Succession season 1, episode 10 finale recap: ‘Nobody Is Ever Missing’


In the season finale of HBO’s Succession, the tension between Ken and Logan Roy culminates in a tragedy that forever puts Ken at his father’s mercy.

Undeniably, the Roys are a dysfunctional family. Succession is eager to show us how deep dysfunction goes while affording the characters much-needed complexity.

In “Nobody Is Ever Missing,” one gets the sense that Connor Roy (Alan Ruck) is surprisingly sensitive and vulnerable, as he demands that his love interest, Willa (Justine Lupe), is in a wedding photo. He doesn’t exactly throw a childish tantrum, but it’s close enough. Their problem with her? She is a former “call-girl.”

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Of course, some higher stakes shenanigans are afoot, too. Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) and his frenemy Stewy (Arian Moayed) have been plotting a hostile takeover of the family business — Waystar Royco.

It has Kendall on edge, especially when Ken’s father, Logan Roy (Brian Cox) is such an imposing figure, and will bitterly fight the attempted corporate coup. So, when related documents are sent to a different printer on the Roy family’s wi-fi network and Ken hears a knock on the door, he yells curse words in his son Iverson’s (Quentin Morales) face.

Why does this matter? It shows that Ken’s son is already a victim of his billionaire family. In a previous episode, Grandpa Logan actually struck the boy — and at Thanksgiving, no less! In other words, although Succession has plenty of comedic moments, it also displays how easily power becomes family tension, if not tragedy. Although Ken apologizes to his son, it seems to be part of a general pattern of conflict.

Flushing a Bear Hug

When it comes time to confront Logan about the takeover, Ken is the one who does it. The paper containing the deal is called a “bear hug,” but Logan is far more bear than hug. As his counter-offer, Logan snatches the buyout proposal, tosses it in the toilet and makes sure to flush. It’s sort of a predictable moment, but not in the bad sense. Logan wouldn’t be Logan if he acted any differently, and it’s likely that Ken wouldn’t be himself, either.

Other Formative Events

Kieran Culkin and Alan Ruck, photo credit: Colin Hutton/HBO

In his usual forced joviality, Connor Roy meets bride-to-be Shiv Roy’s (Sarah Snook) new boss, politician Gil Eavis (Eric Bogosian) and expresses skepticism of everything he stands for. In fact, Connor decides later that he wants to run for President, which could obviously cause complications down the road — for Shiv, for Gil, and for America.

In another dramatic turn of events, Roman Roy (Kieran Culkin) has been put in charge of a satellite launch, but it explodes in a colossal fireball. Sadly, Roman put pressure on them to accelerate the launch, thinking it would be a nice gift for Shiv’s wedding day. It is like fireworks, but certainly not the kind he wanted.

Gerri, general counsel to Waystar Royco, calls it potential corporate manslaughter. Obviously, it’s a humbling moment for Roman, although he seems more concerned about how it will affect him.

However, oddly enough, one of the most important moments is when a server spills a drink on Logan. Rather than let it go, Logan demands to never see him again — which turns out to be a huge decision. Not long afterward, Logan gives a speech where he says there is nothing more important than family, though it is certainly a tactical measure. Indeed, everything for the Roys is a battle tactic.

For example, Shiv’s newly minted husband, Tom (Matthew Macfadyen), makes a point to say the word “wife” repeatedly while staring at Nate (Ashley Zukerman), a political strategist who Shiv’s been sleeping with. Also, when Logan dances with Shiv for a bit, it’s as much for publicity as anything else, as opposed to a moving Succession moment.

Kendall vs. The Roys

Logan’s attempt to make amends with his family worked. They are effectively mobilized against Ken regarding his buyout plan, for which he is supposed to be ashamed (though, honestly, Ken should just look to Logan and say, “I learned it from you, dad!”).

In response to their criticism, Ken half-jokingly dismisses Connor’s concerns about family ownership, comparing it to a “thousand year Reich.”

He calls Shiv out for being a power-seeker, then says Roman couldn’t get a job at a burger joint without some nepotism. When Logan joins the brouhaha, Ken tells him, “I don’t owe you anything,” to which Logan counters: “What have you had your entire life that I didn’t give you?”

It may be food for thought but functions more like a bitter pill, sending Kendall further on a downward spiral.

Some Good News (Kind of)

Sarah Snook and Matthew Macfadyen, photo credit: Colin Hutton/HBO

Roman is pleased as punch that no one actually died in the satellite launch mishap. He is informed that, apparently, some people may have lost limbs, or maybe only a few thumbs. In an irresistible moment, Roman then quips, “Guess who didn’t kill anyone but maybe lost a couple of thumbs?..” He points his thumbs to himself: “This guy!”

It’s such an on-the-nose joke, and maybe he’ll still be criticized for the launch being so clumsy (or all thumbs), but he won’t be forced to thumb a ride to Mexico to avoid a prison! At most, Roman will stand out like a sore thumb. Still, as a rule of thumb, Roman will likely thumb his nose at those trying to use the launch against him. All in all, it’s a thumbs up Succession moment! (Okay, I’ll stop.)

Tom’s Mission: Deflate Nate

The newlywed Tom is quick to profess his love to Shiv. He is full of romantic ideas, like moving to New Zealand an become sheep farmers and to teach scuba diving. However, Shiv nearly shatters the illusion when she confesses her affairs with Nate. He seems to forgive her, but Nate is another matter.

Knowing Nate’s still at the event, he finds him and makes no qualms about it: “If I ever see you in the same room as Shiv again, I will pay men to break your legs. And if I go to jail — which I won’t — so be it.” To assert his dominance, Tom makes Nate pour his wine back into its bottle before he leaves.

While some would call it a man of wealth asserting his power, there’s a sense of it being more. Tom would have probably done something similar even if he weren’t rich. It’s a moment where Tom still retains a villainous edge, but where his motives probably transcend conventional class lines.

A Sad Little Detail at a Wedding

For obvious reasons, Kendall Roy is jaded. In fact, “Succession” has seen him struggle through the entire season, against his father and his own life. He can’t escape himself and the corporate world. When he steps outside, Greg Hirsch (Nicholas Braun) mentions “the thing at the cruise lines” to Ken, discusses shredding documents, and adds, “anybody would be wise to keep me in a good role.”

Ken says, ” You little Machiavellian [expletive], I like you,” and heads off to score some drugs from the server who Logan had fired earlier. As noted earlier, this becomes a huge moment for the series.

Before they get very far, Ken dodges a deer and crashes the car off a bridge into the water, where the car sinks. Ken escapes but does not save the passenger. Rather than wait around,
Ken flees the scene. He sneaks his way through swampy terrain back to the wedding castle. There he cleans himself off and rejoins his family pretending everything is normal.

Of course, things aren’t normal, and Kendall is told that Logan wants a word with him.

Ken immediately understands the problem, as he is informed of the death and that Ken was witnessed at one point “looking a little damp.” Logan uses the situation as a valuable card in “the game” (as he’s called life before). When he mentions that Ken’s key card was found in the crashed vehicle, Logan proposes that the card was taken.

At his blackmailing best, Logan commands Ken to tell Sandy Furness that he’s out of the corporate takeover scheme. He reminds him that, when “A rich kid kills a boy, you’d never be anything else.”

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However, if he plays along, the death will be “A sad little detail at a wedding where father and son are reconciled.” It leaves the next season somewhat open-ended, but with a great amount to build upon.

That’s it for this Succession episode recap. What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!