Succession is, in my humble opinion, not just the best TV show on HBO Max right now, but also one of the best TV shows ever created.
It’s a pitch-perfect blend of laser-sharp satire and impactful character drama, and it deserves every single one of the many, many awards it has scooped up over the last five years.
When it was confirmed that Succession season 4 would be the show’s last, I was momentarily disappointed. After all series creator Jesse Armstrong had previously hinted that the show would run for five seasons, but the more I reflected on the impending end of Succession the more I felt confident calling it quits now is the correct decision.
Now that the fourth, and final, season has begun, and we’ve got our first taste of this brave new world in which the Roy siblings are united against dear old dad, I’m even more staunchly in favor of Succession taking its final bow in just a few weeks time.
This show is an utter masterpiece, but I’m really happy that it’s coming to an end.
Roy vs Roys is finally here
The first episode of Succession season 4, entitled The Munsters, gave us something viewers have waited literally years for, the three Roy siblings, Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Shiv (Sarah Snook) and Roman (Kieran Culkin), teaming up to take on their domineering father, Logan Roy (Brian Cox).
For fans like myself, it was a momentous moment, and I was practically wooping at the screen when they pulled off the deal to purchase Pierce Global Media from right under Logan’s nose. After all the pain and torment that Logan has caused his children across the show’s run, it was nice to see them win one.
Now I have my suspicions that the deal they closed is going to end up being a costly one, and that perhaps the siblings should have stuck with their smaller startup idea, The Hundred, but the point is that this sequence of events is something that Succession has been building towards since the first season.
The show has always hinted that if the three Roy kids got together they could be a force that maybe even Logan can’t outplay — and now we’re going to see if that theory holds water.
The first episode also ended with one of the show’s most tender and heartbreaking scenes as Tom Wambsgan (Matthew Macfadyen) and Shiv avoided picking through the ruins of their marriage and instead just laid on the bed in silence, holding hands. The slow disintegration of the relationship between Tom and Shiv has been a major story arc in the last two seasons, and this scene felt almost like a bookend to a partnership that appears to be irreparably broken.
We’re at the point now where all the major pieces on the board feel like they’re moving into place for the final powerplays to be initiated. And that’s really exciting to see, but it’s also a sign that there’s not all that much road left for Succession to cover.
I’m sure that the show’s very talented writing staff could throw a few spanners into the machinery and contrive a few new wrinkles to keep events plodding along, but that would serve only to harm its long-term legacy.
A well-earned victory lap
There’s a lot of value in quitting while you’re ahead, especially in the world of television where it’s not uncommon for popular shows to be dragged out until viewers are practically begging for a cancelation. I’d truly hate for Succession to reach the point of oversaturation. But by the time season 4 concludes we’ll have got nearly 40 episodes, I reckon that's more than enough to feel satisfied.
As mentioned, I have total faith in the show’s creative team and Armstrong, so if they believe this should be the Roy's last dance, then I certainly won’t argue. I’m viewing Succession season 4 as a victory lap.
The show has already earned its place among the television greats, and now it’s time to enjoy our remaining time spent with these wonderful, often very horrible, characters.
I’m sure I’ll feel a twinge of sadness when the credits roll on the finale, and the fact that there will be no new season of Succession to look forward to next year will be somewhat disappointing, but this is a show that deserves to go out on its own terms, and I can’t wait to see how it all ends.