Succession Season 4 Episode 8 SPOILER Breakdown: “America Decides”

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Succession is winding down, with only a few more episodes left until the conclusion. Fans are still wondering who will end up at the helm of Waystar Royco, with the answer being anyone’s guess. Episode 7 was a high tension episode, as several conflicts — like the ones between Tom and Shiv and Matsson and the Roys — reached a head, and episode 8 takes a very different focus.

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If you haven’t yet watched Episode 8 of Season 4 of Succession, “America Decides,” you should absolutely stop reading NOW as this discussion includes some massive spoilers.

succession s4e8
Photograph by Macall Polay/HBO.

Episode 8 of the season represents the culmination of so many storylines that have been building over the past couple seasons: election night. The episode is an interesting evaluation of the role that the media plays in politics — and has some uncanny similarities to what has been happening in the real-life political arena.

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This episode is firmly Tom’s (Matthew Macfadyen) episode, as he takes center stage as the head of Waystar Royco’s news network, ATN. The episode is all about how Tom runs the election coverage, and to no one’s surprise, he doesn’t exactly keep a level head when it comes to managing his team. After several episodes of him being more measured in his actions, it’s fun to see Tom reverting back to his characteristically panicked ways.

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

succession s4e8
Photograph by Macall Polay/HBO.

As one would expect, Tom has his right hand man, Greg (Nicholas Braun), at his side. However, as Tom reverts to his less deliberate self, he also expects Greg to revert to his more subservient version. As Greg has begun to find his own way in the power dynamics of Waystar Royco, he’s beginning to grow disillusioned with being Tom’s gofer. We see him make some moves of his own in this episode that are stronger than anyone might have expected.

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Of course, as the leaders of the media conglomerate, the Roy siblings are certainly invested in the outcome of the election. Kendall (Jeremy Strong) and Roman (Kieran Culkin) have the ulterior motive of hoping that whoever is elected will block Matsson’s deal to acquire Waystar Royco. Kendall is in the middle ground of the siblings, just trying to play his cards in a way that will earn him the most benefits.

Roman has aligned himself with the GOP candidate, Jeryd Mencken (Justin Kirk). It should be no surprise to viewers, given that Mencken was his father’s pick and Roman has shown a constant commitment to honoring his father’s legacy by doing whatever he can to replicate Logan’s revisions.

succession s4e8
Photograph by Macall Polay/HBO.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Shiv supports Democratic candidate Daniel Jiménez (Elliot Villar), which is not out of character for her, as she has often opposed the candidates favored by her father and ATN. When it comes time to potentially call the election in favor of Mencken, she is the one who voices much of the concern over the implications of calling the race early.

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And even though Tom is busy literally running the network in the face of the election, Shiv feels the need to confront him about the argument they had at the party in the last episode. Although it seems at first like it’s going to be an apology, they both still hold resentment towards one another, and Shiv lets the bomb drop that viewers have known for episodes: she is pregnant with Tom’s child. Now that this is out in the open, we’ll finally get to see the aftermath of this in the final two episodes of the season.

Also Read: Succession Season 4 Episode 5 SPOILER Breakdown: “Kill List”

Of course, with it being election night, Connor (Alan Ruck) ends up being the butt of the joke here. Despite the offers that Roman made to him in the last episode, Connor decided to stay in the Presidential race. To no one’s surprise, he doesn’t earn any electoral college votes — and yet he attempts to maintain relevance by leveraging his siblings’ role at ATN. As one would expect, he’s a laughing stock and doesn’t get coverage until his concession speech, which is absurdly bad.

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succession s4e8
Photograph by Macall Polay/HBO.

When Mencken is announced by ATN to be the victor, Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård) is obviously left in the dust. The alliances that Kendall and Roman have formed with Mencken, and their willingness to call the election in his favor early, have pretty much ensured that he is in their debt. It seems that the last two episodes will deal with the aftermath of the election and what it means for the Waystar Royco empire.

“Election Night” not only managed to be one of the most entertaining episodes of Succession yet, but also one of the most eerily prescient. Although it’s hardly the best episode of the season given that “Connor’s Wedding” set the bar so extraordinarily high, it’s still great, and sets the bar for an exciting final two episodes to the show.

Succession is now streaming on HBO and HBO Max. New episodes premiere every Sunday.

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Sean Boelman

Written by Sean Boelman

Articles Published: 175

Sean is a film critic, filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include music documentaries, heist movies, and experimental horror.