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‘Succession’ finale: These are the burning questions we’d like to see answered

<i>Graeme Hunter/HBO</i><br/>One text could ruin Roman's rise. Or could it?
Graeme Hunter
Graeme Hunter/HBO
One text could ruin Roman's rise. Or could it?

By Scottie Andrew, CNN

“Succession” doesn’t do neat conclusions. It leaves gaps to be filled in off-screen, in later seasons or not at all — even the central question in the show’s title of who will succeed Logan hasn’t been answered. We, the devoted viewers, are left to read between the lines, debate and theorize. And theorize we do.

But the penultimate episode of season three was egregiously opaque, particularly in its final minute. This couldn’t be the end of our number-one boy, could it? Will one d**k pic sink Roman’s ship, and if Shiv and Tom have a baby, who will its therapist be?

We’ve got more than a few burning questions we hope this season finale will answer, plus some theories about where the Roys will end up. Read on, Conheads, before we’re glued to HBO Max for the finale this Sunday — here’s hoping we don’t crash the app. (CNN and HBO share parent company WarnerMedia.) And obviously, beware of spoilers if you aren’t caught up:

IS OUR NUMBER-ONE BOY DEAD?!

The last time we saw Kendall, he was lying face down on a float in a pristine Tuscan pool. His head dipped under water, he dropped his beer bottle — more evidence Ken hasn’t been sober this season — and we’re left to wonder whether Ken is testing how long it takes to lose consciousness underwater or whether he’s unconscious already and we’re watching Logan’s second son drown.

Maybe: Kendall’s maybe never been this low before, and we’re talking about a character who walked back to his sister’s English country wedding in a sopping wet suit after crashing a service worker’s car into a river and leaving said service worker to drown. But now, his crusade against his family’s company has apparently failed, Logan won’t let him near the company or let him out, his siblings want nothing to do with him, his kids are alienated, Naomi’s nowhere in sight, Rava thinks he’s a loser and, simmering underneath it all, is the death of the waiter from Shiv’s wedding. Logan covered it up, but it’s never left Ken’s mind. It’s an anchor he’s dragged throughout this season and the last. Comfrey and Logan mentioned the waiter in “Chiantishire,” and it would be fitting for Kendall to die in the same way his soul did, in water.

But maybe not: His siblings wouldn’t be acting so typically terse at the wedding, as we see them behaving in the preview for the season finale, if they knew he died, right? Logan would send Colin over to check on him if he didn’t show up to the wedding — we highly doubt he can ever completely untether himself from Ken. At the very least his kids or staff would alert someone in the family that Kendall’s gone Gatsby in the villa’s pool.

And maybe, if Ken makes it out of the pool, he’ll appear on that podcast Comfrey told him about or choose another platform from which to confess to the death of the waiter. Kendall might finally divulge the secret that’s been weighing him down since season one.

Is Roman’s rise over?

I mean, sending your dad a d**k pic that was meant to go to the interim CEO who’s worked for your dad forever but you also have some weird psychosexual relationship with is … bad. Roman’s done enough disgusting things to inspire countless fictional thinkpieces (remember when he pleasured himself in front of a window in season one?) but he’s never done them and been so close to having real power of his own. Roman has impressed Logan throughout the season, and his dad has trusted him with real meat as of late, including the massive deal with Alexander Skarsgård’s Matsson that could protect Waystar’s future. But he might’ve undone a season’s worth (plus the tail-end of season two, if you count his trip to Turkey) of progress with one text.

Verdict: Probably not. Logan’s forgiven much worse, and he knows Roman speaks Matsson’s tech bro-weirdo language. But there’s also a chance Logan might take out Roman’s indiscretion on Gerri and fire her. Shiv hasn’t been on the top of Logan’s list this season, so her attempts to frame the text as sexual harassment (which it is; see Gerri asking Roman to stop) may fizzle. But she’ll cling to any semblance of leverage she can get, maybe into next season.

Will Shiv and Tom split?

Leave it to Shiv to make audiences pity Tom Wambsgans, a man so pathetic he torments the family’s estranged cousin who pilfers free cookies to take home in doggie bags. We thought it couldn’t get worse than Shiv’s less-than-excited reaction to Tom avoiding jail time, but then she told Tom she didn’t love him after a particularly cutting conversation with her mother and doubled down on it the next morning with “I may not love you, but I do love you,” which … what?!?! Theirs is a poisonous relationship that doesn’t benefit either of them.

Verdict: Tom is in too deep, in this writer’s opinion, to leave Shiv now. And where would he go, back to Minnesota with the Fly Guys? The Roys will probably make him sign 100 NDAs on his way out anyway. Tom has endured years of humiliation and abuse at their hands in exchange for prime positions at Waystar, and despite her coldness, he still loves Shiv. Her marriage is typically the last thing on Shiv’s mind, and she’s focused now on how to take down Roman and reclaim her place as the heir to her father’s kingdom. Just don’t let these two have kids.

Will Waystar merge with GoJo?

Honestly, this is probably the least pressing question as we end the season, but it could determine the direction of season four. From what Roman told Logan at the meeting in Milan (before the infamous d**k pic), Matsson wants a “merger of equals” rather than an acquisition. That’s a predicament for Logan, who likes to be the top dog wherever he goes. It’s hard to imagine him reneging even a modicum of power to a younger, greener man, even if it’s just for show. But he’s also shown himself to be slightly less obstinate this season. (He went from telling the FBI to “f**k off” to letting the FBI raid his offices!) Logan knows his company needs some more meat if it wants to stay relevant, even if it pains him to have less than 100% control over his creation.

Verdict: Maybe? Past deals haven’t gone well. The Pierce deal collapsed last season. Kendall’s acquisition of Vaulter turned sour when Logan told him to lay off all of its employees. Sandy (and Sandi) and Stewie were this close to excising the “Roy” out of Waystar Royco. It’s possible Logan could rub Matsson the wrong way or vice versa — or Matsson could just change his mind.

Will Willa accept Connor’s proposal?

Of course Con would propose at a wedding. Of course! His proposal is mostly a political strategy to protect his candidacy and fend off questions about Willa’s former line of work. She looks befuddled when he gets down on one knee, as though she’d never considered their arrangement-turned-relationship would turn once more into a marriage.

Verdict: Probably. She’ll commit herself to being potential First Lady because Con has the means to produce her shows (RIP, “Sands”). She seems to care about him, in a way, and we’ve seen her be protective of him throughout the season — Con WILL keep his jacket on, thank you very much! They’re an odd couple, but there’s genuine, if flawed, affection there.

Is anyone going to prison?

Anyone on this show could go to prison for any number of evil and/or illegal wrongdoings — coverups, manslaughter, document destruction, the “L to the OG” rap, among other crimes. What a way to end a wedding.

Verdict: I mean, definitely not, right? No one on this show ever gets their comeuppance because of their immense wealth and power. It’s like Tom told Kendall outside the diner — we’ve never seen Logan Roy get f****d once, and we probably never will. If he could easily wade through the cruise scandal, which Gerri, Frank and Karl warned at the beginning of the season was the worst crisis the company had ever faced, there’s no reason to believe Logan won’t just keep wading and winning, with the occasional UTI thrown in for some measure of karmic retribution.

Tom was the most likely candidate for prison at one point, and even though his marriage with Shiv has devolved into new levels of toxic, he’s likely too spineless to turn himself in. Greg is powerless enough to end up in the can, but he’s too busy climbing the “dating ladder” to be thinking about prison anymore.

But … If Kendall lives, appears on that podcast and comes clean about the waiter’s death, he might effectively turn himself in. He’s got nothing else to lose.

And finally, crucially — is the rabbit dead?

You remember the absolute unit of a rabbit Kendall gifted his kids earlier this season, typical billionaire absentee father stuff. Kendall told his kids’ nanny to feed a bagel to the rabbit, who we learn is aptly named Megathump, after his daughter complained. Naturally, the rabbit quickly became gravely ill after being fed said bagel against the nanny’s advice. It wasn’t looking good for poor Megathump during the shareholder meeting, and that was the last we heard about the massive bunny.

Verdict: We should have assumed the rabbit was dead after Kendall suggested getting his human-treating doctor to treat the rabbit — “if he can do people, he can do rabbits!” — because there’s no way Kendall is responsible enough to care for such a vulnerable living thing — it’s why Rava cares for their kids most of the time.

But maybe not: After the bagel debacle, Kendall’s kids did make him a present for his 40th birthday (that his handlers lost before it ever got to him) with rabbit wrapping paper. Would Sophie and Iverson really have gotten over the death of their beloved, if gone too soon, rabbit, quickly enough to gift him something emblazoned with its face? Perhaps not. Or perhaps they were sending Kendall a message — the rabbit’s death is your fault, Dad.

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