Siblings Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong), Shiv Roy (Sarah Snook), and Roman Roy (Kieran Culkin) in season 4 of 'Succession'

Relive the Roy Family’s Best Moments

No one does dysfunction quite like the Roy family. In fact, they probably invented it. And with Succession’s final season looming ahead of us (ending at the top of the game, as it should) with the upcoming release of season four, I thought it would be a great idea to look back at some of its greatest hits. From unparalleled insults and hostile takeovers to each character’s fight to become the family successor, Succession has secured itself in the pantheon of excellent TV shows that pretty much just involve privileged toxic people arguing over the same things for years

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10) “Austerlitz” (Season 1, Episode 7)

“Austerlitz” will always be one of my favorite Succession episodes. Following the events of the botched no-confidence vote, Kendall has cut off his family. Meanwhile, everyone is scrambling to get it together and make it appear that the Roys have at least a semblance of functionality in them. The solution? A retreat to Connor’s desert ranch, complete with a family therapy session and, of course, a photo op.

As Stewy aptly—and bluntly—put it to Logan, the primary issue here was that the entire country hated the Roys for their latest attempts at moving to take over local TV stations and that, in essence, their family was “destroying America.”  Considering that “Austerlitz” involves the Roys (minus Kendall) trying therapy, it touches on the deeper dynamics in their family. Take, for example, that conversation between Roman and Shiv where she pointed out that their father was only going to try and “win” at therapy, to which Roman suggested that none of them can win against him because apparently, according to his therapist, he was a “well-adjusted” person. 

9) “Prague” (Season 1, Episode 8)

“Prague” was a great metaphor for Tom Wambsgans’ position in the Roy family. Its main plot focuses on what was supposed to be his bachelor party in Prague that somehow ended up in some dingy secret “club” where Kendall and Roman worked on trying to strike a deal instead. At the risk of sounding a little too overanalytical, the episode is a great example of how, no matter how high he went up the corporate ladder or how much money he made, to the Roys, Tom was always going to be, in Logan’s words, a man “beneath” Shiv.

On the note of Shiv, the episode also follows her work in Gil Eavis’ campaign and how they move to get him in an interview with Waystar’s far-right ATN, where an interviewer keeps bringing up his late wife. Later on in the episode, we figure out that the move to work with Eavis, whose life’s mission is to destroy Waystar, appears to be a calculated risk Shiv took to get their dad to invite her into the company. 

8) “Pre-Nuptial” (Season 1, Episode 9)

The Roy siblings meet Senator Gil Eavis during Shiv's wedding

The ninth episode of Succession’s first season perfectly set the stage up for its cliffhanger finale. In it, the Roys fly to the UK for Shiv and Tom’s destination wedding, which was, of course, filled with drama. For starters, Tom finally picked up on what was going on with Shiv and her ex Nate, Logan decided to show up at the last minute together with Marcia—who wasn’t one to mince words towards Shiv on the eve of her wedding—oh and the rest of the board was pressuring Kendall to move the announcement of the “bear hug” on the weekend of the wedding itself.

Of all the many great scenes to choose from, this episode’s best comes in the form of Kendall asking Roman and Shiv to sneak off to an old boat enclosure they used to hang out in as children whenever they visited their mom. The three share a joint, joke around, and almost appear to be like normal siblings. The moment ends with Kendall asking Roman and Shiv for a hug, an odd request they assent to with a few of the standard Roy insults but not knowing it was Kendall’s way of telling them goodbye. 

7) “Nobody is Ever Missing” (Season 1, Episode 10)

Connor, Shiv, and Roman confront Kendall

“Nobody is Ever Missing” is essentially Succession’s very own Chappaquiddick episode. Kendall has finally made his move and served his father with the papers on the bear hug. He has the backing and support he needs from the board and it looks like he actually has a shot of winning. That is until he gets involved in a car crash where he leaves the driver for dead—manslaughter and fleeing the scene, basically.

Distraught, he walks all the way back to the castle where everyone else is celebrating his sister’s wedding and ends up crying in his father’s arms the following day after it’s revealed that Logan already knows. I could be wrong but it’s this episode that has me convinced that no matter what happens on Season Four, Kendall isn’t going to end up on top, considering the heavy influence of Senator Ted Kennedy’s 1969 car crash in Chappaquiddick which prevented him from running for president. 

The episode also finally shows how the launch Roman was overseeing goes (it fails and the satellite explodes on the launchpad) and features my personal favorite subplot: Connor deciding to run for president (because he’s always been interested in politics from a very young age).

6) “Tern Haven” (Season 2, Episode 5)

Brian Cox and Hiam Abbass as Logan and Marcia Roy

“Tern Haven” is another excellent episode because it once again deals with the Roys attempting to pass themselves off as a functional-passing family. It follows the entire clan as Logan sets his sights on wooing the Pierce family for a merger between their companies. And although the Pierces are arguably hypocrites on some level as well, they have a way of masking their scent with PhDs, literary quotes, and pretentiousness. The episode also touches on Roman’s … sexual proclivities, Kendall finding a girlfriend, and Shiv getting tired of their father’s vague promises and demanding to tell everyone that the successor is going to be her. 

5) “DC” (Season 2, Episode 9)

Was “DC” one of Succession season two’s best episodes? Well, if it is to be said, so it be … so it is. The penultimate episode of season two takes audiences to the country’s capital as the Roys and all the rest of the higher-ups at Waystar face a Congressional investigation following the wake of the company’s cruise scandal, which they’ve been keeping under wraps for years by that point. It highlights how horrible the Roys are. I mean, it’s not like they make you forget in between episodes—and the lengths they would go to cover up their crimes. It also contains the reading of the subject lines of Tom’s emails to Greg: you can’t make a Tomlette without breaking some Gregs. 

4) “This Is Not For Tears” (Season 2, Episode 10)

The finale of season two featured the Roys arguing over who has to pay for their crimes. Through it all, they held their breath as they waited for Logan to choose the fall guy. In the end, it was Kendall—most likely as payment for how Logan helped him cover up the car crash from season one but also probably because of the L to the OG rap from the prior episode. Either way, everyone, most especially Kendall, saw it coming.

Still, he asks Logan if the successor was ever going to be him, to which his father replies (and echoes everyone’s thoughts about Kendall through the years) that he isn’t a “killer.” The question, of course, was only Kendall twisting the knife because instead of taking the fall, he goes the opposite direction and betrays everyone instead. That almost hint of a smile on Logan’s face as he watches the press conference Kendall gives was probably him thinking maybe Ken had it in him after all. 

3) “Retired Janitors of Idaho” (Season 3, Episode 5)

Roman, Shiv, and Tom try to navigate through the shareholders meeting in Season 3, Episode 5

The “Retired Janitors of Idaho” episode deserves a special nod for simultaneously being stressful and hilarious. As the shareholder meeting finally takes place, Logan becomes delirious due to a bad case of UTI, leaving Shiv and Roman trying to delay the decision further and further, so as to get an idea of their dad’s play only to realize that they have to call the shots. The two of them juggle backdoor deals, finding ways to prolong the presentations to the shareholders, and a call from the President (who everyone on the show calls The Raisin, if you know, you know). 

2) “Chiantishire” (Season 3, Episode 8)

Jeremy Strong as Kendall Roy in Season 3 Episode 8

The “Chiantishire” episode features another destination wedding, only this time it’s for Kendall, Roman, and Shiv’s mom, Caroline. It’s another excellent penultimate episode from the series that features more Kendall vs. Logan content that emphasize how truly evil the Roy patriarch is. Roman also spectacularly messes up his closest shot to winning it all with one fumbled text and an embarrassing photo, and Shiv has a messed-up heart-to-heart with her mom that perfectly summed their dad and how it has affected her and her brothers: “He never saw anything he loved that he didn’t want to kick, just to see if it would still come back.”

1) “All the Bells Say” (Season 3, Episode 9)

Tom holds Shiv in Season 3's shocking finale after betraying her

The season three finale is going to be a tough act to follow up because it finally showcases the Roy siblings realizing that teaming up would probably do them more good than they thought. It kicks off in an emotional scene where Kendall finally comes clean about the car crash during Shiv’s wedding. As the three of them find a way to kick their dad out and take over (a plot Kendall, apparently, has been planning since they were six), Tom and Greg make their own move that leads to one of Succession’s most shocking betrayals: they rat out the siblings’ plan to Logan. 

(featured image: HBO)

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Danielle Baranda
Danielle is a twenty-something writer and postgrad student based in the Philippines. She loves books, movies, her cat, and traveling. In her spare time, she enjoys shooting 35mm film and going to concerts.