This post contains spoilers from Sunday’s series finale of Succession.
The Roy family have officially f----- off for good.
Following on the heels of the penultimate episode, which saw the Roy siblings attend the emotionally-charged funeral of Logan Roy (Brian Cox), Succession’s 90-minute send-off on May 28, entitled “With Open Eyes,” saw the Roy family’s final plays for control of Waystar Royco.
When the episode opens, Kendall (Jeremy Strong) is trying to rack up shareholder votes to block the merger with Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård) and his company GoJo. Siobhan "Shiv" Roy (Sarah Snook), who allied herself with Matsson earlier this season, is also going over board member votes with the tech billionaire and a short list of Waystar Royco executives who should stay once the deal goes through.
When Shiv’s mother, Lady Caroline Collingwood (Harriet Walter) calls to let her know Roman Roy (Kieran Culkin) is staying with her, Shiv decides to visit Roman and secure his vote for the deal. She chats with estranged husband Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen) on the phone during her flight, asking him if he’d be open to getting back together.
“I know that we’ve said the worst things, but I think I’ve always been scared in relationships of you know, like the underneaths,” she admits. “You know what’s the worst thing a person thinks? … Once you’ve said the worst things, you’re kind of free. Are you in for a real relationship?”
Tom says he “honest to god” doesn’t know, and given their toxic marriage, viewers probably don't know either. (This was, after all, the same man who earnestly gave Shiv a dead scorpion as a gift.)
Having heard that Roman is staying with their mom, Kendall also flies out to visit his brother to convince Roman to give him his board vote. Before dinner, Shiv, Kendall, and Roman have a drink on the terrace, while Shiv offers her brothers jobs.
During dinner between Matsson and Tom, the tech executive reveals that he’s sexually attracted to Shiv, and he’s unsure if she has a future with the company after the merger goes through. He floats an idea by Tom. Instead of Shiv as his American CEO, the role should go to Tom instead.
Ever the eloquent misogynist, Matsson outlines his rationale. "If I can f------ have anyone in the world, why don’t I get the guy who put the baby inside her instead of the baby lady?,” he says, adding, “I’m not looking for a partner. I’m looking for a front man.” Tom, who betrayed Shiv once before at the end of season 3, says he’s up to the task.
At a bar with Matsson, Greg Hirsch (Nicholas Braun) uses his phone to translate Matsson’s Swedish banter with colleagues and learns that Matsson has no intention of giving the American CEO job to Shiv. He tells Kendall what he’s learned. Kendall breaks the news to a dumbfounded Shiv, who confirms the news on her end.
Shiv regroups with Kendall and Roman, and they call their advisor Tellis (Kevin Changaris), who suggests they present a “coherent” leadership plan focused on either one CEO “combined with a chair or a chair with business chops.” The trio debate who that CEO should be, each sibling contending that Logan told them at one point they would succeed him.
Kendall argues that Roman actually doesn’t want the job and would look like a fool if he was the nominee, while Shiv wouldn’t be a viable option, because she was allied with Matsson as recently as the day before. After some bantering on the beach, Roman and Shiv agree Kendall should be CEO and share a tender sibling moment while making a late night snack, a Frankensteinian “meal fit for a king” made from kitchen scraps.
Connor Roy (Alan Ruck) and Willa (Justine Lupe) invite Kendall, Shiv, and Roman over to Logan’s home, which Connor has purchased, to divvy up their father’s items. During an awkward conversation, Tom discloses to Shiv that Matsson has selected him as his American CEO. Tom confronts Greg afterward and the two get into a brawl in the bathroom before Tom storms out.
Finally, the day of the board vote has come. Kendall argues that the GoJo offer is a “bad deal” and suggests the board vote to kill “this GoJo bullsh-t.” As board members cast their votes, Shiv unexpectedly exits the room and Kendall goes after her. “I might have changed my mind,” Shiv reveals.
Kendall tries to remind Shiv why he’s a good CEO. But Shiv shoots back: “I don’t think that you would be good at this."
“I feel like if I don’t get to do this, I might — I might — die,” stammers Kendall, before eventually shouting, “I’m the eldest boy! I’m the eldest boy!”
After Shiv storms out, Kendall returns to the board meeting and learns that the majority went ahead and voted for the GoJo deal, with Shiv’s vote being the tiebreaker.
A stunned-looking Kendall leaves the building, and Tom, Matsson’s anointed US CEO, enters, already debating who should stay — Greg and possibly Gerri Kellman (J. Smith-Cameron) — and who should go, namely Frank (Peter Friedman) and Karl (David Rasche).
Roman heads to a bar for a drink, a slight smile spreading across his face, while Tom and Shiv leave in a car together, quietly holding hands and looking frankly, miserable. It’s clear they’re reconciling, but given their history, what will the future hold for them and their baby?
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Cut to Kendall, who wanders to the edge of a park, quietly sits on a bench and peers vacantly out at the horizon. Having lost so much to the family empire — his marriage, the support of Roman and Shiv — Kendall is now rudderless, his future uncertain. Is there life for him outside the cold, harsh corridors of Waystar Royco? Fade to black.
Succession is streaming on Max.
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