It’s nearly the top for Succession (Sky Atlantic, Monday). The fourth and remaining season of the sensible satirical comedy-drama begins with an echo of the way it all started in 2018: a birthday celebration for terrifying patriarch Logan Roy (Brian Cox).
lad in a cuddly grandfather cardigan (a failed try to humanise a roaring beast), Logan, in full lion-in-winter mode, glides via the room, a half-nod right here, a fabricated quarter-smile there, barely bothering to cover his contempt for the sycophants orbiting him.
Is revisiting a well-known setting an indication that Succession has succumbed to staleness and repetition in the ultimate stretch? Don’t you imagine it. It’s nonetheless totally unbelievable.
I can’t reveal an excessive amount of about the 4 episodes given to reviewers, and wouldn’t dream of doing so anyway. HBO rightly regards spoilers with the identical withering gaze Logan reserves for when Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun) says one thing silly.
What we are able to say is that creator Jesse Armstrong, who’s requested reviewers to not flag up upfront which episodes are the pivotal ones, and his co-writing workforce pull some actually jaw-dropping surprises out of the bag. If Succession can stick the touchdown – and on the idea of the primary 4 hours there’s each indication it’s going to – the ultimate season would possibly nicely find yourself being the easiest of the lot.
For now, although, the story picks up a short while after the momentous occasions of season three.
Logan, having outfoxed his kids and quashed their cack-handed plan to overthrow him by reducing them out of the decision-making course of, is on the verge of finishing the merger of Waystar-Royco with Gojo, headed by entrepreneur Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgard).
Out within the chilly, the hapless trio of Roy nepo-babies Shiv (Sarah Snook), Kendall (Jeremy Sturdy) and Roman (Kieran Culkin) – or “the rats” as Logan calls them – are labouring underneath the delusion they will survive on their very own.
They’ve cooked up a daft new media enterprise referred to as The Hundred, which is able to supposedly carry collectively the best minds within the land in numerous fields and provide their experience for a worth.
It’s supposed to be a “one-stop data store” – or as Kendall, newly clear and sober however reducing as reliably ridiculous a determine as ever, describes it: “Substack meets Masterclass meets the Economist meets the New Yorker”. Um, okay.
Sceptical Shiv, cautious of The Hundred instantly turning into The Zero, is retaining her choices open by having “talks about talks” with potential employers.
In the meantime, Connor (Alan Ruck), their half-brother from Logan’s first marriage, continues to be nursing hopeless desires of changing into US president, regardless of polling at a laughable one p.c.
He asks a lot youthful fiancée Willa (Justine Lupe), whose enthusiasm for his or her imminent nuptials appears to be draining away quick, if he ought to sink one other $100m into his marketing campaign to forestall his election prospects sliding into absolute zero-point humiliation.
After final season’s sneaky betrayal, Shiv’s soon-to-be-ex-husband Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) is a fully-fledged member of Logan’s inside circle – for now, not less than.
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His hilarious double act with gormless Greg, which is part-bromance (they’ve nicknamed themselves “the Disgusting Brothers”) and part-master-and-pet relationship, stays one of many biggest of Succession’s many pleasures.
It doesn’t take lengthy for Shiv, Kendall and Roman’s uncharacteristically united entrance and dedication to go it alone to crumble. They get wind that Logan is about to make a proposal for the Pierce media conglomerate. Ought to they persist with their very own enterprise or ought to they make one remaining try to screw their father by making their very own bid to purchase Pierce?
Regardless of the misgivings of Roman, who seems to be the one one who feels something remotely resembling love for Logan, it takes about 10 seconds for The Hundred to be deserted and the siblings to revert to kind.
The very best scenes in Succession are sometimes those that includes simply Logan and his offspring. Episode one offers us a humdinger set in, of all locations, a karaoke bar.
“Jesus, you’re such f***ing dopes,” Logan tells them, extra in disappointment than ager this time. “You’re not severe figures. I really like you, however you aren’t severe individuals.”
However that is significantly nice tv.