Succession Season 4, Episode 4 Recap: The Death of a “Conservative Giant”
The Waystar Royco contingent flails about as they attempt to move forward without their oppressive guiding light.
They’re really not going to make it easy to say goodbye to this show, are they? Following episode three, which is now being heralded as one of the best pieces of television history, it seemed impossible that Jesse Armstrong could keep up the momentum. Boy, was I wrong. “Honeymoon States” picks up just a day after the death of Logan Roy, meaning the emotions are still raw, and the fight for power is just beginning (or the “coronation demolition derby,” as Shiv so aptly puts it). Once again, we got a fairly stationary episode, with 99 percent of the action taking place in Logan’s apartment, but these 60 minutes were dynamic nonetheless, skipping back and forth between the processing of grief and the struggle for power (at times within the same person). Every character is toeing the line between sadness and mouth-watering desire—some hiding it better than others—as they are forced to come together and mourn a man they all loved to hate. The result is another episode of the duplicitous dealings and quotable lines we’ve come to expect from Succession.
“Where’s Kerry?” “Inside Marcia’s trunk, inside an anaconda, inside a sarcophagus.”
Episode four taught us that the only way to extricate a woman from a perpetual shopping trip to Milan is the death of her billionaire not-yet-ex-husband. “Honeymoon States” brought the return of Marcia, who seemed all too eager to play the role of the grieving widow if it meant cashing that check for “between 60 and 70 million” for the apartment another woman was living in just a day prior. Was Marcia telling the truth about her post-split relationship with Logan? Neither of the two really seem like the type to have intimate conversations every evening, but what does Marcia have to gain from lying—other than the pity of others? Legally, she has all the leverage she needs to walk away from these funeral proceedings a multimillionaire, as it seems like her divorce from Logan wasn’t finalized just yet.
It’s also possible she just wants one final moment of power over this group of people who treated her so poorly over the years. She couldn’t give up the opportunity to exact control over the Waystar group, and she likely wanted to make sure Kerry didn’t get one piece of that ginormous pie. I wouldn’t be surprised if, after this episode, Marcia flies back to Milan, pleased with her evening of dominance, never to be heard from again.
“You’re a clumsy interloper and no one trusts you. The only guy pulling for you is dead, and now, you’re just married to the ex-boss’ daughter, and she doesn’t even like you. And you are fair and squarely fucked.”
Jesus Karl, what a harsh, yet extremely accurate takedown of Tom. We saw this quote in the mid-season trailer released after last episode, but it hits harder in the context of the scene, paired with Tom’s attempts to swallow the information along with the fish taco he’s stuffed into his mouth. This is just the beginning of a rough episode for Tom, who likely knows he’s in trouble following Logan’s death. I have to give it to him, though, his attempts to stay relevant are valiant. He puts in time with each of the Roy siblings, making sure to spread his seed effectively and ensure a safe position for himself no matter who takes over (unfortunately, the question of whether it’s his seed that was literally spread in Shiv is not answered in the one hour). For the most part, though, all three Roy siblings are fairly dismissive of “lip balm Tom Wamb,” forcing him back to a comfortable position: in the corner of the room making dirty jokes with Greg.
“The Honeymoon States”
The Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, and Pennsylvania boards of tourism must love this one. Forget flyover, purple, swing—in the 2024 election, we’re calling them honeymoon states. Willa delivered the episode title so beautifully, with a sarcastic tone and a flip of her blond locks, cocking her neck to show off her questionable choker. It seems that this is how she feels about her life now. Yes, she’s officially wealthy (which, by the way, makes her choice of attire all the more offensive in the context), soon to be living in a $63 million apartment, but still at the whim of a rich loon. Hey, at least now her mom will never be without a groaning plate.
“Dad sounds amazing, I would have liked to have met Dad.”
Logan’s death has brought up a lot of interesting themes surrounding grief and remembering a flawed figure. We saw it when Shiv, Kendall, and Roman each attempted to say their last words to their father as he laid dead on the plane. Could all be forgotten in a matter of moments? Likely not, but that surely wasn’t the time to air their grievances. And now that he’s officially gone, how is Logan to be remembered? It would be nice to think of him fondly, but that seems wholly impossible given the person he was. The newspapers can do it, using coded language to disguise the true nature of an extremely influential man. “A complicated man” turns into “he threw phones at staff.” “Sharp reader of the national mood” translates to “he’s a bit racist” and “business genius” simply means “he never paid a penny in U.S. taxes.” It’s all fun and games for the Roy siblings, as they read over the “reviews” and watch the media lie to the public about their father. Less easy, however, is the ability to lie to themselves.
“He made me hate him, and he died. I feel like he didn’t like me. I disappointed him.”
When Kendall learns that his father, at one point, wanted him to take over the company, he clearly moves through an emotional process, trying to determine what this says about Logan’s view of him prior to his death. It seems like after speaking with his “grief guy,” Kendall was doing pretty well in gathering his thoughts on his father’s passing. In what has now become his weekly touch of reality, Kendall is able to speak openly to Karl about Logan. But that paper changes everything, and if it was an underline (as opposed to the hypothesized cross-out), that means even more recently, Logan doubled down on his support for Ken. As we see at the end of the episode, though, even Kendall doesn’t know what to make of the mark on the page, and this will likely send the second-eldest son—who has always been just teetering on the edge of a breakdown—into another spiral. This, of course, begs the question, was the underline/cross-out simply an old man struggling to keep his hand still, or one more manipulative effort from Logan, who knew the response to it would tear apart his family once he departed the world? I mean, just moments beforehand, the siblings were laughing at his expense—but who’s laughing now?
“He’s got three Gauguins no one’s seen for tax reasons.” “I think his suggestion was, it might be smart, tax-wise, to just leave them in the Geneva vault.” “Why not just burn them for the insurance, no?” “Yeah, that would be the dream, financially speaking.”
I have nothing interesting to say about this, it’s just a great exchange and a terrifying peek into the wealthy’s commodification of the art world.
“Colin does jeans?” “Yeah, he doesn’t know what the fuck to do with himself. Look at his arms.”
It’s safe to say we’ve all been in awe of the minds behind Succession this season, especially after that masterpiece of a third episode. It’s possible, though, that I am most impressed by Armstrong and his team’s ability to always know the points that are going to hit with their audience. Colin was the unexpected breakout star of the season’s first few episodes, and he almost stole the entirety of episode three with one seconds-long scene. Surely, the image of him entering Logan’s home for the first time following his death, looking like “a dog without its person” will please Twitter greatly.
“Oh god, here come the waterworks.”
Logan hardly made Greg feel like one of the family, but with the patriarch gone, the gangly cousin seems to be aimlessly flailing about—even more so than usual. It isn’t until around the episode’s 40-minute mark when Greg finds the role he was born to take on within the Roy family—that of the bitchy sidekick. Greg standing by Marcia’s side, talking down to Kerry at her lowest moment is, I’m sorry to say, impeccable. Greg’s insults toward Kerry aren’t even good. Anyone else in that family would be throwing verbal daggers in her direction, but Greg can’t muster anything better than, “Oh dear. Look who has crawled out of the woodwork.” I mean, even Marcia can do better than that, though her lines less walk the line of humor and insult and more so just fall into the insult category. “We’re calling her a taxi to the subway so that she can go home to her little apartment.” Way harsh, Marsh.
Honestly, like Marcia, Greg just seems happy to have any power over Kerry after she scolded him in episode two. Still, he seems comfortable by Marcia’s side. And considering no one else in the family wants him around, maybe he’ll make a smart decision for once and follow Marcia back to Milan, to pass his days as her sassy aide, whispering “It’s so distasteful” anytime something doesn’t please her.