Why is the tragic ending of Succession so perfect for the series?


6/2/20234 min read

Succession, produced by HBO and Emmy award-winning, concluded after four seasons. The four children of Logan Roy, the main characters of the story, finally discover who will succeed their father as the CEO of Waystar Royco, a US media conglomerate. The central plot of the series revolves around this succession, and we, from Inside The Narrative, focused on analyzing Connor, Shiv, Roman, and Kendall Roy, the children who seemed to have the greatest potential to assume the role left by their father.

But did they really have it?

Connor Roy, despite being the oldest son, is considered the least likely contender among the four. From the beginning of the series, he shows little interest in the company's affairs and prefers to pursue his own business, even against his father Logan's wishes. Throughout the four seasons, the writers delve into the reasons behind this behavior, offering a delicate and skillful approach.

In the second episode of the fourth season, Connor reveals to his siblings that he doesn't care if his fiancée, Willa, breaks up with him. He believes that having a family that doesn't love him gives him the ability to live without love, considering it a superpower. Unlike his brothers, Connor doesn't seek the fraternal love of their father. This characteristic is evident in several moments of the narrative. He shows no interest in the family business, keeps his distance from family matters, and feels lonely, even with Willa in his life. In the episode "Connor's Wedding," for example, after Logan's death, Connor gets married without any family members present, displaying little reaction to the situation.

It is notable that Connor's behaviors, such as isolation, loneliness, and detachment from family business, persist until the end of the series. This indicates that, regardless of the path he takes throughout the story, Connor's ultimate fate aligns with these behaviors that remain consistent throughout the seasons, and is not tied to the CEO position of his father's company.

On the other hand, at the beginning of the narrative, Shiv is only a shareholder, but when her father shows belief in her ability to take his place, she starts pursuing that position. However, Logan never appoints her as CEO, which frustrates her and puts her in an assistant role in the company's decisions. An interesting fact is that, at her father's funeral, Shiv exposes how he was strict with women, including herself. The corporate world also doesn't recognize her as capable of doing the job; they believe she lacks years of experience within Waystar. Therefore, she is called a coward by Logan due to some of her decisions, and she proves it several times by prioritizing her own interests above those of her family members, such as her brothers. Shiv always has a plan B, anticipating possible failures in the plan A she participates in.

Shiv's ultimate fate mirrors the position she had to assume throughout her life. By accepting to stay in her marriage with Tom Wambsgans, who becomes the CEO of Waystar, she becomes a reflection of her mother by Logan's side. Furthermore, even after orchestrating a plan to help Lukas Matsson acquire Waystar and be appointed as CEO, she is not seen as the right person for the job. Instead, Shiv is relegated to being the pregnant wife of the chosen man to assume the role she desired. This also reflects the reality of conglomerates led by white men, where Shiv finds no space to occupy such an important position in that company.

Roman Roy, the youngest son, is not seriously considered to be the CEO of Waystar, but that doesn't stop him from desiring the position. His age and reputation as an irresponsible person with sexual issues are seen as obstacles to assuming such an important role. There is an ingrained belief about the masculine virility required to lead Waystar. Another point is that Roman has a peculiar relationship with Logan, being the son who clashes with their father the least. It seems that Roman is more in the company to please his father and seek his fraternal love rather than his own volition. Therefore, when Logan dies, Roman accepts a deal proposed by Matsson, even though he desires to work in the administration of Waystar. This marks the end of a chapter in his life, although the problems he has always had persist.

Kendall, Logan's second son, is highly enthusiastic about taking on the CEO position. However, his father doesn't believe in his abilities, especially after a failed business deal. It is evident that Kendall's life is entirely focused on becoming the CEO of Waystar, a position promised to him since childhood. Throughout the series, Kendall plans his life around it, but his father always backtracks on his plans to let him assume the role. It is expected, therefore, that in the end, Kendall does not become the CEO and his plans fail once again, primarily due to what Logan himself set in motion even after his death. This leaves Kendall defeated and in contemplation of his future, as he is likely unsure of what to do with his life after this definitive defeat.

In general, the final destinies of the four Roy siblings, known as "Logan's children," were predictable. Even with Logan's death at the beginning of the fourth season, there were no significant changes in their circumstances that could lead to different outcomes. The paternal figure, responsible for their traumas and behavioral conditioning, not being present did not bring any stimulation for a possible alternative ending.