Column | ‘Succession’ Season 4 Episode 8: A family you love to loathe



“Succession” Season 4 has released on March 24.

By Theo Gary, Staff Writer

** This review may contain spoilers **

The “Succession” we get from season four is more cold and lifeless and dead than ever before. The people are dead. Logan is dead. Everybody is sulking and nobody gets mad. It’s all deals and fakeness. They may as well not be alive, for all the good they do. But that’s the point, I think. To laugh at, empathize with and eventually loathe these sad, despicable people.

Now, this week, the ugly badness is ratcheted up. Now Kendall says again that everything he does is for his daughter — an obvious, shameless lie, spoken with the same verbiage and for the same reason as his father. He is in the midst of sort-of electing a fascist or not — a difficult and complex moral choice, I’m sure. He says to Shiv “maybe the poison drips through,” and it already has. 

They, the siblings, are all Logan. Pieces of him, maybe. But he is in them somewhere. Since his death, the central tension seems to be over who can tap into that side the most effectively, who can be the most brutal, the most cunning and the most manipulative — the most like Logan. 

Logan is as present as ever. Even in death, the man gets what he wants. Logan’s ghost haunts every proceeding. Each time someone asks “what would Logan do,” his specter gains power. 

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In the most recent episode, Roman directly presents this as a reason to elect the fascist. His children cannot be great in and of themselves. They can’t chart their own path. They need him. It must be flattering. 

It’s an easy fallacy: Walter White has cancer, so you root for him. His motives make sense. Tony Soprano is depressed and, like, slightly less cruel — at least in the beginning — than the rest of his gang, so you root for him.

Shiv, Kendall and Roman are all broken, so you root for them against their clearly evil dad. It’s simple and nice, but now he’s gone and time has elapsed and they can’t blame the bad stuff on anyone else anymore. They are just as cold, lifeless and inhuman as the buildings they own and the company they operate. 

Tom, a more normal person with normal — however twisted — motives, who comes from a non-obscenely wealthy world, is so deeply distrustful of Shiv when she reveals she is pregnant that he asks her whether that’s just a tactic, whether she’s trying to negotiate. And, y’know, she’s righteously mad about that comment; doesn’t even respond to it, in fact. I found this weird because, given all the other crap that’s happened this season, it isn’t a strange assumption to make.

Anyway, I guess we all know that they are bad, cold people, but what’s fun is that they are all also absurd. The implicit message might be that obscene wealth warps you in strange ways — as it has Greg, a once-empathetic guy who is now a piece of trash I find joy in watching fail — but the messaging isn’t what’s so fun about it all. It’s this week’s moment where everything breaks down and the guy gets wasabi in his eye and then Greg pours lemon La Croix on it as if that is water. Because of this unfortunate mishap, a different guy ends up president than if it had not happened. 

This is masterful, funny storytelling. Episode eight is gold. The weight of the world rests on the shoulders of the assembled Roys, and they are too silly to understand the difference between water and La Croix. 


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