The season 4 premiere of HBO’s Succession starts in the wake of Logan Roy (Brian Cox) renegotiating his divorce agreement to freeze out his kids from company control. We also learned that Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen), is the one who tipped Logan off about the Roy children’s revolt to prevent his sale of the company.
Keep in mind, Tom’s marriage to Siobhan “Shiv” Roy (Sarah Snook) was already in jeopardy, so this additional bit of betrayal is a powerful strain on their tenuous marriage. Meanwhile, Greg Hirsch (Nicholas Braun) was offered a mysterious “deal with the devil” by Tom, within his business “bromance” with Tom.
The season 4 premiere begins, oddly enough, with Logan’s birthday party, as he appears even more gruff and gloomy than usual. It is obvious that he’s feeling hurt that none of his children are there.
However, Greg shows up with a date named Bridget (Francesca Root-Dodson), who no one seems to trust or respect, other than Greg — though he seems to be excited about entering into her royal family. Meanwhile, elsewhere, Shiv, Roman (Kieran Culkin), and Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) are busy working on a future business idea they’re calling, “The Hundred”.
This really seems to amalgamate a bunch of different business ideas all at once (which they consider original but could perhaps be compared to something like Amazon).
Succession Season 4 Episode 1 recap – Succession offers another Roy vs. Roy politics
This episode of Succession has a lot of dynamics that set the stage for renewed intrafamilial conflict. For example, Logan’s assistant and sex partner, Kerry (Zoë Winters), is quite concerned that Greg’s date could be a corporate spy.
Really, by this point, Greg has gone from almost feeling like an outside “observer” character, to being one of the foremost participants in the Logan Roy circle. In fact, after Tom has a business meeting with Naomi Pierce (Annabelle Dexter-Jones), one of the things lambasted by a jealous Shiv is that Tom and Greg have bonded under the cute nickname, “The Disgusting Brothers.”
The Roys are also throwing big money around in the premiere. Not only is Logan competing with his kids to buy Pierce Global Media (PGM), but Connor Roy (Alan Ruck) is fretting about spending 100 million dollars to revamp his floundering Presidential campaign, where he’s polling at a mere 1%.
That being said, it’s not all about money, but an element of revenge. The initial debate between Roman, Shiv, and Ken is whether they’ll work out their concept for The Hundred business idea or take Pierce.
But that debate recedes when their thinly veiled revenge impulse takes over (though Ken denies it’s personal, of course).
Succession Season 4 Episode 1 recap – A glimpse into philosophy (and psychology)
Though Succession is mostly about straight-ahead, cut-throat business and bitter barbs between the Roys (and others), there are a few philosophical moments peppered in for good measure. In this episode, Logan says to Colin Stiles (Scott Nicholson) that people are economic units.
We also get a surprise glimpse into Logan’s agnosticism regarding the afterlife — despite running a right-wing propaganda network that no doubt caters to the evangelical crowd. Still, despite being cold and calculating overall, Kerry calls Logan’s kids to see if they’ll call him on his birthday, no doubt trying to appease Logan’s more humanistic, sentimental side.
Logan’s not the only character whose more genuine, sentimental idealism clashes with business/political savvy. For example, Willa (Justine Lupe) wants an ordinary, traditional (modest) wedding with Connor, whereas Connor wants it to be an attention-grabbing media circus.
That’s really one of the most interesting things about Succession; it regularly blends the personal with the political, and even some relatively minor or impulsive decisions can have a huge impact. Such is the nature of power!
Succession Season 4 Episode 1 recap – A deal is made
The younger Roys prove to be skilled negotiators after they simply sway Nan Pierce (Cherry Jones) with both a high bid of $10 billion for her company and an assurance that they won’t sully Pierce’s more “liberal” brand with Waystar-style right-wing politics. This, of course, does not make Logan happy (but how often is he ever really happy anyway?).
It’s really a big win for the Roy siblings…or is it? Logan’s angry phone call to them seems to imply they merely pitch a higher number without necessarily knowing how to make that money work as a business.
Succession Season 4 Episode 1 recap – Another Greg-gate(?)
This is actually a good episode for the Greg-heads out there, as he weaves himself into plenty of funny moments. After Greg brags that he had sex with Bridget in Logan’s house, Tom chastises him, noting that Logan has CCTV everywhere.
Interestingly, though, Logan seems rather unconcerned about it when Greg confesses his deed, pleading, “I never intended to soil these halls.” Then, on top of that, when Logan awkwardly asks everyone at his business deal-birthday party to roast him, Greg points out Logan’s a scary old man who everyone’s afraid of, which is why no one wants to “roast” him.
Succession Season 4 Episode 1 recap – The end for Tom and Shiv
Right from the start, Succession established the tone that most of the Roy family relationships are in decline, or were basically shams, to begin with. The marriage between Shiv and Tom was really no exception, and it seems their marriage finally ends in the season 4 premiere.
Really, though, the question is whether either of them would be fit for anyone else anyway. One might bash Tom for some of his behavior, but Shiv was never good for him, either.
Most of Tom’s flaws in their marriage are actually retaliatory. The problem is, with the marriage fading away, one of the few things keeping Tom grounded is fading away as well, and similar things may be said about Shiv.
What are your thoughts on this season 4 premiere of Succession? Let us know in the comments!
Succession season 4 episode 2 airs on April 2 on HBO.