What Happened on The Finale of Succession: Who Wins in the Series Finale?

Find out “What Happened on The Finale of Succession?” It was tonight that HBO’s most critically acclaimed show, Succession, came to a close after four seasons, and there were many loose ends to tie up — not just for the many character arcs and storylines for this season but for the entire Roy family’s tumultuous journey as well.

The fourth season has revolved around the selling of Waystar to Lukas Matsson and GoJo, along with the unexpected death of the domineering and larger-than-life patriarch of the family, Logan Roy. But several subplots had been developing throughout the final season that needed some closure, including Shiv’s (Sarah Snook) pregnancy, her betrayal of her brothers, and the status of her love/hate relationship with her husband Tom Wambsgans.

Also at play was the suddenly shaky foundation surrounding the alliance of Kendall (Jeremy Strong) and Roman (Kieran Culkin), who had joined forces on behalf of their deceased father in dealing with the sale/merger of the family company.

What Happens With the Waystar-GoJo Deal?

What Happened on The Finale of Succession: Who Wins in the Series Finale?
Image via HBO

As the penultimate episode concluded last week, Kendall was in the process of surreptitiously putting together his own little cabal of associates and preparing to move forward ahead of his suddenly emotional and floundering younger brother, Roman, who has been smacked in the face with the reality of his father’s death and experiencing a combination of grief and feelings of inadequacy. His breakdown has paved the way for Kendall to go full Logan in his dealings with Matsson. Shiv is also in the process of trying to capitalize on a singular partnership with Matsson to become the American CEO of the newly merged GoJo/Waystar Royco multimedia conglomerate.

As we see in the opening sequence of the finale, Kendall is in the process of scrambling to get enough votes from the Board of Directors to torpedo the planned merger with GoJo, and the tension is high. Meanwhile, Shiv is fully on board with Team GoJo, having been promised the CEO position, so she is also trying to curry the votes to push the deal through as planned. The emotionally “fragile” and vulnerable Roman is now a vote that can be had either way, having run home to their mother Caroline (Harriet Walter) after cracking under the stress. Kendall, Shiv, and Roman have a summit in the form of sunset cocktails on the patio and a family dinner at the house, and each sibling presents their case for Roman’s pivotal vote. The thrust of the finale is getting to see the Roy kids finally appear to drop all the pretenses with each other and enjoy one another’s company.

Tom Finds Himself in a Position to Betray Shiv (Again)

Image via HBO

The relationship between Shiv and Tom ran from really hot to freezing cold for the majority of Succession‘s four seasons. Heading into the finale, it had never been more chilly as the two proved to be way too toxic for each other. Unfortunately, the relationship is crumbling just as Shiv has become pregnant with the couple’s child, which has added a whole new dimension to the discord. The two begin the finale with Shiv trying to extend an olive branch to Tom and floating the idea that they get back together, but Mr. Wambsgans is understandably a little gun-shy and wary of Shiv’s ulterior motives. He’s also pushing the hard sell of himself to Lukas Matsson to keep him on if the GoJo deal does go through. Matsson lobs a massive curveball at Tom by offering him the CEO job instead of Shiv. Tom the yes-man has never been so full of affirmatives to whatever his potential boss throws out and doesn’t appear to have much of a problem with the new potential arrangement if it means he has the job.

Greg’s Journey Wraps With a Huge Piece of Information

Image via HBO

As the fourth season finally saw Greg (Nicholas Braun) stumble and stammer his way into a meaningful, but still very awkward, part of the Waystar family, the finale reveals that he is still in a position of vulnerability and making himself available as Tom’s sounding board/punching bag. After learning the new plan from Matsson, Tom begins to string the gullible young Greg along, telling him he may be able to “keep him on” but with a significant pay cut. But Greg is a step ahead of Tom and dealing information to Kendall on the down low about Matsson’s willingness to pass over Shiv as CEO in favor of a more tractable and experienced candidate. And just like that, the Roy kiddos plus Greg are a unified foursome to drown the deal — and it is Greg who had the intel. Who would have thought?

The “Greybeards” Have a Final Say of Their Own


They’ve been called everything from “tribal elders” to “greybeards” in the rocky final season, but Gerri (J. Cameron Smith), Karl (David Rasche), and Frank (Peter Friedman) have more than held their own as the liaison group between the Roy kids and the Waystar Board of Directors throughout. They’ve refused to be pushed to the side and have even taken some liberties with some of the disrespectful and irreverent behavior of the younger heirs to the throne now that Logan is no longer looming over their shoulders. Karl has given Kendall a piece of his mind, while Gerri’s girl-boss attitude in dealing with Roman has likely contributed to his sniveling breakdown. When Roman sees her in the finale, he has an anxiety attack and breaks down again. His shit is finally coming to the surface, and the facade of his silver-tongued Machiavellian snobbery gives way to the realization that he isn’t mentally tough enough for the top job — but the senior associates stick to their guns and vote yes to the deal that would allow them all to retire with a massive financial package.

The Final Scenes, Explained

Once it is made abundantly clear that the Roys have to rally around each other and put forth a single candidate as the successor to the Waystar crown, the game is afoot. Kendall makes a strong argument for himself over the “not ready for primetime” Roman or the recently discarded CEO-in-waiting Shiv. And perhaps as a fait accompli of the various kingmaker machinations over the entirety of the four-season run, Kendall becomes the selection to represent Team Roy. The thrust of the finale is getting to see the Roy kids finally appear to drop all the pretenses with each other and enjoy each other’s company, laughing and being real with each other for maybe the first time. The three meet up with Connor (Alan Ruck) and Willa (Justine Lupe) and hole up at Logan’s penthouse apartment to strategize and watch some funny old home videos of their dad and “the greybeards” enjoying lighter moments together. As they watch the video, there is a heartwarming feel of family in the room and silence as the kids get to share a warm moment together watching Logan sing a tune — until Tom shows up and reveals to Shiv that Matsson tapped him over her as CEO, and then all hell breaks loose.

Jeremy Strong as Kendall Roy in the finale of Succession.
Image via HBO

The Roys gather around the table for a meeting along with the Board of Directors and the Roys make their case to refuse the deal. Frank moves that the board move directly to a vote. The camera moves around the table with each voting with a “yes” to the GoJo deal or a “no.” When all the votes fall as planned, and they get to Shiv with the tiebreaking vote, Shiv panics and exits the conference room. Kendall and Roman talk to Shiv, and she reveals that she is now waffling on her vote to screw Matsson and the GoJo deal. Shiv finally says she doesn’t think Kendall would be a good fit for the job. She even brings up the fact that Kendall is actually a murderer — referencing the Season 3 finale when he confessed to killing someone, and can’t possibly be “the guy” for the job. Kendall absolutely loses it, yelling at Shiv and physically assaulting Roman. It is a temper tantrum of the highest order fit for a five-year-old. When Frank confirms that the deal with GoJo is moving forward thanks to Shiv’s vote, dark Kendall returns, and he is in a stupor of disbelief. After the vote, Tom enters and starts to make decisions over who he plans to keep as the new CEO of Waystar, even making amends with Greg. Tom, Karl, and Frank pose for pictures next to Matsson as the new leadership of GoJo and applause breaks out.

Roman quickly signs the deal with Matsson and has a stiff drink afterward. Tom and Shiv reunite in the back of a black SUV and join hands while refusing to look at one another — and finally, Kendall wanders down to the ocean’s edge with his father’s former bodyguard Colin (Scott Nicholson) following behind. He sits on a nearby bench and looks despondent, staring out at the water as the camera pans to a final profile shot. The thing that resonates the most is how everything in Kendall’s life leading up to this final moment has meant nothing. He has lost his wife, his kids, his self-confidence, and now his father’s company — and it’s a cut to black and the end credits roll, bringing an end to the wild and entertaining ride that Succession has given audiences since 2018.

All episodes of Succession are available to stream on Max.

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