SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers for “With Open Eyes,” the finale of HBO’s “Succession” series, now streaming on Max.
“Succession” is over and the finale answered the central question of the show: who will take over Waystar Royco?
Thanks to a last-minute change of heart from Shiv (Sarah Snook) during the tense boardroom vote, GoJo now owns the media company, and GoJo CEO Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård) has appointed Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen) as its American CEO.
While in practice the deal is likely to involve, by Matsson’s own admission, a lot of dirty work with very little input, Tom is delighted to win the crown. According to series creator Jesse Armstrong, it was a natural fit.
“The idea of Tom being the eventual successor, that was something I thought was the right ending for quite a while now,” Armstrong said, on the “Controlling the Narrative” featurette on the Max streaming service. “Even though he’s not exactly the most powerful monarch you’ll ever meet, his power comes from Matsson. These characters who drift up and make themselves accessible to powerful people are there.
Earlier in the episode, Shiv accidentally sold Matsson to Tom in a memorable exchange in which she told the CEO that her husband was such a yes he would “honestly suck the biggest dick in the room.”
Later in “Controlling the Narrative”, Armstrong discussed the future of the central siblings.
“I thought about all their stories,” Armstrong said. “You know, they don’t end. They will continue. But that’s kind of where this show loses interest in them because they’ve lost what they wanted, which is to be successful – which, you know, was that price their dad put on them offered.
“Reductively and brutally, Roman ends exactly where he started,” he continued. “He’s still that guy. And he could easily have been a playboy idiot with slightly mean instincts and quite funny jokes. He could have stayed in a bar, being that guy. And it was a bit of a detour in his life, I would say.
“Shiv is still in play, I would say, in a pretty terrifying, emotionally barren frozen place,” Armstrong said. “But she has this kind of no-win, no-defeat. I mean, there’s going to be movement there. There’s still a lot of this game left to play, but that’s where we’re leaving it. And it looks like it’s going to be difficult for them to move on, emotionally, given the things that they’ve said to each other.
“For Kendall, this will never cease to be the central event of her life, the central days of her life, the central two years of her life,” Armstrong continued. “Maybe he could go on and start a business, or do something. But the chances of him getting the kind of corporate status his father got are very slim. And I think that will mark his whole life.
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