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.
The depth of the power and influence Logan left behind is placed in widescreen by an episode where the Succession saga turns toward its ultimate conclusion.
A general election - “America Decides” indeed - and while everyone else Stateside is left exposed to the importance of actual ‘real-life’, geopolitical events, for the main players of Succession, it all comes down to the egos, the feuds, the utter self-interest and the tantrums round the Roy family dinner table.
In a pressure situation, the alliance that has kept the three claimants to Logan’s crown comes apart, as low cunning, ambition, lying and home truths tear Kendall, Roman and Shiv’s pretensions of being out for anyone but themselves down. Even Kendall, the most human, admits to Shiv he just wants it all.
The situation this time bears no small comparison to the Murdoch clan/Fox News becoming embroiled with Trump. “The first Super Bowl without the king”, as Kendall aptly calls election night, ends with Logan’s former empire closer than ever to power but closer than ever to disaster. Within that, the question of who runs America is satirised viciously. This final season continues to be an absolute cracker.
Kendall Roy 7/10
“A goose trying to shit a house brick
Logan pegged Kendall when telling him he was not enough of a killer, give or take leaving a drowning Scottish waiter under a bridge. Roman and Shiv flout their political connections while Kendall, with a mixed-race daughter, begins to fret about ATN’s connections to Jeryd Mencken, the right-wing “eggplant” candidate. Dreams of a being woke-bro billionaire are flamed out by events and ATN’s need to seize the narrative. And then there’s the realisation that both brother and sister will throw him under the battle bus at any time. A conscience is a terrible thing to have in his position.
The final reckoning: Cutting family ties.
Connor Roy 9/10
“Alas Kentucky. Alas vanity.”
High hopes of springing an electoral surprise fall down predictably but Connor manages to snaffle a prize from his great vanity project, an ambassadorial role for throwing in the towel. Slovenia beckons, but first, the speech that ends his political career for now; he does promise the return of the “Conheads”. As a sign-off, “the politics of envy are ugly, I happen to be a billionaire, sorry” is Connor summed up as the unapologetically spoiled brat he truly is. And yet the Roy with the most charm of all, while Willa has become the unlikely doting wife behind the throne.
The final reckoning: Ljubljana calling.
Roman Roy 9/10
“False flag, nice try.”
In agreeing to make sure whatever happens to Mencken is “characterised as a huge victory”, Roman reasserts his political colours. They offer his easiest path to influence and speak to his own, rather dodgy leanings. And after the meek failures of recent weeks, where the youngest son has been peering into his cellphone like a teenage TikTok-er, he’s now swimming with sharks, has a hotline to the Oval Office and willing to knife people in the front. As far as he is concerned, “the country is just a big pussy waiting to get fucked” and so is anyone getting in Roman’s way. Setting Mein Kampf fan Ravenhead up with some talking points to ATN broadcast on the Wisconsin steal is very much a Logan move. Hardline political agitation is Roman’s way forward to making sure he gets steak every night instead of chicken.
The final reckoning: Using ATN as ATM.
Shiv Roy 6/10
“Do you find me attractive, Gregory?”
Continuing to play everyone off each other, and another set of failed double-crosses from someone not as good at the Machiavellian stuff as she thinks. Even her pregnancy power play with Tom falls flat, as does her attempt to make Greg her gimp rather than Tom’s when blackmailing him over his partying with Matsson. So many bridges have been burned that not even old flame Nate is guaranteed. Shiv’s left screaming at “Pontius Pilate” Tom though he’s no longer listening.
The final reckoning: Double-crossing single mother.
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Tom Wambsgans 9/10
“It’s a long way back from pond life.”
Time for Tom’s day job. He’s so tense he’s considering diapers, but nobody is getting in his way. Not even a penitent Shiv, especially not after a bump of Greg’s chisel. Not even when she admits she is pregnant. That’s dismissed by Tom asking if it is “even true”. Shocking. More manic than ever, angrier perhaps than ever before, he still gets the job done for his in-laws/superiors, via touch-screens panics and all. But at what personal cost? Telling Shiv she “sort of” helped to kill Logan be the last of the burned bridges.
The final reckoning: Called as star witness.
Cousin Greg 8/10
“I danced with an old man.”
Described generously by Mattson as “a normalist” before being “busted down to Gregging” by Tom, Greg’s catalytic role continues as a confidant/whipping boy for Matsson, Shiv and Tom plus wasabi saboteur of Decision Desk Darwin, the stats guru who holds the keys to ATN’s electoral college calls. There’s even time for some successful flirtation with an ATN staffer.
The final reckoning: Gregging the president’s men.
The Suits 6/10
“Flop your dick out, do a nut. Do something.”
With ATN’s team taking the strain of the Waystar/Royco empire, the greybeards sit back and relax with a blended whiskey.
The final reckoning: Waiting to strike.