How Logan Roy Primed His Own Legacy To Self-Destruct In Succession Season 4

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

Towards the end of last week's seismic third episode, Roman Roy (Kieran Culkin) turned to his siblings with maybe the most important question that anyone in "Succession" has ever asked: "Are we gonna be okay?"

Ever the elder sibling, Kendall (Jeremy Strong) offered assurance and a comforting backrub, saying, "Yeah, we'll be okay." Somehow, the scene was made more tender by the exchange that followed: "You're not gonna be okay," Roman quipped as they waited to face the press (and life without their dad). "Well, you're not gonna be okay either," Kendall hit back. "You're not gonna be okay." "You're f***ed." "You are f***ed." It's funny, but it's deeply sad. I think they're right on both accounts. Maybe they will be okay, eventually. But first, they're all f***ed.

By the end of "The Honeymoon States," Kendall has finally succeeded his dad as CEO of Waystar RoyCo, with Roman as his second-in-command and Shiv (Sarah Snook) ostensibly on equal footing (despite not having a title). They've made a promise to go forth together, seal the GoJo deal, spin off ATN, and combine it with Pierce to pave the way for their collective future. In theory, it sounds great!

But in reality, we know this family too well to ignore the cracks in their plan. Kendall doesn't even make it out of the episode without betraying his siblings by ordering Hugo (Fisher Stevens) to enact a PR plan that Roman was vehemently against. Shiv doesn't even get a chance to weigh in on the matter — and no one makes an effort to include her — having stormed off while the crowd applauded her brothers.

For one reason or another, they each believe that they should be the one making the calls as the leader of their union. But in reality, none of them are ready. And why would they be, when Logan (Brian Cox) never took the time to prepare them?

The miserable paradox of Logan Roy

During the sham of a therapy session in season 1 of "Succession," Logan refused to participate beyond repeating a single, camera-ready line: "Everything I've done in my life, I've done for my children." It's all too easy for us to scoff and roll our eyes at his words but on some level, he actually believes that to be true.

Despite everything that he is — a white collar criminal, an abusive father, a terrible boss, and an around deplorable person — Logan is a self-made man. He was born into humble circumstances, claims to have grown up in poverty, and yet died one of the richest and most powerful men in America. He made that happen all on his own and knows what it means to claw his way up.

His children will never share in that grit, because he served them life on a silver platter. He brought them into a lavish life that offered every advantage and because of that, he can never truly trust one of them to take over his company. That is the miserable paradox of Logan Roy's existence: in his eyes, they will never deserve his life's work because they didn't build it themselves.

That's why he was happier to hand the keys off to a stranger, rather than his own kids. At least Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård) understood the reality of building something from scratch.

They've got some f—ing juice

But just because Logan deems the children unfit doesn't mean they were destined for failure. Across the previous three seasons, each of the siblings (*cough* except Connor) has had a shot at the throne. And in their own ways, each of them showed serious promise.

Shiv has proven time and time again that she's shrewd and understands the current political landscape. She would be a great person to lead the firm into its future. Roman, like a mini-Logan, has good business instincts and the kind of grey morality that allowed his father to be so ruthless. Kendall knows the business better than either of them and has some fresh ideas of his own. But none of that was ever enough for Logan, who could only see what they lacked.

Kendall was crippled by insecurity (which any therapist or random passerby could link back to Logan). Shiv was too inexperienced (which Logan just used as an excuse to shut her out). Roman needed to buckle down and be serious (something Gerri put more effort into fixing than Logan ever cared to). They make take time, but these flaws are all fixable. Still, Logan never even tried. The second one of them was actually in contention to take his job, he defaulted to attack mode. He shut them out, destroyed them, or pointed out all the reasons they were unfit — rather than trying to fill in their gaps or properly groom them to take his place.

So where does that leave him in the final season? Dead in a plane bathroom, with the kids scrambling below. Now the fate of his legacy is up in the air. It doesn't matter which name he underlined or crossed out, all three kids now have a hand in what becomes of his life's work. And thanks to him, they're just as unprepared as ever.

Logan might be gone, but daddy issues are forever

At this point, the siblings' best path forward is together. Unfortunately, Logan has poisoned that too. In highlighting their flaws, he's made them more insecure. In pitting them against each other, he's created a distrust that lingers even now.

Shiv feels shut out of the business because Logan was the first to lock the doors on her — so when Roman and Kendall are crowned as his successors, it feels like a blast from her miserable past. Meanwhile, Roman is still plagued by the idea that there's something wrong with him (trauma from his dad!), and Kendall can't stop trying to prove himself to someone who refused to be proud of him anyway.

With all of the second-guessing and residual trauma pulling them apart, they're too distracted to realize that working together really is their best chance at success. They can fill in each other's blanks and offer support whereas Logan never did. But they're all too wounded by Logan and deep in their grief to realize that. So instead, they're falling apart at the seams.

The time for making mistakes is long gone, though. The final season of "Succession" has been following the family on a day-by-day basis, instead of jumping weeks ahead to big events like it used to. The timeline is slowing down, which means every single moment counts. Both the election and the GoJo deal should be settled in a matter of days, putting two crucial pieces of Logan's legacy on the kids' plate. And given their state, there's a good chance that everything he built could be decimated before the season's out — all because he couldn't find it in himself to nurture their potential.