Episode 1 of “Succession” final season signals a new alliance


‘Succession’ | HBO Max

Stephanie Frias

“Succession,” the hit dramedy, debuted its first episode of the final season as television’s favorite dysfunctional billionaire family returned on March 26.

The hit series follows the lives of the Roys, a global media-conglomerate family, whose trust for each other s is mangled by their fight for control of the company as their father’s health declines. The story’s Shakespearean themes of tragedy, abuse and family makes it a riveting, funny and a painfully realistic watch.

In the last season, the Roy siblings, played by Sarah Snook, Jeremy Strong and Kieran Culkin, were abruptly cut out of the family’s stock share by their father Logan Roy, played by Brian Cox — effectively killing their mutinous plan.

With the Roy siblings stronger than ever, episode one set the stage for the new season’s dynamics. The three team up to destroy their father — despite three seasons of them being at each other’s throats. Their common enemy brings them together, like wolves looking for prey.

In the beginning of the episode, they toy with the potential idea of creating their own media company in LA until the news spreads that Logan is attempting to buy out PGM, a rival left-leaning news conglomerate. In a striking turn of events, the Roy siblings finally beat their father at his own game, outbidding him and snaking the deal from right under his nose. The $10 billion buyout of PGM effectively makes them the shareholders of the second biggest media conglomerate in the world.

However, in “Succession,” tragedy always lies on the other side.

The episode was the first step toward the creation of a new family. On the outside, it seems the Roy’s have finally escaped the cycle of abuse they found themselves in with their father. A recurring theme in the last few seasons has been the way families are used time and again to manipulate, gaslight and threaten the Roys’ wellbeing.

The family’s relationships are expressed through declarations of violence and intimidation — the Roys’ abuse and love are two sides of the same coin. However, after this four-month time jump the family are softer and more playful with each other. Their hard corporate exteriors have given way to childlike interactions, strengthening their bonds. This development may have been nice to see on screen, but the result of these characters’ bonds with their siblings felt human and real.

Sarah Snook’s portrayal of Shibohan “Shiv” Roy was a highlight of the episode. Shiv and her husband Tom Wabagans, played by Matthew Macfadyen, agree to divorce, ending their strained marriage after Tom sells out their idea of mutiny.

Her ability to capture a woman afraid of her own vulnerability is a phenomenal representation of the effects of misogyny and abuse in toxic families. In a heartbreaking scene, we see Shiv and Tom mourn the love that was lost in an astonishing final performance.

New episodes of the final season will be out every Sunday at 9:00 p.m. on HBO.