This Sunday, May 28, the final episode of "Succession" was broadcast. This is our review of this final so awaited by many.
LatinAmerican Post | Juliana Rodríguez Pabón
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Leer en español: Final de "Succession": Sobre ser una reina consorte
The premise of "Succession" is relatively simple: three sons of the owner and founder of the largest news conglomerate in the United States fight over the succession to the throne. The first episode of the series takes place on the 80th birthday of Logan Roy, the father; a day in which Kendall, the eldest son, would be announced as the successor to the media empire. Just before the announcement, Logan decides that Kendall isn't the right successor.
This is how the rhythm of the series is set: nobody fulfills what they have promised and that lack of words causes, from time to time, a twist in the plot. The promise of succession is the card that the father will play every time he must manipulate one of his children, and they all fall every time.
Seeing that Kendall is no longer the sure successor, his siblings, previously retired from the race, see an opportunity. Siobhan, the middle sister, works as a political strategist for a Democratic Senate candidate. Rom, the youngest brother, seemed comfortable just being an heir after failing in the entertainment business of Waystar Royco, as the family conglomerate is called. Both then enter the race for the succession.
The third season ends with the betrayal of the father to the sons. Logan has decided to sell the conglomerate and give his throne to a foreign investor. The fourth and final season, then, begins with the three sons united against the father.
In this article, we'll be looking at the ending of four characters in "Succession," so here's a spoiler warning. If you haven't seen the end, stop reading here.
Everyone, throughout the series, has had their chance. They have all been promised the crown. However, perhaps the one who seemed closest to achieving it during the final season was Roman. Roman's aspirations were not so much corporate but family: he wanted to make his father proud. Towards the end, he was the closest to Logan; but this was because he was the most susceptible to her manipulations.
After his father's death, in the third episode of the season, Roman decides to play on Kendall's side, who wants to cancel the deal so that the company remains in the hands of the family. For a couple of days, they share the CEO's chair, and thanks to the masterful way the series is written, we, the audience, who know nothing about how a mega media conglomerate should be run, understand and know how to judge that each decision taken by male siblings is wrong. It was the humiliation of the father that made us take this pair of brothers seriously. After his death, we can see them for what they are: two capricious children (throughout the series, the father and longtime executives call them "kids").
Roman's ultimate downfall is the first we see. The penultimate episode of the series begins with him at the top: ATN (the news channel they own) has announced, and with this defined, the election of a president that Rom believes he has in his pocket; He has also been chosen to give the elegy at his father's funeral; he feels sure that "he is the chosen one." However, when she breaks down in tears at the funeral, she loses all control. "Succession", without going so far as to pity the powerful, dares to explore the fragility of power. Crying for the death of the father, something we would grant to any human being, costs the youngest of the children the prestige they seemed to have. Nobody can take it seriously anymore after that. The chapter ends with a sequence of Rom being kicked in the middle of a riot over the dubious election results.
When his father dies, Kendall is orphaned as an enemy. If Roman was fighting for his father's approval and affection, Kendall was fighting to revoke and replace him. He genuinely believed that he could do better. Even when he was closest to his father, during the second season, it was as an enemy: they were a master and his slave.
Kendall fights so hard, so desperately, for the succession that she seems to be fighting for survival. We know that this is not the case, even if they sold the conglomerate, that is, even "losing", he would become hopelessly rich. So Kendall's fight seems whimsical, and it is. However, it is a fight for his identity. When, in a final twist, in the last ten minutes, he realizes that he will lose the CEO chair, he even goes so far as to beg; what his father would never do. We know that without that chair, and even with millions upon millions, Kendall will have nothing left, since he has left everything (the possibility, even, of being a father himself) in the race for the throne.
The last shot in the series is of a defeated, but also released, Kendall.
Siobhan Roy and her husband Tom
Shiv says it at her father's funeral: "it wasn't easy being his daughter." In effect, Logan called his sons by their full names, Romulus and Kendall, and he called her, more affectionately but also more condescendingly, Pinky. She is the most intelligent of the three, the least emotional. She is a good strategist and knows how to play her cards. Shiv also lasted almost the entire season, and without anyone noticing, playing on both sides. She knew how to marry a pusillanimous man who adored her, Tom.
She was in favor of the purchase, as Matsson, the buyer, had promised her the CEO chair. Perhaps the mistake Shiv made the most is believing the promises made to her by men (her father and then Matsson). The only one she learned to mistrust was her husband, who had betrayed her to sell his soul to his father-in-law.
She knew how to ally with her brothers when she learned that Matsson would default on her. Being a smarter woman than them costs Shiv the favor of Matsson, who turned to a docile man: Tom. And she knew, once again, to change the course of things when she saw that her vote would define whether there was a deal or not. In the last ten minutes of the series, Shiv Roy changes her mind again. They sell Waystar Royco to Lukas Matsson. Tom will be the new CEO. The couple reunites, reconciled, in a car. They shake hands, expect a child.
I have a sour taste to see that the woman can only be queen consort and not legitimate successor, as appropriate. Being strategic and cold, characteristics inherited from her father, were qualities that worked against her, since she was always perceived as a threat.
But let me change my mind slightly. Perhaps being aware of that handicap is what gave the female daughter more cards to play. She was not only her father's daughter, but also her husband's wife. Now she will be the mother of someone who may be, perhaps, the legitimate successor. These are letters that her brothers not only don't have, but would never have considered, since having a husband and being pregnant are things that they perceive as weak points.
After all, in chess, the queen is the piece that can move in any direction. It is also the one with the crown. Although those of us who have seen the entire series know, I change my mind again, that this crown is also a sentence.