‘Succession’ finale: The cases for 3 extreme dark horse winners
As Succession gears up for its big finale, fans are making their final bets on the outcome. No, literally. Johnny Avello, DraftKings’ director of race and sportsbook operations crunched whatever numbers one can crunch about a fictional show(opens in a new tab), and has the smart money predictions for you:
Yes, the company will likely be sold to GoJo, according to Avello. As far as the stickier question of who will reign (since exactly what they’ll reign over is dependent on the answer to that first question), the most boring answers are, in descending order of likelihood, Shiv Roy at 5-2 odds, followed by Kendall, and then Roman. If you’re looking for a lottery ticket bet, go with Cousin Greg. At 50-1 odds, he’s not the one to stake your house on, but if you have some money to risk, a Greg payout could be massive.
But here’s the beautiful thing about fiction: Literally anything can happen. Kendall’s son Iverson can be CEO if the writers will it. Hell, there’s no law that says showrunner Jesse Armstrong can’t make Logan come back from the dead, or have aliens materialize and take over Waystar Royco.
But somewhere between “boring” and “totally, unsatisfyingly out-of-left field,” are the dark horses. Tom, Frank, and Gerri are some examples of CEOs who would all make for rather wild choices, as well as probably great TV. But it doesn’t take much to imagine those scenarios into existence.
Here, then, are three extreme dark horses. None of these are likely, but I’m offering them up as hypotheticals anyway, because, if nothing else, they show just how much fun TV writers can have if they really cut themselves loose.
Pip Torrens and Harriet Walter in “Succession”
Credit: Photograph by Macall Polay/HBO
If you’re not a Munion stan, you may need a reminder that Caroline Collingwood’s rather pathetic, social-climbing husband Peter (played by Pip Torrens) even exists. Part of his character, after all, is that he’s easy to not notice. It was bad taste in the extreme for the Roy siblings’ new stepdad to announce himself at Logan’s funeral by saying “Daddy’s here!” But it was true in a sense, and what if it suddenly became queasily truer?
At the end of Season 3, you’ll of course recall that when the siblings attempted to wrest control of Waystar from Logan, the old man’s vice grip on the driver’s seat was maintained by making some sort of appeal to his ex-wife Caroline. Their divorce settlement had once kept the Roy Family Holding Company — which owns 36 percent of Waystar — under the control of the siblings. But after renegotiating the divorce, the ex-couple froze out the siblings so the sale could go ahead.
With Logan dead, according to my math, Caroline controls — though she does not own — 36 percent of Waystar. One of the current CEOs of Waystar Royco has just been trampled, and the other is preparing to wage boardroom war against his sister Shiv. All this turmoil can be resolved, however, and the GoJo sale can move forward if Caroline just uses her considerable voting power to seat another CEO. And given that Waystar’s latest Wall Street coup was driven by Living+, a new type of retirement home, it will certainly help to bring in someone with experience in that area, because other board members are going to need to vote for this person.
Welp, it’s worth noting that Caroline happens to be married to the CEO of Lavender Park Care Homes, a chain of British retirement homes: our old friend Peter Munion. Another win for awkward stepdads.
To be sure, assuming Jeryd Mencken, with his America-first mindset, does truly become U.S. president, the British Peter could never be promoted to CEO of GoJo, which would become Waystar’s parent company in this scenario. But assuming Shiv’s desire for that job is just a fantasy, and Matsson has other, bigger plans, Peter’s ascendancy to the position of Waystar CEO would make him seem like the winner of the show anyway.
Rob Yang and Kieran Culkin in “Succession”
Credit: Photograph by Peter Kramer/HBO
The media landscape was a little different back when Succession debuted in the summer of 2018, and the importance of Lawrence Yee (Rob Yang), founder and CEO of Vaulter, reflected that. BuzzFeed and the other punching-above-their-weight online media organizations that inspired Vaulter were breaking major news(opens in a new tab) and perceived as a threat to legacy corporations like News Corp. But that trend reversed during Succession‘s run, and now the idea of a figure like BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti or Vice’s Shane Smith, fully taking over a major conglomerate like Waystar is, well, laughable.
But when viewed in that light, Lawrence Yee’s return could be the funniest possible outcome. If the Succession universe mirrors our own, Yee’s entire corner of the media biz, not to mention his own utterly defunct company, would have rapidly become an afterthought between Season 1 and today. But lest we forget, Yee once had the ability to actually vote in Waystar board meetings, and he was planning to use that ability to terrorize the Roy siblings — especially Kendall.
“You just invited me into the chicken coop,” Yee said at the end of the pilot, “and without Daddy around to protect you, I’m gonna eat you all. One by fucking one.” He never did that, but what if he was just biding his time? There’s no easy way to make the math of this work given the existing plot machinations of the show, but if we assume something’s been cooking in the background — likely some kind of plot by the devious Sandy and Stewy — it could, maybe, read as plausible.
Despite the need for a sweaty, last-minute exposition dump, having Yee pop up in Kendall’s face as a jump scare toward the end of the final episode would be worth it. Just imagine Kendall shrinking into a little puddle as the final credits roll.
Scott Nicholson at the premiere of Season 3
Credit: Photo by Lexie Moreland/Variety/Penske Media via Getty Images
As Logan’s body man, general fixer of Waystar’s problems, and the company’s go-to absorber of human misery, Colin’s presence is like a haunting. As Logan sat across from him at dinner the day before he died, his mind couldn’t help but wander to the topic of death, because Colin (Scott Nicholson) is a reminder of the literal and figurative corpses that have paved the path to the Logan family’s blood-drenched success. During Kendall’s brief moment as an anti-Logan gadfly, when he came to the Waystar office to throw his weight around, Colin showed up just to mutter, “I know you” — and we know what Kendall saw when Colin said those words: the face of Andrew Dodds, the Scottish waiter whose death Kendall is partly responsible for.
Colin doesn’t even have a last name. Other than the fact that he’s married(opens in a new tab) and has a religious father, we don’t know anything about his backstory. But he knows everything. As of their conversation at the funeral, Kendall has now hired Colin to do for him what Colin once did for his Logan, and no doubt Kendall would love to think that by appropriating his father’s “best pal” and right-hand man, he’s becoming more like him. But what he’s really doing is cozying up to the grim reaper who can, any time he wants, sink his scythe into Kendall’s back.
If ever a real moral reckoning came to Waystar, Colin would probably be one of the first to be condemned, indicted, and generally made to suffer. But so far, Colin doesn’t seem to be pulling a Cousin Greg — he’s not keeping a ledger of the dark favors he does for others so he can use them as currency. In fact, Logan’s death seems to have left a huge, gaping hole in his life, and he’s on a search for answers, including visits with a psychiatrist. Therapy is time well spent, and it could benefit Colin in particular if, amid all that reflection, he’s woken up to the power he has.
Once awake, an inaudible whisper in the ear of every Roy and Roy acolyte, and control could be Colin’s once and for all. And okay, this one’s definitely not happening, but it’s worth keeping Colin’s eerie potential in mind as we head toward a finale where the only sure thing is that something is going to shock us.
The series finale of Succession airs May 28 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and Max.(opens in a new tab)