Unraveling the Webs of Deception: the Shocking Twist in the Final Episode of Succession

The toppling of The Prince, Beheaded Queen, and the Jester in HBO's Succession final episode.

SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers from “With Open Eyes,” the series finale of HBO’s “Succession.”

The highly anticipated Succession final episode of HBO’s critically acclaimed series, now streaming on MAX, Succession, has left fans reeling from the shocking twists and turns. This gripping finale, titled “With Open Eyes,” brought the power struggle among the Roy siblings to a thrilling conclusion. In this comprehensive recap, we’ll delve into the most pivotal moments and unravel the complexities of the Succession series finale. Grab your popcorn and brace yourself for the rollercoaster ride that unfolds in this unforgettable conclusion—the Battle for Waystar RoyCo Intensifies.

Shiv to Mattson discussing Tom’s aptitude and shortcomings:

This is separate feelings aside: Tom will honestly suck the biggest dick in the room. That’s just my assessment.

The last episode of Succession begins with the Roy siblings – Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Roman (Kieran Culkin), and Shiv (Sarah Snook) – vying for control of the family empire, Waystar RoyCo. As the siblings scramble to secure their positions amid the turbulence of the GoJo deal led by antagonistic tech bro Lukas Matsson played by a brilliant Alexander Skarsgård (Big Little Lies), alliances crumble, and betrayal runs rampant.

A Fractured Alliance

The season began with the Roy siblings joining forces to outmaneuver their father, Logan Roy (Brian Cox), in acquiring the Pierce news network. However, the alliance disintegrates after Logan’s death, with each sibling pursuing their ambitions. Kendall plays for the top position, while Shiv covertly aligns herself with Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgard) in hopes of becoming his puppet CEO of Waystar.

I love you. Really, I love you,” Shiv tells Kendall in the drawing room. “But I cannot f**king stomach you.

Unraveling Secrets

The media features a piece caricaturing Shiv’s manipulation of Matsson, while it turns out to be the other way around, jeopardizing her plan with him. This article publication seems to be the turning point for him to move away from her. Meanwhile, Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen) learns from Matsson that he’s not considering Shiv as CEO, further stirring the pot. Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun) discovers Matsson’s intentions through a translation AI program, ultimately deciding to share this information with Kendall, leading to an explosive confrontation.

The Roy Siblings Reunite

Despite the backstabbing, the Roy siblings realize they must unite to have any hope of retaining control of Waystar RoyCo. As they strategize, they must also decide who among them will lead the company.

A Tense Beachside Agreement

The siblings gather on a beach in Barbados at their mother’s estate to determine their next move. After a spirited discussion, Shiv and Roman agree to support Kendall’s bid for CEO. The trio shares a bizarre bonding moment, creating a “kingly” concoction for Kendall to drink, signifying his ascension and their bond.

Returning to Logan’s House

Visiting Logan’s old home, Shiv is horrified to learn from Tom that Matsson planned to make him CEO behind her back. When Tom confronts Greg for tipping off Kendall in a bathroom, punches are thrown, and egos are bruised. Tom then warns Matsson, speeding up the crucial board meeting.

The Climactic Boardroom Showdown

The culmination of the Succession finale takes place in a tense boardroom meeting, where the Roy siblings’ fate hangs in the balance. The GoJo deal and the future of Waystar RoyCo are ultimately decided in this electrifying scene concluding with a 6 to 7 vote for the GoJo deal.

Stewy’s Support

The siblings win Stewy (Arian Moayed) over to their side. However, Roman becomes unnerved upon seeing Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron). Kendall comforts him by hugging him (suffocating), causing his stitches to rip open – a poignant symbol of their wounded bond.

Shiv’s Shocking Betrayal

The Roy siblings’ plan hinges on a united front, but when it’s time for Shiv to cast her vote, she falters. She leaves the room and states she cannot support Kendall’s bid for CEO because he “killed someone,” referring to Kendall’s season one Chappaquiddick moment and Logan’s patriarchal cover-up—an event Kendall confessed to his siblings at the end of season three. Kendall responds by lying that he falsely remembered the event, but his pleading does nothing to sway Shiv, who sees through him. Roman tells his siblings that “We’re nothing.”

We are bulls**t. . . . We’re nothing.

Tom’s Unexpected Victory

With Shiv voting against Kendall, the boardroom drama reaches a stunning climax. Tom Wambsgans is revealed as the new CEO of Waystar RoyCo, a development that even showrunner Jesse Armstrong admits had been in the works for some time.

The Aftermath of the Vote

The final episode of Succession sees the characters grappling with the fallout of the boardroom vote and their shattered relationships.

The Roy Siblings’ Emotional Turmoil

The revelation of Kendall’s false memory lie sends shockwaves through the Roy siblings. The already strained bonds between them are further tested as they grapple with Kendall’s inability to take any responsibility for the death of a caterer in an earlier season and his willingness to further deceive for a chance at the crown.

Tom and Shiv’s Tenuous Connection

Tom’s ascension to CEO heightens the tension between him and Shiv. Their strained relationship becomes even more apparent as they share an awkward congratulatory moment.

Kendall’s Isolation

In the final scene, a defeated Kendall sits alone on a park bench, contemplating his future while Logan’s former bodyguard watches over him. This poignant moment underscores the isolation and despair that define Kendall’s life.

The End of Succession: A Bittersweet Farewell

With the series finale of Succession, fans bid a bittersweet farewell to the Roy family and the rollercoaster of emotions they have endured throughout the show. The ending leaves us with a complex tapestry of shattered alliances, betrayals, and the unrelenting pursuit of power that defines this unforgettable series.

Why Did Shiv Betray Kendall?

Shiv’s motivations for betraying Kendall in the final episode remain open to interpretation. Was it her lust for power? A desire to stay close to the influential Matsson? Or was it a more emotional decision, driven by the pressure of the moment and her conflicted feelings about her brother’s actions?

Jeremy Strong in “Succession”
Courtesy of HBO

No More Succession

Unfortunately, there will not be a fifth season of Succession. The gripping finale marked the end of the Roy family saga, leaving fans to ponder the fates of these unforgettable characters and the legacy they leave behind.

The final episode of Succession delivered a shocking conclusion to the intricate web of power struggles and betrayals that have captivated audiences. As we bid farewell to the Roy family, we are left with memories of a groundbreaking series that masterfully explored the depths of human ambition, loyalty, and the consequences of our choices.

As we leave Roman at a bar and return to our initial introduction of the character as a drinker and jester, Shiv driving off with Tom like a Queen about to be beheaded, the series ends with a shot of Kendall leaving the office and walking in silence to Battery Park with Colin, the bodyguard in tow. This is a visual callback to Colin following Logan in the Season 4 premiere, after he left his birthday party, and suggests that he may have been Logan’s choice for a successor. Kendall stares at the Hudson River, now empty from the loss of the crown, as the sun sets on “Succession’s” final episode.

Photos courtesy of HBO.

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