‘Succession’: Seismic twists put scheming siblings through the wringer | Inquirer Entertainment

‘Succession’: Seismic twists put scheming siblings through the wringer

By: - Entertainment Editor
/ 12:25 AM March 27, 2023
From left: Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook and Kieran Culkin

From left: Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook and Kieran Culkin

If you’ve fallen hook, line and sinker for the inventively realized narrative tricks and mic-dropping twists that have come out of “Succession,” get ready to buckle up for an even more exhilarating ride when the Emmy-winning HBO Original series launches its fourth and final season on HBO (at 9 a.m.) and HBO Go today.

With billionaire tech mogul Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgard) set to merge the Roy family’s media conglomerate Waystar Royco with his GoJo company at the end of Season 3, Logan Roy’s (Brian Cox) scheming children, Kendall, Siobhan, Roman and Connor—portrayed to back-stabbing perfection by Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook, Kieran Culkin and Alan Ruck, respectively—find themselves rethinking their alliances.


After all, the buyout deal with Matsson isn’t just about money and power slipping from the siblings’ manipulative grasp, it also means they’ll be left with nothing when the billion-dollar dust from the merger finally settles.

Season 4 hits the ground running as Kendall, Shiv and Rome go mano-a-mano in a bidding war with their indefatigable patriarch. But while “Succession” has yet to lose steam in its storytelling approach, showrunner Jesse Armstrong wants the well-loved series, despite its incontrovertible success, to “quit while it’s ahead,” making sure it neither falls victim to greed nor overstays its welcome with one or two seasons too many.


Indeed, Armstrong admitted in a personal note that came with the screener letter how he is “weeping about the foolishness of drawing things to a close,” but it is nonetheless a clever decision guaranteed to guard the legacy-sustaining integrity of the show.

The combustible power play that ensues leaves Shiv and her power-hungry husband Tom’s (Matthew Macfadyen) trial separation spiraling further downward. Meanwhile, Connor is left mulling over an ambiguous future with his fiancée, former call girl and aspiring playwright Willa (Justine Lupe)—who’s still on the fence about tying the knot with an older but easy-go-lucky beau.

While his ritzy companions’ fashion sense may have rubbed off on “cousin” Greg (Nicholas Braun), the fumbling and mumbling interloper still finds himself clumsily torn between the group’s shifting alliances. It doesn’t help that he continues to make embarrassing gaffes that could put his future in peril. The other supporting characters are just as deliciously vile and avaricious.

Brian Cox in “Succession” —PHOTOS COURTESY OF HBO GO

Brian Cox in “Succession” —PHOTOS COURTESY OF HBO GO

Without divulging crucial spoilers, suffice it to say that Season 4 does not disappoint. It shuttles with much ease between tension-filled confrontations and “dramedic” moments that pack a mighty wallop. Keeping their melodramatic possibilities at bay are snicker-inducing comedic situations that poke fun at the show’s quirky dramatis personae.

Relatable characters

The show may initially look like it relies on hype and headlines that stoke up interest in its dastardly tale of deception and manipulation, but every plot point that comes into play is anchored on the characters’ deep personal connections—which makes the show relatable, even to viewers disinterested in issues involving big business.

As has been the case since the pilot season, Brian commands the screen with his larger-than-life Shakespearean presence. He chews scenery as his character, Logan, carries his weight around with a full sense of entitlement, casually denigrating employees who don’t measure up to his absurd standards (“He looks like a ball sack in a toupee,” he describes an uncharismatic anchor). In another memorable sequence, it’s precious to see Logan’s reaction when he realizes how his “subtle suggestion” of putting his personal assistant-cum-implied lover Kerry (Zoe Winters) in the news anchor’s chair backfires big time—with hilarious results!

But nothing makes the show more compelling than when a shocking incident of seismic proportions puts every character in the series through the emotional wringer—a potent situation that leaves them questioning their worth and selfish motivations in the larger scheme of things.


As a result, it makes them more vulnerable than invincible, thrusting them into scenarios that reveal their true colors. It’s moments like this that bring the spark that sets “Succession’s” marquee on the small screen ablaze.

It may sometimes be unflattering for the characters they bring to life, but on the upside, it astutely imbues the show with a disarmingly compassionate glow. “Succession” proves to one and all that, yes, even power-wielding ultrarich people can be as f*cked up as their perpetually cash-strapped commoner counterparts. INQ


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