The fourth and final season of Succession is firing on all cylinders in its premiere.
This recap of Succession Season 4 Episode 1, “The Munsters”, contains spoilers.
It’s Logan Roy’s birthday in the fourth season premiere of Succession. When you get to his age, those celebrations aren’t what they used to be. They’re a reminder, in a way, that this might be the last one; that your time might have run out, and that whoever is around you now will likely be the same people around you when you’re dead.
That probably explains why Logan is so unhappy to be there. None of his children are in attendance. The people who are present he can’t stand, either because they’re idiots (Tom, Cousin Greg), they might be a potential spy (Cousin Greg’s plus-one), or they need something from him (everyone else.)
Succession Season 4 Episode 1 Recap
Nobody feels sorry for Logan, obviously – why would they? But his loneliness is noticeable in “The Munsters”. When it was just Kendall who was trying to overthrow him, he could make excuses. He could keep Roman around as essentially a pet, and at least pretend that Shiv was always the anointed golden child anyway.
But now the Roy siblings have formed a clique that has held tight for however much time has elapsed between seasons. Logan is stuck with Connor, who is so stupid that he’s contemplating spending another hundred million dollars just to keep his name in the midst of a political race even he knows he can’t win. It’s his birthday, but the real turning point will be the deal between Waystar and GoJo that is going ahead in a couple of days.
What is The Hundred?
Kendall, Roman, and Shiv are all eligible to liquidate their 5% after the sale goes through, and they’re planning to use that hefty capital to strike out on their own with a hip new project they’re called the Hundred, which is described by Kendall at one point as having “the ethos of a nonprofit but a path to crazy margins.” It’s nonsense, basically, the brainchild of hangers-on with no marketable expertise of their own but a lifetime of experience in buzzwords and bullshit.
This is why, when they get wind of Logan trying to acquire PGM, the media empire of the Pierce family, they want in. It’s a chance to really spite their father, which across several seasons they have barely managed to do successfully. But it’s also a safer legacy media platform that they might actually know what to do with since it’s basically just a politically opposite version of Waystar itself. Kendall and Shiv love the idea. Roman is hesitant, but then again, he always is when he realizes he might have to go toe-to-toe with his father. A desperate yearning for approval doesn’t disappear overnight.
All of this is going on at the same time as Logan’s party, more or less, meaning that the episode’s director, Mark Mylod, gets to flit between the show’s two favorite modes: Excruciating social awkwardness and nail-bitingly tense boardroom negotiations.
What happens at Logan’s birthday party?
The party stuff is brilliantly funny. You’ve got a bamboozled Greg trying to fathom how Connor’s share of the U.S. electorate could potentially get squeezed down from one percent, which as Greg says is already “the smallest number”. You’ve got Tom giving Greg all kinds of grief about his date, Bridget, and her comically oversized bag: “What’s even in there? Flat shoes for the subway? Her lunch pail? I mean, Greg, it’s monstrous. It’s gargantuan. You could take it camping. You could slide it across the floor after a bank job.”
Tom also convinces Greg that he and Bridget have inadvertently made a sex tape on Logan’s CCTV, which he supposedly rewatches at night to relax, and persuades Greg to broach the subject with Logan himself during the midst of the negotiation back and forth.
But the party stuff is also faintly terrifying. When the negotiations really start to pick up, Logan sequesters himself and his inner circle away and, while waiting for the next phone call, starts sociopathically tormenting them, imploring them to “roast” him for his entertainment. Only Greg obliges — “Where’re your kids? Where are all your kids, Uncle Logan? On your big birthday?” – but even then only because he’s not smart enough to say anything witty.
Who acquires PGM?
Things are going better over at the Pierce estate, where Nan is faking a migraine and talking in circles to try and pretend she’s interested in preserving PGM’s social values and not “doing what’s best for her shareholders and family”, which is business-speak for taking the highest bid regardless of who offers it. Her refusal to discuss anything in open terms gives the whole thing a fun play-acting tone, and Cherry Jones is great as a woman who has already won and just wants to keep up appearances in victory.
But this is important for the kids. It may even come to be very important since they wildly overbid on the acquisition and end up shelling out $10 billion, which it’s strongly implied is significantly more than PGM is worth. Logan seems to know this – “Congratulations on saying the biggest number, you f*cking morons” – but also seems to be legitimately seething about losing out on the deal.
Succession Season 4 Episode 1 Ending Explained
The underlying point isn’t subtle. These are people with so much money that they don’t even care about wasting it just to cruelly spite the people they’re supposed to love the most. Logan seems to have finally reached a point where he’s realizing the meaninglessness of all this. At one point, he asks his bodyguard, Colin, what he thinks happens when we die. Logan suspects nothing at all. “What are people?” he asks in the same conversation. He surmises that they’re just economic units in various markets. That bleak worldview is why he spends his evenings alone watching ATN News, calling up the executives, and complaining about the anchor and the content.
The kids should be happy, at least. But while we don’t see Roman or Kendall in the aftermath of the PGM acquisition, we do follow Shiv home to her luxurious penthouse, which is empty and dark. She and Tom are in a trial separation, and he has been fraternizing with models and perhaps Naomi Pierce. He emerges, bleary-eyed in his nightclothes, and wants to talk. But she can’t bring herself to. For once, the idea of discussing their marriage in the terms of a real relationship causes her genuine pain. They lay on the bed in sexless silence, holding hands with nary a shred of intimacy remaining between them. Even the dog didn’t recognize her.
Ten billion dollars down the drain, and nobody is any happier than they were before.
You can catch Succession Season 4 Episode 1, “The Munsters” exclusively on HBO and HBO Max.