Succession’s last season is finally getting interesting by taking some risks
The first two episodes of Succession’s final season made it seem things might be the same, as if the HBO series really might have been comfortable going out by leaving Logan Roy and his children to languish in the same Shakespearean holding pattern that’s defined their story for the entire series. Even with Kendall, Shiv, and Roman all ostensibly being on the same page and working together for the first time, it still felt like Succession didn’t want to move too far away from its core power dynamics for fear of having to actually push itself into new territory.
But “Connor’s Wedding,” the series’ latest episode, has ushered in one of Succession’s most significant and unexpected shifts — the first the truly makes this season feel like it could stick the landing.
Major spoilers for the third episode of Succession’s fourth season.
Concerns about Logan Roy’s health loomed large over Succession from its first episode as it introduced us to all the various power players vying for a shot at control over Waystar Royco. Throughout the first season, you could feel the idea that Logan — a curmudgeonly octogenarian who didn’t exactly live the healthiest lifestyle — might just up and die and create a power vacuum. But that possibility seemed to fall to the wayside as the series continued, and illustrated how the Roy siblings’ adult dysfunctions all stemmed from being trapped in decades of family drama that it seemed very much like they’d never escape from.
Logan always beating his children no matter how they conspired against him felt like a quintessential part of Succession’s identity, and like a power dynamic the series never planned to let go. But in a truly shocking turn of events, “Connor’s Wedding” — written by serious creator Jesse Armstrong, and directed by Mark Mylod — upended all of that by unceremoniously killing Logan Roy off, and flinging everyone formerly in his orbit into deep space.
Of all the possible ways Logan Roy could have bitten the bullet, there are few that would have felt as poetic as him having a heart attack thousands of feet in the air while traveling to finalize the GoJo acquisition deal that would have effectively made Kendall, Roman, and Shiv persona non grata at Waystar. More than just another shrewd deal, the GoJo deal and Logan’s desire to follow through on it spoke to his willingness to truly screw his children out of the glory, power, and validation they each so desperately wanted.
Succession being the kind of show that it is, it always felt as if there might have been some sort of secret plan baked into Logan’s interest in GoJo. But “Connor’s Wedding” makes it crystal clear that, plan or not, Logan’s death changes everything in ways that even he couldn’t fully account for or try to somehow play to his advantage from beyond the grave.
Though much of “Connor’s Wedding” focuses on the chaos that begins to bubble up as word of Logan’s death spreads, what really makes the episode shine is the way it illustrates how those closest to Logan were also those under the most emotional and psychological pressure to perform for him. Watching Succession, it’s always been rare to ever get the sense that any of the Roys are especially in touch with their emotions: Logan by choice, and his children as a matter of necessity to survive growing up with their father. But in this episode, we finally, genuinely, got the sense that, in different ways, each of the kids is unmoored by the suddenness of Logan’s passing — not necessarily just because they’re sad, but because the antagonistic presence they’ve all defined themselves in relation to is just gone.
The events of “Connor’s Wedding,” makes the Roy siblings’ tenuous alliance with one another that much more interesting because it’s now grieving as well as a desire to push back against his plans for Waystar that unites them. But something very similar is also true of Logan’s surviving advisors Karolina, Frank, Carl, and Tom, who all become different people after witnessing their former boss’ death.
In the same way that Logan’s death throws the siblings for a loop and some emotional spiraling, it galvanizes Logan’s advisors who all understand that Waystar’s story — and their own — will continue without him. “Connor’s Wedding” is careful not to dive all that way into it now, but in the episode, you can already see how Logan’s death has empowered or given some people a sense of freedom that could push Succession into interesting new territory.
The idea of the Roy siblings teaming up only for their father to school them once again wasn’t all that compelling a prospect on its face, and it didn’t exactly feel like the kind of thing that would make for a memorable final season. With Logan gone now, though, you can clearly see how the Roys and the Waystar board will have to contend with one another, and might finally deliver the thing Succession viewers have always craved: an ending.