In a way, “Succession” will never end. The Roy family’s wealth is too immense to be squelched in a single episode — even a finale that’s as long as a film. That kind of money isn’t even money anymore; it’s capital, power, and, as Kendall put it in his eulogy to Logan, “the lifeblood […] of this wonderful civilization we have built from the mud.” Whomever succeeds the Waystar Royco business titan will grab the reigns of an ecosystem that may not be too big to fail, but certainly protects its own. Barring an asteroid smashing into the planet or a significant time-jump into the post-apocalypse, “Succession’s” ending isn’t likely to halt the Roys’ destructive rampage across this planet. There will be survivors. There will be enterprise. There will be wealth.
But we won’t get to see any of it because “Succession” is still ending. Sunday, May 28, 2023 will go down in history as the day the world finds out who follows in Logan Roy’s footsteps. Will Kendall, Shiv, Roman, or even Connor continue the family’s legacy? What about Lukas Matsson, the GoJo madman with plans to strip his prized acquisition for parts? Or might a dark horse find their way to the pole position?
Who “wins” “Succession” is always a question of who has the most to lose. Jesse Armstrong’s HBO black comedy is a tragedy, at heart, and while its final chapter will be filled with trademark takedowns and delicious zingers, it will also undoubtedly be painful. That, in part, is why I’m betting on Kendall. Over the past four seasons, we’ve seen the on-again, off-again chosen one take his shot at the corner office… and fail every time. But with each botched coup, he grows a bit stronger. In part, that’s because Kendall can sometimes learn from his mistakes, but Armstrong has also made clear that Kendall is simply much better off without his toxic father.
We see it in Season 2, when he becomes Logan’s whipping boy just to get back in his good graces (after spending time on his own trying to recover from the manslaughter at Shiv’s wedding). It’s even clearer in Season 3, when going to war with Logan nearly kills Kendall. But Season 4 captures the strongest contrast between who Kendall can be on his own vs. who he becomes when he needs that kiss from daddy. He’s walking on air in the premiere, planning a new media venture with the sibs, and he’s still coasting up until Logan’s death. It’s only then, when rocked by loss and the great unknown, does Kendall descend back into the darkness; does he start exploring avenues toward becoming the lone CEO. Now, it’s his obsession, and I think he’s going to get it — mainly, because it will absolutely ruin his life.
But that’s just me! Below, the IndieWire staff has shared their predictions for the final episode. Everyone cast a vote as to who will “win,” but even better: They’ve extended the guessing game to other enticing areas like Tom and Shiv’s marriage, Roman and Gerri’s “relationship,” and, of course, the fate of Cousin Greg. So dive in, dear readers, and share your own predictions before it’s too late. The beginning of the end is Sunday at 9 p.m. ET. Buckle up, fuckleheads. This is gonna get wild.
Prediction: Lukas Matsson FTW
The winner is Skarsgaard, with Greg as his lackey, and all the other Roys are shut out. Shiv and Tom stay together, united in their desire to get it right/screw up another kid. Roman commits suicide. Kendall is humiliated/shamed/sidelined. – Dana Harris-Bridson, Editor-in-Chief & Senior Vice President
Prediction: A Roy-less final hour
There’s a part of me that really wanted “Church and State” to be the series finale. (Bidding farewell to the Big Guy and being left to see what his family wrought in the New York streets seemed like a perfect ending for a show that’s somehow about avoiding consequences and not being able to avoid consequences at the same time.) So I know we got enough dialogue snippets and reaction shots from this last episode to make a minute-long promo, but what if those little slivers are most of what we see of the headline characters? What if the last episode leans into the idea of a post-Roy world by cutting all of Logan’s family/associates/inner circle out almost entirely? Whether by Mattson or Mencken or any of the other greedy men with way too much power, control of this world-changing company shifts to a bunch of incoming strangers and we see this whole depraved cycle start all over again with an hour’s worth of a new batch of folks just as craven as the last. Cogs in the unstoppable machine. – Steve Greene, Critic & Associate Editor, TV
Prediction: Greg Ascends
I could argue forever about who is going to end up with Pyrrhic victory of CEO (Kendall) but here’s what I feel for sure: By episode’s end, Greg will have more power than Tom, and Shiv will decide to become a single mom and delude herself she’ll be different than her parents. It’s going to work great! – Erin Strecker, Executive Editor, TV
Prediction: The Children Are Our Future, and the Future Is Now
Who doesn’t love a time-jump? In true “King Lear” style, we don’t stop with Kendall winning in the boardroom, we see the beginnings of his kids Sophie and Iverson, and the unborn Logan Wambsgans, all freezing an aging Jeremy Strong out of his Empire. All of this has happened before, and all of it will happen again! – Sarah Shachat, Associate Craft Editor
Prediction: Shiv FT…W?
Here’s my not too wild theory: Everyone goes, everyone is out, everyone is just 86-ed to play with their billions but never, ever have a damn thing to do with any of the attendant Roy family properties ever, we’re talking ever, again. No news! No politics! No movies! No nada! Except for… Cousin Greg. The guy endures, mostly because no one really knows who he is or what he does (does he do anything?) and how he’s related to this clan at all. He’s doomed to spend the rest of his life filching bodega sushi and being someone’s lapdog. He’s happiest that way, really!
OK, actual theory: Shiv “wins,” but all she gets is a “U.S. CEO” gig for a guy she doesn’t like and for a country she doesn’t understand, and she’s left without Tom or the rest of the sibs. The baby? Nannies forever. – Kate Erbland, Executive Editor, Film
Prediction: An Anticlimax
The conclusion to the four-year story about the future of Waystar Royco will be anti-climatic. The impending sibling clash won’t matter. The shareholder’s interests win (they always do), and I don’t think anyone on the board, including and especially the Old Guard (who seem uncharacteristically chill since Episode 4), sees the kids as the answer. [Side Prediction: I think Karolina sticks the final knife in the boys, getting them to quietly walk away with the threat of public humiliation. God knows she has the ammo.]
Leave it to Kendell and Roman to use and abuse ATN to throw an election and endanger democracy, only to wake up the next morning with “our dicks in [future President Mencken’s] hand.” Logan would have had POTUS’s balls in his safety deposit box. He might have ruled with fear and favor, but Logan knew his underlying power was manipulating situations so his interests were in the best interest of those who could decide his fate.
Along these lines, I hold out the most hope for Shiv. She was more successful working outside the orbit of Logan’s empire and would have been better served if she stayed there, rather than getting sucked back in by its gravitational pull — you see signs of that in how she is helping Matsson navigate the sale, which might land her a leadership position (which still has a definite glass ceiling). But I also see signs she might be the one who, now that Daddy and the succession-game are over, might be able to move on with her life in some remotely more positive direction. Shiv seems more aware of what she’s become due to Mommy and Daddy, and has the best chance of breaking that pattern with a post-Daddy newborn. I’m not sure the abuse cycle ends with her, but I do think she’ll be determined to break her mom’s pattern of abandoning her kid and their interest. – Chris O’Falt, Executive Editor, Crafts & Special Projects
Prediction: Roman & Gerri 4eva
You asked for wild, so this is me putting $50 on the 16-seed the night before March Madness starts:
When the GoJo deal closes and leaves them both permanently sidelined from the company, Roman and Gerri will be able to put their past differences behind them and spark a new friendship… which will eventually lead to a blossoming romance, as Roman will learn that his crippling sexual hangups died with his father.
(My actual prediction is that the show ends with Mattson getting the whole company and installing Tom as his puppet CEO.) – Christian Zilko, Weekend Editor
Prediction: Old Secrets Turn the Tide
My favorite prediction is that Shiv will release the info about Kendall and the waiter from her wedding to the tabloids (or other press). The deal will go through with her as the U.S. CEO, Waystar will be no more, and she’ll turn into the next monster — and raise her kid on her own (bye Tom) to be the next her. – Grace Cornejo, Director of Events
Prediction: An Unexpected Confession
This may be too unhinged and I don’t really think it’s going to happen, but here you go.
Stewy confesses his love for Kendall, but gets rejected. It feels clear now that the show will end with Kendall on top, having become the killer his father always wanted him to be, but having ruined every relationship that actually mattered to him in order to get there. The one relatively untested bond he has is with his best/only friend Stewy — which many, many fans are convinced goes beyond friendship, at least from Stewy’s point of view. Stewy confessing romantic feelings for Kendall, only to get rebuffed, would be the final step for Kendall ending up like he’s been destined to all along: utterly alone. – Wilson Chapman, Breaking News Writer
Final “Winners” Tally:
Lukas Matsson: 3