“Succession” mid-season recap and review: a free-for-all to the finish
"Succession" mid-season recap and review
Five episodes in, and we’re a long way from Succession’s season four premiere when siblings Kendall, Siobhan, and Roman Roy were crafting “The Hundred,” a start-up digital hub described by Kendall as “Substack-meets-Masterclass-meets-The Economist-meets-The New Yorker.” Typical of Kendall (Jeremy Strong), he was in over his head.
After a falling out with their father, Logan (Brian Cox), the trio teamed up in Los Angeles for a new beginning while Logan steered New York City-based Waystar Royco toward a monumental deal with the growing tech company, GoJo. The three siblings, to the surprise of nobody, struggled to muster the business savvy of their father after being ousted by Waystar. At the time, their primary concern was snatching Pierce Global Media from their dad (for the hefty price tag of $10 billion), but it pales in comparison to the developments that leave us where we are now – the halfway point of Succession’s epic, final season.
Logan’s health is never the main priority of his children – who can hardly dwell on personal issues before getting sucked back into business matters – until it has to be. In the season’s third episode, Logan collapses on a plane to Sweden to meet with GoJo’s Lukas Mattson (Alexander Skarsgård). As crew members administer CPR, which is evidently hopeless to a point, Tom calls the children, who are at Connor’s wedding and places the phone up to Logan’s lifeless ear. It’s a stroke of genius. The event of his death, though foreshadowed, is still a shock, and the manner in which he goes is terribly distressing. Scenes flash between the children speaking sincerely to their father for the first time in who-knows-how-long, to the eerie silence in the plane, disrupted only by the rhythmic thump of Logan’s body attempting to be revived.
Sarah Snook delivers an Emmy-worthy performance during the episode, making it clear in Shiv’s final moments with Logan that she was perhaps the closest with him of all the siblings, once past the layers of emotional suppression. “It’s okay, Daddy. It’s okay, I love you,” she manages, on the verge of breaking down in tears.
With Logan’s passing, all bets are off. A document is discovered from several years ago that names Kendall as the heir to the Waystar Royco throne, but it’s not without controversy. It appears to be underlined, or is it crossed out? Roman (Kieran Culkin) convinces Kendall to tag-team the top spot, making them “CE-Bros,” to the chagrin of Shiv.
In episode five, the team takes Norway to meet with Matsson in an attempt to finally seal the merger deal. Matsson condescendingly quips at Kendall and Roman, who are venturing into their first attempts at negotiation as CEOs.
Culkin has his shining moment later in the episode. After Matsson gets in another round of roasts toward the brothers during a negotiation at the top of a mountain, he channels Roman’s seldom-expressed confrontational side. Roman indicates that he and Kendall will tank the deal, and goes as far as insinuating that Matsson killed Logan. A bit presumptuous, yes, but Roman’s bottom line is clear: he’s not to be messed with anymore.
Matsson seems to be the show’s new antagonist. While he’s less grouchy than Logan, he’s much slimier, as we see in the most recent episode. When Shiv begins cozying up to Matsson (as for her intentions, we can only guess), he admits that he’s been sending blocks of his own blood to his ex-girlfriend and colleague Ebba. “It’s a bit of a complex situation,” Matsson says. Yes Lukas, it sure is.
Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun) is pivoting from the “Disgusting Brothers” phase with Tom to the “Quad Squad” with Kendall, Roman, and Shiv. Of course, the siblings want nothing to do with him. Greg’s trajectory from one of the most beloved characters to the most annoying is one of the more upsetting storylines of this season, but his nagging, hanger-on personality was destined to catch up with him at some point anyways.
If it isn’t already apparent, Shiv and Tom’s marriage has gone by the wayside, but has a spark resurfaced? At the end of episode five, she asks Tom if he’d like to get dinner when they return to New York, but her tone indicates she may be messing with him. Also, it’s hinted earlier in the season that Shiv is pregnant, but the details have hardly been breached. If there’s anything that can be concluded about Shiv, it’s that she’s established herself as an enigma. She’ll perhaps be the most intriguing character to follow over these last several episodes, as it’s impossible to tell what her angle is at this point.
To honor Logan, we leave you with a quote that captures both his cutthroat attitude and the confidence he has in his children: “You’re such f—ing dopes. You’re not serious figures. I love you, but you are not serious people.”