By Ben Thomson, Staff Writer
Season Three Episode Nine of Succession begins with Logan Roy (Brian Cox) receiving an important phone call as his children play Monopoly. This scene is a perfect metaphor for the series and a clear indicator of what’s to come in Succession’s fourth season, which premieres this Sunday on HBO.
Audiences first met the Roy family in 2018, the same year as Walt Disney’s landmark, controversial acquisition of 21st Century Fox. It’s a zeitgeist show in its truest form, as the writers constantly tap into modern anxieties about wealth, power, greed and betrayal told through the story of a media magnate and his fraught relationship with his children, who all jostle to be heir to the company throne.
The jolty, documentary style cameras will sometimes cut and zoom to service workers preparing massive dining tables in lavish Mediterranean resorts and cruises, producing an effective, sickening display of wealth and exclusivity.
Fittingly, the final showdown of last season occurs at Villa La Cassinella (which boasts a $100,000 per week stay) between patriarch Logan Roy and his three children Kendall, Siobhan and Roman (Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook and Kieran Culkin). Logan has just merged his company, Waystar Royco, with tech giant GoJo, giving their CEO (Alexander Skarsgård) full control of the board. This effectively shuts his four children (more on the fourth later) out of any possible chance of assuming CEO at their father’s company.
Throughout the show, the kids do their best to try and be like their dad — killers. The finale ends with Logan revealing what the audience knew from the very beginning: the kids can’t be killers. This is why he is unable to ever trust them. They can’t be like Logan. Therefore, Logan always wins. To quote the man himself, “It just works.”
If the Roy children want their happy ending, they need to break this vicious cycle. The world will be worse off if another Logan takes control. Their lives will be worse off if they try to become another Logan. We see that through Kendall, whose mental health, reputation and relationship with his ex-wife and kids have all fizzled out. In fact, many fans believe Kendall’s story will end with an exit stage left via a twelve-story building. The Roy children are products of their father, constantly fighting against their father to ultimately become their father. No matter what happens next season, Logan will win. That’s just how it works.
There is one Roy child, however, that has a shot at success — Logan’s eldest child from a previous marriage, Connor (Alan Ruck). Connor, my personal favorite character, is mostly left to his own devices. He’s a bit dim but doesn’t get the respect he deserves. He’s a modern Fredo Corleone, but beginning in Season Two, Connor takes an interest in politics, specifically the American presidency — a lofty goal that draws laughs and mockery from his siblings and harsh criticism from his father. This all comes full circle when the other three siblings mislabel Kendall as the oldest son during Kendall’s intervention. “I must be taken into account,” Connor said, before storming off in anger.
Of course, Connor Roy would be a terrible choice for president. He has zero political or business experience, his views border on a diet Alex Jones and he has a complete lack of any self-awareness. In other words, I think he’s going to be president — because Succession, at its core, is a comedy, and President Roy (interested in politics from a young age) is the funniest possible outcome.
I doubt any of this will happen. Jesse Armstrong and company are brilliant writers, and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us.
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