Succession S4E6 Breakdown: The Effects of Grief


Kendall on stage looking at his father on a video projector
A photo from the production of episode 406 of “Succession”. Photo: David M. Russell/HBO ©2022 HBO. All Rights Reserved.

We’re in the home stretch for Succession now. “Living+” was the sixth episode of the final season, meaning we now just have four more episodes with the Roy siblings, Cousin Greg, Tom and even Carl, who really wants his golden parachute. If you haven’t seen Succession S4E6, we’re about to get into heavy spoiler territory here. You’ve been warned.

The Effects of Grief

”Living+” saw the Waystar team head out to Los Angeles for a product launch, the kind of idea that just feels right for this show, especially in the final run of episodes. Kendall and Roman are still navigating choppy waters, wanting to tank the deal without anyone knowing that they’re tanking the deal. Of course Shiv, who is firmly playing both sides of the fence, can see right through it and calls her brothers out.

The alliance between the three youngest siblings is shaky at best. Shiv is terrified of being cut out. The brothers are trying to make it work. But as Succession S4E6 showed us, none of them have been given even a minute to stop and grieve the loss of their father, not to mention process the complicated feelings over loving a man who was not good to you.

Roman’s insecurities were on full display. He’s not used to commanding respect but now that he’s sharing the old man’s seat, he feels he needs to. He fires a studio head who clearly looks down on him and then later in the episode, fires Gerri. It was shocking, to say the least. Roman tried to talk to her and when it was clear that given their past history, Gerri didn’t see him the same way she saw Logan, Roman snapped and fired her.

Roman and a studio exec talking at a table
Photograph by Claudette Barius/HBO

We’re watching his process unfold before our very eyes. He doesn’t know how to earn respect. It’s not that he isn’t good at what he does, but he’s always been seen as the comic relief. Rather than trying to earn respect over time—which he doesn’t feel that he has—he’s going to demand it. He’s going to take it. He’s going to use a page from his father’s playbook, ruling with an iron fist. But it isn’t him. It is, however, the example he’s seen his whole life.

Then there’s Shiv, who spends Succession S4E6 dancing a dangerous dance with Tom, sleeping with him, lashing out at him, flirting with him and feeling comfortable with him. Shiv is pregnant, feeling unsure that she can trust her brothers, not sure that she can trust Matsson either and missing her father’s direction. So she turns to Tom, who yes has betrayed her, but she feels that she can both trust and control. For Shiv, letting Tom back in was just as much about needing someone during this difficult time as much as needing an ally. Tom tells her that he’s always loved money. He’s always loved nice things. Sure he loves Shiv but Logan made it easy to side with him. This was a comfort to Shiv in a twisted way. Tom had let down his guard and now she could bring him back in. Lines are being drawn for the possible battle to come.

Shiv and Tom flirting at a party
Photograph by Claudette Barius/HBO

Kendall’s arc in “Living+” felt like classic Kendall, but with a twist. Big ideas. Fast talking. Aims for the moon while everyone around him mocks him. Kendall is the optimist, the one who despite having plenty of reasons to be, isn’t jaded. He’s a dreamer, a believer in himself and big ideas and this product launch to him was his chance to shine.

The concept of “Living+” is borderline terrifying. Communities completely isolated from the rest of the world. Their own entertainment, their own events, their own medical care and treatments. A life completely isolated from the rest of the world, brought to you by the same company that produces far right wing news. But Kendall knows that if he can sell this, if he can make people believe, that he can drive stock prices up and force Matsson out of the picture by upping the company’s value. For Kendall, this presentation isn’t about a product, it’s about saving his family’s company.

But for Kendall, it’s always more than that. It’s always about living up to these standards he thinks his father has for him. Wanting his dad to be proud of him. The reality is that he never will impress his dad but it motivates Kendall. Most of the time, he falls short. He aims big but falls on his face. This time, he exceeded all expectations and all of those mocking him behind his back had to tell him to his face that he did great.

The Struggle For Power

Succession S4E6 showed us that we’re very much in the middle of a war for power. Matsson is using Shiv as his person on the inside. Shiv is using Tom for her protection. Roman is torn but does want to be aligned with his siblings. The elder statesmen and women on the board all want the deal to push through so they can escape more rich than most people could ever dream of.

It’s hard to say how it’s all going to play out. Roman seems on the verge of a breakdown or breakthrough. He’s back to punishing himself, his go to when his insecurities are at their worst. He’s the piece on the board that can shift power. Both Shiv and Kendall know that they need Roman, who strives for middle ground more than anyone else, to be on their side.

Roman and Kendall have a conversation by a vending machine
A photo from the production of episode 406 of “Succession”. Photo: David M. Russell/HBO ©2022 HBO. All Rights Reserved.

Kendall is arguably in the best place emotionally we’ve ever seen him in. His track record is horrible but you really want to believe that this is the time he pulls through. But for him, you can see that he wants to do this with his siblings. Anything short of them running the company together would be a loss in his book.

The show has left breadcrumbs that ATN News having a direct line to GOP Presidential candidate Jared Menkin is going to be an issue. It doesn’t feel like a red herring but what are the ramifications? Will there be any consequences to Matsson tweeting out a pro-Holocaust tweet, solely designed to take attention away from Kendall’s product launch? That to me seems more likely to be swept under the rug, although shocking.

The table has been set for an explosive final four hours in an all time great series. Succession S4E6 was very character driven, showing us the continuation of the Roy siblings grief and how that’s going to impact the future, which is wide open at this point.

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.

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