Since the very start of Succession, one of the questions driving the show has been who will succeed Logan Roy (Brian Cox) as CEO of Waystar Royco. And now, in the wake of Logan’s shocking Season 4 death, Succession finally answers that question. Kind of.
Season 4, episode 4, “Honeymoon States,” dives into the fallout of Logan’s passing, including pressing issues like whether the GoJo deal is still on. Of course, the biggest matter at hand is who will lead Waystar next. With a board call swiftly approaching, the clock is ticking for the Waystar crew to choose the new interim CEO.
It’s a job everyone is gunning for, from Waystar’s old guard like Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron) and Karl (David Rasche) to the Roy siblings Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Shiv (Sarah Snook), and Roman (Kieran Culkin). By the episode’s end, we officially have a new, non-Logan CEO, but remember: This is only a temporary arrangement. Anything could happen in the coming weeks.
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Who is the new CEO of Waystar Royco?
Behold the new CEOs.
Credit: David Russell/HBO
In a surprising turn of events, Waystar Royco gets two interim CEOs for the price of one: Kendall and Roman. While the brothers step up together, they get there in varying ways.
The question of Kendall’s appointment is one of the major dilemmas of the episode. Frank (Peter Friedman), acting as one of Logan’s executors, finds a piece of paper in Logan’s private safe that dictates his last wishes, like funeral arrangements and who he wants to succeed him as CEO. According to the paper, Logan named Kendall. However, basically everyone wants this role, so the episode features a lot of hand-wringing about the validity of the paper.
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One argument against this all-powerful piece of paper is that it’s undated. Frank estimates it could be from four years ago…you know, back before Kendall and Logan’s extremely public feud. Shiv also points out that the markings around Kendall’s name — which many people interpret as an emphatic underlining — might actually be Logan crossing his name out entirely. In true Succession fashion, the scene balances brutal hilarity and total cringe-worthiness as everyone attempts to twist these minutiae to their benefit. The award for most embarrassing move has to go to Greg (Nicholas Braun) though, as he tries to convince everyone present that Logan’s annotation of “Greg???” meant he wanted him as Kendall’s second. Keep dreaming, Disgusting Brother.
Having his name on this piece of paper bolsters Kendall to fight harder for the interim CEO position. He cozies up to key shareholder Sandy Furness (Larry Pine) and tells close friend (and another key shareholder) Stewy (Arian Moayed) about the paper. In turn, he forces his siblings to consider their options: Either one of them (likely him) becomes CEO, or a member of the old guard who doubts their capabilities takes over.
It’s at this point that Roman fully puts his hat in the ring. As Waystar’s COO, he is listed on the company’s draft plan as the person who should step up. He’s close with GoJo’s Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård) and was speaking to Logan more than Kendall and Shiv were before his death.
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Kendall immediately sides with Roman, saying the two of them can take the position together. Their deal leaves Shiv out in the cold, but with two siblings against one, Kendall and Roman have a majority. They convince the board of their vision — remember, this is all temporary for now, just enough to make sure the GoJo deal goes through — and shoulder their dad’s former mantle together.
With Kendall and Roman as CEO, what happens to Shiv?
What about Shivvy?
Credit: David Russell/HBO
Kendall and Roman tell Shiv that the pair of them as CEO is clean. Add her as a third, and it becomes messy — or, as Roman puts it, it becomes “some orgy for hippies.” Still, the two insist that she would still be inside the company, and that she would be involved in everything.
“And that’s all equal?” Shiv asks.
“Equal as fuck,” Kendall replies. “To the gram.”
The brothers promise on the events of the day prior — Logan’s death — that they won’t screw Shiv over. Still, this is Succession, a show where you can depend just as much on people screwing each other over as you can count on the opening credits playing every week. The siblings may be grieving their father together, but they’re also Roys. The likelihood that Kendall and Roman stick to their word is not great.
We can already see the Roy-on-Roy backstabbing towards the end of the episode, when Kendall tells Hugo (Fisher Stevens) to prepare hit pieces about Logan for when Kendall and Roman become CEO. It’s a move that goes directly behind Roman’s back, as he wanted nothing to do with the plan to “shit on Dad.” And if this underhanded plot is just Kendall’s first move as interim CEO, what can we expect going forward? Definitely not the sibling unity Kendall peddled originally.
Succession is now streaming on HBO Max(opens in a new tab), with new episodes airing at 9 p.m. ET Sundays on HBO and HBO Max.
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