We’re Here to Explain the ‘Succession’ Series Finale in Exhaustive Detail

brian cox, succession, season 4
The ‘Succession’ Series Finale Ending, ExplainedHBO / Macall Polay

[There are spoilers for the Succession series finale ahead. Exit this post if you want to avoid spoilers.]

How DOES one explain the finale of Succession? The show is so layered and so nuanced that to even try to explain it is a huge task. But if you want to boil it down to the broadest strokes, here's the gist: the Roy children stay losing. Like, literally all of them. In an effort to keep the company their dad created, they lost it all and destroyed whatever was left of their relationships with each other in the process. Let's break it down by character to see where everyone ended up.


Kendall finally got the one thing he always wanted, which was the validation from his siblings that he could take over the top job. In a sweet scene with Shiv and Roman, they make him a "meal fit for a king," and that childhood-esque moment was the last time we saw the three of them happy together. When they go back to New York and attend the vote for the board, Roman votes in favor of Kendall taking over as CEO, but Shiv does not (more on that later). After they essentially brawl in the conference room during the vote, the three siblings go their separate ways. The finale ends with Kendall looking out at the water in maybe the saddest shot of the entire series.


After the events of the funeral episode, Roman flees to his mother's house in an unknown tropical locale. I can't imagine why he'd want to go there considering his mother is a terrible person, but whatever. His siblings fly down to see where he's at in the upcoming board vote and try to persuade him to their respective sides. Roman is essentially over the whole thing, but he eventually agrees to prop up Kendall as the CEO in their side of the deal. When they get to New York, he does vote for Kendall. But when the three of them get into the conference room and really start duking it out, Roman seemingly sides with Shiv even though he's already voted. The vote goes against Kendall, and Roman has to go into the room with Lukas Matsson to sign the official deal and do the photo-op. Roman's last scene is him sitting in a bar by himself ordering a martini, which is (notably) Gerri's favorite drink.


Shivy Shiv Shiv. Oof. As always, Shiv tried to play both sides of the game, and her brothers figured it out. But her alliance with Matsson turns cold eventually because, among other things, he's afraid she's going to have too many ideas. So he cuts her out of the deal. She realigns with her brothers and she and Roman begrudgingly agree that Kendall is the best option for CEO. But when they get back to New York and face the vote in the board room, Shiv gets cold feet and can't bring herself to vote for her brother. It's possible it's just a play so she can realign herself with Tom. It's also possible she just does truly believe her brother would be bad at the job (she's right). In her last scene, she's waiting for Tom in their car, and they drive away together but they both look absolutely miserable.


Tom wins the show, kind of. He finds a way to get in with Matsson so that when the GoJo deal finally goes through, he's appointed CEO. He betrays Shiv to do it, but then he lets her in somewhat by telling her that it's going to be him. He's the closest the show gives to a "winner," but honestly, as Shiv herself said, the crown is cursed.

Connor and Willa

I'll leave you with this:

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