[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers through the series finale of Succession, “With Open Eyes.”]
In the final episode of Succession, the series’ focus narrowed the action down to its core trio, on the precipice of failure or success. Turns out that previously announced epic runtime wasn’t to give every last supporting player a big sentimental sendoff: Instead, it was one last chance to be embedded with Shiv (Sarah Snook), Roman (Kieran Culkin), and Kendall (Jeremy Strong), as the final fight for power came down to a single board vote.
For while the Presidential election may still be unresolved (good news, Willa! Connor may not get shipped overseas for an ambassadorship!), the time for the board vote on the GoJo deal is nigh. With Shiv’s Matsson-enabled maneuvering towards the throne initially keeping the sibs in battle mode against each other, Shiv and Kendall’s mutual scrambling for board votes brings them both to Barbados, where Roman’s hiding out after his unfortunate incident with the protestors following Logan’s funeral.
When Shiv gets tipped off to the fact that Matsson will not be making her CEO after all (because back in New York, good ol’ Tom Wambsgams is getting offered the gig, albeit with the proviso that Matsson wants to treat the American CEO of Waystar like a front man/”pain sponge”), she’s devastated… and willing to negotiate. The ensuing late-night bonding session in Barbados, sweetened by some truly hilarious yet random asides from Lady Caroline, eventually results in the siblings reunited around tanking the deal.
A concept that stuck out while watching “the kids” cavort in Lady Caroline’s Barbados kitchen (very impressive, how the show managed to sneak one last exotic location in just under the wire) is the idea that when people experience trauma at a young age, they become mentally and/or emotionally “stuck” at that same age. Seeing these grown adults literally regress fully to messy children playing disgusting games feels like confirmation of that idea, as we’ve learned enough about Logan Roy’s parenting over the past four seasons to know how much damage he inflicted upon his offspring.
And it’s this realization which is so key to the final board room scenes, in which the siblings end up tearing each other apart in the final stages of a power struggle that sees the Roys lose and Tom become Lukas Matsson’s puppet officially. It’s hard to decide which is the most brutal moment: Shiv and Roman stuttering over just how many people Ken might have killed, Roman bringing up Logan’s less-than-kind opinions about Kendall’s children, or Roman putting his whole body into defending his pregnant sister from Kendall’s physical wrath.