Season 4 Episode 10 of Succession marked the end of this thrilling, heartbreaking journey in the most fittingly tragic way possible.
This review contains spoilers for Succession Season 4 Episode 10.
The grand finale of Succession is finally over, and any doubts that audiences had fought about the writers’ ability to wrap up this intense story in a way that’s fulfilling whilst remaining true to the tragic nature of the show can easily be dispelled, as Season 4 Episode 10 is among the show’s strongest and most breathtakingly emotional episodes of all. Not only does it bring all the separate plot threads from Season 4 together in a way that makes sense and leaves nothing unanswered, but the episode also serves as a Shakespearean conclusion to the journeys that these central characters have been going on from the very beginning of the show.
Last week’s episode wrapped things up in a way that seemed to neatly set the stage for a simple showdown between Kendall (Jeremy Strong) and Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård) for control of Waystar Royco – but it should’ve been obvious that things weren’t going to be this easy. “With Open Eyes” really takes its time with an extensive 90-minute runtime, allowing the writers to intricately move the pieces on the chess board and ensure that everything comes together smoothly without ever seeming obvious, keeping the complex twists and surprise betrayals moving until the very end. It feels like such a traditional episode of Succesion, with the hilarious comedy and high-stakes business decisions leading the narrative forward like always, while the fates of the Roy siblings hang ominously in the balance.
Episode 10 proved once again that Succession’s strongest feature, even in competition with the astounding performances from the entire cast, has always been the precision and momentum of its writing. There are so many key moments in this episode: from Matsson’s appointment of Tom (Matthew MacFadyen), to Shiv’s (Sarah Snook) discovery of the betrayal, all the way to Kendall’s tragic failure at the board meeting, that have to happen in exactly the way that they do for this story to make sense and culminate in the right way. It’s an unbelievable feat of storytelling, and whether you’re satisfied with the show’s ending or not, there’s no denying how impressively smoothly the writers managed to get there.
In its decision to have all the siblings ousted from their company and crown Tom as the ultimate winner, Succession is laughing at all those fans who expected to see Kendall, Roman, or Shiv take home the prize. The siblings are broken beyond repair, a perfect example of how excessive power and unbridled ambition can tear people apart to the extent that they grow blind to their own faults, the taste of victory becoming their only purpose in life. They ruined their own chances of becoming Waystar’s CEO with their silent whispers and backstage betrayals – with the ultimate winner just being the man who can follow orders the best. It’s a biting commentary on real life, and a hilarious condemnation of those who try to ‘beat the system’ by making the world about themselves.
There are so many scenes in Succession ’s finale that will be remembered among the show’s best, but that final confrontation between Kendall, Shiv, and Roman in the boardroom may just be the highlight. It’s the absolute distillation of everything the siblings believe and stand for: Shiv finally realising that she can’t win the fight and betraying her own family to protect the company, Kendall falling apart as he realizes he’s sacrificed his entire life for nothing, and Roman finally accepting his father’s final words to them were right, that none of them are “serious people”. They’re making a mockery of their family legacy, and Kendall is the only one too blinded by pride to see it.
Succession has been an incredible ride from start to finish, and knowing that things ended so tragically for these characters isn’t an easy pill to swallow, but it was an inevitable one. It’s a tragedy in the most fundamental sense of the word, building these narratives of hubris and egotism before smashing them to pieces and proving that none of the Roys, no matter how much they wanted it, were every capable of worthy of leading Waystar into a new age. They lost everything, and while we’re losing such an influential and timeless piece of storytelling alongside them, at least we can appreciate the unmatched journey that Succession has taken us on.
Season 4 Episode 10 of Succession is now available to watch on Max.