‘Succession’ Season 4 Premiere Review: An Ominous Start To The End

It’s the calm before the storm.

The following is a review of Season 4, Episode 1 of ‘Succession.’

Succession’s newest, shockingly final season poses the very daring question: who are the Roy children without their father? They are just as emotionally stunted as their father and itching for revenge after last season’s betrayal. All joking aside, it’s reassuring to see Succession stick to its origins: the codependent and borderline abusive relationship between a patriarch and his three youngest children.

Like the vicious cycle of any abusive dynamic, the Roy children suffer an identity crisis outside their father’s inner circle of torture. Logan Roy (Brian Cox) casts a vast and dark shadow. That doesn’t stop the three youngest Roy children from walking towards it continuously. More deliciously complex is Logan’s own state of feeling unmoored from everyone in his inner circle after isolating his children. For the better half of the opening, he looks lost, an unsettling state for a man whose first words uttered as a baby were likely an expletive. 

The last time we saw Shiv (Sarah Snook), Roman (Kieran Culkin), and Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong), they were left standing amid a pile of betrayals. Shiv from her husband Tom (Matthew Macfadyen), Kendall from his father, and Roman from the disillusionment of a loveless father. After revealing to sell to tech entrepreneur Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård), Logan reveals that he’s never believed his children capable enough to run Waystar––not that it was ever a surprise to anyone but to Shiv, Roman, and Kendall.


This season’s opener is a substantial departure from the chaos of Season 3’s opener, making it all the more unnerving. It feels like a snake slowly wrapping itself around your neck and slowly squeezing the life out of you. At the beginning of the episode, Logan Roy looks unsatisfied with everything that transpired with his three youngest kids at the end of Season 3. It’s not enough for him to have outsmarted his kids. That’s not his preferred pick of poison.

No, it’s all about the game of control. He looks aimless around the room during his birthday party before the bid. Annoyed by the frivolous posturing of the people there to celebrate his life, Logan leaves mid-party. It isn’t until he gets wind that his kids are fighting back, do we see life return to him. The need for combat is the only thing keeping him alive at this point. 

It’s the calm before the storm. For its final season, Succession is gearing up to emotionally debilitate all its players. No one is leaving unscathed from this. The final scene of the episode is perhaps one of its most heartbreaking. It’s a rare occurrence when the series takes a pause from the merciless digs and insults and lets the emotional toll show on the battered faces of its characters. I predict this will be the first of many. Beneath the veneer of sarcasm, Succession does leverage the fundamental humanity of these characters, no matter how much we wish they didn’t. 

After finding out Tom was in on Logan’s plan last season, Shiv and Tom are in limbo, both personally and in the grand scheme of the politics of the family and company. If Tom divorces Shiv, he sees himself pushed out of Logan’s inner circle. He’s no longer serviceable. If Shiv stays with Tom, it will feel like a betrayal to her brothers and make her look weak. The Roy family mantra is to front and show no weakness.


Moments like the heartbreakingly soft conversation between Shiv and Tom about the future of their marriage is where Succession shines the brightest. In these murky interactions between characters, the question always looms over them: do they mean it? How much of this interaction is just another performance to manipulate one another? It never gets answered. It’s for you to decide. 

Season 4 of Succession is choosing not to play its cards too early in the game. It’s smart. The slow-paced premiere works in favor of the knowledge it will be its final season. It’s an ominous slow burn that is bound to rise in tension over the next couple of episodes. There’s no clear trajectory for how these characters will land, but we all know there’s no happy ending for the Roy family. 

The new season of Succession premieres Sunday, March 26 at 9 PM ET on Crave.