Real TV is Back, Baby! | Succession S4E1

Reading Time: 4 minutes

People all around the world tune into HBO on Sunday nights to watch extraordinary television. This past Sunday, teenage girls, finance bros, and middle-aged dads gathered at 9pm to view the season premiere we’ve been waiting for since 2021: the fourth and final season of Succession.


This synopsis and review contain spoilers.


In Succession-time, it has been about three months since Logan Roy essentially cut his children out of Waystar Royco, just three months since Tom betrayed his wife and her brothers. The premiere begins at Logan’s birthday party, which reminds viewers of a previous Logan birthday celebration in season 1 episode 1. Only this time, his three youngest children (Kendall, Shiv, and Roman) are not in attendance. They are actually hunkered down in LA, working on The Hundred, an idea for a media hub venture which Kendall describes as if, “Substack meets Master Class meets the Economist meets The New Yorker.” They all love the idea of The Hundred, but Shiv will always keep her options open. 


Speaking of Shiv, she and Tom are on the rocks and seemingly separated, living apart and keeping an eye out for possible other opportunities. In a phone call, Tom lets Shiv know that he had a drink with Naomi Pierce (cousin of Nan Pierce, head of PGN, a competing legacy media conglomerate…Naomi is also Kendall’s ex-girlfriend), and in case the interaction gets out to the press, Tom wanted to be the one to tell her. Or, in my opinion, Tom wanted to get into her head. This conversation tips off the siblings that Logan may be interested in trying to buy Pierce (again) on top of merging Waystar with GoJo (a young streaming platform).


To catch up with Logan’s eldest son, Connor, his presidential campaign isn’t going too well. He’s polling with 1% and is afraid it might get squeezed before the election. If it goes below, he’ll become the laughingstock of Republican politics. Connor begs Willa (his call girl-turned-finance) for an extravagant hoopla wedding, as that would insert him into the news cycle, aka, free publicity. She is reluctant, as every young girl’s dream is to have a sleek, elegant, perfect wedding day. 


Back at Logan’s celebration, the internet’s favorite cousin is back and up to no good. Greg has brought a date to the party, and better yet, she’s wearing a tacky Burberry handbag! Tom makes sure to let him know that she is unsophisticated and ignorant, which proves to be true when she asks Logan for a selfie moments later. Greg has taken it upon himself to name the two “The Disgusting Brothers,” a couple of bachelors looking for their next targets. Tom is unamused as it appears he hasn’t embraced the single life quite yet. This is a big shift from Greg’s character in previous seasons, seeming to finally have found some confidence in himself and his place within the family. However, Tom continues to jerk Greg around like his puppet, telling him that Logan has cameras all around the house and can witness the dirty acts Greg and his date have committed in a guest bedroom. Greg later humiliates himself in front of his great uncle Logan by revealing what he’s done, an act that probably would’ve gone unnoticed if Tom hadn’t planted the seed to spill.


Seeing the siblings actually hug, laugh, and work together feels like a dream, but Roman’s biting insults bring us back to Earth. In fact, he seems to be the only one with his head in the (business) game. Kendall and Shiv want to oppose their father and offer a rival bid to buy Pierce. Quite a pivot from The Hundred, which they were so dead set on in the beginning of the episode. Roman is worried about the price, knowing that acquiring Pierce would require some big bucks. Even though Waystar is closing in on the deal, Nan is willing to chat with Shiv and talk numbers. It makes sense to start an empire with an established brand, but can the new gen Roys handle it?


The big three fly privately to Pierce’s palace and Logan finds out that the kids are, in fact, the rival bidders. Nan tells the siblings that the competing offer is PGN’s preferred bid but is open to hearing their number. Logan is anchored at $6 billion, and the kids counteroffer at $8. Before we hear Logan’s counter, the trio decide on $10 billion to end the conversation and show the Pierce’s how serious they are about the acquisition. Even as it’s hard for me to imagine a sum of $10 billion dollars, I don’t know how the siblings will muster up that much money and not break the bank. Nan accepts the offer, Logan informs them they’re morons, and Roman, Shiv, and Kendall have a great laugh before heading back to New York City. 


As we near the end of the episode, we arrive at a scene that steals the show. Shiv enters her luxury apartment to retrieve some wardrobe and awakens Tom in bedroom. They meet and speak to each other as if this is the first time they have seen the other since the betrayal (at least alone and in a state of vulnerability). Tom wants to talk, but all Shiv says is that she hears the gossip of the “Disgusting Brothers” and their rumored antics. Tom disregards this, wanting to have a big discussion about all the pain in their marriage. Shiv would rather not bring up the past and simply make the divorce official. The suppressed emotion is palpable through the screen. As the pair sit on opposite sides of their bed, Tom offers to show his affection and Shiv declines. Neither leave the bed, rather just lie on their backs in silence. Tom reaches for Shiv’s hand and holds it gently. “We gave it a go.”


What a way to start the final season of a critically acclaimed and award stacked show. I’ve missed this group of characters on my screen, a world I would have never imagined I could come to love so much. The actors give their finest performances, and the writers continue to stun with an array of hilarious, sarcastic, emotional, penetrating dialogue. The score is enough of a reason to watch this show alone. While I am upset to watch it conclude, I am incredibly excited for this season of Succession and believe it will continue to root itself as one of the best shows ever created.