28 March 2023

The Roy kids could lose it all in Succession Season 4

With 13 Emmys under its belt already, including Outstanding Drama Series in both 2020 and 2022, HBO’s hit series Succession is back on Showmax for its fourth and final season, with new episodes releasing every Monday.

One of IMDb’s highest-rated series of all-time, with an 8.8/10 score from more than 150 000 fans, Succession is the story of four very rich siblings behaving very badly while trying to win their father’s approval – and control of his company, a global media and entertainment empire.

Season 4 has a 100% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes – its highest yet – with the critics’ consensus calling the show “as compulsively watchable as ever… typically brilliant.”

Matthew Macfadyen and Jeremy Strong return to their Emmy-winning roles as Tom Wambsgans and Kendall Roy respectively this season, alongside Brian Cox as patriarch Logan Roy, Sarah Snook and Kieran Culkin as Roy siblings Shiv and Roman, Nicholas Braun as cousin Greg, and J Smith-Cameron as Gerri Kellman – all Emmy-nominated performances. As The Hollywood Reporter says, “You know who’s great this season? All the people who are always great.”

The new season opens with the sale of Waystar Royco to tech visionary Lukas Matsson (Emmy winner Alexander Skarsgård from Big Little Lies) looming ever closer. It’s a prospect that provokes existential angst and familial division among the would-be heirs as they anticipate their diminished influence once the deal is completed.

“[Logan’s] been looking for the successor,” says Cox. “He’s really wanted his own family [to take over]. I mean, that’s his Achilles heel. He loves his children. If he didn’t love his children, he’d be a much freer man… But none of the children have been able to step up to the plate. They’ve all proved massively disappointing… With these kids, their sense of entitlement is so beyond the pale.”

To be fair, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. “Of course,” admits Cox, “[Logan’s] got this temperament. And he’s got this sense of absolutism. And also… he’s disillusioned. He’s not happy. He’s a misanthrope. He really doesn’t like where human beings are going and he feels that they are not worth respecting.”

Succession Season 4 is only on Showmax in Africa
Jeremy Strong as Kendall, Sarah Snook as Shiv and Kieran Culkin as Roman in Succession Season 4

So earning Logan’s stamp of approval isn’t going to be easy for anyone, but Matsson, at least, is on the right track. “I think Matsson reminds Logan of who Logan was, as a young man,” says Cox. “And he feels that the business would be safe in his hands.”

Of course, after the dramatic Season 3 finale, the wild card in the succession race is Tom. “Logan’s witnessed Tom’s abuse, from Shiv. And he’s witnessed the result of that abuse… But also there were elements, a few moments, when Tom stepped up to the plate to take care of Logan. Nobody’s ever taken care of Logan. But he did. Tom showed that care and attention… In a sense, Logan’s seen Tom as a possible future.”

If previous seasons are anything to go by, there are twists coming. As Times (UK) puts it, “Be assured, rugs are pulled, sharply, and you won’t be disappointed.”

But as Vulture points out, “As ever on Succession, the question is less about who will end up on top and more about whether any of them will make peace with what they’ve had to do in order to get there.”

“The minutiae barely matters,” agrees Observer. “We’re here for the backstabbing, the internal conflict, and the long strings of obscenity that remind us that if Shakespeare were writing today, he’d probably be writing Succession.”

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