Succession Season 4 Episode 4 Recap: One of Us Is Lying

Spoilers below.

In sterile, soulless penthouse bedrooms overlooking the Manhattan skyline, the Roy children wake to a world without their father in it. In episode 4, this is only the first indication of many that a reality sans Logan will be no less opaque than one with him. His children might have escaped the immediacy of his abuse, but they have also lost the sun around which their lives orbited. Alone, Kendall stares into nothingness. Roman brushes his teeth like he’s wrestling them into submission. Shiv fields a call from her doctor, Sharon, and lo and behold: All that talk of eggs between Tom and Shiv in season 3 was not for nothing. Logan’s only daughter is 20 weeks pregnant, and her amniocentesis test has revealed a perfectly healthy baby. But does anyone but Shiv and Sharon know? It seems unlikely, given the loaded glances Shiv shoots in Tom’s direction multiple times throughout the remainder of the episode—if, that is, he’s even the father of her fetus.

At the start of “Honeymoon States,” family and “friends” converge on Logan’s apartment, where his third wife, Marcia, has decided to re-appear in time to sell the juicy piece of real estate to Connor. (For the low price of $63 million!) The kids share a moment of quiet unity, during which Roman fails to convince them he’s doing just dandy, actually. (You see, he’s already “pre-grieved.”) But, as in all Roy family affairs, business matters outweigh emotional ones: The board is meeting at noon to name a temporary CEO, and the contenders are already splitting into factions that split into sub-factions. There’s the family—Kendall, Roman, and Shiv, already bristling at the idea of working for one another—and there’s the minions, comprising primarily Frank, Karl, and Gerri, who are already trading barbs as they joust for a shot at the throne. Such battle lines ultimately leave Tom as the wild card without a deck to call his own, which Karl spells out in no uncertain terms. “You’re a clumsy interloper and no one trusts you; the only guy pulling for you is dead; and now you’re just married to the ex-boss’s daughter, and she doesn’t even like you,” he says, and Tom is so startled he almost looks proud.

Frank, as executor of Logan’s will, shares a beguiling tidbit with Karl: Logan apparently penciled in some addendums to the document. Both Frank and Karl would prefer for these addendums to disappear down a toilet drain—Just a thought! A thought in a “humorous vein”!— but Gerri mercifully interrupts. The camera cuts away before we can watch the ensuing conversation, but context clues throughout the remainder of “Honeymoon States” inform us that she steers the duo toward a savvier course of action. She plans to lure the kids into cannibalizing themselves.

a photo from the production of episode 404 of “succession” featuring sarah snook as shiv

David M. Russell

Meanwhile, Matsson has called Roman to address the as-yet-unfinished GoJo deal. The kids let him go to voicemail so they can screw their heads on straight; in the process, they only disturb his fragile ego, granting him permission to mess with them further. His second-in-command informs them that, to execute the deal, they’ll need to travel to Matsson, not the other way around. As for the astonishingly recent death of their father? Oof, sorry, that’s a real “bad one.” It’s just not enough to trigger the billionaire’s sympathies.

The board meeting draws nearer by the second, and still Hugo finds a spare moment to pull Kendall aside in a plea for help. Hugo’s daughter, Juliet, might or might not have accidentally engaged in insider trading, courtesy of her father’s window into Logan’s final moments. Kendall doesn’t outright agree to help the communications exec, but the information is a useful bargaining chip as he and his siblings meet with Team Minions in the late Waystar Royco founder’s library. There, the trio is confronted with the shocking news that Logan did name a successor in his will—once upon a time, anyway—but the words “Kendall Logan Roy” are now marked up with pencil. Whether they’re underlined or crossed out remains entirely up to individual interpretation. One last mindfuck from the master.

The damage is instantaneous. The siblings turn on one another with a ruthless lack of restraint, as Gerri and the rest of the Minions knew they would. Is the name underlined or crossed out? Does it even matter, if the document isn’t legal? Shiv confides to Roman that Kendall becoming their de facto leader isn’t quite the move she had in mind, but before Roman can respond, Tom swoops in to try and rekindle the rapport between him and his wife. She accepts this white flag, albeit briefly, and shares her own unvarnished feelings re: her dad. “I’m slowly coming to accept that we killed him,” she says. “If we had said yes to GoJo, then he might have been around for 20 more years, so he can rock his grandkids to sleep.”

Tom quirks an eyebrow. “As he was evidently so keen to do.”

“Yeah,” Shiv replies, shutting down. “Well, that’s fucked now, isn’t it?”

Tom attempts to regain her confidences by recounting one of their early romantic interludes. But Shiv has disappeared from him again, brushing her husband aside to confront the nearer pressures of the day. Instead, Tom tries his luck with Roman, reminding him that Logan had just tried coaxing the youngest Roy back into the Waystar inner circle. Roman—accurately, I might add—calls Tom out on the bootlicking, but the haunted look on his face reveals Tom’s reminder was an unnecessary one.

Elsewhere in the apartment, Kendall rallies support for his own cause. He conquers Stewy first, then turns to his siblings with a pitch: He takes on the short-term CEO role and bags GoJo, paving the way for the three of them to steer the company together in its PGN era. Shiv and Roman aren’t convinced, but it’s ultimately Shiv herself who’s shut out as Roman and Kendall agree to co-manage CEO duties. They assure her this is temporary; she’ll be “inside everything.” Furious at her brothers’ obvious underestimation of her—not to mention the healthy shavings of sexism sprinkled atop—she demands they not abandon her in their scuffle to the top. They agree, but if there’s one thing the Roy family does worse than weddings, it’s vows.

a photo from the production of episode 404 of “succession” starring fisher stevens as hugo and jeremy strong as kendall

David M. Russell

The vote goes through, and Kendall and Roman are no longer princes but kings. As they sign paperwork and ogle Logan’s unfinished sudoku, Karolina and Hugo advise them on the PR spin: They can either emphasize the ways in which they’re faithfully following in their father’s footsteps, or they can toss Logan’s name out with the rest of the garbage. New CEOs, new Waystar Royco, right? Roman is squeamish at the idea of dancing on their dad’s grave. Kendall initially agrees.

But that damn piece of paper, and his crossed-out/underlined name…It’s too much for Kendall to leave alone. He wants to be the man his father once spelled out in ink. And so he confronts Hugo, alone, and makes his first demand as CEO. Naturally, it’s an instant betrayal of his siblings and their newfound trust. Release the hounds, he says. Tear Logan to shreds. Herald a new era. “But soft; no prints.” In other words, tell not one single soul—not Karolina, not Roman—unless Hugo wants his daughter’s little trading incident to become an issue for the SEC. Kendall delivers this order with a smile, his transformation as frightening as it was inevitable. Perhaps only Kerry, weeping as she begs Roman to look into the “arrangements” Logan surely made for her, better accentuates the broken promises left in the Roy family’s wake. A new Waystar Royco is still, ultimately, Logan’s legacy.

Headshot of Lauren Puckett-Pope

Culture Writer

Lauren Puckett-Pope is a staff culture writer at ELLE, where she primarily covers film, television and books. She was previously an associate editor at ELLE. 

Pop Culture

Products You May Like

Articles You May Like

Scotty McCreery Named North Carolina Music Hall of Fame Inductee
How iCarly’s Jerry Trainor Feels About Jennette McCurdy’s Book
Taylor Swift, Ice Spice Surprise Eras Fans With Good ‘Karma’
The Honorable Jay “WestSide” is a Summer Lick
‘The Barn Part II’ Is Now Streaming Exclusively on SCREAMBOX!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *