Succession: our power rankings – who’s up and who’s down now that everything is to play for?
HUGE Succession season 1-4 spoilers below
It’s been a crazy couple of weeks for Succession fans ever since episode three absolutely blew the lid off the remainder of the series. Just as the drama of Connor’s wedding was getting going, Logan Roy, patriarch and chief executive of Waystar Royco, died on board his jet as he was travelling to Sweden to see GoJo boss Lukas Matsson.
Then, in episode four, new plotlines kept on opening up, as we found out Shiv was pregnant, that Logan had, at one point, named Kendall as his successor, and as Roman and Kendall were later made Waystar Royco’s new interim CEOs. Now, in episode eight it’s the day of the US presidential race and ATN is trying to provide top quality coverage of all the unfolding drama.
But without Logan, all of the power structures that we’ve become so comfortable with (Logan and Tom, Logan and Kerry, the sibs, the cronies all bowing down to Logan) have crumbled.
So who is going to be the ultimate successor? And who has all the power here? Here’s our own power ranking, which will be updated after every episode.
1. Roman Roy
We can barely believe it either, but Roman is at the top spot this week. During episode eight, he wangled it so that everything he wanted to happen during ATN’s coverage of the presidential election, happened. He wanted Wisconsin to be called for the Republicans, and it was. He wanted Arizona to go to the Republicans, and it did. He wanted Kendall to back Menken, and his big brother – in the end – agreed. He wanted Menken to be president and he wanted ATN to call it early, and he got his way.
Roman’s character arc has been a total rollercoaster this season: there have been moments when he’s seemed incredibly endearing and caring (he was genuinely kind to Kerry in the foyer during Logan’s wake, and was sweet to Connor at his rehearsal dinner too). There have been moments when he’s been serious and effective, and then others where he has simply been immature (such as when he flew off the handle speaking to Matsson in Norway, or when he flipped out at Shiv at Connor’s wedding).
In episodes six and seven he showed he wasn’t up to the CEO job, firing Waystar Studios’ boss Joy Palmer as well as Gerri. He seemed uncaring and rudderless, mostly just going along with his older brother’s schemes. It was hard to discern whether this is out of compassion for Kendall, whether it was a case of old habits die hard, whether he had no better ideas of his own, or whether he actually did not care that much about Waystar Rocyo’s future.
Then in episode eight he was brash, irresponsibly blasé, and became a totally unsympathetic character, almost returning to a season one version of himself. Now he’s in the strongest position he’s been in yet as the co-CEO of Waystar Royco, and with the man who is likely to be president in his pocket.
2. Kendall Roy
Kendall has always only ever wanted to run Waystar Royco. Now he’s actually the boss, as joint interim CEO, he’s the closest to his goal that he’s ever been – though he wants it all for himself. In episode six we saw a mania about this fact start to take hold of him, as his imagination ran wild over the company’s new real estate product and its LA launch.
Then in episode eight, we once again saw his ambitions cloud his judgment. He had the choice of choosing right or wrong: to wait and find out about the 100,000 lost Milwaukee votes before calling Wisconsin, or backing the candidate who doesn’t sympathise with racist groups. But – albeit after some hesitation – and a hissy fit with Shiv, he chose the side that was most likely to block the GoJo takeover, who cares about the consequences for America (and his family). It was an insane thing to watch.
Now it’s all who will take the crown solo. In Tailgate Party, he said he’d be happy to step over Shiv and Roman to bomb the GoJo deal, saying, “I love them, but I’m not in love with them” to Frank.
Now that Roman and Menken look like a cosy team, the last two episodes are going to be all about whether Kendall succeeds in his plan to smash the deal and push his brother out of the way. Which way is it going to go?
3. Gregory Hirsch
Yes, you’re reading it correctly, we’ve put Greg at number three. Greg was one of the most important characters in America Decides; without his input, Kendall would not have known about Shiv’s collaboration with Matsson, and without this information firing him up, Kendall might not have backed Roman in calling for Menken. Did Greg just change American history forever?
Previously it was pretty clear that if Matsson did end up buying ATN, Greg would be out of a job. But after the Tailgate Party, where Greg and Matsson’s crew went partying, it seems like Matsson no longer thinks Greg’s such a dud. This doesn’t mean Greg has a bright future at GoJo, but it does mean that whatever way the GoJo deal goes, Greg is likely to survive, which isn’t the case for other members of the Waystar Royco team. The way he tried to bribe Shiv – although his attempts were unsuccessful, it’s still Greg after all – also showed that he’s grown in confidence in a big way.
Plus, he’s part of the family, which gives him some kind of sway in matters, even if only very minutely. Then there’s his history that should be considered: photocopying papers and bribing Tom because of the photocopied papers. Deleting files that are called ‘logistics’ (or did he?). There are few things that Greg won’t do, which does make him quite dangerous in his own scattergun, Greg-let way.
4. Tom Wambsgans
In a major week for the ATN boss, Tom has leapt from the bottom of our rankings to number four. Over the past couple of weeks, he was clearly on the out with no side willing to claim him – and it became especially clear that if the GoJo deal went through he was going to be thrown on the rubbish heap.
However, in episode eight the tables have turned. Menken, the Republicans, the CE-Bros and ATN are in, while the Democrats, Jiménez, GoJo and Shiv are essentially out. It means that Tom, as the head of ATN – and in the end he did a good job of conducting the coverage of election night, other than those few frenzied issues with the touchscreens – may be able to keep his job. Despite the fact that Kendall and Roman don’t exactly respect him, it’s a major shift from how his fate was looking after other episodes this season.
His next challenge is facing up to the fact that he’s going to be a father. When the reality sinks in, will this information change his future proceedings or allegiances?
Going way down
Shiv, who we ranked at number one last week has fallen all the way down to fifth place after America Decides.
Her collaboration with Matsson – which was to secure her a job at GoJo after the acquisition – is starting to look like a mistake: last week we found out that Matsson’s business isn’t quite as successful as it initially seemed, which could sink the deal completely. If the news gets out, the stock price will tank and half of his offer to buy Waystar was in stock… Then this week Menken seems to have won the election and he says he’ll block the deal for Roman. Shiv’s shiny role at the top of GoJo 2.0 is looking pretty unlikely.
Then, the sadness between her and Tom boiled over, as she told him she was pregnant and he asked her if it was a power play. After last week’s fallout on the balcony we thought we’d seen the worst of the married couple, but his response here may be even worse.
Of course, we still massively back Shiv, as she’s undoubtedly the most competent Roy. She’s clever, hardworking, and we know she has excellent contacts in both business and politics. And, at the end of the day, she has shares and a seat on the board. But despite being tough and wily, this week she dropped out of the top three.
For a while the fate of everyone’s lives was in the hands of Matsson – would he or wouldn’t he make the deal? If he pushed through the GoJo deal there’d be no Waystar Royco for the Roys to fight over, but they would have PGM to make their own. And until this week it looked very much like Matsson was going to land the deal, after he tabled an eye-watering deal.
But episode eight showed Matsson in his weakest position yet. Not only are GoJo’s subscriber figures seriously shonky (though Matsson seems supremely unbothered by this), but it looks like the next president is likely to block the deal anyway. Menken’s team have agreed to try and take it down using regulatory methods, which certainly doesn’t sound positive. Shiv knows that she and Matsson are seriously in trouble. With only two weeks left to go, and with Menken heading to the White House, they are running out of time to sort it all out.
Connor has a seat on the board, shares in Waystar Royco, and his siblings do (mildly) take him into account. But he has been interested in political power, and in this episode – as if it hadn’t been clearly going to happen – all that power drains away.
Staying in the race to be president, rather than accepting the nice plum diplomat job from Menken in the previous episode, was a terrible miscalculation. And now that he has bowed out of the race, he is returning to the (presumed) president elect with his begging bowl out.
Willa is married to Connor now which means she’s suddenly way more influential than she was at the beginning of the series. She now has a legal right to loads of Connor’s money (while we don’t know about the prenup she signed, even if it’s incredibly tight, we’re still talking millions) and Connor, who has a seat on the board and shares in Waystar Royco, does listen to Willa. We see this in episode seven when everyone is putting pressure on Connor to bow out of the presidential race. Willa is the only one to back her husband, and in the end he follows her advice and decides to push on. Though now that advice has proved a bust. If Connor’s influence is plummeting, then so too is Willa’s.
Gerri is absolutely our pick of Logan’s cronies – she just quietly commands respect. When GoJo sent the list of executives that they will be firing if the acquisition goes through, Gerri was not on it, while Frank and Karl were. Clearly, the young super Scandis can see, as we can, that Gerri rules.
We didn’t see Gerri this week because she’s currently in the process of leaving the company after being fired by Roman – although Roman says he didn’t mean it – and presumably about to take them all to the cleaners. Gerri wants hundreds of millions of dollars, and threatens to bring the dick pics into the leaving package negotiations if she doesn’t get offered a figure she’s happy with. Surely Gerri can’t really leave – Waystar Royco needs her. Gerri remains, without a doubt, the most powerful non-family member in the company.
Is Frank powerful enough to be in the running for the successor of the company? No, absolutely not. But could he back Kendall, and have real influence on the future of the company? Yes. And Kendall keeps looking to him as an almost proxy-father figure – and presumably would give him a decent role in Waystar if he took full control.
Frank has also been around for so long, we can only imagine the piles of dirt he has on Logan and others and how he could use this against the sibs to work in his favour. Up to now, they’ve all been gunning for the same goal, i.e. GoJo, so there’s been no need for such dirty behaviour. But if the deal implodes, he has no golden parachute, and Frank is forced to choose between Kendall and Roman (and we’re assuming after the chat at the end of Tailgate Party he’d choose Kendall), who knows what he’ll be capable of?
There’s a reason Karl has been one of Logan’s top confidants for years, as we finally got a glimpse of it in episode six as he told Kendall, “If you say anything that I don’t like up there, or make me look foolish. I’ll f***ing squeal.” A shark move indeed; it marked the end of Karl walking on eggshells around the younger Roys.
Previously we judged Karl as being like Frank, only slightly less nice and with less of a backbone. The way he took down Tom in episode four was pretty brutal, however accurate his comments may be. And his conversation with Frank about not wanting to lose out on his “package” because he’s halfway in on a Greek island also did not paint him in a great light.
When it comes to power Karl, it seems, does actually have some. What might he squeal about if Kendall makes the deal implode? We can only begin to imagine.
Matsson’s head of comms, the mysterious and much put upon Ebba, joined our power rankings last week. Why? Well, we reckon that if Ebba spills all her secrets Matsson might be in real trouble.
By basically just mentioning the word India on the balcony in episode seven she pointed Kendall and Roman towards GoJo’s inflated Indian subscriber figures, which has given the CE-Bros some major ammo. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what she knows about Matsson. Will Ebba stay loyal to the Swede, or will she reveal more to the Roys?
Week after week, Karolina keeps proving she’s extremely competent. And, just like Gerri, she isn’t on GoJo’s kill list. She’s previously backed Gerri, so although Gerri looks like she might actually quit, we should still keep an eye on Karolina and Gerri joining forces in a future split between the cronies. Those two would surely be unbeatable.
We all know why Hugo is kept around: because he’s that creepy guy who’ll do anyone’s dirty work. He’s got himself in a tangle with the insider trading business which came to light at the wake, and now he’s working freelance for Kendall behind the scenes.
He was particularly pathetic in episode five when he was sizing up his equivalent at GoJo – an ex-Olympian – telling his team that the Scandinavian could be a choker because he missed winning bronze by a couple of seconds. No surprise to find Hugo on the GoJo kill list.
In episode eight he did have a rather memorable heckle for for the American electoral process though.
In the background
Power-wise, Marcia has a lot of influence. From what we can gather, she’s still legally married to Logan, and so is likely to have a large say over what happens to his estate (though of course, they would have had a prenup, and there will be a will).
The way she sells Logan’s apartment in a second to Connor in episode four, the way she tells Kendall that she and Logan spoke intimately every night, and the way she throws Kerry out, all show that we’re only seeing the beginning of Marcia’s devilish machinations.
However, we should note that when the Roys are talking about the overwhelming number of requests they have for Logan’s funeral in Tailgate Party, it’s Marcia’s requests that are the first to be thrown out. It showed that she is very low down in their priorities.
Stewy is always there, lingering in the background. In episode four his seat on the Waystar Rocyo board, and his friendship with Kendall, suddenly made him a bit of a power player. Sure, he isn’t in the running for the top spot. But it was really his backing of Kendall (and Roman) in the final meeting that managed to sway the board to back the Roy brothers and make them the joint interim CEOs.
So did Kendall make an off-screen deal with Stewy? And will Kendall now owe his old college mate? Why did Stewy back Kendall? Both men are only in it for themselves, which means Stewy is likely to be up to something. We haven’t seen or heard about him since, but he’s sure to pop up again very soon.
Oh what a fall, Kerry. Logan’s girlfriend looked like she was flying high at the beginning of the season, and now she’s right at the bottom of our power rankings. She’s lost everything now that Logan has died, and by the looks of it, Marcia is going to make sure she’s not going to get anywhere near his estate – she wouldn’t even let her go upstairs to collect her things at Logan’s wake.
At the wake Kerry said to Roman that Logan was making arrangements for them to marry. Do we believe her? Is there any proof anywhere? And if there is, can she use this to make a case for herself? At the moment it seems unlikely. Poor old Kerry. She’s out.
Why oh why did we hear so much about Connor’s mother at the beginning of the series? She’s been brought up in several episodes, and we reckon it’s not for nothing. Her background? We know that Logan got her shipped off to a mental institution and Connor never forgave his dad for it. We don’t know if she’s died. But what if now she suddenly pops up? Will she have some sort of say in the proceedings? Does she own any shares and even if not, will she be able to influence Connor to, for example, vote against his siblings in an important board meeting? What does it all mean?
The Pierces’ power is rapidly dwindling. Sure, they agreed to a $10 billion PGM buyout deal with the younger Roys, which they can back out of at any time, totally destroying Kendall, Roman and Shiv’s plans. But, if we’re being honest, we think that the GoJo deal will fold and PGM will be out of the picture pretty soon.
Lady Caroline Collingwood
Shiv, Kendall and Roman’s mum has a seat on the board. While it’s true that she’s not interested in becoming the successor, in the past she has literally worked against her children, siding with her husband, cheating them out of some of their inheritance. It means that she can’t be trusted and that she could definitely be persuaded by a nefarious actor to make decisions that would trip up people in the running for the top spot. Probably just for the fun of it.
Succession is currently streaming on Sky and NOW
https://www.standard.co.uk/culture/tvfilm/succession-power-ranking-season-4-jeremy-strong-brian-cox-logan-roy-b1073350.html Succession: our power rankings – who’s up and who’s down now that everything is to play for?