‘Succession’ Soars With Deathfest One-Liners As Human Rats Scurry Post (Spoiler Alert) Mortem For The Money In Latest Episode

Videos by OutKick

I kept waiting for the drum beat – Ba-Dum-Bum, CHING.

HBO’s “Succession” didn’t need a laugh track in episode four of the fourth and final, 10-show season Sunday night. But it would have fit.

Business and media conglomerate magnate Logan Roy died in the previous episode at age 84, and his three sons and daughter are trying to figure out what to do the next morning. But Roy’s business associates and want-to-be heirs are already on it and scurrying about Roy’s mansion like rats.

Shiv Roy (center) hugs her brothers Kendall (in front of her) and Roman following the death of their father Logan Roy in the third episode of the fourth and final season of “Succession” last week. (HBO Photo).

And, oh, the oldest and largest failson, Connor, just spit-shaked with the most recent Roy divorcee, Marcia. She’s already in funeral attire – though separated from Roy for two months – to buy the home for $63 million unbeknownst to anyone.

Plot Twist: Shiv Is Pregnant?

There is also the circle of life as we learn Logan’s attorney daughter Siobhan (Shiv) is apparently pregnant as is actress Sarah Snook, who plays her. The rest of Shiv’s life, though, is breaking as she is divorcing her failson-wanna-be husband Tom, who may or may not be the father, her dad just died, and her brothers just pushed her out of the succession process.

When Marcia, who called her a “spoiled slut” early in the series, realizes Shiv will not be taking over daddy’s company (for now), she chuckles like Chucky from “Child’s Play.” Others smile and giggle at her apparent demise until she cries, “Stop laughing at me.” Then she falls, but she rises quick as usual.

Another board meeting awaits at mid-morning and sons Kendall and Roman win a vote to take over dad’s giant Waystar Royco company as dual chief operating officers. Along the way, there is more heavyweight jockeying for position by non-family and family under the proverbial rim than when Charles Barkley and Karl Malone pushed people around in the NBA paint.

Once again, this makes for riveting television. But not sad and poignant as your usual pre-funeral funks. This is one of the most delectably devilish and wickedly dark hilarious episodes in four years of the groundbreaking series that drew huge numbers last week.

But it is also sad as Logan Roy’s death is seen as more of an opportunity for those not in but close to the family. His children are concerned with the money aftermath as well obviously, but they also grieve as most children would. And you may actually begin to feel empathy for these spoiled and privileged adult children – still called “kids” by the business associates of pop who can smell the money and are close to it. But they don’t have near as much.

Even cousin Greg makes a play in an explosion of comic relief. This guy could have been patterned after ne’er-do-well Dylan on “Modern Family.” In fact, in the series premier in 2018, Greg wears a large animal costume at one of the company’s theme parks as Dylan did at Disneyland.

Logan Roy Is Gone, But Present

Greg learns that he is mentioned in a one-page list of after-death instructions by Logan that Logan longtime-confidant and Waystar-Royco vice-chairman Frank Vernon suddenly has located from Logan’s safe, or so he says. General counsel and former interim CEO of Waystar-Royco Gerri Kellman says Logan’s mention of Greg on the paper is “just a doodle.”

But Greg, who is a grandson of Logan’s hated liberal brother, wants to run with it like it’s the Olympic torch.

“Greg, you’re an addendum of miscellaneous matters in pencil with a question mark,” Frank tells Greg.

“Nevertheless,” Greg answers defiantly, but doesn’t continue as it looks again like his brain just stopped working.

The page, more importantly, possibly indicates that Logan wanted son Kendall to take over, though that may be crossed out.

Later Greg says as only he can, “And so then, maybe the natural conclusion might perhaps be, I’d be his number two.”

Succession Writing Is As Good As TV And Film Get

After a slight pause, Frank and others crack up. Frank, who under Logan was always on the verge of getting fired and was once, never laughed like this.

“Nice try, kid,” Frank smiles appreciatively.

“He probably wrote it down so he could remember your name,” son Roman tells Greg after laughing.

But one of the best scenes is when Waystar-Royco chief financial officer Karl Muller dresses down Shiv’s soon-to-be former husband Tom Wambsgans. He has long bullied Greg, but he may soon be farther out of the family loop than even Greg.

“If we were to recommend you to the board, the negative case would go, ‘You’re a clumsy interloper and no one trusts you,” Muller tells a shocked Wamsgans as he eats a fish taco. “The only guy pulling for you is dead. And now, you’re just married to the ex-boss’ daughter. And she doesn’t even like you. You are square and fairly f-d.”

That after Gerri had chimed in with, “Oh, you’re sick with grief? You might ought to put down that fish taco. You’re getting your melancholy everywhere.”

Writing for TV or movies just doesn’t get much better than this.

Succession Rats On Top Of Their Game

Gerri, played by J. Smith-Cameron, is on her game big time and revitalized since she just got fired by Roman via Logan right before he died. But she’s apparently not budging now, thanks to his death.

“Logan was souring on you,” Muller tells Gerri without knowledge that Roman fired her.

“Well, Logan’s not around anymore,” she answers. So, party!

“For some of us, it’s a bad day,” Shiv says to her grieving brothers early on. “But for others, it’s Coronation Demolition Derby.”

There is no real action in this episode, but there is a lot of action as the one-lines bounce around from room-to-room in this version of Disney’s Haunted Mansion.

“He was going to fire half that room,” Roman says as he and his siblings look at Gerri, Frank and Karl. “Do people know that?”

“Death becomes her,” Shiv exquisitely says of the evil Marcia, who must have had that funeral gown ready to wear for weeks. “Marcia hasn’t seen dad in seven weeks. It says on his calendar.”

HBO Keeps Delivering With Succession

Someone asks about Kerry Castellabate, who was Logan’s latest fling and much younger than Marcia. She had wedding hopes and of anchoring at the Logan-run American Television Network (ATN), both of which have suddenly died.

“She’s in Marcia’s trunk,” Roman says. “Inside an anaconda, inside a sarcophagus.”

That’s a stone-carved coffin from a Greek word that means flesh eating. The little details in this show remain brilliant.

Like the one that opens this episode that you don’t realize matters big.

As Kendall Roy walks into the mansion he overhears Hugo Baker, senior communications vice-president for parks and cruises of Waystar Royco, on the phone.

From left, Matthew Macfadyen (Tom Wambsgans), J. Smith-Cameron (Gerri Kellman) Kieran Culkin (Roman Roy), Jeremy Strong (Kendall Roy), Jesse Armstrong (show creator), Sarah Snook (Shiv Roy), Brian Cox (Logan Roy) and Nicholas Braun (Greg Hirsch) attend the “Succession” Emmy screening and panel last June in New York City. (Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

Baker’s daughter sold “a bunch of Waystar stock” just before Logan died, and there may be an investigation. Baker tells this to Roy privately, seeking help against insider trading.

“A total coincidence,” Hugo says.

“What are the phone records going to say?” Kendall asks.

“I can’t recollect,” Hugo says as if he is already on trial.

“Ohhh, Hugo,” Kendall sighs, faking concern while fighting back a smile and patting him gently on the shoulder as if to say, “See ya, dude.”

Later, though Kendall uses this morsel of information to his benefit as Hugo is planning the statement to the media about the power changeover from Logan to Kendall and Roman.

Kendall tells Hugo on “the down low” to push to the press quietly that Logan was losing it, and Kendall was running things in recent days and weeks. Advantage, Kendall, so far.

The Succession Procession Game Is Will Free

Reading overly kind and somewhat fictional obits, Shiv says, “Dad sounds amazing. I’d like to have met dad.”

If this installment has a message, it is this. Rich or poor, but particularly rich or middle class, if you are a parent in your 50s or 60s, and especially in your 80s, type up a clear, detailed will for all involved. And get it to multiple younger lawyers.

Or there is no telling who will win the succession game.

“I’ve heard about such events around the deaths of public figures,” “Succession” creator and mastermind Jesse Armstrong says after the show of the gathering rats.

Next Week: The Funeral

This episode serves as a peephole into the private rooms of families and those close to them dealing with such complicated matters. Folks come out of nowhere to join the succession procession.

As Roman says, “Roses and corpses.”

See you next week at the funeral. It promises to be a coffin, or a sarcophagus, of laughs.

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

Guilbeau joined OutKick as an SEC columnist in September of 2021 after covering LSU and the Saints for 17 years at USA TODAY Louisiana. He has been a national columnist/feature writer since the summer of 2022, covering college football, basketball and baseball with some NFL, NBA, MLB, TV and Movies and general assignment, including hot dog taste tests.

A New Orleans native and Mizzou graduate, he has consistently won Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) awards since covering Alabama and Auburn at the Mobile Press-Register (1993-98) and LSU and the Saints at the Baton Rouge Advocate (1998-2004). In 2021, Guilbeau won an FWAA 1st for a game feature, placed in APSE Beat Writing, Breaking News and Explanatory, and won Beat Writer of the Year from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA). He won an FWAA columnist 1st in 2017 and was FWAA's top overall winner in 2016 with 1st in game story, 2nd in columns, and features honorable mention.

Guilbeau completed a book in 2022 about LSU's five-time national champion coach - "Everything Matters In Baseball: The Skip Bertman Story" - that is available at www.acadianhouse.com, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble outlets. He lives in Baton Rouge with his wife, the former Michelle Millhollon of Thibodaux who previously covered politics for the Baton Rouge Advocate and is a communications director.

Leave a Reply