This article contains detailed and immediate spoilers for the Succession, up to but not including the Season 4 finale (unless, of course, any of us guessed the answer dead on).
We’re days – no, hours – away from the end of Succession. One way or another, we’re about to hear the final word on Waystar and Roy family before the book is closed for good.
But, as ever with Succession, it all feels still to play for. Maybe the Roy children will be locked out of the family for good, and we’ll see board members Sandi and Stewy take over – just like they so almost did in another finale years ago. Maybe Lukas Mattson will emerge as CEO, the Fortinbras to Kendall’s Hamlet. Or maybe, at the end of the day, power will end up with one of the show’s most peripheral characters – after all, who has a better story than Cousin Greg?
Here are the NationalWorld team’s theories, predictions, and expectations for the Succession finale.
“Matsson's going to give the top job to Gerri”
I get the feeling Lukas Matsson is going to throw Shiv under the bus just when she thinks she's on the verge of being the 'US CEO' - their relationship doesn't strike me as set for a happy ending. My theory is that Matsson's going to give the top job to Gerri instead - the more experienced, safe pair of hands. This will make it all the more unbearable for Roman, who seems to be on a very sharp downward trajectory after the penultimate episode. As for Kendall, I just can't see him emerging on top - it doesn't fit his sad-face persona, and we saw him starting to fray at the seams again in his outburst at Rava before the funeral. I'm probably miles off though, and Cousin Greg will somehow end up in charge - we'll have to wait and see. – Nick Mitchell
“Succession often tends towards the Shakespearean”
One of the many, many delectable things about Jesse Armstrong and his incomparable team of (mostly British) writers is their ability to avoid telegraphing what will happen, as with standard TV story-telling, making the events of Succession genuinely shocking (cf: Logan’s abrupt death in episode 3 - sorry, Coxy, you’re wrong on that call). So it follows that it’s a fool’s errand to predict, but I have suspicions. Certainly, the sibs will have their ‘Caribbean air clear’ (finales always involve a foreign location). It will not clear air.
The general tenor of the show often tends towards the Shakespearean (King Lear, Julius Caesar, and Hamlet all loom large) but also, notably, The Godfather (the hand-shake between Logan and Tom at the end of season 3, as a door closed, was clearly a direct homage). And so I think Kendall will divest himself of any vestige of humanity, just like Michael Corleone before him, and become the next iteration of his father. As to the fate of the company, I don’t think that’s ever been the point of the show - it’s about repeating cycles of generational family trauma - but I suspect Mencken and Mattson will want a man at the helm because, hooray, patriarchy! – Katie Conaglen
“I can’t help but come back to Greg”
This series has felt like it has gone at breakneck speed - in all honesty, I have no idea how they’ll resolve the burning question in the final 90 minutes we’ll ever have in the run. Kendall has been building up a team in preparation for his expected takeover, Roman has been getting carried away with power in firing Gerri and literally handpicking the next president, and Shiv has been making moves with Mattson behind her brother’s back to shore up the top job for herself. There is plenty there to theorise on… but I can’t help but come back to Greg who has flown under the radar all series. It seems crazy but from the very first episode bumbling Cousin Greg was the audience’s eyes into the world of the elite and arguably we’ve not seen any better character development in the show (for better or worse). Greg’s glossed-over inclusion with a question mark beside his name on Logan’s will feels like a clue, maybe only a wink to the conclusion, not to mention his strengthening relationship with Mattson over the past few episodes who is looking likely to appoint a US CEO if the deal goes through. To come full circle from the “poor” cousin who couldn’t afford $20 for a cab to Logan’s home to running the entire game feels poetic and ludicrous, but maybe not completely impossible. – Heather Carrick
“The children become as ruthless as their father”
Having never watched this apparently glorious series, with only snippets of information, my theory is that the children (of Brian Cox?) become as ruthless as their father, and essentially assume the paterfamilias role. And maybe someone walks away completely from the family - Kieran Culkin perhaps? (These are the only actors I remember being in the series!) – Suswati Basu
“Something is going to come good for them”
I’ve a feeling that something is going to happen - it’s beginning to crumble a little bit - and the people are going to rise up. The likes of Karl, Frank, and Gerri, I think something is going to come good for them - the board is going to do something, and I think they’re going to win in the end. – Kelly Crichton, speaking on Screen Babble.
“Kendall wins, but he loses”
There’s lots of different theories that have caught my eye recently: maybe Greg starting the series as a Waystar Royco theme park mascot was foreshadowing his fate as Waystar Royco mascot CEO; maybe Mencken, acknowledging his help but not wanting to waste even an insignificant ambassadorial position on him, will suggest Connor Roy as CEO; maybe it’s relevant that Tom Wambsgans shares a name with a baseball player famous for taking out three players with a single throw.
None of them have quite stuck with me, though (Greg in charge, though possible once, feels like a joke the show would tell but not quite so neatly as this). I keep thinking about Jeremy Strong describing “Kendall wins, but he loses” as a rule for the show. Kendall wins (becomes CEO), but he loses (alienates everyone around him, is doomed to become his father, installed as a meaningless figurehead only)? Maybe. Probably, even. I do wonder, though, if maybe Succession might grant him an unexpected reprieve, where perhaps Kendall loses (doesn’t become CEO) but he wins (gets to hold onto some essential part of himself still).
Otherwise? Tom and Shiv will keep on drowning, hand in unlovable hand; Roman will have, to say the least, a tough time of it; Connor and Willa will be happier than the rest of them put together, in their own way at least; and Karl, Frank, and Gerri will get a few good lines in. – Alex Moreland
Succession’s final episode, ‘With Open Eyes’, airs on Sky Atlantic on Monday 29 May at 2am, with a subsequent repeat at 9pm. You can read more of our Succession coverage here, including our review of the most recent episode ‘Church and State’.
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