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‘Succession’ Season 4 Power Rankings: The Grim Weeper

Kendall is finally playing the killer his dad always wanted him to, just in time for the funeral. Meanwhile, Roman finds out that maybe “pre-grieving” isn’t a thing after all.

HBO/Getty Images/Ringer illustration

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. Jeryd Mencken

The pending president-elect was a smooth operator this week. There’s a slyness to his moves, and getting to see Justin Kirk fill in the blanks of Mencken’s personality has been interesting. Mencken has mastered the game—he praised Kendall for his eulogy as he was walking out of the funeral, but he made sure to put Kendall in his place during the repast. And while Kendall and Roman have been banking on Mencken to spike the GoJo deal over “regulatory” concerns, the conversation with Matsson and Shiv opens up another path—one where the deal proceeds so long as Matsson hires a U.S. CEO. Mencken was noncommittal about whether he’d support that—and with Daniel Jiménez challenging the Wisconsin vote, Mencken’s victory is not yet assured—but all eyes are on the would-be king. By the end of the episode, it became clear that the Roy children believe he holds their fates in his hands.

2. Lukas Matsson

Matsson was the other face that everyone was looking toward. Shiv told Lukas to news dump his bogus numbers on the day of her father’s funeral, primarily due to the unrest over the election spilling into the streets (more on that later). Wisely, Shiv knew that any news dropping on a day like that would be buried, giving her and Lukas more time to determine their next step while figuring out how to get Mencken to not block the GoJo deal. And figure it out they did; as stated earlier, Lukas delivered some reassuring news to Shiv at the end of the episode, although he did not confirm anything regarding Shiv being a lock for the position of CEO of Waystar GoJo’s U.S. division. Anything can truly happen, but a number of things can’t happen unless Lukas Matsson says so.

3. Kendall Roy

Over the course of four seasons, we’ve seen Kendall Roy recover time and again. Kendall’s status affords him the opportunity to sidestep consequences for things like shoplifting or being involved in a waiter’s drowning, but during Logan Roy’s funeral, we saw Kendall Roy channel his father and use his gift of gab to save the day.

In a moment similar to his performance during investor day, Kendall Roy did what the rest of his siblings couldn’t: He delivered the message the family needed to deliver in their father’s absence. Many mocked flight-jacket-clad Kendall and his big ideas for the Living+ presentation, but when he had no other choice, he found the words and astounded the crowd, saving the company. And when Roman melted down after seeing his father’s casket, Kendall took to the podium and spoke about his father’s legacy, getting to the heart of what made Logan the most revered and feared man in media. “He had a vitality, a force that could hurt. And it did,” Kendall said with a sense of admiration.

With his impromptu eulogy, Kendall shined in front of Mencken, the devil he’d made a deal with. But when he learned his sister and Matsson were making moves to undermine his tenuous arrangement, Kendall started to shift his focus. He coldly moved on from Jess when she told him she was planning to leave (presumably because of ATN’s role in Mencken’s likely victory), he basically alienated a too-online Rava, and he began shoring up his team: Hugo, a lapdog ready to say “woof” whenever Kendall needs him; Colin, his father’s former body man and one of the few people who know about the waiter; and his brother Roman, whom he needs on his side more than ever. (And in telling an already-broken Roman he “fucked it” regarding the Mencken deal, Kendall channeled Logan more than he ever has in a speech.)

Can Kendall actually claim what he’s long considered to be his birthright? Out of the four Roy children, he’s always felt like the closest one to the throne. And with the way he immediately gets active? Kendall may be the best fit for the job.

4. Shiv Roy

Similar to her brother Kendall, Shiv’s arc during the day of her father’s funeral started at a low point. After watching a fascist seemingly emerge victorious on election night, it was always going to be an uphill battle, but Shiv had to mourn her father and prep for the funeral while roughly 15 weeks pregnant and strategizing against her brothers for the CEO role at their deceased father’s media conglomerate. (Hey, no one ever said girl-bossing was easy.) Early, Shiv’s main goal was to get the bogus GoJo numbers in the press while the protests were dominating the news cycle. And Shiv was right; the numbers dropped, and no one seemed to bat an eye. That, however, was just one problem down.

Shiv’s next major hurdle was getting Lukas ready to talk to Mencken and also getting him to agree to her plan of having her become U.S. CEO after the deal goes through. (Her pitch involved a lot of absentee parenting and a certain amount of control for Matsson.) Things felt touch and go on that front until her brothers (and Cousin Greg) shit the bed with Mencken after the funeral. Shiv literally dragged Mencken out of that situation and may have secured herself that CEO position.

On the home front, Shiv ended up being the bigger person, at least for a day. During her brief conversation with Tom after her father’s funeral, she suggested that he sleep off his troubles at their apartment. It’s an olive branch, but it comes at a confusing time in their relationship—Shiv shared with her family that she was pregnant but also sipped some champagne during her chat with Tom. Shiv has poorly played the game, and her lies have come to light; Shiv becoming CEO at the end of this, however, could make a lot of that ill will go away. Funny how power works.

5. Ewan Roy

When Logan’s brother, Ewan, got up to speak, my thought was that Cousin Greg would bumble and screw up, but ultimately, Ewan would not be allowed to speak—he hasn’t made his feelings for his brother a secret. That said, there was something that happened during Greg’s awkward attempt to silence his grandfather: Ewan got sympathy. His comments on folks trying to hinder someone from speaking about family cut deep during that moment—especially when Roman was preparing to deliver the eulogy we saw him practicing at the top of the episode.

“It is not for me to judge my brother,” Ewan began. “History will tell that story.” But Ewan’s speech went a long way to providing the necessary history that explained how Logan became who he was: the brothers’ silent journey across the Atlantic as stowaways during World War II, the younger sister who died of polio that Logan may have spread to her, and the aunt and uncle who took them in, only to provide the kind of tough—and possibly nonexistent—love that Logan became known for himself. Ewan and Logan took opposite paths—Logan became a hero to the right who fed the darkness inside people, while Ewan grew into a union-song-singing Greenpeace benefactor—but even villains have families. “I loved him, I suppose,” Ewan said, “and I suppose some of you did too.” It was a brutally honest eulogy for a brutally honest man—one whose worldview won out over Ewan’s. But in delivering parting words for his fallen brother, Ewan shook things up, revealing what truly lay beneath. And as the kids would quickly find out, it was a difficult act to follow.

6. Cousin Greg

It’s tough to gauge how Cousin Greg will make out after things come to an end. He couldn’t get a word in with Mencken. He couldn’t stop his grandfather from causing a scene. Hell, he couldn’t even get to Logan’s funeral without getting all sweaty. But he does have one thing going for him: a cozy relationship with Matsson, whose pet name for Greg is “Sexy.” Cousin Greg may have the most potential to land in a promising position by the series’ end; it’ll just be on him to not fumble the bag.

7. Caroline Collingwood

Kendall, Shiv, and Roman’s mother knows how to stir the pot, huh? While not “CEO of Waystar Royco” powerful, Caroline commands the room, with or without her howling dalmatians. She spotted Shiv’s pregnancy immediately, corralled Logan’s ladies together during his funeral, and holds a prominent position on the board. The kids spoke about rejecting her “Carribean air clear” request on the ride over to Logan’s funeral, but Caroline may become vital if the ultimate decision is handed to the board.

While Caroline has never been the most adept at showing her children grace, she did find sympathy for people she felt a certain kinship with …

8. The Wives and Lovers Pew

One of the more surprising moments in the episode was when Caroline, recognizing a moment that Logan Roy had no way of disrupting, assembled an amazing row of women at the front of the church: herself (Logan’s second wife), along with Marcia (Logan’s wife at the time of his passing), Sally-Anne (a mistress Logan had while married to Caroline), and Kerry (the mistress Logan had at the time of his passing). It was mostly a moment of catharsis (especially for Kerry, who has been shunned since Logan’s death), not uncommon for a funeral, but it was surely surprising to see at Logan’s funeral.

9. Hugo

Hugo has been in a bind ever since his estranged daughter started playing with stocks after Logan died. He’s done Kendall’s bidding when asked, but at the mausoleum, Kendall officially invited Hugo to be his lapdog, handling whatever odd jobs Kendall needs along the way. Hugo stayed diligent; he sniffed out word of Shiv’s play, helping put things into proper focus for Kendall.

Hugo, while being offered a spot on the inside, was also told that he had a ceiling. His new gig will pay him handsomely, but he will forever be in a particular role. He could be one of Kendall’s most important assets, living comfortably off of the meaty table scraps Kendall will throw his way.

10. Connor Roy

The eldest and most cryo-curious of Logan Roy’s children, Connor knew things his siblings didn’t, including how his dad acquired his cat food Ozymandias mausoleum. (He got it at auction; it was a good deal!) That said, Mencken—who hasn’t officially won the presidency—had Connor buzzing in his ear post-funeral, attempting to discuss Connor’s plans overseas. Connor was asked to leave, but it also felt like Mencken didn’t know what Connor was referring to. Connor may not have gotten a chance to deliver his formally inventive eulogy, but he’ll be all right. Though at this point, it feels like that’s only because of whom he’s related to.

11. Gerri

While Gerri’s been more of a background player this season (primarily due to Roman fake firing her before legit firing her), I had to wonder whether she’d be around during these important events. But Gerri makes her presence felt throughout “Church and State.” Early on, she asks the rest of the C-level lackeys whether they’re happier now that Logan’s dead. (“Stockholm syndrome … crossed with a little bit of China syndrome,” she says after Karl cops to being sad about Logan.) But she also displays mixed emotions related to Roman: near disgust as he flails during his eulogy, then a sense of protectiveness as Karl replays the video of said flailing. (There’s also a stunning shot during the funeral scene where the camera catches a glimpse of Gerri and Karolina just as Shiv speaks of Logan not being able to “fit a whole woman in his head.” The toll this man took on the women in his life—from his wives and paramours to his daughter to his subordinates—comes into sharp focus throughout this episode.)

As we head into the finale, one has to guess when Gerri will really make her presence felt. She’s still holding on to her Roman secret, but she also clearly has maternal feelings for him. And Roman will need those, because …

12. Roman Roy

“How will Roman handle Logan’s funeral?” was a question I’d been asking myself ever since he said he “pre-grieved” his father’s death earlier this season. The idea made no sense, and while Roman put on a good face from then until the day of the funeral, it took his uncle and the specter of his dead father to break him at the exact wrong time.

Roman’s facade—masking everything going on inside with crude humor and even viler displays of corporate power—was just waiting to crumble, and somewhere between Ewan cutting him in line and seeing his father’s casket, Roman became a viral meme inside the seedy Waystar Royco group chats. He was even seen storming out as Karl was loading up footage of Roman whimpering during the funeral on his phone, with Frank and Gerri protesting him playing the clip.

Roman, desperate to feel humiliated, thrust himself into the protests in the city, which resulted in him nearly getting trampled by concerned citizens. This was of course after Kendall informed Roman that they may have lost the deal because Roman couldn’t get Mencken completely on board. Kendall plans on fixing it (and having Roman along for the ride), but Roman knows that this is his fault. Kendall also asked Roman to have his back during this final power play, but with the way that night ended, the question is if Roman is capable of rebuilding himself.

13. Colin

One of the wisest decisions Kendall Roy made after his father’s funeral was sparking a conversation with Colin, one of the few people who know about the biggest skeleton in his closet. Since Logan passed, Colin’s been like a dog without his master—after Logan’s body was unloaded from the plane, we’ve seen Colin appear only once, looking despondent at Logan’s wake, and we learn in “Church and State” that Colin’s been seeing a psychiatrist. But Kendall understands that Colin was his father’s most loyal soldier, and given what he knows about both Logan and Kendall, he’s a valuable pawn in Kendall’s chess moves. But for Colin, going with Kendall means something else: a new place for this old dog to call home.

14. Tom Wambsgans

Tired Tom didn’t even make it to Logan Roy’s funeral. He was swamped at ATN (knee-deep in political unrest, no doubt), and his name is all over the news for the Mencken call. (Though not as much as Darwin’s, and Tom just wants his goodies, after all.) Tom did show up after the funeral to speak with Shiv, giving small apologies while attempting to gain clarity on things like Shiv’s pregnancy. One of the warmer moments of the episode (second possibly to Caroline corralling Logan’s ladies together) was Shiv telling Tom to go back to their apartment to get some rest. Tom could get lucky, too (no, not like that): If Shiv becomes CEO, maybe she will let him keep his job.

15. Peter Munion

Ah, the return of the man Logan affectionately referred to as the “seat-sniffer.” Peter’s awkwardly hilarious “daddy’s here” fell flat with the Roy children during the funeral, and he let his overall awkward vibe do the rest. Not being able to secure a position as pallbearer above Cousin Greg? You’ve surely messed up somewhere. Let’s hope he was able to fill up his autograph book.