WARNING: Spoilers ahead for the series finale of Succession.
Seriously, don’t ruin it for yourself.
One last chance.
He did it. The bastard actually did it. Tom One Half Of The Disgusting Brothers Wambgsans (please give Matthew Macfadyen his Emmy for Best Tufthunter) pipped the three – well, two but more on that later – Roy siblings to the punch and become CEO of the Waystar RoyCo empire left behind by the late Logan Roy.
But why does it feel like a poisoned apple? Lukas Matsson (played with absolutely devilish delight by Alexander Skarsgård) is clearly as trustworthy as any of the Roys on a good day. Putting Tommy Boy into the hot spot as head of a media and entertainment company right after he faced accusations of manipulating an election that handed a win to a coke-devouring president in the backpocket of one of the siblings he stabbed in the virtual back feels like a…choice.
So… so far, so right.
Since the very beginning, Tom’s entire game plan has to be in the right place at the right time, ensure that his hands are on the hands that push the buttons. Or even put a ring on the hand that potentially pushes the buttons.
Y’all have been calling Tom a cuck for years and everyone on the show called him a dickrider 15 times this final season.
— 🍑 (@mspeacherino) May 29, 2023
But that has also meant Tom’s presence as human barnacle on the arse of whomever is the most powerful person in the room is a double-edged sword. As we found out with the cruise controversy, it makes him the easiest body to throw overboard when you need to make a sacrifice of corporate dead weight. In the words of Shiv, “Tom will honestly suck the biggest dick in the room.”
And he’s a man. That’s an unassailable truth. Tom also got the job because Matsson didn’t want to have sex with him.
The irony that Shiv, who is arguably the most capable if just as broken as her brothers, was shuttled out of the top job purely because she was a woman plays into Succession’s persistent message that merit has nothing to do with in the world of money and success.
But it also highlights one of the biggest tells in the series (and why writers deserve every cent they’re demanding). Since the first episode we’ve had red herrings and hints to the sibling’s destinies. Roman’s nickname Romulus – the ancient founder of Rome who betrayed his brother. Which Roman did, finally, in the last instance. And Siobhan. Known as Shiv – a hand-crafted weapon used to stab people in the back.
Out of all three of them Shiv also found herself with the dirtiest hands, betraying family, her husband and her family again in the space of a blink. Some have argued that this was because her conscious got the better of her. Others that she understood that Tom, more than Kendall or Roman, would be the more malleable for her own ambitions long term.
In the end, Shiv was the most Machiavellian of the Roys – willing to vote for, and stay with, a man she loathed in order to be the one in control. Albeit, in control from the shadows. Her predictions of becoming the Lady Macbeth of the series, with Tom becoming the potential patsy to her and Matsson’s ambitions in the long game, came true.
The excruciatingly coldness of Shiv and Tom in their limo, Roman enjoying a martini and free of the noose that was the family business, Kendall reeling from the reality that being the “eldest boy” (“You’re noooooooooooot” as Shiv reminds him ) is not a golden ticket to success(ion) – carves the most satisfying of Succession that could have been delivered.