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‘Succession’ Precap: One Burning Question Ahead of Episode 9

Every Friday, Ringer staffers gather to answer one key question ahead of Sunday’s ‘Succession’ episode. This week’s topic: the aftermath of the election.

HBO/Ringer illustration

It’s Friday, which means Succession’s newest installment is around the corner. What can we expect from Episode 9? Read along as we examine one burning question heading into the next chapter of Succession’s final season.

The burning question heading into Episode 9: What will the aftermath be now that ATN has seemingly handed the presidential election to Jeryd Mencken?

Julianna Ress: Jeryd Mencken will become president, because what has led us to believe that ATN will ever face any consequences? Caucuses in Iowa and Nevada have been decided by flipping a coin and pulling cards from a deck, and that’s actually allowed! I don’t think the electoral process can be trusted to account for those burned votes in Wisconsin, so ATN’s call will stand.

If there is any blowback from ATN calling the election too early, all blame will go to Tom (maybe with some Greg sprinkles). The only reason Roman and Kendall have to protect Tom is to get back at Shiv for betraying them, but I think the CE-bros see Tom as so much of a nobody that he doesn’t even merit being weaponized in sibling rivalry. As for Shiv, she took another L on election night in a season full of them. But she’s still armed with serious information on Kendall, Roman, and Lukas Matsson, and the time is coming for her to smash someone’s fucking face in with it.

Katie Baker: First of all, HOW ARE THERE ONLY TWO EPISODES LEFT? I can’t believe we’ve almost reached the end. Part of me wonders whether Mencken will screw Roman and Kendall. The past few episodes have leaned in so heavily on him being their guy, someone they “can do business with,” that it feels like they’re setting up some sort of … wait, what’s the equivalent of “heel turn” for someone who is already a huge piece of shit? With all that said, we’ve seen from the trailers that there’s some sort of civil unrest unfolding in the episode to come, and I think what’s most likely to happen is that Mencken’s victory will remain trapped in the courts and up in the air, causing him to become even more extreme—and dangerous—in his messaging.

Alan Siegel: There have been times throughout the series when it seems like maybe, just maybe, one of the Roy children will completely break away from the family’s rotten media empire. Last season, a vengeful Kendall tried to go out on his own and failed miserably. But with the “dumpster brothers” now full-on embracing a far-right candidate, it feels like Shiv might actually defect. I’m fascinated to see whether and how she goes nuclear on Roman (for embracing fascism) and Kendall (for, at best, enabling it). Maybe Shiv and Lukas Matsson will successfully join forces to screw them on whatever the GoJo deal is morphing into. Maybe she’ll enlist Gerri to unearth the barely buried dirt she has on the suddenly emboldened Roman, who at this point deserves to be knocked down a peg or 12. Yes, there’s a chance that she won’t bring herself to take on her siblings. But my bet is that she’ll make a move.

Ben Lindbergh: Succession has a whole lot left to tie up in its next (and last) two episodes: Logan’s funeral, the fallout from the election, and, of course, the GoJo deal, which could determine the succession itself. Unless the series stretches its typically compressed timeline, even an extra-long penultimate episode (76 minutes) and a supersized finale (90 minutes) likely won’t allow enough time for a lengthy legal process that could tank Mencken’s candidacy. Still, it seems like something has to happen to humble the king-making CE-bros, though Kendall could surprise me by ruthlessly (and competently) filling his father’s shoes. My guess: Someone leaks (or Roman inadvertently divulges) the dirty dealing behind ATN’s Mencken call, which puts Mencken’s presidential dreams in doubt, sends ATN’s share price plummeting, and spells the end of Kendall and Roman’s reign. Succession may have dabbled in being a show about politics last week, but in the end, it has to be about Logan’s legacy and the relationships and status of his spawn. For this series and its self-interested core characters, the future of democracy is at most a secondary concern.

Austin Gayle: ATN just punched its ticket to a three-month legal hellscape when it called the election for Jeryd Mencken. Whether he wins or loses, what’s waiting aboveground is a handshake agreement with the red devil and a complete loss of credibility. Sitting atop the fiery rubble is Team Ken-Ro, who will keep their crowns when Mencken delivers on his promise to kill the GoJo deal. All it cost them was some light firebombing in Milwaukee, a slew of kidnappings in Florida, and the end of the fucking world.

Serving the crown(s) are father-to-be Tom Wambsgans and Gregory Pegory, still holding the bottle of fine wine he smashed into Shiv’s face on election night. Their opposition is whatever is left of Shiv and Lukas Matsson. Logan’s wake better have a whiteboard and the hookup from Greg because all parties will need to honor the Aztecs to survive the night. (Beware Greg getting addicted; it’ll be his third night in a row.)