The Real Succession Endgame

Mar 27, 2023
Dimitris Passas

NOTE: This article is a republication- Source: The Atlantic (by Sophie Gilbert).

This story contains spoilers through the first episode of Succession Season 4.

Who is Logan Roy, really? What can we say definitively about him now, at the beginning of the fourth and final season of Succession, that we couldn’t have easily observed at the show’s start? He’s irascible. He hates his children. He “loves” his children. (“Love’s not love,” as a character observes in King Lear, “when it is mingled with regards that stand / Aloof from th’ entire point.”) After all this time, Logan still feels less like a person, with the complicated, humanizing qualities that even terrible people tend to have, than a manifestation of the id—the singular desire he has to win at the expense of others, including his own family. In their recent book, Unscripted, an extraordinary account of the final years of the media mogul Sumner Redstone, James B. Stewart and Rachel Abrams write that as Redstone’s speech began to fail, he programmed a laptop to say phrases on his behalf, including “Would you like some fruit salad?” and “Fuck you.” But with Logan, there is no fruit salad.

Since Succession’s debut in 2018, people have puzzled over whether the series is a comedy or a drama. The impulse to define its genre isn’t just about semantics, or wanting to arbitrarily fit it into one box or another. It’s also about what we can ultimately expect from a show that breaks so many of TV’s tried-and-true rules. Heading into the new season, I’m truly flummoxed trying to anticipate where things might be headed. Structurally and stylistically, Succession is a comedy: Things rarely happen; there are few real stakes and fewer real consequences; virtually every character speaks in the same cheerfully obscene, improbably clever voice. (Ask yourself whether Kendall, an adorable dodo princeling, would really use internecine in a sentence, or whether you’ve ever actually heard a person say that word out loud.)

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