Contains spoilers for “Succession” season four, episode four.
Who was Logan Roy, really? The fourth episode of “Succession” season four finds his children making new discoveries about the man they thought they knew. Apparently, he played sudoku, and apparently, he named Kendall (Jeremy Strong) his successor.
After last week’s Earth-shattering death, the tightly contained “Honeymoon States” delivers sky high stakes and searing one-liners as the siblings come home to a haunted house full of “roses and rotting corpses,” as Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) so eloquently puts it.
Vultures gather for a private wake in the deceased patriarch’s New York penthouse, where the family must endure a lofty speech from major GOP donor Ron Petkus (Stephen Root) and decide who to back as interim CEO before the emergency board meeting. Meanwhile, the old guard is scheming in the kitchen and shooting down each other’s shameless bids for the coveted position.
Marcia (Hiam Abbass) finally returns from “shopping in Milan, forever” and wastes no time doling out passive aggressive zingers, proving once again that she is at her most powerful in Logan’s absence. An official cause of death is finally revealed: The billionaire CEO died of a pulmonary embolism while “fishing his iPhone from a clogged toilet,” according to Tom, but new mysteries abound when an unofficial will surfaces from Logan’s private safe.
The bombshell drops: Kendall Logan Roy is underlined — or possibly crossed out — as his father’s intended successor of Waystar Royco. No one has any clue what to make of this, least of all KLR. “He made me hate him and then he died,” he confesses to Frank (Peter Friedman), who comforts him just as he did when he first broke the devastating news over the phone. After a surprisingly teary hug from his oldest frenemy Stewy Hosseini (Arian Moayed), however, Kendall is ready to fight for the job and rally the troops behind him.
Roman (Kieran Culkin) and Shiv (Sarah Snook) are far less willing to give him their support, until Kendall concedes that it makes sense for co-COOs to step up together, and the two brothers leave Shiv behind in the dust. Tom pokes his head in at classically inopportune moments to assert that he’s “here to serve,” sucking up to both Ken and Rome now that he’s put all his eggs in a basket that’s soon to be six feet under.
Secretly pregnant and pushed out of the triumvirate, a rattled Shiv takes a tumble down the stairs. All the talk of fertility and egg-freezing near the end of season three, along with Snook’s baby bump reveal at the season four premiere, left fans wondering if a pregnancy storyline was in the works — and it seems they were right. Wounded from a humiliating day, she tries to hurt Tom, but he counters with, “You’ll regret it. Let me show you some kindness,” and recalls the beginning of their relationship with Austenian grace. Shiv is right to be wary, though, of his true intentions. It hurts to see a girlboss losing.
Marcia is similarly unwilling to let her guard down, as Greg announces the “distasteful” arrival of the other woman. A tearful Kerry (Zoe Winters) just wants to collect her things, but Marcia coldly refuses to let her upstairs and calls for “a taxi to the subway.” Roman is the only one who shows her a shred of kindness and helps salvage what’s left of her dignity, though it’s unclear if he has ulterior motives as well.
After the board officially approves the brothers’ joint ticket, Hugo (Fisher Stevens) and Karolina (Dagmara Domińczyk) join them for a huddle in Logan’s home office to discuss PR strategy, as everyone stares at the ominously empty desk before them. When presented with two options, Roman immediately vetoes the idea of undermining their late father’s position.
In typical Logan fashion, however, Kendall unilaterally okays the “bad dad” plan in secret, leveraging Hugo’s confession of family insider trading. Is he really stepping into his father’s enormous shoes, or is it a final stab at revenge to tarnish his reputation?
Still more questions remain. Which of the siblings will fly to Stockholm, and how will they manage to secure the GoJo deal? Can Connor (Alan Ruck) earn enough votes after his honeymoon tour of the swing states to become a legitimate presidential candidate, and who will win the hotly contentious election? If “Honeymoon States” ends with a score of Kendall 1, Roman 0, then Shiv is at -1 and Greg is still the biggest question mark of all.