Well, it’s finally here — the season finale of Succession. After a season that has been equal parts tense, devastating, and hilarious, we’re finally reaching the conclusion we’ve all been waiting for: who will end up at the helm of Waystar Royco?
If you have not watched the series finale of Succession, “With Open Eyes,” you should stop reading NOW because this discussion will include MASSIVE SPOILERS.
When we pick up with the story, both camps are preparing for the vote as to whether or not the Matsson deal will go through. And to no one’s surprise, both Kendall (Jeremy Strong) and Shiv (Sarah Snook) think they have the necessary votes to pass. Still, they are trying to account for the last few votes that could potentially sway the direction of the decision.
One of the most important voters who is unaccounted for is Roman (Kieran Culkin) because, after last week’s debacle where he cried at Logan’s funeral, he has gone AWOL. Eventually, he is tracked down to be at his mother’s home, and both Kendall and Shiv travel there in a last ditch attempt to sway him to their respective side.
Meanwhile, Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) is having dinner with Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård) who drops a massive bomb: he is intimidated by Shiv, and is beginning to question whether she will be the right choice to be named the CEO of the new company after the acquisition. After feeling him out, Matsson decides that Tom is actually the person for the job, because Tom is willing to fall in line more than his wife.
Of course, in true Greg (Nicholas Braun) fashion, he’s nearby, and he overhears Matsson talking with one of his buddies about the fact that he does not intend to make Shiv the CEO of the company. Fearing that the acquisition may make him obsolete, he immediately calls Kendall — negotiating a favorable position in the company in return — and tips him off on the new development.
At their mom’s house, Kendall informs Shiv of the news that Greg has just told her, and naturally she does not believe him at first. However, after attempting to call Matsson and him not picking up, she realizes that this is the truth. Left with no other choice, she reluctantly goes along with Kendall’s plan, which will involve him rejecting the Matsson deal and him being named full CEO of the company.
After this, the siblings share a bonding moment, in which they make Kendall a “meal fit for a king,” a blended concoction of all of the disgusting foods they can find in the kitchen. This gesture, harkening back to the days of their childhood, is a nice reminder of the camaraderie they once shared and haven’t shown much over the course of this season — but now they are finally together.
The next day, they go to Logan’s former apartment, where Connor (Alan Ruck) is divvying up all of Logan’s possessions among the siblings and other family members. While there, Tom implies that Shiv should still go along with the Matsson deal, and spills the beans that he is going to be named the CEO by Matsson.
At the board vote, things begin pretty much as expected. The votes are split down the line, 6-6, when it comes to Shiv’s turn. All of a sudden, she runs out of the room, experiencing a moment of hesitation and doubt. Kendall and Roman run after her, and she reveals that she thinks Kendall will not do a good job as the CEO.
Kendall attempts to sway Shiv back to his side, but as if to prove a point, when she continues to resist, he becomes violent. He starts to choke and crush the head of Roman, and shoves Shiv out of the way when she tries to escape the room. Eventually, Shiv gets out, and she votes for the Matsson deal to go through.
All said and done, Matsson acquires the company, and Roman has to embarrass himself by going into the boardroom to sign the paperwork and pose for photos with Matsson. And, of course, Tom is named the new CEO — although he will be little more than a pawn to every desire of Matsson.
Greg, the once right-hand man of Tom, is now on thin ice. Matsson is absolutely enraged at Greg, even calling him the “Judas” of the group during the photo ops. However, when he asks Tom where his position in the company will be, Tom says that he will take care of him.
Meanwhile, having forsaken her own interests in favor of her husband’s, it seems that Shiv might be on the way to rekindling her relationship with Tom. However, one of the most interesting images of the episode comes when Tom and Shiv hold their hands on the carrest in a somewhat regal pose — but with Shiv’s hand on top, implying that she still holds the upper hand.
And as one would expect, Kendall is absolutely distraught because he has lost. He walks along the river before sitting on a bench, looking out over the water, clearly wondering what his future will be — if he will even have one.
Unlike so many shows these days, the creators of Succession were actually allowed to go out on their own terms, and as a result, “With Open Eyes” ends up being one of the best series finales of any show in recent memory. It’s about as good of an ending as fans of the show could have asked for, wrapping things up in a way that feels satisfying but not too clean — exactly what this show demands.
Succession is now streaming on HBO and Max.