That was one hell of a rug pull. Once again, it looked like Logan Roy (Brian Cox) was about to finally get his just deserts—only to reveal that he was, as usual, staying one step ahead of everyone else. But this time, it wasn’t just Kendall (Jeremy Strong) getting thrown under the bus, or some competing corporate interest being outplayed. No, the sacrifices this time were all of his children. Shiv (Sarah Snook), Kendall, and Roman (Kieran Culkin) thought they were harpooning the great white whale; instead, the whale smashed their ship to pieces, leaving them helpless to resist. Apparently, when Logan’s getting ready to have more kids, suddenly the existing ones don’t seem quite so necessary.
Season three of Succession ended in a crescendo of duplicitous dealings and explosive family drama. (You can read Ashley Ray-Harris’ full review of the episode here.) But the implications of what took place are going to massively shake up the world of the Roys. Below, we break down some of the most dramatics changes coming to the moneyed elite of this messed-up family—and how it could play out in season four.
Look, the Roy kids may love each other in some vague, loose sense of the word, but historically, that’s never stopped them from metaphorically slitting each other’s throats if it means gaining even an iota of tactical advantage for their careers and pocketbooks. Hell, it was just earlier this very season, in episode three, that Shiv published a letter that eviscerated Kendall’s character down to the smallest detail. For all the ways they dealt with one another, it always seemed like it came from a position of competition—none of them ever wanted to back the others.
But now, they’re all on the same side: the losing one. After learning Logan is moving to sell Waystar Royco (thereby destroying any chance his kids would have of one day running the company—the golden goose each of them sought), the three youngest siblings team up to push their father out of the company and save their precious positions of power. (Well, Shiv and Roman want that. Kendall just wants to take out the guy he thinks ruined his life.) And for once, they all seem to see the value in one another. As Roman puts it, “Even though this literally makes me wanna vomit and I want to kill you both every day, and it’s all gonna end horribly, I do think that we—puke—could make a pretty good team.”
If only they were as business-savvy as they think they are. When they show up ready to throw cold water on their father’s plans, he upends theirs instead, stripping the three of their power to block the sale and leaving them adrift, with no authority. Their long-dreamt-of careers are tanked.
In season four, the Roy children will no longer be scheming against one another to earn daddy’s good graces and a shot at running Waystar Royco. They’re stuck with each other (for now, anyway), frozen out of what they saw as their birthrights. Kendall was already at loose ends—witness his breakdown earlier in this episode—but it seems like Shiv and Roman will now be his partners in defeat. They could join forces to try and carve out a new place at the media-elite table, or they could once more fragment and snipe at each other, to no effect. Unfortunately, the latter is a place in which they’ve grown very comfortable.
Which could make way for a new power player…
The person who arguably walked away with the biggest victory this episode (other than Logan, of course) is Shiv’s long-suffering husband, Tom (Matthew Macfadyen). He had already scored big points with Logan this season by offering to be the fall guy for the Waystar Royco cruise line scandal. And now, by betraying his wife and alerting Logan to the power play the patriarch’s kids were making, he has presumably secured a new position of power for himself in the coming post-Waystar world.
In season four, the shaky foundation of Shiv and Tom’s marriage is likely getting demolished. Shiv is good at many things, but keeping her thoughts to herself isn’t one of them. Yet as many have noted, the pair have an oddly codependent relationship. So it’s entirely possible they’ll stay together, but with a switch in the balance of power. Shiv was always on top, thanks to her family and the strength of wealth and nepotism. But now, Tom may be the one with the inside scoop, the access to power, the ear of the king. Shiv may find herself relying on her husband in the same way he once kowtowed to her—and Tom is nothing if not a fan of enjoying privilege.
Connor Roy (Alan Ruck) has historically tried to play Switzerland in his family’s Byzantine relationships, remaining neutral during intra-Roy squabbles. While he always made sure Logan saw him as the dependably servile one—the better to keep his coffers filled while doing no actual work—he also tried to maintain good relations with everyone, even when it seemed as though the fault lines between various relatives had grown too vast to be repaired.
But Connor wanted Waystar in the family, because he saw their media control as his route to political power. When he learns the company might merge with GoJo—let alone be sold—he has a conniption fit, seeing it as the end of his lofty aspirations. So the complete sale of the company is presumably an even more disastrous conclusion. This could well push Connor toward his equally bereft siblings, as they are united in common ouster. The sale may be just the push he needs to throw his lot in with Kendall, Shiv, and Roman.
Especially because he’s now engaged! Willa Ferreyra (Justine Lupe) accepted his proposal, and while the brief look of “What have I done?” on her face immediately following her “fuck it” acceptance implies she may already regret that choice, it does solidify Connor’s personal life in a profound way. It’s likely, given his need for an injection of cash from Logan last season, that Connor’s lavish lifestyle requires a continued revenue stream from a corporate titan like Waystar Royco. Without that, his options are limited, which could well help push him toward his siblings. Lord knows, he’s not about to scale back his luxe tastes.
All season, Greg (Nicholas Braun) the egg has been steadily shedding his doormat persona: Improving his grooming and mannerisms, gaining confidence in interpersonal situations, and even beginning a tentative courtship. As he gains confidence, however, he’s lost the inner moral compass that used to pop up now and again, as though the power of the latter simply shifted to the former. By accepting Tom’s offer to make a deal with the devil (“Boo, souls!” he crows), Greg has secured a position on the winning side—the cost to his “soul” as yet unknown.
Looking ahead, Greg will likely achieve exactly what Tom promised him—a spot in “the bottom of the top,” with “20 Gregs” beneath him as his own lackeys. That should leave him well-placed in whatever ecosystem sprouts up following GoJo’s acquisition of Waystar. However, it also leaves a big question mark as to his role vis-a-vis the rest of the Roy family. He will seemingly have little reason to continue interacting with the Roy children on any professional basis. That is, unless the biggest question mark of this season finale makes a play of his own.
Logan made an enormous production tonight out of the fact that he had to move to secure the best possible deal for himself—that nothing else mattered as much as achieving the closest possible version of victory, given the cards he’d been dealt. “You should’ve trusted me,” he mutters to Roman with an almost wounded sense of pride—topped by a bigger sense of scorn, of course. He’s leveraging his position to secure a deeply profitable payout from the company he built.
And yet. If there’s one thing we know Logan Roy won’t do, it’s go quietly into that good night. So what’s the play, here, exactly? His kids always insisted he was the mad Ahab of Waystar Royco, who would rather go down with the ship than ever see it passed on to someone he viewed as a usurper. And given his thinly veiled hatred of Lukas Matsson (or “Hans Christian Anderfuck,” as Logan refers to Matsson), there’s almost no chance he’s happy to hand over the keys to his media empire so cleanly.
So Logan Roy isn’t done playing God. He probably never will be. That means season four, to some degree, will be all about what Logan’s endgame really is—whether he’s planning to start something brand new, and compete with the company he just handed off, or if there’s some more Machiavellian scheme at work, where he’s baked some sort of poison pill into the deal with GoJo. Could Logan Roy end season four by returning the conquering hero at the company he founded? Given his track record, it certainly seems plausible.
That’s what’s most exciting about this season finale: It completely resets the game (and as more than one character on Succession has insisted, no matter the lives at stake, this is a game), leaving everyone wide open to make unpredictable moves, no longer dependent on the existing chain of command. No one has any need to bend to Logan any more—by selling, he’s taken away the one thing that kept every member of his family in check, even when they were actively fighting him for it. That’s a thrilling proposition: Could Logan ever be just another player, instead of king?
Oh, but here’s something we can likely say for certain:
If there’s one thing that’s dead in the water, it’s Gerri and Roman. Barring some profound mea culpa on both sides, it’s awfully tough to see how everyone’s favorite mildly kinky couple makes it through. But if we’d love to be wrong; guess we’ll have to wait until season four to know for sure. [Checks calendar.] Is it late 2022 yet?