Over the next number of weeks here on Balls.ie, football scribe John Brewin will review and rate the main characters in the latest episode of the final series of Succession. As ever, please note this article does contain spoilers.
If the Roy family ‘tailgate party” was a golf major, then it would be a “moving day”, where the contenders reveal themselves and the stragglers start to fall away. Or perhaps not, so labyrinthine is the Succession world that nobody can be guaranteed anything like success and least of all a happy ending.
What’s always on offer in the Waystar/Royco extended universe is pain. The energy that carries the family and its acolytes along is the fear of missing out, on the deal, the spoils and, before his death, the grace and favour of Logan.
Such is that anxiety that Logan’s business is carrying on as normal, even though the continuing elephant in the room is that the great man’s funeral is yet to take place.
Before that, there’s a United States election, and being the powerbrokers they are, the Roy clan must gather the great, the good, and the very bad. All while Lukas Mattson, the socially inadequate tech tycoon, crashes the party, even if he did RSVP to Logan. “They’re not all crypto-fascists and right-wing nutjobs, we also have some venture capital Dems and centrist ghouls,” says Kendal of his guests. That the hosts are Tom and Shiv suggest one alliance has been re-tethered. For a while.
Kendall Roy 8/10
“I’ll hit the libtards, you go get the Nazis.”
The megalomania is becoming strong with Kendall. He remains determined to tank the GoJo deal, and Matsson himself. Collateral damage may include his siblings. “I love ‘em, but not in love with them, you know?” he tells Frank. “One head, one crown.” And yet, as the start of the episode reminds, he is also a father, and his association with ATN/Fox News is a problem for his teenage daughter. With Kendall, there will always be something dragging him back towards disappointment.
The final reckoning: “Saving lives”, but not himself.
Connor Roy 8/10
“All the blood and treasure I’ve expended.”
Back amongst it, and his presidential campaign reaching crescendo, Connor is making repeated visits to his father’s cadaver. He’s also got his “digital battle bus” hitting the swing states. Suddenly, his tiny percentage of the election vote makes him a vital player. Problem being, Roman wants him to bin his candidacy to help an ATN-favoured Republican. All in exchange for being the ambassador to Somalia. “A little bit car-bomby” is the response from the prospective diplomat. When Oman is also a no-go, the latest family feud ignites.
CONNOR ROY SWEEP IMMINENT pic.twitter.com/zPO3Y7vGoT
— luke guysucker (@_HigherVoltage) May 8, 2023
The final reckoning: The ambassador’s misconception.
Roman Roy 6/10
“Tweet about it.”
Being cutthroat, snide and a sex case is proving to be a failed strategy for Roman. His attempts at rapprochement to Gerri end in disaster. In possession of his dick pics, she also has his balls in a vice. And that’s taken out on poor Connor. “Tell your ‘wife’ to shut the fuck up, cover her shoulders, and pack a fucking bag for Oman.” The price Roman pays for that bile is to assume the role of funeral organiser. Here perhaps is chance to disprove Logan’s accusation than none of his children were “serious people.”
The final reckoning: Expensive legal issues.
Shiv Roy 6/10
“I’m fucking my family for this.”
Playing everyone off each other comes crashing to a halt, with the hasty realisation that Matsson may well be a Swedish cod. “I’m hot shit and I’m ready to go,” she tells him, only for him to admit his business might be better “if there were two Indias”; the metrics are dodgy. It’s Tom who takes the brunt, as per. Their row on the balcony is paint-stripping. “I think you are maybe not a good person to have children with,” is his payoff, her pregnancy still the big secret.
The final reckoning: Dangerous liaisons
Tom Wambsgans 7/10
“That separates the connoisseurs from the weekend Malbec morons.”
Tom moves to adopt centre stage as co-host but struggles with that continuing need to keep everyone happy. “I’m about to take a shit in your husband’s mouth and I’m pretty sure he’s gonna tell me it tastes like coq au vin,” Matsson disses him, not inaccurately. The presence of Shiv’s ex, Nate, is another issue to make Tom’s wine taste even more like rainwater. When he and Shiv go off against each other in the closing quarrel, the realisation is they are way too similar to survive. “You are broken,” he says. His swiftly reordered place in the scheme of things is shown by the “fuck Tom” reaction of each Roy siblings. But it will take more than that to end Tom Wambsgans.
The final reckoning: Scorpion king
Cousin Greg 10/10
“It looks like I care but I don’t.”
Greg’s informing employees of ATN layoffs - via Zoom - is one of the best, most true-to-life moments in the entire programme. Tom’s mugging off-camera makes it even better. “This is a very sad day,” Greg trills, and as he boasts to an approving Matsson, he’s found his niche as axeman.
Oh no, Cousin Greg! pic.twitter.com/tDvqQm4Pmd
— Dustin Waters (@Dustin_Twaters) May 8, 2023
The final reckoning: Lord High Executioner.
The Suits 7/10
“Eye-watering sums of money, hundreds of millions of dollars.”
No Karl, no Hugo, no Karolina this week. But Frank, the great survivor, is on the scene, called into Kendall’s confidence. Meanwhile, Gerri may be about to become one of those long-time employees whose revelations can depth-charge a company’s prestige.
The final reckoning: Kept sweet at high cost.