There are very few series out there like “Succession” where it can feature some of the most morally repugnant characters out there yet capture the attention of audiences everywhere. The Emmy-winning series has been on a legendary run in its final season, cementing itself as one of the essential television series in the last few decades. As we approach the series finale this weekend, there’s one question everyone is ready to find out. Who will be the successor? It’s what “Succession” creator and showrunner Jesse Armstrong has built up throughout the final season. Everyone is gunning for the top spot, but only one head can wear the crown. Who has the best chance of being the victor? Is it even worth it?
***WARNING – SPOILERS AHEAD FOR “SUCCESSION”***
After last week’s episode “Church and State,” it’s safe to say Roman Roy has officially fumbled his opportunity to claim the throne. One of Roman’s greatest strengths has always been how emotionally in tune he’s been with himself. Deep below that smug persona is an insecure man-child who could be very empathetic. His greatest strength, sadly, also might be his biggest weakness. Roman’s emotional instability has often led to confrontations that have made him look bad. He yelled at Matson on the cliff top earlier in the season and even fired multiple high-level Waystar Royco employees, including Gerri. The final nail in the coffin was while attempting to deliver the eulogy at his father’s funeral, Roman completely shut down. He publicly weeps, recoiling into his childlike self. The place most appropriate for Roman to display these emotions is the place that showed his competitors his fragility. Men like Jeryd Mencken and Lukas Matson see this as a weakness. Roman’s persona, which he’s carried out for an extended period, has been publicly shattered. Roman’s best bet is just to ride along his brother’s coattail at this point.
The Disgusting Brothers, funnily enough, are in an exciting spot. A theory floating around all season is that everyone’s lovable parasite Gregory Hirsch ends up as the one on top. Greg’s weirdly evolving relationship with Matson has been a humorous development in the past few episodes. Greg’s greatest strength has always been his likability and ease in sneaking into whatever social circle he sees fit. If Mencken does end up supporting Matson’s deal to purchase Waystar, Greg could be the one slotted in as the American CEO. Realistically Greg would be a puppet easily manipulated by Matson. Also, it would be hard to fathom a board promoting a bumbling moron like Greg, who has no experience besides firing people and putting wasabi in people’s eyes. Tom would be a better fit as CEO, which would be a personal mess for him, but at least he;’s better suited for the job.
However, it makes no sense for Tom to win out in the end. Tom has shown he buckles under pressure. During the election, he was on edge and struggling to manage simple things like replacing a touch board. He couldn’t even keep the Roy siblings from being on the ATN floor and meddling with their election coverage. Most importantly, the tumultuous relationship between Tom and Shiv Roy has finally reached a possible middle ground. At the end of the latest episode, “Church and State,” Tom and Shiv have a tender moment with one another. The past week alone, they experienced the death of Logan Roy and had an intense argument during the election party, the pregnancy reveal, and election night. The possibility of reconciliation between the two going into the series finale has never seemed more possible. If Tom ends up as the CEO of Waystar Royco, his relationship with Shiv is undoubtedly over. They’ve said some of the worst possible things to each other, but stealing something so sentimental such as Waystar Royco from Shiv, would be inconsolable for their relationship. Tom and Shiv would be two people whose hate for one another outweighs their love for themselves and their future child.
Realistically the battle for Waystar Royco comes down between Shiv and her brother Kendall Roy. Shiv is attempting to keep the Gojo deal going with the hopes of being installed as the American CEO by Matson. At this moment, Shiv has lost the trust of her brothers (especially Kendall) and has put all her stock into Matson becoming victorious in this battle for Waystar Royco. Shiv’s inability to see the bigger picture has always been her biggest issue. She’s attached herself to someone as fraudulent and volatile as Matson. This failing power move has showcased how incredibly myopic Shiv can be. It doesn’t help that she also has no experience running a company like this in any fashion. Shiv’s most significant strengths have always been her political knowledge and ability to insert herself in such male-dominated spaces. Her brash and precise nature has made her the threat she is now. Even if Shiv somehow gets Menken to back the Gojo purchase of Waystar Royco, there’s no way Matson actually appoints her to the CEO role. Gerri would be far more capable of choice as the American CEO compared to Shiv. It’s somewhat apparent he’s been using Shiv to gain control of the situation, especially after the passing of Logan.Armstrong has referenced Dream Song 29 by John Berryman multiple times throughout the series, including the upcoming series finale titled “With Open Eyes.” Berryman’s poem is inherently tied to Kendall’s character the most out of anyone. It’s looking really possible that the series will end with Kendall as the successor, taking over Waystar Royco. Once his name was read on the piece of paper that Logan left, something inside of Kendall flipped. Throughout the series, he’s shown his ability to truly step up to the plate and take over. This season alone, he landed the Living + showcase, successfully weakened the Gojo deal, and most recently stepped up to deliver the eulogy. What was a public gathering for mourning turned into the coronation of the new Logan Roy? The look on Ewan Roy’s face after seeing Kendall deliver that eulogy was like he saw the ghost of his brother. Obviously, it will come with a price. One does not sacrifice one’s soul without a cost. Kendall will end up losing a relationship with his children, alienating them from their mother, Rava, and becoming estranged from his siblings. It is prophetic in a way. The very man Kendall has stated he’s better than is the man he will end up becoming. In the last episode, “Church and State,” Kendall begins to recruit Hugo, Logan’s former driver Colin, and he already has Frank in his corner. Kendall will lose everything that truly is important to him, but in return, he’ll be the “number one boy” Logan always wanted him to be.
In the end, does it even matter who wins? For all we know, the Roys could be screwed entirely, and they all lose Waystar Royco. Still, they constantly will do whatever it takes just for a meaningless title. Does the satisfaction of power equate to the pain these characters transfer to the ones they love? No matter the outcome, whoever ends up at the top loses. There have been so many opportunities for the Roy siblings to escape this repetitive cycle. These characters have more wealth than anyone could even imagine. At a certain point, it clearly cannot just be greed alone. How much of it is just trauma-induced inadequacies developed by their father? Jesse Armstrong and company have created such brilliantly layered characters. It would’ve been so easy just to paint them as one-dimensional elites with no appeal. These people are so vile, yet you understand why they are this way. Deep down, you watch, hoping that there’s a chance they’d make the right decision for once. With only one episode left, it’s time to accept that the poison really does drip through.
Who do you think will ermine victorious at the end of “Succession?” What do you think will happen in the series finale? Have you enjoyed this final season so far? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments section below or over on our Twitter account.