‘Succession’ Season 4 Review: The final season is here to crush you
The final season of Jesse Armstrong’s HBO drama looks to be on point as the Roy family’s multi-billion dollar shenanigans show no signs of slowing down.
Years ago, a smarter colleague than me found the ideal summary of “Succession”: It’s “the only good show on TV.” Taken lightly, such a statement is of course not entirely correct. There Are other good shows, some of which air on the same channel as HBO’s Greek Tragedy. But when “Succession” hits its climax, it does feel how everything else exists? As the commanding chords to Nicholas Britell’s beloved score ring out across the opening credits, don’t you succumb completely to a world dominated by Waystar Royco? In the midst of a tense negotiation over professional loot, personal reprisals, or a twisted version of both, aren’t you as viscerally, cheerfully, and harrowingly invested as the sickeningly wealthy main characters? During the introduction of a season, is there another TV series that keeps you hooked like Succession does?
Surely some of you will come back with a “Yes!” “Moron!” or “Enough with the rich white shows!” But for the millions caught up in the family’s wealthiest, muddiest financial drama, “Succession” has long felt like the end of television. The obnoxious zingers screamed every Sunday night become viral memes Monday morning. The abject devastation suffered on-screen is fueling heated conversations about who is to blame, who deserves it and why. Few programs can swing from the pinnacle of comedy to the abyss of heaviness like “Succession,” let alone overwhelm audiences with the simultaneous precision and depth imparted to each element.
To say that “Succession” is the only good show on TV is an exaggeration. But is it? In Season 4, Brian Cox’s formidable media titan, Logan Roy, reminds the troops at his flagship news network, ATN, of their assigned identities by shouting, “We’re pirates!” It’s an odd feeling. A bunch of reporters and editorial staff shouldn’t really have anything to do with throat-slitting marauders, but they do rally around their pirate king, just as the show emulates his take-no-prisoners mentality. “Succession” hasn’t spent the last three seasons trying to find its own path amidst the “too much TV” mess, but rather crushing everything that gets in its way and not on board anyone foolish enough get. As the final season begins, Logan’s battle cry is just that: a call to arms for a series that’s still on the attack.
“Succession” will not rest on its laurels. No, the final season is here to crush you.
Fortunately, Season 4 also looks to the future. Amidst the ferocious intensity unleashed in many memorable scenes, creator Jesse Armstrong carefully advances the plot. Last season, the Roy siblings teamed up to take down their devious father, only to be defeated once again by his ruthless schemes. Skip to the season 4 premiere and Logan is just days away from completing the sale of Waystar Royco to tech visionary Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård). Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) stays by his father-in-law’s side after betraying his wife in the dwindling seconds of season three, and Greg (Nicholas Braun) is a few steps down the same ladder.
Shiv (Sarah Snook) is restless. Not only is her marriage on the brink, but doing business with her two brothers is a prospect that should make anyone of even moderate intelligence suspicious (and Shiv is way, way smarter than that). Still, the Roy trio tries to make the best of it. The sale they didn’t make will still make them billions, and the distance they’ve created from their not-so-loving dad has only boosted their spirits. Roman (Kieran Culkin) is actually working (not just jerking off in his office), and Kendall (Jeremy Strong) isn’t so sad anymore.
Of course, even the most timid peace cannot last. Armstrong is stacking world-changing pressure on the Roys’ blood feuds and urging the family back together: Coupled with the sale, there’s a presidential election that will affect the business (and the influence of the Roy family), and beyond those two historic moments, there’s, let’s just say “more”. Going any further would be venturing into spoiler territory, and by now viewers shouldn’t need any additional teasing to brace themselves for an ending that’s going to be equally exhilarating and devastating.
Courtesy of Macall B. Polay/HBO
“Succession” is unleashed satire. His goals are so pathetic that no insult is too offensive, yet such humanity is instilled in each one that every little thing still hurts. Such fair critiques of the super-rich and unabashedly privileged contrast beautifully with the empathy evoked by understanding how they got to be what they are and why they do what they do. Similarly, the high level of emotional intelligence displayed in each episode’s construction perfectly matches the simple colloquialism shared by all characters. (Even though the naming is strung together like poetry, the cast makes each swear word feel spontaneous and dirty.)
Long the staples of the series, one has to wonder if they could stand it if Armstrong had decided to continue “Succession” for another two or three seasons. It’s not a question of whether the formula could work, but whether its effectiveness could be sustained, along with the show’s ability to focus on bolder decisions. Doesn’t matter. The final season is about to start, which means the series will end soon. Soon it might feel like the only good show is over, over, finally – that’s at least the goal of Jesse Armstrong and his talented creative team: to be remembered among the best, to find a strong ending, to find a fitting farewell how it stirs Based on the first four episodes – as well as the three previous seasons – there’s no reason to think such a finale is out of reach. And after those initial final hours, it’s also clear that “Succession” isn’t slowing down. So you can let it consume you, or as a wise man once said, fuck off. It’s still the world of the Roys, for at least another year.
Season 4 of “Succession” premieres Sunday, March 26 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.
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https://www.indiewire.com/2023/03/succession-season-4-review-1234821008/ ‘Succession’ Season 4 Review: The final season is here to crush you