“Succession” Season Four: The Show’s Best?


The first few episodes of “Succession’s” final season left audiences simultaneously shocked and pleased. (Courtesy of Twitter)

HBO’s Emmy award-winning juggernaut “Succession” returned for its fourth season on March 26, and the first episodes are only the beginning of an intriguing, nail-biting ride. A month before the premiere, show creator Jesse Armstrong announced that the fourth season would be the show’s last, saying that he wanted the show to “go out sort of strong” instead of dragging it on for a few more seasons. The sudden announcement leaves many questions that only the finale can answer: What new alliances will form and break? Where will the characters be when the final credits roll? And, most importantly, who will be the “successor” of Waystar Royco?

In case you’re not watching — which you definitely should be — “Succession” follows the power-hungry Roy family, owners of the media company Waystar Royco. The family includes tycoon Logan (Brian Cox) and his four children: Connor (Alan Ruck), Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Roman (Kieran Culkin) and Siobhan “Shiv” (Sarah Snook). Kendall, Roman and Shiv are determined to seize power from their dad, but if the end of season three indicated anything, they must face many obstacles, including the ambitious and ruthless employers of Waystar Royco. These include Shiv’s husband Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen) and his sidekick, cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun), who have an alliance with Logan. I’ll admit that when I first started watching the show, I was confused as to why audiences love watching this terrible family. However, I stuck with it, and it’s become one of my favorite shows currently airing on television.

The first few episodes of this season give a taste of the conflicts that will escalate throughout the season. The premiere, “The Munsters,” reminds me why I love this show. Every character is so unlikable that you cannot help but laugh at them. Throughout the episode, Logan cannot enjoy himself at his lavish birthday party; Kendall, Roman and Shiv are trying to close a risky deal; Tom is up to his usual shenanigans with Greg; and Connor is determined to become president of the United States, even though he’s only polling 1%. I found myself chuckling at several scenes, most of which occurred at the party. Yet even in these comedic moments, the show is still a drama at its core. Even though it’s hard to feel bad for filthy rich billionaires, there are definitely moments where you realize how their personal relationships are at stake. The second episode, “Rehearsal,” continues this pattern. The Roy children disagree as to how they should go about taking their dad out of power while Logan tries to hold on to it. The standout of this episode, though, was definitely Connor. You dive into his childhood insecurities and his fear of loneliness, a result of his impending marriage to his fiancée, Willa (Justine Lupe). His scenes make for some sympathetic yet equally comedic moments.

However, the third episode, “Connor’s Wedding,” somehow blows the first two episodes out of the water. It is not only the greatest of the season so far, but the best of the entire show. Taking place mostly aboard a yacht about to set sail for Connor and Willa’s wedding, Armstrong’s writing bolsters the simplistic setting to create some of the show’s greatest moments since its premiere in 2018. I won’t go into any details about the plot, because this episode is one that you need to go in blind. I was confused, shocked and emotional for the whole hour. Every performance was phenomenal, with Snook giving her best yet (which will, hopefully, win her many awards) and Strong being phenomenal as always. However, I need to give a special shoutout to Culkin. He has always been fantastic as Roman, a character who is a nuisance to everyone he interacts with, but I always felt that he never received the same amount of praise as his co-stars. With Strong and Snook receiving their well-deserved attention, Culkin’s performance in this episode allowed him to share the spotlight with them. The setting, writing and actors prove this show deserves all of the Emmys that it will definitely be nominated for.

With only a few more “‘Succession’ Sundays” left, my only worry is the end. After such a strong introduction to the season, will Armstrong, the rest of the writing team and actors be able to stick the landing? While episode three will definitely be a hard one to top, I believe these first episodes prove that the ending will not disappoint. If you’ve been thinking about watching the show, then now, more than ever, is the time to start. If you haven’t, then the universal acclaim towards this season should be enough to change your mind. Once you catch up, you’ll find yourself waiting in bated breath until each new episode releases Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO Max.