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Movies & TV

22nd Mar 2023

REVIEW: Succession Season 4 is the tensest comedy in recorded history

Rory Cashin

Succession Season 4

Here is our spoiler-free review of the first episodes of the new and final season.

It took everyone by surprise when the show’s creators announced that Succession Season 4 would be the end of the road for this particular story. But it didn’t take long to realise that the smart move is always to bow out when you’re on top, leave them wanting more, etc.

And as JOE received early access to the first four episodes of Succession Season 4, we can confirm that is exactly what they’ve done: they are some of the best episodes of the show to date, and left us chomping at the bit to see the six remaining episodes of ultra-rich dysfunction.

We’ll be honest, there are some big moves made across these first four episodes, but we’re also not going to get into spoiler territory whatsoever, so we’ll just lay out the chessboard as it pertains from the end of the Season 3 and picking up with the first of the new episodes:

Having successfully bamboozled his kids in the ultimate act of backstabbing, Logan Roy (Brian Cox) is gearing up to sell most of his projects to Matsson (Alexander Skarsgard), so he can devote most of his attention to his news corporation ATN. Meanwhile, Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Shiv (Sarah Snook) and Roman (Kieran Culkin) have actually managed to become a successfully competent trio, even managing to manoeuvre their old man with their business savvy, much to his usual mix of 98% pure chagrin, 2% sort of proud.

Meanwhile, Connor (Alan Ruck) is trying to organise the ultimate wedding, hoping it will help put a bigger spotlight on him for his Presidential run, while Tom (Matthew Macfayden) is still enduring the emotional fallout of his betrayal of Shiv, and Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun) is really coming into his own, developing newfound depths of self-esteem as he learns more and more the access of power that being in the Roy family allows.

We won’t go any further than that, but as you’d expect, each and every episode is laced with the expected set of exquisite one-liners, perfected performances and dramatic rug-pulls that you’d expect from Succession. Except this time it has been ramped up as far as the dial will go, as with the battle lines now permanently drawn out, Logan and his kids are declaring all out war with each other while trying to maintain a facade of friendly competitiveness to the world at large.

It goes without saying that everyone in this show is beyond reproach in terms of their character work, now all so at home in these roles that it feels less like a fictional show and more that we’ve accidentally been allowed to see behind-the-scenes footage of a Kardashians-esque reality show, but with some of the most rich and powerful (and, usually, truly abhorrent) people in the world.

However, special mention must go to Snook for her mindbogglingly layered performance as Shiv; always so sure in herself that she is the smartest, nicest, best person in the room, except for… y’know… all of her actions and all of the things that she says to people. Here, still raw from the two-handed knife in the back from her husband AND her father, she finds herself aligned with her brothers, two men that she clearly loves, but also can’t be trusted not to screw the remainder of her life up with a mis-sent dick-pic or dead-waiter revelation.

At this point, the spider’s web of familial connections and double crosses has become way too tangled for any of them to fully decipher or resolve, and it is clear from the first episode that the walls are starting to close in on them all at a startlingly rapid pace. This is the endgame for them all, and by this May, we’ll know who – if anyone – has come out on top.

Not to put the comedy of this show to one side, as the memorable quotes come as quick and fast as ever, especially with Tom’s renewed vigour of hatred towards Greg – once born out of pity, now birthed from jealousy – not to mention 99.9999% of the things that come out of Roman’s mouth. But with each joke, with each business meeting, with each cutting look of pure disdain, the tension continues to rise, from them and for us. We don’t know how this ends, but if it keeps going like this, then we’ll end up with one of the greatest TV shows that has ever existed.

The first episode of Succession Season 4 will be available to watch on Sky Atlantic or with a NOW Entertainment Membership from Monday, 27 March.

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