Monday, May 27, 2024

‘Succession’ season 4 episode 1 review: TV Roy-alty is back and it is bigger, bolder and better

Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook and Kieran Culkin in a scene from ‘Succession’.

Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook and Kieran Culkin in a scene from ‘Succession’.
| Photo Credit: HBO

Premium television came a full circle when cameras escorted us to Logan Roy’s (Brian Cox) birthday celebrations in the first episode of the final season of Succession.

The season begins a few days after the tumultuous yet picturesque trip to Italy where Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong), Roman Roy (Kieran Culkin) and Siobhan ‘Shiv’ Roy (Sarah Snook) discovered their father plotting in secret to sell Waystar Royco to Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård), the CEO of GoJo. Fraught, the trio team up together to blindside their father and foil his grand plans. 

Logan, who reserves ample scorn for birthday parties, is busy at his own monitoring the acquisition of Pierce Global Media headed by Nancy ‘Nan’ Pierce (Cherry Jones). It looks like the patriarch of the empire is playing his cards right while his children are scrambling away in a multi-million dollar penthouse building ‘The Hundred,’ a one-stop info shop that Kendall describes as “ Substack meets Masterclass meets The Economist meets The New Yorker,” as the trio make it clear that they will not go down without a fight.

Elsewhere, Tom Wambsgams (Matthew Macfadyen) is dating around and in his confused ecstasy lets the details of their father’s acquisition slip in a conversation with Shiv. Latching on to the prized intel, the siblings pivot to ruin their father’s plans. The players are in position, let the games begin!

Succession season 4 episode 1 (English)

Creator: Jesse Armstrong

Cast: Jeremy Strong, Kieran Culkin, Sarah Snook, Brian Cox, Matthew Macfadyen, Nicholas Braun, Peter Friedman, J. Smith-Cameron, Alan Ruck

Runtime: 65 minutes

Synopsis: The sale of media conglomerate Waystar Royco to tech visionary Lukas Matsson moves ever closer. The prospect of this sale provokes existential angst and familial division among the Roys as they anticipate what their lives will look like once the deal is completed.

The glumness of Logan’s birthday party is only worsened when Connor Roy (Alan Ruck) reveals that his rivals are attempting to squeeze into his share of voters — one percent to be precise — and that he is looking at spending an additional $100 million to retain them. Confounded, Greg (Nicholas Braun) inquires if there is a number smaller than one to which Connor remarks that there are decimals. The writers have come into the final season with all guns blazing and whip up sheer magic with alphabets — the right amount of emotional dialogue from the rich and the correct dose of irony for the audience.

Cousin Greg has his own shenanigans going on — he is accompanied by a date to Logan’s party and naturally gets Tom worked up and cannot hold himself back from commenting on the date’s handbag. He remarks, “Big enough for her lunch pail? Flats for the subway? You’re a laughing stock in polite society.” He also has a moment of fright when his fellow “disgusting brother” convinces him that he just made a sex tape for Logan. While Greg occupies Tom’s thoughts fleetingly, it is his separation from Shiv that births concern about his position in the company and plagues his mind.

The choice to open the season with Logan’s birthday is particularly affable to the fans of the show and helps us gauge the journey of each character with every Roy getting their share of the spotlight. The business-casual costume hues that bring a character of their own to every situation are sharper and sleeker this time around. The cameras while not sturdy (who doesn’t love the disturbances and zoom-ins?) continue to cement and convey the show’s tones with agility and the ability to treat the camera like a voyeur strikes gold. 

However, it is the scene with Shiv and Tom in their New York apartment that takes the cake. The couple meets each other in their apartment after a few weeks and the air in the room is tense, heavy, and awkward. After some pointless arguing they collapse onto the bed and hold hands. There is uncertainty in the air and no resolution in sight but they remain next to each other hand-in-hand. 


The hour-long episode has successfully entrenched itself in the hearts of the fans and prepared them for a season of war.

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