Succession S4E5 Breakdown: GoJo or GoNo?

“Kill List”

Roman and Kendall fight with Matsson on a mountaintop
HBO Succession S4 09.20.22 NORWAY sc- 405-45. ext ridge - Roman tells Matsson to fuck off Kriti Fitts - Publicist Succession S4 | Sourdough Productions, LLC Kaufmann Astoria Studios 34-12 36th St 3rd flr Astoria NY 11106Office: 718-706-5850

We are now officially halfway through the final season of Succession. Despite the fact that most of us have pre-grieved, it stings all the same. “Kill List” marks the halfway point and continues the Succession tradition of at least one episode a year taking place somewhere in Europe. Norway was our destination this time and despite the beautiful backdrop, this was a knives out affair. If you haven’t seen Succession S4E5 yet, we’re about to enter heavy spoiler territory. You’ve been warned.

Old Habits

The episode opens with a great callback to the pilot, with Kendall on his way to work. Back then, he thought he was about to be named the CEO. Now, he is a Co-CEO but please don’t call Ken and Roman CE-Bros. Kendall doesn’t like that.

We think we are being setup for a Kendall and Roman trip to Norway to close the deal with Lukas Matsson but the tricky Swede pulls a fast one and requests every department head, EVP, half of the board and basically anyone with an important title to be on the plane.

We quickly see that this is an elaborate power play. Logan is dead and Matsson is feeling emboldened. He respected the old man but he doesn’t respect his children and employees. He’s going to run all over them and do it in front of a large part of his company at their corporate retreat.

Shiv and Matsson have an off the books conversation
HBO Succession S4 09.16.22 NORWAY sc- 405-37 Int Matsson’s cabin Matsson discusses a PR problem with Shiv Kriti Fitts – Publicist Succession S4 | Sourdough Productions, LLC Kaufmann Astoria Studios 34-12 36th St 3rd flr Astoria NY 11106Office: 718-706-5850

Narratively speaking, Succession S4E5 pulled a brilliant move here, inserting Matsson into the Logan role. The show has always had this power dynamic where Logan had the power, his kids wanted it and would fight with each other, often siding with their father and betraying their siblings. Here in “Kill List,” Matsson assumed this role.

With us being this close to the finish line, this was a smart move. It made sense to kill the old man off but why mess with a winning formula this close to the end? Matsson perfectly slotted into the power role designed to divide the siblings in their quest for power.

GoJo or GoNo?

Matsson trying to now include ATN into the deal was an unexpected move. Why would he want the failing right wing “news for angry old people” as he called it? My assumption is that it’s because he knows that the kids want to fold ATN in with their newly acquired Pierce news outlet. Sure, I’ll buy your dad’s company but you don’t get to launch a new company after I do. A Logan move if we ever saw one.

This demand that the deal be restructured set the Roy siblings in motion. Roman is still thinking about what Dad would want. Kendall is starting to think and act more like Dad. And Shiv is ready to sell it all. Why not after all? She doesn’t like ATN nor does she want to be on the outside looking in with this company. She wants the new company to happen with her brothers so she can rightfully have her seat at the head of the table and not just pushed aside for her brothers.

As tensions escalated between Kendall / Roman and Matsson, Shiv found herself in a weird predicament. Matsson essentially recruited her in an attempt to pit her against her brothers. Which really wasn’t that difficult to do and yes, was a total Logan Roy move.

Kendall, Shiv and Roman huddle in the mountains of Norway
HBO Succession S4 09.19.22 NORWAY sc- 405-,29. ext conference centre Kendall & Roman talk about ATN Shiv joins Kriti Fitts – Publicist Succession S4 | Sourdough Productions, LLC Kaufmann Astoria Studios 34-12 36th St 3rd flr Astoria NY 11106Office: 718-706-5850

Moving forward, I will not be surprised one bit to see Shiv continuing to get closer with Matsson, perhaps in exchange for a high profile role within his company. She doesn’t need her brothers, she’s found her own way. Perhaps. It’s not out of the realm of possibility to envision Shiv running Matsson’s company if the deal does go through, with her brothers on the outside looking in. It feels equally as likely that they don’t sell to Matsson and that the Roy siblings have to find a way to coexist long term.

Roman is absolutely angry. He finds Matsson’s request for everyone to come over mere days after Logan’s passing to be disgusting and these are feelings he doesn’t hide. Kendall is more insulted by Matsson thinking he can bully everyone into doing whatever he wants. And the newly confident Kendall is ready to tank the deal out of anger / a desire to rule his father’s company on his own, the way he always envisioned himself doing.

The brothers deciding to tank the deal wasn’t entirely surprising. Matsson picking up on the fact that they were doing so wasn’t surprising either. But the mountaintop confrontation was a series highlight. Roman’s raw emotional outburst in many respects was the most human and in touch with his feelings he ever was. Kendall was surprised at the play but his silent support of his brother spoke volumes. Kendall wants to move on with the family company and even if he didn’t realize it before, it this moment he knew that he wanted to do it with his brother at the very least.

Kill List

While the Roy siblings were deciding whether to make the deal happen or tank it, rumors of a “kill list” aka those who would not be retained of Matsson bought the company floated around. Which gave us the type of hi jinx we’ve come to expect from Tom, Greg and the gang.

Greg seems to be distancing himself from Tom, perhaps viewing Tom as a weak candidate to stick around post transition. Seeing Greg buddy up to the siblings and call the four of them “The Quad Squad” or “The Quad” was humorous. But Greg’s instincts could be right here.

Matsson buddying up to Shiv and now being interested in ATN isn’t good for Tom. Kendall has a soft spot for Greg. If Ken is going to spare anyone from the old guard, it’s Cousin Greg. One of three big developments on the plane ride home was a preliminary version of the kill list, which showed Frank, Karl and Hugo being relieved of their duties while Gerri, Karolina, Tom and Greg kept their jobs.

The other big developments on the flight home were Matsson upping his offer after the mountaintop showdown. If the Roy brothers want to tank the deal, he’s going to offer more money so they have pressure from the board to sell. I’m not sure if the “CE-Bros” can get out of it with this increased price and the overwhelming desire to sell to Matsson. But they will try.

Finally, Matsson calling Shiv on the way home, asking her to “take a picture of your brothers’ faces” after his upped offer shows that war is here. Matsson doesn’t like to lose. He wants to buy the whole company even more after Roman exploded on him and told him they would never sell. And he’s going to weaponize their sister in the process.

With only five episodes left, there’s a lot of fireworks and drama still to come.

Written by Andrew Grevas

Andrew is the Founder / Editor in Chief of 25YL. He’s engaged with 2 sons, a staunch defender of the series finales for both Lost & The Sopranos and watched Twin Peaks at the age of 5 during its original run, which explains a lot about his personality.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *