The disastrous and gripping season three finale saw their patriarch and CEO Logan (Brian Cox) betray them before they could betray him. With help from their mother Caroline (Harriet Walter), he essentially banished his kids from global media empire WayStar Royco – extinguishing their hopes of inheriting the throne.
Now, the brilliant trio join together in caszh summer outfits at a lavish home in sunny California, launching a new company that is ‘Substack meets Masterclass meets The Economist meets The New Yorker’. (Kendall pitching this rather incongruous quartet is even funnier when considering Strong’s controversial profile in the latter publication.) But these plans become muddied when an opportunity rises for vengeance against their father, with the personal and the professional tangling together once again.
Sarah Snook, Kieran Culkin and Jeremy Strong as Shiv, Roman and Kendall Roy. Photo: Sky/HBO
Is Logan worried? Well, he’s angry and grumpy and swears with theatrical thunder, but that’s hardly new. Much like the pilot episode, this opening hour takes place on his birthday. ‘Why is everybody so f***ing happy?’ he asks his personal assistant Kerry (Zoe Winters), with whom he’s suspected of having a sexual relationship.
More than his general fury, the heavily crowned king of corporate capitalism seems lonely. In the absence of his three offspring, an existential vacuum simmers under layers of wrinkled repression – one that his remaining child Connor (Alan Ruck), who continues vying for the presidency, has no chance of assuaging. This only increases with a competitive venture that involves his liberal elite rivals: the Pierces.
It's best not to say too much about Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) and Shiv’s relationship after the former’s much-discussed tip-off to Logan. But the dominant wife and submissive husband are on the rocks, with Tom opting to stay in New York. Towards the end of the episode, they share a strangely poignant scene – suggesting that some semblance of happiness once existed between them.
Nicholas Braun and Matthew Macfadyen as Greg and Tom. Photo: Sky/HBO
And what about Tom’s compadre and regular punching bag, cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun)? The latter's clueless and charming innocence – initially a good, comic entryway into this powerfully dysfunctional family – is stripped away by a new streak of womanising. He and Tom have even given themselves a nickname for their escapades, which this critic won't spoil by revealing here.
Despite Greg’s resilient foolishness and embryonic toxicity, this critic reckons there’s something burrowing inside him. Something good, perhaps? Or, at least, a motivation that goes against the inner-circle Roy tsunami, as suggested by his brief alliance with Logan’s anti-capitalist brother Ewan (James Cromwell)? Will we see Greg’s shining moment as the Fool Triumphant, or will he tumble into the dregs of a financially obligated extended family?
This episode is an excellent, invigorating beginning of the end. It’s still a source of conscientious confusion as to why we cheer for members of this horrendously overprivileged family, considering how they treat other people and how they often view vast sums of money with vague shrugs. Is the fuel of rebellion a firestarter in any scenario, regardless of wealth and personality?
The satisfaction of seeing Logan Roy defeated would be one of the greatest dopamine hits in TV history, and the lesser evils of the new-gen Roys are the best antiheroes for that battle. But strangely, it's also nice to see the kids getting along. The death knell for Succession is ringing, but the series is more alive than ever.
Succession season 4 airs weekly from Monday 27 March on Sky Atlantic and NOW.
|What||Succession season 4, episode 1, Sky Atlantic review|
27 Mar 23 – 27 Mar 24, ON SKY ATLANTIC
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