TV review: 'Succession' Season 4 premiere fires up new alliances, rivalries

From left, Sarah Snook, Kieran Culkin and Jeremy Strong star in "Succession." Photo courtesy of HBO
1 of 6 | From left, Sarah Snook, Kieran Culkin and Jeremy Strong star in "Succession." Photo courtesy of HBO

LOS ANGELES, March 22 (UPI) -- The fourth season premiere of Succession, airing Sunday at 9 p.m. EDT on HBO, is spoiler heavy. Even without specific details, the nature of the scenes makes for compelling drama and classic Succession.

The last time viewers saw the Roy family, Logan (Brian Cox) cut siblings Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Shiv (Sarah Snook) and Roman (Kieran Culkin) out of their inherited shares of the family company, Waystar Royco.


Doing so enabled Logan to merge with GoJo without his children's opposition. The Season 4 premiere addresses those developments and introduces new ones.

The premise of Succession is Logan reluctantly deciding which of his children can take over the Roy empire. His latest actions have pushed them out even further, but it doesn't take long for them to find a new path.


The three siblings plan a new business venture, whose details speak to recent developments in the modern tech world. Though ostensibly on the same side now, Shiv and Roman continue their familiar insult banter.

Meanwhile, Kendall projects a level of enthusiasm that suggests he's still masking major insecurities.

Given that the three siblings let their guard down with each other, they will pause the bravado when one experiences an actual traumatic development. They show more genuine support for each other than in the past, though it's still fleeting.

It is fun to see these three characters together. There are still heated discussions about the new business, but they are plotting together, not against each other.

Meanwhile, their half-brother Connor's (Alan Ruck) presidential bid only becomes more absurd as it develops. Connor's proposal to Willa (Justine Lupe) in the season finale means he's dragging her into his hail-Mary campaign.

Cousin Greg's (Nicholas Braun) introduction in Season 4 gets him immediately scolded by Logan's assistant, Kerry (Zoe Winters). Greg gets magnificently flustered in a subplot that ratchets up the cringe comedy.

Greg's Waystar Royco colleague Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) also misses no opportunity to roast Greg for his mistakes. Which brings the season premiere to Tom.


The Season 3 finale suggested it was Tom, Shiv's husband, who alerted Logan to the siblings' plan to prevent his merger. The first scene between Shiv and Tom in the season premiere is appropriately fraught.

However, it appears Shiv is still avoiding having a direct confrontation with Tom until she simply cannot dodge it any longer. The audience won't have to wait another week for Tom and Shiv to address the elephant in the room, whichever elephant it may be.

The season premiere builds to a negotiation between Logan, the siblings and a third party. It escalates tensely, emboldens some of Logan's trademark rants, and propels the season towards more dramatic confrontations.

Succession creator Jesse Armstrong announced that Season 4 will be the show's last, but so far there appears to be no indication that the drama is wrapping up. It is only the beginning of the season, so signs of closure will likely come closer to the final episodes.

Succession airs Sundays at 9 p.m. EDT on HBO.

Fred Topel, who attended film school at Ithaca College, is a UPI entertainment writer based in Los Angeles. He has been a professional film critic since 1999, a Rotten Tomatoes critic since 2001 and a member of the Television Critics Association since 2012. Read more of his work in Entertainment.


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