Succession Season 4 Episode 6 review: The end is near

Cameron Frew
Shiv in Succession Season 4 Episode 6

To call Succession Season 4 Episode 6 the weakest episode so far isn’t really a criticism: they’ve all been superb, this episode included, and the pacing dips to plant the final seeds of the show’s endgame.

Going into Season 4, the question was simple: Who will be handed the Waystar reins when Logan Roy retires, is imprisoned, or finally surrenders to the meteor always trying to wipe him out? It’s been the central tension behind all of the squabbling and back-stabbings; these people will always be power-hungry, and no alliance is too strong to be broken.

Episode 3 and 4 subverted the assumed order: Logan died unceremoniously, keeled over next to a toilet on his private jet, and Kendall and Roman were soon put forward as co-CEOs. The show has evolved beyond a simple successor – now it’s all about who’ll be left standing when it’s all done.

After a plot-heavy first half, Episode 6 does feel a little uneventful; things happen, but do they really? People say stuff, but is anybody listening? Yet, each and every scene is riveting; the walls are closing in, but we don’t know who’s inside. Spoilers for Succession to follow…

Logan Roy returns to Succession… sort of

A familiar scowl greets us in the opening seconds of Episode 6: Logan Roy, but not in the flesh. Kendall, Hugo, and other Waystar execs watch an unused recording of him promoting a new product. He was a man of fiery passion when he wanted to be, but none of his charisma is on display; he’s uptight and boring, but hell hath no fury like a Roy belittled. When the director asks him to do it better, because she wants it to be “as good as it can be,” he loses his temper at the makeup artist “buzzing” around him.

“You’re as bad as my f*cking idiot kids,” he snipes, as the camera cuts to Kendall’s face. Hugo apologizes for showing it to him, but Kendall isn’t fazed. “That’s fine, that’s a Valentine’s Day card… good to see you, Dad,” he says, as the camera hangs over Logan’s resting pr*ck face.

Everyone from the company heads to L.A. for the launch of Living+. If you’re watching the episode and feeling confused about what it actually is, that’s probably intentional, but here are the basics as we understood them: It’s a new real estate venture for elderly people, seemingly granting them “eternal life” while keeping them “drunk on content” and rinsing them dry. Everything is supported and bolstered by Waystar’s tech and products, while providing a “safe, secure” community.

Lukas Matsson hates it. He says it’s not “scalable” and compares it to staying in a cruise ship dorm for the rest of your life, so he hones in on Shiv to put a stop to it. He steps aboard her private jet (“Don’t criticize my jet interior, it hurts,” she says, in a hilarious reminder of how easily the show skewers the elite), and asks for her help. “You’re my buddy,” he says, and Shiv can’t seem to make up her mind whether she has the ick or finds him charming. When he calls her his “girl on the inside”, she says: “F*ck you, my boy on the outside.”

Shiv sniffs Kendall and Roman’s plan

Kendall and Roman gather the troops to talk about Matsson’s offer. They claim they’re happy about the deal, but want to warn the seniors about the Swede’s behavior. According to them, he’s erratic and had a “human Chernobyl” breakdown during the negotiations – but Shiv knows they’re lying, plus nobody else seems to care. Tom writes off any aggression as a negotiating tactic and Gerri says his “reputation is priced in.”

When everyone leaves, only Shiv remains at the table, tapping her coffee cup ominously. “Boys… you’re not good at this. You’re trying to f*ck the deal,” she says, and while Roman flounders around her accusation, Kendall sits completely still before confessing his wariness. It’s rare to see Shiv having so much force over her brothers, but they fold less than a minute into her probing. It’s clear as day: they’re plotting their own permanent coronation, and she’s not going to be part of it. Still, they apologize and have another three-way hug; the second of the season, but their honest affection is gone.

Roman and Joy in Succession Season 4 Episode 6

Roman drives over to “f*ckywood” to meet Joy, the studio head overseeing the catastrophic production of the new Kalispatron movie, to ask: “Who’s getting fired for that shit?” But Joy does not respond in a satisfactory manner. She infantilizes Roman with constant assurances that “he’ll be okay” after his dad’s death, asks him to sit aside his issues with the movie, and confronts him over ATN’s right-leaning connections to Jeryd Mencken.

Roman’s patience wears thin almost immediately, retaliating by making fun of the “incredible evolved, ruthlessly segregated” world she operates in and, after offering to turn on the money hose to fix all of the movie’s problems, he fires her. He’s clearly gone made with power and grief, toying with her life like a man playing tug-of-war with his dog.

Kendall crafts his stage while Shiv and Tom… you know

Kendall is psyching himself up for the Living+ unveiling, but the stage isn’t right. He wants some theatrics, but nothing fancy – just a mini-house with basic brickwork and clouds hanging above it. “Nothing crazy,” he says, relaxingly, as those around him quiver at the prospect. He sees their fear and responds with a new rule: “Nobody can say no.”

Meanwhile, things have been weird between Shiv and Tom. She broke his heart, he broke hers, and they’re “f*cked,” but there’s an offbeat dynamic between them. Tom finds Shiv wiping away her tears in an empty room, which she’d booked specifically to cry in. “You’re scheduling your grief?” Tom asks, but as Shiv shuffles away, he gently hugs her. They embrace, slowly, with the camera emphasizing every tactile development; a shoulder rub moving down to the hips, Shiv’s hands tracing across Tom’s neck and face – and then they kiss.

Shiv and Tom in Succession Season 4 Episode 6

Later that night, they both meet again at a party and engage in verbal foreplay; Shiv asks if he’s interested in the “vaginas of the cheerful woman tall enough to be models”, and Tom says he’s sorry for “f*cking her up,” which she harshly denies. “You were the one after the one,” she says, but Tom thinks he “got his chisel in on her.” Shiv then proposes they play “bitey,” a simple game in which they have to bite each other’s arms and the person who gives up first loses. He wins, and Shiv says with her trademark combative wit: “Tom Wambsgans… finally made me feel something.”

Of course, we catch up with them later after they have sex, where they have a frank, perhaps even reparatory conversation about what drove them to their actions. Shiv can’t move past Tom betraying her, but he says he’s always been a little motivated by money. “I think I would like this back,” he says, and with a laugh, she eventually says: “Well, I’d follow you anywhere for love, Tom Wambsgans.” They’re not actually there yet, but their relationship is healing with every episode.

Roman sacks Gerri

While Kendall pitches “unbelievable growth and a price rocket” to make Matsson’s deal impossible. If they get a tech valuation on their real estate proposition, Living+, they may be able to chase the Swede away. In simple terms, if they make the parts of the business Matsson isn’t interested in more valuable, he may not be able to go through with the deal. “We can push this to the moon,” he says.

While Kendall and Roman talk about life and death being a one-size-fits-all experience, Gerri hauls Roman out of the room. She’s apoplectic about him firing Joy – not because she likes her, but the way he did it has opened them up to all sorts of problems legally and in the public eye. “You are a weak monarch in a dangerous interregnum,” she says, but he doesn’t allow her to rip into him anymore. He turns on the boss switch, calling her behavior “disrespectful… I need you to believe I’m as good as my dad,” he says. “Say it or believe it,” she replies.

Gerri and Karl in Succession Season 4 Episode 6

This is the best scene in the entire episode, and it’s thanks to Kieran Culkin and J. Smith-Cameron’s performances – both are on terrific form here. She warns him the money will wash everyone away, but he doesn’t take in anything she says. He fires her, but pretty much regrets it straight away – until he tells Kendall, who looks like he’s just injected a shot of adrenaline when Roman tells him about the two sackings. “F*ck it, bro. Why not? Chop her in the end zone. Look at you, who are you gonna fire next?” he says, chuckling.

Meanwhile, Greg has his first moment of real villainy. We’ve seen him test his Machiavellian ways before, but they’ve always been covering his own back. This time, he bullies a video editor into chopping up Logan’s original video so that he sounds like he’s saying something else. “Just f*cking make it happen, or else I get in trouble… understand Mr. Snippy Snip,” he shouts. Oh Greg, maybe you will make it to the top after all.

Kendall launches Living+… and it works

Despite Matsson’s suggestions of orchestrating a fake “bomb threat” and Shiv trying to persuade Roman not to go through with it, nobody can stop Kendall taking to the stage, even if his confidence is bruised by everyone’s skepticism. When he begins his presentation, it’s cringeworthy; he can’t stop saying “big shoes,” and he uses his dad’s video for cheap laughs.

But then he begins. It’s difficult to understand anything he says, but the crowd laps it up, and the response online is vastly positive. While Greg says Tom will just need to “mop up the blood” with his own presentation, everyone else seems to love it – but Matsson isn’t happy. He takes drastic measures and tweets out a Holocaust joke: “Doderick Macht Frei,” comparing Living+ to the gates of Auschwitz.

This comes just as Kendall starts to take questions from the press, and they don’t hesitate to ask him to comment. His PR chops have never been particularly strong, but amazingly, he nails it – he writes Matsson’s sense of humor off as “very European,” talks openly about the negotiations, and manages to pivot back to promoting Living+. By the end, everyone’s cheering, and Shiv and Roman are left standing at the side while Kendall is hailed as the king.

The episode ends with the siblings apart: Kendall walks into the sea, soaking in the immense relief of a much-needed victory after so much doubt; Shiv sits in the car with Tom, joking about strategizing being “sexy;” and Roman listens to a doctored recording of his dad saying he has a micro penis.

Succession Season 4 Episode 6 review score: 4/5

Succession’s latest episode plays host to some absolutely superb character work. Some may miss the momentum of the show’s earlier episodes, but the performances have never been better – especially Culkin, who’s somehow making Roman even more sympathetic and deplorable each week.

Succession Season 4 Episodes 1-6 are streaming on HBO and Sky now. Episode 7 will be available to watch on May 7 in the US and May 8 in the UK. Check out our other coverage below:

Season 4 cast | Season 4 release schedule | Season 4 runtimes | Is Succession based on a real family? | Who will succeed Logan Roy? | What time does Succession drop?