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Succession Season 4 Episode 1 SPOILER Breakdown: “The Munsters”

Succession S4E1 Spoiler Breakdown

Succession went from being an under-the-radar gem in its first season to being one of the gems in HBO’s crown with its fourth and final season, which just debuted on HBO. Fans have come to love the intense and constantly-shifting power dynamics in the family-run media empire of Waystar Royco, and season 4 starts off with more of the same: an edge-of-your-seat, yet also weirdly funny battle for control over the company’s reins. 

If it wasn’t clear, if you haven’t watched episode 1 of season 4 of Succession, “The Munsters,” yet, you should stop reading this article now.

“The Munsters” takes place at Logan’s (Brian Cox) birthday party — which should be a familiar setting for fans of the show, as the once-best episode, “Dundee,” was set at another such soirée. In the aftermath of the siblings’ foiled attempt to take over Waystar Royco at the end of season 3, the Roy family is now in shambles, constantly at each other’s throats (although that part is nothing new).

succession season 4
Photograph by Claudette Barius/HBO.

This episode is very much about the Roy patriarch Logan as he attempts to make a bid to acquire Nan Pierce’s (Cherry Jones) company. Cox has never been better than he is here, trading in the obscenities he frequently hurls for a much more sly, quietly intimidating performance. The scene in which he asks his inner circle to roast him will go down in history as one of the greatest scenes in the show’s history.

Also Read: Succession Season 4 Review – An Acting Masterclass Gets Even Better

After betraying his wife and her siblings at the end of season three, Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) is now firmly within Logan’s inner circle. He’s more ruthless than ever in this episode, with no one spared from his scorn — even his frequent ally and sidekick, Greg (Nicholas Braun). It has been fun to see how Tom has become more confident over the course of the series, earning his status as a fan-favorite character.

And as has been the case with the previous seasons, the first episode of season 4 shows Cousin Greg continuing down his path of self-destruction to hilariously humiliating results. In an attempt to prove himself to Tom and Logan, Greg comes to Logan’s birthday party with a hot date. However, said date lacks the high society manners she would need to thrive in this environment, leading to some truly funny situations in which Greg becomes the butt of the joke. 

succession season 4
Photograph by Macall B. Polay/HBO.

Connor Roy (Alan Ruck) is also relegated to being the comedic relief in this episode, with his Presidential campaign not going according to plan. As all of his family members argue over the future of the company, it’s hilarious to see Connor panicking over dropping below 1% in the polls. While this storyline isn’t particularly prevalent in the episode, it will be exciting to see how it develops over the rest of the season.

The three main Roy siblings are not in attendance at their father’s birthday party, having stabbed him in the back in an attempt to take control of the company. They launch a counter-offer for Pierce’s company, with Shiv (Sarah Snook) at the helm of the negotiations. We have long known the capacity that Shiv has for backstabbing, but this episode absolutely shows her at her most vicious. Snook is quite literally acting circles around everyone else in this side of the conflict.

matthew macfadyen sarah snook
Photograph by Macall B. Polay/HBO.

We also get to see a very different side of Roman (Kieran Culkin), acting with more logic than passion — as is his usual. Of course, there is no shortage of Roman’s usual sharp quips, but they are largely in service of an argument that is actually reasonable. Culkin’s performance is perfect — with the precise level of dry sarcasm that is needed to make Roman work as a character.

Perhaps most surprising about this episode, though, is how little of a role Kendall (Jeremy Strong) plays. Although he is there with his siblings during the negotiations, he takes much more of a backseat than usual. It’s almost as if he is there for moral support more than anything else. Yet, despite having fewer scenes to showcase his vicious power, Strong still gives one hell of a performance, with his quiet, observational mannerisms

The season 4 premiere of Succession is the perfect way to kick off the show’s conclusion. Not only is it a perfect evolution of the dynamics that we have seen constructed throughout the other seasons, but it’s also a brilliantly tense and very funny episode. Fans won’t be able to wait to see more out of the Roys, and hopefully discover who finally ends up at the helm of Waystar Royco.

New episodes of Succession drop on HBO and HBO Max every Sunday at 9pm ET/PT.

Also Read: “It could’ve gone more”: Succession Star Disagrees With Brian Cox, Claims Series Can Go Beyond Season 4 After Final Season Confirmation

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Written by Sean Boelman

Film Critic and member of the CACF.