Succession Season 4 Power Ranking: The Honeymoon States Establish A New Status Quo

(The bid for power has not only intensified in season 4 of "Succession," but is approaching its end: now more than ever, anyone can come out on top. As the series comes to a close, we'll be tracking the rise and fall of the Roys, their allies, and their never-ending list of enemies.)

They say you shouldn't make big decisions in times of grief but the Roy kids have no choice. Logan Roy was so much more than just their father, and the world won't stop reminding them: photographers, obituaries, and an apartment full of vaguely familiar acquaintances make sure they can't possibly forget. There's no chance to grieve alone — hell, there's hardly time to grieve at all. An emergency board meeting is immediately scheduled to decide the fate of the company's leadership, thrusting Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Shiv (Sarah Snook), and Roman (Kieran Culkin) into crisis-management mode before they can fully process the loss of their father.

Picking up the day after Logan's death, "The Honeymoon States" continues the fascinating season 4 trend of following this story day by day. There used to be chasms of time separating episodes of "Succession": we would check in with the family every few weeks for significant events and get-togethers. We've now spent four consecutive days with them, progressively intensifying every aspect of the show. Every interaction feels charged, the emotions are exceptionally elevated, and each decision feels dire. If we keep chugging along at this pace, the season will grow tenser by the episode and pivotally conclude on election night. Is it possible that Logan's entire empire could crumble in a matter of 10 days? Let's not get too ahead of ourselves. First, let's unpack the crumbling unity of this fragile family.

The day after Logan's death is eventful, to say the least. Shiv finds out that she's pregnant, Marcia makes her grand return, a missed phone call from Matsson spells a potential crisis, and a worrying piece of paper upends everything. That last part is the real meat of the episode, though.

RIP the sibling alliance

As the executor of Logan's estate, Frank is handed an ominous note where the Roy patriarch penned some final wishes that were never passed along to his lawyer. What could it possibly say? Has Logan done the crazy thing Redditors have long suspected and handed the entire company off to some rando like Greg or Colin? Nah, Colin is gifted a watch and Greg some miscellaneous items. Instead, it's Kendall who is (unofficially) named the next Waystar CEO. A penciled addendum either underlined or crosses his name out, but the details don't matter. Kendall has everything he needs to fight for the Waystar crown.

Getting Stewy onboard is relatively easy, but Roman and Shiv are a harder sell. Working together felt good, and they're reluctant to give him the reigns. Eventually, they come around — they'll still do it all together. Roman will be CFO and Shiv, though she lacks an official position, will be fully included too. If that last bit sounds suspicious, then you're on the right track. "Long live the king and the other king," shouts Greg when they exit the war room, victorious. The crowd applauds the boys as Shiv slinks away, off to trip on some stairs

Later, Karolina and Hugo propose two options to solidify their takeover: one is a nice package of family photos that hinges on sentimentality, painting the brothers as a safe pair of hands. The other, per Roman, is Operation S**t On Dad: poison his name to boost their own, stress that he was losing focus, and leak details of the Kerry situation, Connor's mom, and his history of abuse. Roman dismisses it as "disgusting," chooses option one, and walks out. Kendall agrees but doubles back, telling Hugo to pull the trigger on the slander. It's a Logan move, sure. But it doesn't make him Logan.

All Kendall does is nullify the promise he made minutes ago to his siblings. Their pact was to do the deal, spin off ATN, and absorb it along with Pearce. To make every decision together. "On yesterday," they promised, calling back to a day of hugs, shared grief, handholding, and closeness. They were a united front but now they aren't. So where does that leave us?

10. Kerry

Last week, Kerry (Zoe Winters) was summarily dismissed from the war room, and this week, she's not even invited to mourn the man she was dating. It doesn't matter if he loved her, what he promised her, or if her things were left in his bedroom. Nothing was on paper, so it isn't real. Marcia is his wife, and she isn't interested in offering Kerry money or free cab rides home. She's back to claim what's hers, even if it means reducing a young woman to tears.

Kerry dares to show up at Logan's penthouse grieving session. Without an ounce of compassion, Marcia orders her away, using Colin as her makeshift muscle. I'm kinda surprised that Colin was so quick to usher her out: he too seems aimless without Logan to follow around. If he's "a dog without its person," then what does that make Kerry?

The only compassion she gets is from Roman of all people, who helps her collect her things from the floor and offers to reach out before she's escorted out the door. Kerry is nothing but a cautionary tale for anyone who felt safe under Logan's protection; whatever immunity he once provided has officially expired.

9. Tightrope Tommy (& Cousin Greg)

Greg (Nicholas Braun) is an addendum of miscellaneous matters, in pencil with a question mark. Greg has been called a lot of things — a misshapen egg, the Sporus to Tom's Nero, a little Machiavellian f*** — but this is by far the most accurate. Ad he's not the only one with a fitting new nickname: Tightrope Tommy is walking a razor's edge as he explores this vicious Logan-free world.

When Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) walks in and spots the siblings, he has the common sense to realize that walking over to them would go pretty damn poorly. It might have something to do with the fact that his wife was glaring daggers at him. So instead of offering comfort or worming his way into their conversation, Tom sets his sights on the Old Guard, looking for an update on the coronation demolition derby from his fellow Waystar execs.

Elsewhere, Greg wanders like a lost puppy, hoping someone will adopt him. He sidles up to the siblings only to be rejected: "You need to get a new mommy," Roman dismisses, shooing him away. "We're not your mommy." So he turns to Marcia instead and tries to earn her favor by callously mocking Kerry. Though slightly less transparent about his desperation, Tom starts grasping at straws too, wondering aloud if he might be a good choice for CEO. When he's brutally rejected, he turns to the siblings. He all but grovels at Kendall's feet (all he gets is "good luck") and tries stroking Roman's ego (which earns him the nickname Lip Balm Tom Wamb, "lubing up his lips to kiss my butt"). He even comforts Shiv.

That last one might be about securing his position, though I desperately want to believe it's more than that. Despite her residual anger, Shiv still confides in him. Could they still be happy together? Maybe. In the end, Shiv walks away, leaving Tom little choice in the matter.

To summarize, the Disgusting Brothers are f*****. Their protector is gone and no one else likes them. Tom is still head of ATN and Greg might be penciled into Logan's will, but they're both stuck suffering at the bottom together, desperately reaching for a way to hoist themselves up.

8. White-collar criminal, Hugo Baker

Um, so, Hugo is going to jail, right? 

After a hilarious out-of-context phone call is overheard by Kendall, we learn that Waystar's communications executive accidentally participated in some very illegal insider trading. He let Logan's death slip to his daughter, who sold a chunk of Waystar stock right before the news went public and crashed the price. With no one else to turn to for assurance, Hugo puts his faith in Kendall. What. An. Idiot.

I know that terrible people get away with white-collar crimes all the time, and maybe if Hugo had f***** up on this scale when Logan was still alive, he'd find a way over this hump. But historically, Kendall takes terrible care of the people in his corner. He couldn't even hang on to Cousin Greg, and all that relationship needed was the purchase of a single watch. Kendall is already using the info against him! He all but threatens Hugo at the end of the episode, asking him to freelance some bad press about Logan in secret. Hugo will do it, sure, and maybe Kendall will keep this chain of conversation open for future favors. But if it costs him anything to protect Hugo, I think he'd easily let the guy get tossed in prison.

7. Shiv

Two siblings inheriting their father's multi-billion dollar media conglomerate is perfectly fine, but three? That's a bit wonky.

Shiv is left out in the cold while her brothers are hailed as successors because it isn't "clean" with her officially involved. She doesn't have the proper experience, or a real title at the company (Logan made her president of something or other, but who cares). Luckily, her brothers promise to keep her involved. The three of them working together was the promise and is still the plan. Once the GoJo deal is through, they'll have both ATN and Pearce. From then on, everything will be equal.

"You're inside everything," they promise her. Roman seems genuine, and maybe Kendall means it at the moment. But we know how this will go. Shiv will be included, sure, until it's more convenient to keep something for her. Or until it's too weird for her to be at a meeting. Until it's easier to make a move and fill her in later, Shiv will be included. The doors are once again being shut with her on the outside, and she can feel it.

It probably doesn't help that she was quick to turn against Kendall. While everyone else assumed his name was underlined, she points out that it could be "crossed out." She tries her hardest to dismiss what the paper says, but Kendall hits her back with a harsh truth: "It sure as f***ing s*** doesn't say Shiv."

Another harsh truth? Shiv feels extremely guilty about her father's death, plagued by the knowledge that he was only on the plane because of their refusal to relent on the deal. And that guilt is especially prescient hours after learning that she is definitely pregnant, with a child that will never meet its grandfather. (This seems like a bad time to point out that not meeting Logan is best for this child's mental health, so I'll restrain myself.) And since she refuses to anyone in on that significant piece of news, Shiv is suffering all on her own.

6. The Old Guard

When Logan's body was still warm and getting fruitless chest compressions on a plane, his employees of several decades were already making plans. Things were shaky enough when their brutal boss was alive — you never knew when you might get fired or forced to crawl on the floor for sausages. But now? It's an absolute free-for-all and everyone is trying to get their beak wet while they still can. The company needs a CEO, and who better than one of its longtime executives, who have the experience to carry out the GoJo deal? Gerri thinks it should be her, since she has the experience, and Karl is pushing for himself, thrilled by the prospect of extra cash. Karolina and Frank back each of them respectively, and the only thing they can agree on is not wanting to let the kids in.

That piece of paper changes things though. It lights a fire under Kendall, forcing them to back down. But that means their position is even more precarious. Will Gerri be fired, now that Roman is done "helping old ladies cross the street"? Are the kids destined to tank the deal? And will Karl ever make enough to pay for the Greek Island he's trying to buy with his brother-in-law?!

5. Connor

No, Connor Roy is not the most professionally powerful sibling, but who needs power when you've got happiness? This is still "Succession" of course, so all happiness is relative but compared to his despairing siblings who start their mornings curled up and grieving alone, Connor wakes up with his wife at his side. The newlyweds go to the wake like everyone else, but what could just be a day of mourning becomes worthy of celebration. It turns out that wakes are a great place for apartment shopping! For the low price of um, $63 million, Connor gets his dad's penthouse apartment. Willa is mentally decorating the space before the day is out and soon they'll get to spend their days reminiscing about the Thanksgiving from hell where Logan slapped his grandson in the parlor or investigating the suspicious stain where Logan once pissed on the carpet. Three cheers for the Roy-Ferreyra marriage!

4. Roman

Good news folks, Roman has actually pre-grieved the death of his father, so he's actually all good. No need to waste your teary eyes on this guy because he is 100% coping well. Or so he'd like to believe. The look on his face when he lingers over his dad's desk, eyeing his sweater and unfinished sudoku, says otherwise. Roman can't even muster a phone sex bit when Shiv leaves an opening for him — he's falling apart, no matter how hard he tries to hide it. He pulls himself together enough to make a power grab though — and in the end, he succeeds!

Discussing the power vacancy with his siblings, Roman points out that as a former CFO and the only one who kept open communication with their dad, he makes sense. Maybe I'm giving him too much credit here, but I don't think Roman is doing this for power's sake: he just seems reluctant to let Kendall be the sole name put forth. He knows how Kendall gets about this — we all do — and sees the threat that his sole leadership would cause to their so-called alliance. He wants an official say, lest he and Shiv be cut out completely. Yes, that means Shiv is the only one on the outside, but I think he means it when he promised to loop her in. At least for now.

3. Kendall

Kendall doesn't enter the wake with an agenda. His shoulders are sagging and his sunglasses barely hide his exhaustion. He avoids eye contact with his fellow mourners. His dad's apartment may as well be haunted because he peers around like he can see his ghost. But when he finds his siblings, there are hugs to go around. They take comfort in speculating about Marcia and poking fun at their dad's grandiose obituaries. They set aside time to prepare for the board call and reach out to Matsson together; the mixed results of that phone call aside, at least they have each other. And then Kendall is told that on an unofficial piece of paper, drafted at an indeterminate time, Logan named him as the successor to Waystar Royco.

Kendall spent three seasons helplessly struggling to pursue any interests outside of Waystar, always to no avail. Logan once offered to buy him out, only to refuse when rock bottom Kendall decided to let go. Even with his dad dead, Kendall can't drag himself away from this hopeless pursuit. Except that now, he finally gets it. There isn't anyone standing in his way... besides, y'know, himself, Because being CEO isn't really the point, is it? Kendall has something to prove.

Everyone else can see it. "Ken. You've got stuff cooking," Frank warns. "You seem so well. You really want back in?" Stewy will later eye him with the same knowing concern: "Dude. Kendall. Is your f***ing head on straight?"

They've both been on his side, they've seen him pursue this. They've seen it destroy him. I know he actually has it now. But only in title. There's a reason he doubles back to Hugo at the end — it's an attempt to think like Logan. But that's something he could never do before and certainly isn't equipt to handle now. Trying again just means spitting in the face of his alliance with Roman and Shiv, the only thing that kept him together when he was "all apart."

So yeah, Kendall gets a top spot as the new interim CEO of Waystar Royco — but with the expectation that he will implode at any second.

2. The Belle of the Ball, Marcia Roy

Marcia (Hiam Abass) has been absent for so long that we've forgotten the breadth of her cruelty — but the death of Logan marks the perfect opportunity for her return, brutality and all. Her days of shopping in Milan are officially over. Logan's estranged wife is back and ready to pretend that all was well in her marriage. She might have to work on her lying skills though (she goes from telling Kendall "We spoke every morning and afternoon," to scarring him with the prospect of Logan doing phone sex: "We spoke intimately every evening.") But it doesn't really matter who believes her. Since she never signed any divorce papers and made sure to ensure her position on the trust, she's got plenty to gain and absolutely no one will stand in her way.

Death becomes her, as Shiv notes. Marcia plays the grieving widow with grace, greeting guests, weaving tales of happiness and even offering curt politeness to the kids. It's only Kerry who endures the brunt of her cruelty, told to keep away from the penthouse and escorted out when she dares to enter. It says a lot about a person when they can stand next to Roman Roy and come across as the worst person in the room. When he dares to argue that she didn't have to be so mean about it, Marcia's casual cruelty continues: "We're calling her a taxi to the subway so that she can go back to her little apartment."

In addition to crushing all of Kerry's hopes and dreams, Marcia makes $63 million in a single conversation. Nice.

1. Matsson

Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård) is absent but still a winner. We don't so much as hear his voice in this episode, but we don't need to: he flexes his power from afar. When his phone call to Roman goes unanswered, he shuts the siblings out. Though he gets a call back five minutes later, Matsson has a lackey answer his phone and offer some lackluster condolences: "We really feel for you guys... it's a bad one." That's what you say when someone's dad dies, right? This is the guy who flat-out asked Roman when his dad would drop dead in their very first conversation.

It's clear that Matsson doesn't hold them in high regard and is considering his options as the company reels from Logan's loss. They can play at naming their interim CEO, but this deal is still priority #1. As Gerri points out, everyone wants it to go through, but whether or not it's still on the table, we don't even really know. The ball is in Matsson's court.