We’ve had a recent hit of apocalyptic heartbreak with The Last of Us, we’re currently getting our fix of survival-based scares with Yellowjackets, and here to round off the holy trinity of misery with some good old fashioned psychological-trauma-mixed-with-familial-dread is the return of Succession.
But as well as the sharp barbs and familiarly diabolical moments, Season 4’s first episode also came armed with the script’s usual multi-layers.
A perfect example of this? The very last scene with Logan (Brian Cox) watching an ATN news show, which seemed almost like a throwaway moment but was filled with hidden meaning.
‘Succession’ Season 4 review: Are you ready to say farewell to the Roys?
What happens in the final scene of episode 1?
After being outbid on the purchase of media conglomerate PGM by his own children during his own birthday party, the ending of Season 4, episode 1 sees Logan slumped on the couch on his own, presumably drunk as he watches a news show on ATN, the network he owns.
Clearly not happy with what he’s seeing, Logan reaches for his phone and dials Cyd Peach (Jeannie Berline), a senior employee at ATN. They have the following exchange:
“Cyd. I just watched the top of the hour. It’s bullshit. People watch at night. I watch at night.”
“Who is this fucking lunk anyway? He looks like a ballsack in a toupée. Are you losing it, Cyd?”
“I’m all over it, Log—”
“Are you fucking losing it?”
Midway through Cyd attempting to reassure Logan once again he hangs up on her, and the episode ends moments later. But is the scene really as simple as Logan chastising an employee?
What does the final scene really mean?
Logan randomly lashing out at his staff is nothing new. But the Logan we see in this scene — slumped posture, slightly disheveled — is far from commonplace.
If he’s feeling stressed, though, he has reason to. The sale of Waystar Royco is imminent, which means for the first time in his life Logan will be giving up power. To make things worse, he also just lost out on the purchase of PGM to his own scorned children, all of whom have now parted ways with their father and become rivals after the events of Season 3’s finale.
In the scene described above, I don’t think Logan is simply moaning at an employee — I think he’s desperately floundering for a sense of control that’s quickly slipping away from him. His phone call is an attempt to exert power before he loses any more of it. And when he shouts that last question down the phone, that “Are you fucking losing it?” Logan isn’t really talking to Cyd Peach, he’s talking to himself.
Succession Season 4, episode 1 is streaming now on HBO Max(opens in a new tab), with new episodes airing weekly.