Home » SUCCESSION Series Finale: “With Open Eyes” | Review

SUCCESSION Series Finale: “With Open Eyes” | Review

by Travlis Hallingquest
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May 28, 2023, marked an end to two superb HBO series.  On HBO’s dark comedy crime drama BARRY, the titular character says, “Oh my” at a pivotal point in the series finale.  ‘Oh my’…this is my reaction to that episode and the series finale of SUCCESSION. “With Open Eyes” is the conclusion of the Waystar saga; cementing SUCCESSION as one of HBO’s greatest series. The nearly 90-minute episode contains the best and worst of the Roy siblings.  Mostly the latter.

Kendall is an organized mess at the start of the episode.  He frantically makes calls to Waystar board members that will determine the fate of his father’s empire. Roman, Kendall’s ace-in-the-hole, is nowhere SuccessionS4E10-Pic2to be found. Roman disappeared after fighting and losing against the election protestors in the penultimate episode. Kendall and Shiv obtain separate information that their baby brother is at their mother Caroline’s home in Barbados.  En route, Shiv asks Tom if their relationship could possibly survive the hell it has and is still experiencing. Tom is unsure. Shiv and Kendall’s concern for Roman is overtaken by their attempts to sway Roman’s vote for the upcoming board meeting. Unexpectedly, Caroline gives her children the best advice she has given them their entire lives:  Forget Waystar and start your own business. Her children ignore this, however, accepting her invitation to stay for dinner.  After the dinner, Kendall receives a call from none other than Cousin Greg. While sharing a drink with Mattson and his squad of Norwegian henchmen/businessmen, Greg uses a translation application on his phone to translate the chit-chat.  Mattson plans to dump Shiv as the CEO.  But who will take her place?

Prior to Greg’s call and the hunt for Roman began, Shiv and Mattson contemplate Gojo’s acquisition of Waystar. Mattson views a cartoonist’s depiction of him being a puppet to Shiv in a magazine article. Shiv’s SuccessionS4E10-Pic3affinity towards the drawing noticeably bothers Mattson. In the present storyline, Kendall relays Greg’s findings to his sister, who at first vehemently denies the possibility of Mattson’s backstabbing. A few unanswered phone calls to Mattson and confirmations from other sources send Shiv into a screaming frenzy. The core siblings once again unite to block the GoJo deal.  After much contemplation and some reluctance, Shiv and Roman give Kendall their blessing to be the CEO of Waystar.  The trio share a hilarious moment in their mother’s kitchen, as they “anoint” Kendall with a disgusting concoction of random ingredients found in their mother’s pantry. The scene is one of the most wholesome in the series, as expected very short-lived. (a smoothie Strong drank!

Tom and Greg engage in awkward fisticuffs when Tom deduces his only true friend tipped the Roy siblings to Mattson’s true intent. When Greg hits Tom back, the action is indicative of Greg’s growth. Greg may be unorthodox and somewhat out of his element, but the same argument can be made for Tom. Tom is an SuccessionS4E10-Pic4-300x144outsider who worked his way to the executive level of a major corporation. Tom’s straight-arrow persona and looks, coupled with his metaphorical desire to go to bed with Logan during his tenure, and now with Mattson, makes him the ideal CEO. Also, Tom was the only individual that offered to take the fall for the luxury cruise deaths in the second season story arc.  He is someone that is competent yet can be controlled by a higher power. Therefore Mattson names Tom CEO…if Kendall can be stopped. The Disgusting Brothers, as Tom and Greg have deemed themselves have been our most evolved characters. They have the desire to match or outperform the Roys, without having their predisposed advantages. Even their wardrobes have evolved from the first season. Roman made a quip about Tom’s Twin Peaks lawyer suits in the first season. When Tom betrayed his wife in the Season finale of the third season, he was wearing a Purple Label Ralph Lauren cream suit that evoked Michael Corleone vibes from THE GODFATHER PART II.  Now in Season Four, his Brioni suits are of higher thread quality than WALLSTREET’s Gordon Gekko. The attention to detail in this series is mesmerizing.

The day has arrived. Who will be the successor? Problems start early when Roman once again attempts to back out of the deal. Kendall hugs his brother tightly and tells him that he needs him; the elder brother SuccessionS4E10-Pic5-209x300intentionally reopens the younger brother’s stitches. The voting begins, and Roman’s vote ties the deal decision: six are for the Gojo acquisition and six are against it. Shiv is the deciding vote. Shiv abruptly excuses herself from the board meeting, and Roman and Kendall immediately follow and inquire about the sudden departure. Here shit hits the fan and spreads over every hateful fiber in their bodies. Shiv states that she is unsure of Kendall’s ability to run their father’s empire. When Kendall begs his sister to reconsider, Shiv reminds Kendall that he killed the waiter at her wedding.  Although this event was an accident, Kendall was the root cause. Kendall’s blood boils from Shiv’s remarks but the kettle spews blood when Roman retorts that Shiv’s pregnancy will carry the true Roy bloodline. For Kendall’s daughter Sophie is adopted, while his son Iverson was born via artificial insemination.  Enraged, Kendall attacks Roman. While the brothers fight, Shiv returns to the boardroom and votes in favor of the GoJo deal.

SuccessionS4E10-Pic6-300x267Our final shot of Roman is him enjoying a drink in peace at a bar.  Roman and Connor are the only siblings that accept that none were worthy of taking Logan’s place. Our final glimpse of Shiv is holding Tom’s hand in the back of a company car.  Shiv decides to remain married to Tom.  Shiv is now analogous to the person she hated the most…her mother. Tom, as Waystar’s new CEO, retains Greg, Karolina, and Gerri. He fires Karl, Frank, and Hugo. Ironically, the former two voted in favor of the Gojo deal.

The most heartbroken of the outcome is Kendall. Many viewers areSuccessionS4E10-Pic7-300x275 debating what the final shot of the series means for Kendall. Followed by his father’s loyal bodyguard, Kendall looks out to the Hudson River. Is he contemplating suicide? I personally do not think this is the case, for water has revived Kendall on numerous occasions, including the wreck and passing out in the pool in Season 3. Nevertheless, he fell short of equaling the old man.

What are your thoughts on SUCCESSION’s four-season run? I am very pleased with all 40 episodes and respect the writers’ decision to end the series while the quality was still sublime.

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1 comment

Roger Bell June 2, 2023 - 7:06 am

I was a fan of the series. However, Succession didn’t end as I hoped. I wanted them all to die. They were irredeemably evil.


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