The Succession season 4 premiere sees the kids banding together against a flagging Logan

Succession Season 4 Episode 1 Recap "The Munsters" (HBO)

The era of The Disgusting Brothers has begun.

Facing the end is tough on the soul, even for people who don’t have much of one. We’re at the beginning of the end for Succession, and two of its characters are staring into the abyss during incredible scenes in the show’s final season premiere. Logan Roy (Brian Cox) ponders the afterlife over some cheap food in a nondescript diner, while Shiv Roy (Sarah Snook) faces the disintegration of her marriage with ascendant Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen). 

But before we get to that, can I interest you in a new media venture that’s, “Substack meets MasterClass meets The Economist meets The New Yorker”? It’s been three months since the rug was pulled from under the Roy children yet again in the season three finale. Their attempt at a hostile takeover was ruined when Tom betrayed Shiv and informed Logan of their plans, leaving the kids out of a shareholding supermajority and thus, having no power over their tyrannical father. 

The good news from this defeat is it makes the Roy children bond and form a (mostly) cohesive unit. They begin season four on the West Coast, and the California sun looks fantastic on a show that’s centered in a mostly gloomily shot New York City. They’re about to pitch a new media startup called The Hundred to a group of Saudi investors who may not have the best human rights record. 

Succession Season 4 Premiere Recap, "The Munsters" (HBO)
Macall B. Polay/HBO

The idea of the website sounds vague enough for the Roy kids to sound like they know what they’re talking about just enough, which sums up their knowledge of most business endeavors in the show. According to the PowerPoint that briefly flashes across the screen, The Hundred is “The antidote to the modern malaise of empty-caloried input overload.” Sure!

It only takes them fifteen minutes before they completely abandon the idea. Instead, they focus on buying PGM, bringing things full circle from one of the show’s finest episodes, season 2’s “Tern Haven”. It’s a win-win move for them since PGM is already established, so they don’t have to do any work and will hurt their father. This desire to kill their Dad is the driving force behind every decision Shiv and Kendall (Jeremy Strong) make. Roman (Kieran Culkin) is still a Daddy’s Boy at heart, though, and is actually the voice of reason here. Why spend billions of their own money to buy an aging news empire when they could spend it on “snowmobiles and sushi”?

Meanwhile, Logan is having the saddest birthday party. It’s a lovely bookend to the series premiere when we first met these rich sociopaths for Logan’s 80th birthday party. I’m not sure which birthday this is for Logan because the show doesn’t mention a timeline, but no matter how old he is now, he does not want to be at this shindig. Is he sad because he doesn’t have his children there to belittle with every word out of his mouth? Or is he sad because his children aren’t there and he knows he’s going to die alone because of how awful he treated his loved ones? Probably a little of both.

Facing the end is tough on the soul, even for people who don’t have much of one.

Logan gets over his birthday and walks to a crowded diner in the city to have a meal with his “best pal”, Colin (Scott Nicholson), who he pays to be around him. What unfolds over this astonishing scene is some of the best work from Cox in the series so far. 

Logan spends most of the series in a boisterous King Lear mode, screaming to the heavens while “piss mad”. Here he goes much smaller. He’s in emo Hamlet mode, giving his version of the “To Be or Not to Be” speech. He asks Colin what he thinks happens after we die, but when Colin tries to engage, Logan cuts him off. He’s too self-involved in his own demise to listen to what any of us regular folk think on the subject. 

Logan returns to the party to get to the main conflict of the episode, a bidding war for PGM between him and his children. The little Roys go directly to the matriarch of the Pierce clan, Nan (Cherry Jones making a very welcomed return to the show). One thing to keep in mind after three seasons of Succession is that everyone assumes the Roy children are jokes who don’t know anything, and they will always be screwed by their own flaws and insecurities. 

Succession Season 4 Premiere Recap, "The Munsters" (HBO)
Macall B. Polay/HBO

Nan for sure knows this and knows what drives them is their never-ending quest to be better than their father. She plays both sides, and it results in the Roy children overpaying for her company by about $9 billion. The way Cherry Jones says, “This is disgusting”, in her faux-concerned voice is perfection. 

Shiv may have PGM now (we’ll see how that works out though) but she no longer has her favorite toy to mentally and emotionally torture, Tom. Mr. Wambsgans may be dating models now while he and Shiv are separated, but he’s still someone’s punching bag. He’s now Logan’s right-hand man, but he doesn’t give him much reassurance after Tom asks him if he’ll still be OK even if he divorces Shiv. “If we’re good, we’re good.”, Logan responds. Tom says he’s heartened to hear this, but his miserable expression says otherwise. 

It’s also worth noting how different Tom carries himself in this first episode. There’s more confidence now, especially in the way he dismissively tells Shiv to “take care” over the phone. He’s also more subdued around his BFF. Greg (Nicholas Braun) shows up to this birthday in a much higher position than when “Greg the Egg” showed up at Logan’s 80th birthday after vomiting all over himself in a dog costume in the series premiere.  

Tom thankfully still has enough energy to mess with Greg. He tells him Logan has security cameras all around after Greg confesses that he and his date, Bridget (Francesca Root-Dodson) had a “rummage” in one of the bedrooms. Greg wants to go on a “Disgusting Brothers Tour” with Tom, but he’s not in the mood anymore.

Succession Season 4 Premiere Recap, "The Munsters" (HBO)
Macall B. Polay/HBO

Shiv stops by their apartment to pick up some clothes, but Mondale’s barks wake up Tom. He desperately wants to talk about everything with Shiv (it’s been three months since a massive betrayal and they never discussed it) but Shiv can’t be vulnerable in front of him or face any truths. Instead, she holds back her tears, looking away from Tom as they talk about the end of their marriage. 

It’s a gut-wrenching scene, helped by Nicholas Britell’s tragic, slowed-down piano version of the theme music that drives home that this is a real moment. Shiv and Tom are no longer playing games with each other. They end the episode laying awkwardly next to each other in bed, holding hands, wondering what comes after. Tom’s still wearing his wedding ring.

Boars on the Floor:

  • First of all, I’m beyond excited and honored to get to recap the final season of one of the finest shows for you Spoolers. Succession is already a pantheon show, but depending on how they land this chopper, it could be a Mount Rushmore top 5 show of all-time. I can’t wait to find out with you all before the show tells us to “fuck off” one final time. 
  • “Look At You All Gussied Up, You Slick Little F—.”: The show brilliantly uses wardrobe to express character motivations and enhance the story thanks to the great costume design by Michelle Matland. This episode I noticed everyone on Logan’s side wore some shades of blue. Kerry (now with the title of “Friend, assistant, and advisor” to Logan) wears bright blue. Is it because she’s running the show now behind the scenes? We used to think it was Logan’s wife, Marcia, but according to Kerry, she’s “in Milan shopping…forever.” 
  • You’re my number one (girl).”: Kudos to New York theater vet Zoe Winters for stepping off the bench and crushing it in her expanded role with Kerry. Every line she says is killer, especially going after Greg and his date with, “We’re not a fucking Shake Shack, Greg.”
  • You’re my number one (boy)” Also big kudos to another long-time New York actor, Scott Nicholson, for stepping into the spotlight in the diner scene after spending the whole show playing “intimidating dude” as Logan’s bodyguard and fixer, Colin. He doesn’t have many lines in the scene, but the way his face softens when he starts to mention his Dad and religion made me want to know more about this guy’s life. Also, please do yourself a favor and look up Scott’s IMDb page. He has made a career playing cops in every way imaginable. He played a cop on Law & Order: SVU, he played a cop on Law & Order: Criminal Intent. My man played three different cops on the original Law & Order. I hate when an actor gets typecasted…but it worked out here.
  • “Eight…nine…what’s next?!”- I hope this isn’t the last appearance for Cherry Jones on this show.
  • “Little piggies stuffing their mouths. Why is everyone so fucking happy?”- Logan at his own birthday party.
  • “Did you rummage to fruition?”- Yet another Tom line I’ll be saying for the rest of my life. 
  • At the end of the episode, Logan spits at his children, “Congratulations on saying the biggest number, you fucking morons.” It seems like Logan is legit mad that PGM slipped through his fingers, but like Tom once said, “I’ve never seen Logan get fucked.” So does Logan know something the kiddos don’t?
  • I almost forgot to check in with “Polling in the decimals” Connor and Willa! Alan Ruck and Justine Lupe are still out-of-this-world good in these roles. Based on episode titles, their wedding is coming up in episode three and I’m very excited about the jetpacks (less so the bum fights).
  • Uhm…why is Mondale sleeping alone in the dark? We must protect Mondale from these monsters! 

Succession Season 4 Premiere Trailer:

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CategoriesRecap TV
Sean Price

Sean Price was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana before moving to Chicago to pursue improv and sketch comedy. He has written, directed and produced several short films, music videos, and feature length screenplays.

He’s also performed and co-written several sketch shows, including a film-centric solo show called “Sean Price Goes to the Movies by Himself” at the Playground Theater.

When he's not contributing to The Spool, you can see him perform improv regularly at the IO Theater and ComedySportz Chicago.

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