered her family two and a half times the eventual sale price of Pierce Global Media, Nan’s ignition of a bidding war between father and estranged children lands her squarely atop our opening power rankings. Sure, $10 billion is a lot less than $25 billion, but it’s certainly more than the $6 billion or $7 billion the Pierces would’ve settled for had Kendall, Roman, and Shiv not entered the fray. (We now understand how much even a half billion dollars means after Roman educates Kendall and Shiv on the significance of tossing in an extra “five hundred times a thousand thousand dollars of actual money we could be spending on fucking snowmobiles and sushi.”)
Nan played this thing perfectly. She feigns a migraine upon the kids’ arrival to buy more time to entertain Logan’s offer, continues drumming up the suspense on both sides, and, within a matter of minutes, secures a substantially higher bid for her dying legacy-media conglomerate. Best of all, she screws Logan in the process. She might claim to find the wheeling and dealing “disgusting”—such a noble liberal elite—but we all know she’s reveling in the hustle of a longtime nemesis, both politically and personally.
2. Shiv Roy
We all knew it was coming, but this is still an audacious way to make this announcement:
Pictured here is Shiv officially confirming her intent to divorce Tom—and she does so as a bargaining chip to push through the PGM deal, a transaction she didn’t even know was possible before, what, 12 to 24 hours before this conversation? Maybe less. It doesn’t matter if Shiv and Tom have been on the rocks for some time now; terminating your marriage to buy a company is ruthless, and definitely a show of power.
Shiv is much further down the list of “happiest characters in Succession”—if such a ludicrous ranking could ever exist—as she grapples with the knowledge that Tom is hooking up with models and possibly Kendall’s ex-girlfriend. (Naomi Pierce, ironically enough.) But the fact is that the PGM deal doesn’t get done without her. Nan is willing to open the initial dialogue only with Shiv, rather than her brothers, likely due to Shiv’s experience working with the leftist and anti-ATN politician Gil Eavis. And it’s Shiv who leads the charge into Nan’s living room to announce the siblings’ conversation-ending offer:
By the end of the episode, Shiv has also assumed full control over what’s left of her decaying marriage. Take this exchange, after she tells Tom, “I think it might be time for you and I to move on.”
Tom: I could see if I—if I can make love to you.
Shiv: Would you like to?
Tom: [Somberly shrugs.]
Shiv: I don’t think so, Tom.
Shiv’s personal life has all but hit rock bottom, and there could still be an 11th-hour twist to the PGM deal, but for now, she’s dictating important choices on her own terms.
3. Kendall and Roman Roy
Three of the four Roy siblings are currently operating on a unified front, but unlike Shiv, there’s not much in the Season 4 premiere to distinguish Kendall’s and Rome’s situations outside of the PGM pursuit. It makes sense to group the brothers together for now, though it’s worth noting that Rome shows noticeable resistance to chasing PGM out of fear of upsetting their dad. Kendall, meanwhile, thinks it’s hilarious—a further sign that any angst related to Logan has started to dissipate after Kendall confessed to Roman and Shiv about killing a waiter at the latter’s wedding. Kendall’s newfound sense of peace, while probably temporary, makes him more like 3A, while Roman’s lingering daddy issues reduces him to 3B. Either way, they’re still both quite high after successfully brokering the PGM deal.
4. Logan Roy
It feels like anytime Logan suffers a setback, we can rank him only so low, because at the end of the day, he’s still Logan fuckin’ Roy.
Only this dude could get away with Irish-exiting his own birthday party to have dinner with his bodyguard without any of the attendees questioning the rudeness of such an action. That’s power for you.
Logan does seemingly lose out on PGM, his “decades-long obsession,” as Kendall puts it, to his own alienated, good-for-nothing children. But Logan still completely screwed them over with the sale of Waystar Royco to GoJo, and he’s still handpicking the president of the United States. Logan will probably be fine.
Plus, when he tells his kids, “Congratulations on saying the biggest number, you fucking morons,” do I detect a bit of mockery there? As in he’s mocking them for overpaying for a bloated corpse of a news organization. I’m sure some part of Logan genuinely does detest losing out to his children, but I wouldn’t be shocked if the L.O.G. is essentially conveying: “Even when you win, you still fucking lose.”
Kerry is starting to run shit. You don’t wanna mess with the woman who has a mysteriously vague work-friend relationship with Logan Roy.
Kerry is not only bullying Greg on behalf of Logan, but she’s also being consulted on the appropriate amount of money to bid on a multibillion-dollar media empire. Regardless of whether it’s true that Kerry has Logan’s cock in her mouth—as Shiv eloquently put it and Roman, well, clarified—there’s no denying that this is an impressive increase in responsibility for someone who was initially described as an “assistant.”
Colin is Logan’s best pal, and Colin is clearly delighted to be told so:
That’s the look of a man who is comfortable and secure in a healthy, fulfilling, and definitely non-transactional friendship. Even if Logan has no interest in hearing about Colin’s dad’s thoughts on the afterlife.
The Shit-Fucker trio of Gerri, Karl, and Frank would kill to receive such a compliment from the big man. Drink it in while you can, Colin. You never know how long the affection from a Roy is going to last.
7. Cousin Greg
A brief list of Greg’s achievements in the Season 4 premiere:
- Had spontaneous sex with his date, Bridget Randomfuck, in Logan’s guest bedroom
- Made Logan “kinda smile” upon informing him of said sex
- Said, “Where’re your kids? Where are all your kids, Uncle Logan? On your big birthday?” and lived to tell the tale
A brief list of Greg’s failures in the Season 4 premiere:
- Brought a date with a ridiculously large handbag to Logan’s birthday party, making Greg “a laughingstock of polite society,” according to Tom
- Fell for Tom’s ruse about Logan’s CCTV set-up, prompting Greg to unnecessarily admit to telling Logan about having sex in his guest bedroom
- Cowardly bailed on accompanying Bridget out of the party after having sex with her, telling Colin, “You do—do your ways, and—and God be willing”
So, yeah, a mixed performance for our guy at the start of Season 4. But with all the talk about his “Disgusting Brothers” partnership with Tom, it seems like Greg has mostly been enjoying himself lately.
8. Tom Wambsgans
Tom starts the new season on something of a high, telling Shiv—who infamously suggested they begin an open marriage on their wedding night—about his “social” exploits with Naomi Pierce, only to abruptly hang up on his wife when she anxiously questions what’s actually going on between Tom and Kendall’s ex. It’s clear that Tom wants to make things work with Shiv, but that had to feel good.
On the professional side of things, it’s apparent that Tom is tasked with doing much of the heavy lifting in Logan’s proposed acquisition of PGM. That suggests a significant level of trust from his father-in-law, but here’s where the professional and personal start to mix: If Tom and Shiv were to divorce, would Tom still have a place in the Roy corporate hierarchy? “If we’re good, we’re good,” Logan tells him, before promptly pivoting to, “Kerry, where’s the grub, huh? Tom’s going off his nut here.”
By the end of the episode, Tom has not only botched the PGM negotiations that he assured Logan “look[ed] good,” but divorce with Shiv appears imminent. You now have to wonder: How low is Tom going to fall in these rankings as Succession’s final season unravels?
9. Connor Roy
Connor Roy is most definitely not powerful: The guy has to spend $100 million just to avoid his 1 percent share of voters in the presidential race from being squeezed down, which has Greg like:
On the other hand, you could argue that blowing a spare $100 million solely on maintaining “a place in the conversation” is the peak definition of power. The only problem, however, is that it seems like that expenditure could put a legitimate dent in Connor’s net worth, which brings us to …
Willa is about to be married to a former, um, client, who’s prepared to spend $100 million for a level of political viability similar to Kanye West.
As if that weren’t bad enough, the one silver lining of that romantic arrangement—being able to have a “nice wedding”—is at risk if the couple considers the other, somewhat less expensive path to media relevance: a blown-out, farcical ceremony full of “jet packs … confetti guns … bum fights” and “razzmatazz” below the Statue of Liberty.
So, yeah, Willa either ruins the one pleasant thing about marrying Connor, or they mortgage their financial future to keep the support of one (1) percent of American voters. Tough one.
11. Bridget Randomfuck
Bridget is not only getting dunked on by an entire party for her choice in handbags, but her date is letting people describe her as this:
Shame on you, Greg. Bridget might be random, but she still deserves better.
12. The Hundred Designers
Way back at the very beginning of this episode, Kendall, Shiv, and Roman had a visionary plan to create a bespoke media company in the vein of “Substack meets MasterClass meets The Economist meets The New Yorker.” Even with the siblings’ excitement around the startup, the design team responsible for creating The Hundred’s logo had to take some, er, candid feedback.
Approximately 15 minutes later, Shiv is saying this:
Those designers definitely don’t have jobs anymore.
Poor Mondale. Even though Tom is already home when Shiv returns late in the episode, the pup is still locked in his pen, alone in the dark, so far removed from human affection that he doesn’t even recognize Shiv and barks at her.
let mondale’s ass out of that damn cage right this instant, he’s clearly a very good boy— J. Kyle Mann (@jkylemann) March 27, 2023
It was already bad enough that his diet apparently subsisted of Shiv’s pantyhose—at this point we might have to consider calling in the authorities to report a case of animal cruelty. After all, he’s named after Walter Mondale—the abuse has simply gone too far.