Succession’s massive surprise just reminded us why it’s the best show on TV

Brian Cox as Logan Roy in Succession season 4
(Image credit: HBO)

Last night, Succession completely blind-sided its audience — which often acts like it's one of the smartest audiences on the internet — in the best way. Yes, this story will contain spoilers about Succession season 4 episode 3, "Connor's Wedding."

Without spoiling its events right now, I can say that this episode felt like a fantastic achievement in storytelling. In hushed tones in DMs, I was pondering if we (and the Roy siblings) were being lied to, throughout the episode.

But, we were not. So, let's dive into all of this after a second spoiler warning — because when we discuss the latest events of one of the best shows on HBO Max — we need to do so with everyone having seen it.

An image indicating spoilers are ahead.

Succession is finally living up to its title

(L to R) Jeremy Strong as Kendall Roy, Sarah Snook as Shiv Roy on a boat, dressed in black in Succession season 4 episode 3

(Image credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO)

Yes, Logan Roy (Brian Cox) is finally unable to order the "boars on the floor!" — as that's where he finally met his ending. Before he passed, though, Logan asked something gravely evil of Roman (Kieran Culkin), his youngest son: to fire Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron), who Roman was involved with. 

Oh, and because this is Logan Roy, the least-caring man of all time, he was also going to miss the wedding of his son Connor (Alan Ruck). That's because business comes first, and he was on his way to Sweden, to work on the Waystar Royco to GoJo deal with Mattson (Alexander Skarsgård). Logan's last words, "Clean out the stalls, strategic refocus. A bit more fucking aggressive," are so perfectly mundane that nobody could have seen what's coming next.

(L to R) J. Smith-Cameron as Gerri, Kieran Culkin as Roman Roy, dressed in formal attire in Succession season 4 episode 3

(Image credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO)

We knew to expect chaos at the wedding, but not like this. This was the third of 10 episodes of Succession season 4. And Logan's order for Roman to fire Gerri seemed to light a fuse that could potentially blow up Roman's alliance with his siblings — they're supposed to be united against their father — seemed like the perfect way to apply napalm to the nuptials of Connor (Alan Ruck) and Willa (Justine Lupe).

But Succession creator Jesse Armstrong had other plans, as Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) is on the plane with Logan, and now has to call the Roys. First to his soon-to-be-ex-wife Shiv (Sarah Snook), who doesn't pick up. Then to Roman, who is the first to learn that Logan's in bad shape on the plane. And throughout this process, as Logan's children, including Kendall (Jeremy Strong), are put on speaker-phone and talking at (not with) their father, I and some friends started to wonder if this was all a con.

Succession robbed us of actually seeing Logan's death

Nicholas Braun as Greg, on the phone, in Succession season 4 episode 3

(Image credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO)

And so for Logan to fall whilst nobody was around to see it, Succession gave the uber-rich tycoon a moment that many families spread out across long distances know too well. A call without certainty, shot without any visual evidence of Logan's body, leaving us all wondering if this was real. 

Culkin, Snook and Strong all put their best performances of the season (if not seriesinto the minutes that followed, as they exhibited a world-rocking shock. Logan Roy wasn't a great man, and they all despised their father, but he was their father — and so his death broke their hearts. 

Logan Roy (Brian Cox) in the Succession season 4 teaser trailer

(Image credit: HBO via YouTube)

This is where Succession humanized these deplorable folks as much as ever, as we watched them process their conflicting feelings in real time. From the moment that Tom called them to nearly the end of the episode, we never parted ways with them.

Doubt was wiped away in the moment where Tom called Greg (Nicholas Braun) with instructions to delete a digital papertrail that could get him in trouble. Tom has no reason to lie to Greg about Logan's health — this isn't one of the many situations when the kid is being messed with. And soon thereafter, Logan's passing was confirmed.

Outlook: And now, the endgame

(L to R) Jeremy Strong as Kendall Roy, Sarah Snook as Shiv Roy and Kieran Culkinin as Roman Roy in Succession season 4

(Image credit: Claudette Barius/HBO)

There are so many other little touches that made Succession season 4 episode 3 one of the most memorable TV hours in recent history (right up there with The Bear episode 7 and The Last of Us episode 3, which benefitted from Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett's performances). 

The best, arguably, was how it took forever for Kendall, Roman and Shiv to tell Connor, who was too busy freaking out about how the wedding cake reminded him of the moment when his mother was committed (by Logan) to an institution. Connor, forever the afterthought, was the last one to hear the biggest news of his own wedding day.

Brian Cox as Logan Roy in Succession season 4, sitting at a board room table

(Image credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO)

And, now, we look into the next seven episodes. With Logan having passed — before the Waystar Royco to GoJo deal could be finished — there's a number of ways this season can go. 

Will the sibs try and derail the path their father started on, as they'd planned to at the end of season 3? Or will they learn from Gerri about how Roman was taking orders from Logan — thus allowing dear old dad to create one final fissure in their triumvirate? Either way, we can't wait to see.

As much as I loved The Last of Us and other recent great TV shows like The Bear, Succession is operating on a whole different level.

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Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.