Succession's Big Twist Could Reveal What The Characters Really Desire

This post contains spoilers for season 4 episode 3 of "Succession."

The latest episode of "Succession" puts everything in perspective. His declining health aside, Logan Roy (Brian Cox) has spent the past three seasons as the entity that everyone else revolves around — especially his kids. His gravitational pull is absolute. They've spent their entire lives trying to impress, defeat, or become him. Every time they rise too far, he beats them back down. Given the opportunity to finally separate themselves from his empire by building something of their own, they couldn't help but abandon their independent venture to become his direct competition. Almost everything they've wanted and done has been in relation to their father. But in "Connor's Wedding," everything is seismically shifted when the reign of Logan Roy comes to an end.

The founder, CEO, and beast of Waystar Royco is dead. In other words, everyone — especially Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Connor (Alan Ruck), Shiv (Sarah Snook), and Roman (Kieran Culkin) — is free to live their lives outside of his tyranny. But not really.

In an ideal world, the death of their abusive father would be a ripe opportunity for the Roy children to begin their happily ever after. Free from the shackles of their father's torment, the kids could move forward as a unit! All the handholding, hugs, and shared grief seen in episode 3 could be the springboard to a new level of closeness between the siblings. But let's be real: Logan died in episode 3 of 10. There are seven hours left of "Succession," which is more than enough time for everything to go horribly wrong.

What comes next?

Logan's death has robbed the Roys of a clear resolution. For the longest time, everything was built up to answer the question posed by the title: who would succeed Logan Roy as the new CEO of Waystar? But one by one, each of the kids struck out. Kendall disappointed him time and time again, Shiv earned his scorn in place of his approval, and Roman shuttered his dreams with a single missent dick pic. Connor, the first pancake, was never even in contention. By the end of season 3, Logan changed his mind completely: his disappointing children would never deserve the empire he built, so he decided to hand it off to someone else.

Lukas Matsson was days away from buying the company when Logan dies, which means it's not yet official. So will the kids continue their pursuit of Waystar? Is that what they truly want? If I were to venture a guess, I'd be pretty shocked if they didn't try. So much of their self-worth is wrapped up in the world that Logan built. Do they really want Waystar, or simply to prove themselves as worthy successors? Since Logan isn't around to grant or deny his blessing, what's the difference?

With the status quo irrevocably altered, the time has come for each of these characters to rethink their next steps. What do they think they want — and what lies beneath that surface-level desire? Let's break it down.

Kendall needs to fill the void

In the series premiere, Kendall compared the rush of building The Hundred, their new media venture, to his previous addictions: "I've smoked horse, and I need something super f***ing absorbing in my life." With surprising clarity, he basically admits that his professional endeavors have been filling the void of his substance abuse. But it's extremely telling that Kendall instantly abandons The Hundred when he realizes that pursuing PGN means going head-to-head with his dad. Nothing is more absorbing than the possibility of beating his dad. But now, there's no Logan around for Kendall to defeat — and with him out of the picture, Waystar is in need of a CEO. Will that absorb him once again? If it does, I have the unfortunate feeling that it won't be enough.

Being aware of the bottomless pit plaguing him doesn't mean that Kendall has overcome it. Chatting with The Hollywood Reporter ahead of the final season, Jeremy Strong indicated a dark future ahead of Kendall. He said:

"[Creator Jesse Armstrong] and I talked about 'Richard III' before this season, which is a play about the tragedy of a person who gets what they want, but by the time they get what they want, by the time Richard III sits on that throne, he has mortgaged off himself spiritually and crossed every emotional and ethical moral line, so that the leakage of his soul is complete by the time he arrives there. There's very little left of him to put the crown on."

So even if Kendall gets to wear the crown, it will ring hollow. Refusing to face the inner turmoil that's been eating away at him means it will always remain unless he finds a way to heal.

Shiv is desperate for control

Siobhan Roy wants a lot of things: to be a real contender for PGN (or Waystar) CEO; to win her divorce; to not be wrecked by her next conversation with her mom, etc. Most of all, she wants some control over her life and for some reason, she thinks that vulnerability will make that impossible. But maybe it will make things better.

Though she often seems allergic to intimacy — whether with her siblings or her own husband — Shiv is actively hurting in the wake of her father's death. For once, she's even willing to lean on those around her in a moment of pain, that even includes her soon-to-be ex-husband. For a very brief moment, Shiv lets herself be comforted, falling into Tom's (Matthew Macfadyen) embrace after just barely holding herself together in front of the press. Then she comes back to her senses and walks away. But when she leaves for the night, Tom is at her side.

Logan wasn't entirely off the mark when he told her, "You're marrying a man fathoms beneath you because you don't want to risk being betrayed." But over time, caring for Tom has meant relinquishing some control — and the way she sees it, that weakness is why she was betrayed at the end of season 3. So Shiv will keep pursuing this divorce, and will likely push Tom away as quickly as she let him back in. But I suspect that part of her might still want this relationship to work out.

Though Shiv once claimed not to love Tom at all, fellow /Film writer Michael Boyle has already laid out all the ways the evidence is stacked against her. Similarly, she may be lured away from her brothers at the thought of being CEO, but aren't they always stronger together?

Roman keeps reaching out

Roman might be the only Roy sibling who actually understands what he needs: people. He was pro-The Hundred because it was something he could do with his siblings. He was reluctant to start bidding on PGN because it meant going into battle against their dad. He betrayed his siblings only because Logan reached out to him. Roman's allegiances were knotted because ultimately, the most family-oriented of the bunch just wanted to maintain their closeness. But unfortunately for him, that's about to get pretty damn difficult.

For one, their plan to co-rule PGN only works if Matsson honors the deal he struck with Logan. Who's to say that the crashing stock prices haven't changed his mind? Or maybe fault will fall upon Shiv and Kendall, who still share a desire to keep Waystar intact. Roman himself once envisioned being CEO too, but that was more about Logan's approval than seeking power for himself. He was willing to cede it all to Gerri, after all. So if everyone starts off on their own diverging paths — torn apart because of ambition or the GoJo deal falling to s*** — where will that leave Roman? Alone and haunted by the lingering abuse from his father. There are other people he can reach out to — Gerri coldly rebuffed him after Logan's death, but there's always his sort of girlfriend Tabitha, right? Right?! — but what he truly wants is his siblings at his side. If that means pursuing Waystar, antagonizing Matsson, or cozying up to Jeryd Mencken, I expect Roman will go to great lengths to assure that the deal goes through.

Connor has a point to prove

Connor, who spent his entire life waiting around for his dad's approval (or sometimes, just his presence), is weirdly in the best shape of all the siblings. At the end of the day, he makes sure that something good comes of something bad: he gets married. For once, he didn't let Logan's absence define the day. But unfortunately, years of being ignored continue to define his life.

Connor told us what he wants by voicing what he's never had. "He never even liked me," are the first words out of his mouth when he learns that his father has passed. In his eyes, he never had a chance to make Logan proud — but just because he's gone, doesn't mean Connor will stop trying. His method? The presidential election. Luckily for the American Republic, becoming President is a pipe dream. Assuming he hasn't fallen into the realm of decimals, Connor is currently polling at 1 percent. No matter the odds, I highly doubt he'll give up his campaign anytime soon. If we're really lucky, he might even sap votes away from fascist lunatic, Jeryd Mencken!

Everyone else is just fighting to survive

Outside of the Roy family, I expect everyone else will scramble to safety, trying to claim a piece of capital in whatever remains of Waystar. Gerri (J. Smith Cameron) will conceal the fact that she was very nearly fired, and look for a way to keep moving up: if that means turning again Roman and his siblings, I doubt the "stone-cold killer b****" will hesitate. The rest of the Old Guard Waystar execs have much to gain from cutting out the children — promotions, maybe?

Tom, vulnerable without his protector, may have skirted jail time in the past but who knows what waits around the corner? He was almost made the head of ATN, but Logan died before it became official. If ATN is absorbed by the kids or by Matsson, his fate is shaky. So while his professional prospects are up in the air, there's still a small chance that his marriage could pull through. It is, I can't stress this enough, pretty minuscule, and even though he still loves her, is that a marriage Tom really wants to keep betting on?

Greg (Nicholas Braun), like Tom, would like to avoid jail time and make a lot of money. He would also like to date a Contessa or Princess of some kind because he's a brazen social climber. He'll probably dump her immediately for a capacious bag carrier though because he's a certified Disgusting Brother.

Except for the most powerful of them all

Our real attention should be on the Marcias (Hiam Abass) and Lukas Matssons (Alexander Skarsgård) of the world.

Logan's death leaves them empowered to blow up deals, make major moves, and decimate the lives of the Roy children — at little cost to them. Marcia's primary priority will be protecting her own position, but Matsson is a powerful wildcard and Logan is no longer around, a fellow alpha, to oppose him. Will he dump Waystar altogether? Try to strike a cheaper deal? Make a play for ATN? With Logan out of the way, and a power vacuum waiting to be filled, his deep desires will soon be revealed, just like everyone else's.