HOLLYWOOD—Man, talk about ending a guilty pleasure. The HBO series “Succession” came to an end on Sunday night and I don’t think I have ever been so depressed or defeated watching a TV series than I have with “Succession.” MAJOR SPOILER ALERT! If you have not watched the episode now, STOP READING RIGHT NOW, I MEAN IT STOP READING!
Well, if you wanted to know which offspring of Logan Roy ended up with the reigns of the company after his sudden death, it is not who you think. It was Tom Wambsgans who managed to outwit the Roy children (Kendall, Shiv and Roman) to get his hands on the empire, after a conversation with Lukas Matsson about why Shiv, couldn’t be the CEO of the US side of this merger/sale. It was ballsy, it was bold, but this is Tom we’re talking about people. The guy is the slimiest of them all and would do any and everything to get his hands on a morsel of power, remember he betrayed Shiv to get into good graces with Logan Roy. I watched the series finale twice because I wanted to write this review with a fresh mind; but I feel even more enraged after watching a second time around. As a fan of the series I wanted to see the Roy family win, and it looked like Kendall, Roman and Shiv got knocked down in the worse possible way. It was a game of power and politics as the siblings endured betrayal in their quest to run the empire, only to hand it off to an individual who is not part of the bloodline.
There was unification between Kendall, Shiv and Roman at times during the episode, especially as they bonded while visiting their mother. They recalled happier times as children, but that all seemed to dissipate into thin air after they returned back to the corporate arena. I always knew Lukas was mischievous, but he proved that more than ever in this finale. He played Shiv like a fiddle; and she didn’t see it coming from a mile away. Shiv really thought she was going to be the CEO if this deal with Gojo transpired. Nope, Lukas had plans and Shiv didn’t help by touting Tom of all people. She was literally shooting herself in the foot and she had no idea because Tom was worried sick about being canned and he made a move.
That dinner conversation with Tom was so awkward and cringe and it speaks volumes to Tom’s character; as Shiv stated he will do anything to stay in the loop and gain a bit of leverage, which is exactly what he got from Lukas. Lukas was so up front he had no problem telling Tom, he wanted to have sex with his wife. Look, they might be estranged, but that is still his wife, and Tom did nothing, but swallows his pride.
I swear if Shiv hadn’t left town to deal with Roman, there is no way Lukas would have appointed Tom CEO for the U.S. side of the deal. Shiv would have been able to pick up what Tom and Lukas was up to. Roman got some love from Shiv and Kendall as they battled out on neutral ground without all corporate America in their personal lives. It was sweet and nice to see the three siblings bond as this massive deal was about to come to fruition. Shiv has always had this animosity with Kendall and Roman because she felt she was pushed out after their father died, which wasn’t the case, but that feeling would be the nail in the coffin for all three.
After all the bickering and arguments, it felt that the three were united to vote together, killing that Gojo deal with Lukas and Waystar, ESPECIALLY after Greg spilled to Kendall that Shiv would not be appointed CEO. She didn’t believe it, but as time progressed she realized it was true. That slap fest between Greg and Tom was hilarious people, just hilarious.
Kendall saw what his father wanted; the business to remain within the family and after that kitchen blender fun, as a viewer it looked like the Roy family was united until they returned back to handle the business side of things. Connor felt like a complete after-thought this entire episode; he has a vote and should have sided with his siblings, but nope, his wife was behind the driver wheel, just as Shiv warned her all with Mencken may not have been good, especially as it pertained to Wisconsin.
Seeing Shiv, Kendall and Roman bond as they watched that video of Logan Roy was powerful. I wanted more of Brian Cox in this series finale. We got a snippet. It was almost as if I wanted a pre-recorded video that Logan left for all his children sharing what he expected and wanted for them as his successor. When Tom spilled to Shiv that Lukas was planning to make him CEO, she slipped and the rage on her face was searing. As a viewer, it felt definitive she would absolutely vote with her brothers. Nope. The big board meeting came and it was a tie, 6-6, with Shiv being the deciding vote. She cracked under pressure and it was the beginning of the end. Shiv couldn’t see herself voting for Kendall to be in control of the company because of his ‘killing’ someone back in season one.
That came out of left field, but it seemed Shiv had been battling internally for a while and it blew up at the worst time. Kendall begged; it was riveting to watch and Jeremy Strong, I think that Primetime Emmy for Lead Actor in a Drama Series has your name written on it. He was fantastic this entire episode, but that confrontation with Shiv and Roman asking them to allow him to run the company, as it was the only thing he had left to cling to was heartbreaking. Nothing was more heartbreaking than when Ken learned Shiv voted against him, putting Tom in charge.
His walk of shame to that elevator, some of the best acting I have EVER WITNESSED on the small screen people, just sensational. However, Tom walked into the building as the big dog with everyone kissing his ass. Truth be told I was already over it; I wanted to see the aftermath. Roman was sitting at the bar enjoying a martini giving prudence to the fact that he finally felt free. It was over for him and he was ok with it. Shiv looked trapped, that car ride with Tom was not joyful.
The touch of their hands felt as Shiv just realized she made a deal with the Devil. She may have won to a degree, but she torpedoed her relationship with her brothers in a way that feels unrepairable. Tom or Kendall? Tom has shown his duplicity, Kendall has as well, but the difference is Kendall is blood, Tom is not, even though you’re about to have a child with this man, he’s not your sibling. Tom has his OWN BEST INTEREST AT HEART, not Shiv.
However, the series ended with the character it should have ended with: Kendall Roy. This guy was a tortured soul and seeing him walk thru the park as he approached the Hudson River with such a somber, defeated look, scared me to the core. I seriously thought Kendall was about to jump into the waters. Nope, he stared at the sun, he looked out for a sign, but you can tell Kendall who felt he was slowly losing everything that mattered to him throughout the season, lost the one thing he wanted the most: his father’s empire to prove his worth. He doesn’t have it.
Fascinating TV to watch, but frustrating as hell at the same time; that is what the HBO series “Succession” delivered to viewers. The scary thing is the series seemed to shine a spotlight on America and how power and politics go hand and hand. The more power you have the more control you wield. That control can force you to do things you never expected especially when it comes to family, just as the Roy clan.