The Succession finale will air on Sunday, May 28th, and HBO will deliver a massive 90-minute episode that will finally answer the question we’ve had from the moment we started watching HBO’s big hit. Just like the Game of Thrones finale did all those years ago.
The big difference is that the final Succession season is miles better than that of Thrones. By the time I got to the Thrones finale, I was already annoyed. With Succession, I’m already happy with how the series ends, and the finale isn’t even out.
The comparison to Game of Thrones isn’t accidental. From the first episode in season 1, I likened Succession to HBO’s former TV show’s glorious days. We got another fight for power, one that didn’t involve swords, dragons, and walls. But one that could be equally brutal. A battle for the throne set in the modern world, where billionaires have more actual power than any armies in Westeros.
Like Game of Thrones, the focus of Succession is on the family. We have the Roys, who own one of the most important media corporations in the world. And the Roys must decide who will be in charge of it all once the old generation retires.
The reason Succession never ended with season 1’s finale is that Logan Roy (Brian Cox) wasn’t willing to step down. That meant none of his children would succeed him so soon. More fighting was to follow.
And just like that, Kendal (Jeremy Strong), Roman (Kieran Culkin), and Shiv (Sarah Snook) became involved in their very own game of thrones. While siblings, they were and are not always allies, vying for that highly coveted CEO position.
Add in the mix Connor Roy (Alan Ruck), Nicholas Braun (Greg Hirsch), and Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen), and you end up with a surprising finale come Sunday night.
Succession is so good that there might be someone else entirely taking that throne by the time the final 90 minutes are up. And it would make sense.
The unexpected reason why I’m happy with the Succession finale
I already had favorites when Game of Thrones started. Not having read the books, I didn’t know some of them would die along the way. But I had favorites that I wanted on the throne. Yet, as the show advanced, I found myself rooting for some of the bad guys. But some of my initial favorites remained in play.
In Succession, there’s really no good guy to root for. You’d think in season one that you’ll soon be able to pick one. But I found myself consistently moving between Ken, Roman, Shiv, and back. Neither was a good guy, but they weren’t perfectly evil either. I even love Tom and Greg and found myself rooting for one of them to win Succession by the finale.
The more I saw and understood Logan, the more I rooted for him too. I wanted him to stay at the top for as long as possible, and have his wins, no matter how despicable. Maybe understanding Logan makes it so difficult to pick one of the three kids to succeed him.
I think that’s the greatness of Succession. Making you care for terrific, terribly flawed characters. People you might not necessarily want to associate with in real life. Or people who you’d absolutely wish to have on your side.
People you might not identify with. Or, even scarier, people who might reflect some of your own flaws. There’s no wrong answer here.
What I’m coming at is this: Unlike Game of Thrones, I don’t need to know what happens in the Succession finale to be happy. Again, Game of Thrones was dead by the time we got to the finale. Nothing could have saved that final season. Succession is a lot different.
Put differently, I could go without actually watching the 90-minute finale on Sunday and still be happy. That’s because I do see any of the three siblings taking the throne by the end of the show. Just as I do see a total surprise coming our way.
Whatever the case, I know I wouldn’t be disappointed. I’m still ambivalent about all of these characters. I love them, and I love to hate them. And that made Succession so incredibly amazing to follow all these years.