So, Succession is ending. This is not a huge-huge surprise; two years ago, before Season 3 dropped, writer Georgia Pritchett mentioned that the show would likely go either four or five seasons. And Brian Cox has also said that he couldn’t imagine the Roy family saga stretching out beyond five seasons at the most.
Still, just because the news isn’t a surprise doesn’t mean it’s not a huge bummer. We only have nine days until the Season 4 premiere. That’s the beginning of the end! We only just got the Season 4 trailer! I only just started my critically acclaimed Succession recap series! How are we, the good people of Screen Speck, supposed to cultivate an audience of Succession fans if they’ve all got to read through tears?
Fortunately, one thing we can count on Succession for is a hyperabundance of story. The show manages to marry plot elements and character development in such specific ways and in such a myriad of ways that the density of a “standard” prestige drama is to your typical 10-episode Succession season as loblolly pine is to cocobolo. And, in keeping with typical teaser trailer fashion, our first look at the upcoming episodes doesn’t actually tell us much about the Succession Season 4 plot.
Here, then, is a totally serious, 100% legitimate List of Things The Succession Season 4 Plot Needs to Include for the show to conclude successfully. As always, feel free to remind me of anything & everything I may have forgotten in the comments or on the Waystaresque sinking ship otherwise known as Twitter.
1. Waystar dies
But Logan doesn’t.
2. Kendall doesn’t die (!)
But he does consider faking his own death to get Roman and Shiv to stay united against Logan. (Also to hear Rava say something nice about him at his funeral.)
3. Gerri retires and moves to Tuscany
Roman jokes that Italian men are famous for living with their mothers well into adulthood. Gerri, realizing at last what it will take to get Roman away from her, tells him that while he isn’t Italian, he’s too good a man to spend the rest of his life begging for a mother to sexualize him. And that she thinks he would make a great father and she hopes he reconnects with his kids one day.
4. Shiv separates from Tom
She goes on a series of increasingly desperate dates with John Wingsnight-type fellows who are either too obviously greedy in their lust for her fortune or too deathly boring in their tired satisfaction with The Good Life that she can’t even get a response by kicking them around.
5. Roman concocts a plan to get Gerri back
He calls Shiv to tell her they need Gerri’s knowledge and expertise to sue Matsson for breach of contract over an arcane legal detail that Shiv isn’t sure about the existence of. He says he needs to practice his pitch to get Gerri back and asks Shiv to role play as Gerri. As Shiv gets more and more into the performance, taking her frustration with her husband and the general futility of her situation out on her brother, Roman strokes himself to orgasm not once, not twice, but three times without Shiv seeming to notice. (This is the scene that will win both Kieran Culkin and Sarah Snook their first Emmys.)
6. Tom gets a bachelor pad in Brooklyn and starts talking to himself
After his upstairs neighbors complain that his monologues are robbing them of sleep, Tom decides to get a dog. He names the dog Wellstone. He spends a delightful evening throwing tennis balls around the apartment for Wellstone to chase and goes to sleep happy. Then he takes Wellstone to work with him the next day, Logan yells at him, and Tom gives the dog away to Greg, with orders to “never let [him] see that fucking mutt again.”
7. Colin reveals he’s been working on a memoir
Logan gets wind of this and tries to buy it from him with “more money than God ever heard of.” Colin agrees and presents Logan with a garbage bag full of manuscript pages, a hard drive, and a red notebook full of indecipherable scratchings. Logan gives Colin a briefcase full of money. He also introduces Colin to his younger, bigger, silenter body man and refers to him as “my new you.” Colin walks backward out of the room and the whole way down to the parking garage; then, thinking better of it, he abandons his car and continues his backward retreat down the sidewalk away from Waystar HQ.
8. Greg takes care of Wellstone as best he can for a few days
(If by “takes care” you mean “feeds goldfish crackers to” and “designates a poop room for.”) Then he tries to give Wellstone away to each of the Roy kids, none of whom show any interest except for Connor, who promptly forgets about the dog when Willa gives him an engagement present of an ice cream parlor that specializes in enormous banana splits.
9. Jess overhears that Connor thinks taking Wellstone would be “a good thing for the kids”
Meaning the kids he wants to have with Willa. So she steals the dog from Greg under the pretense of taking him for a walk to see Kendall’s kids and flees the city with a Waystar credit card and a company car she long ago registered under the name L. O. Gan. With Wellstone by her side and a lifetime’s worth of sour memories at her back, she sets out for “the remotest place [she] can find.” She’s last seen on the Canadian plains, driving the speed limit and smiling.
10. Matsson makes good on his promise to structure GoJo’s buyout “so fucking nice” for Logan
And he does indeed keep Roman on as a high-ranking financial adviser. But Roman’s competence becomes flailing indifference when he no longer has an actual father figure to try and please, and he’s quickly let go with a cushy golden parachute.
11. While dropping by Connor’s New Mexico ranch
to pick up the wedding ring for Willa that Connor forgot to pack, Cousin Greg finds himself transfixed by the sight of dozens of hot air balloons cresting over the Sangre de Cristo as gently as a mother fitting her newborn with a skullcap that says, “If This Crib’s A-Rockin, Fuck Off.” He seeks out their source, discovers the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, and pays his way onboard a rickety vessel captained by a sketchy, Ahabesque figure who promises to “take [Greg] where he needs to be.” As the balloon ascends, a fierce north wind picks up; the other balloons cut their gas and return to the safety of Earth, but Ahab, against Greg’s feeble protests, instead cuts his sandbags and lets his balloon continue skyward. In a mid-credits scene, investigators discover the balloon wreckage in a farmer’s field, its two occupants long-since frozen to death with twisted smiles upon their faces. The lead investigator speculates that the two likely held out for hours as the balloon flew out of the troposphere and reached the punishing temperature inversion that marks the stratosphere’s beginning, at which point the turbulence would have been too much for the frail vehicle, and it began the rapid descent from which recovery was all but impossible. “In other words,” the investigator says, blowing ice from his mustache on this unseasonably cold autumn morning, “they reached the bottom of the top.”
12. And finally, these five words:
Waystar Employee Cafeteria Food Fight. Jesse Armstrong, there’s still plenty of time to reshoot Succession‘s final scene.