The final summary of the “Caliphate” series: the dotted line

When a show that’s talked about and adored as “The Succession” comes to a close, fans and critics start coming up with lists of the biggest questions that still “need answering” at the end. Often, the ending itself answers some of these questions but leaves others hanging, because the stories TV creators want to tell don’t always align with what viewers expect. that’s good. This is entertainment.

Somewhat surprisingly, though, this latest “Succession” episode solved a lot. The only major plot thread from the season that remains open through the closing credits involves the outcome of the presidential election. We know that Democratic candidate Daniel Jimenez has filed legal challenges over burnt ballot papers in Wisconsin. But in the end, the winner of that particular contest doesn’t matter in the “Succession” ending that creator Jesse Armstrong has in mind.

What matters is whether Waystar’s board of directors approves the GoJo deal; Who will be appointed by Lukas Mattson as the new CEO of the company. We’ll come back to both, but for those who want what Logan Roy calls “protein,” the answers are: yes, the board votes to sell; And in an amazing surprise, Tom Wambsgans stole the CEO position from his wife. (wild, right?)

However, what makes this finale so satisfying is that Armstrong and his cast and crew also grapple with one of the series’ most divisive questions: All that considered, is there anything redeemable for the Roys?

Answer: Yes, sometimes. Kendall, Schiff, Roman, and even Connor are at their best when they are away from the stresses of work and politics and share memories and jokes, while talking about how strange their lives are. These pep sessions in no way make up for all the selfish, destructive decisions they made or the people they hurt. But they do show some real humanity.

Mattson and Tom—and, unexpectedly, Cousin Greg and Mrs. Caroline—have a lot to do with restoring that bond of siblings, at least for a little while. When Shiv and Kendall discover their mother is sheltering a humiliated and bruised Roman on her island estate, the two Waystar rivals race to talk to their brother, trying to win his vote at the upcoming board meeting.

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Shiv, who believes she has secured Mattson the votes he needs (and is herself the top job), is already trying to soften the blow on Kendall and Roman, talking about how the boys can revive their plans for the information center for their “hundred.” Although unbeknownst to Shiv, Kendall is given an inside tip by Greg, who hovers around Mattson and uses a translator app to secretly find out what the Swede is saying. This is how Greg learns that Mattson has soured on Shiv.

Greg didn’t quite get the whole story, but we do know. We know that Mattson doesn’t think he needs Schiff’s political expertise and certainly doesn’t want her ideas. (Also, though he insists it doesn’t bother him, Mattson may be starting to waver after seeing a magazine cartoon showing Schiff pulling his strings.)

At the beginning of the episode, Shiv lets Mattson know that when it comes to Tom’s future with the company, she views him as a “highly interchangeable, modular part”. This ends up being a selling point. After an awkward visit to an art gallery (where Tom praises a painting by saying “the colors go so well”) and an equally bad dinner (where Tom says, “Those cod cheeks were a worthy opponent”), Mattson asks Tom to promote himself.

The ATN head instantly changes tunes and begins touting his desire to chop off heads and harvest eyeballs. He says he doesn’t want to give his ATN clients “nutritional advice” about the kind of news they consume. He wins over Mattson, who needs a “pain sponge”—someone who does what he needs to do and doesn’t mind being hated.

Little does Kendall know that Mattson has chosen Tom. But he knows Shiv is out. So he uses this information to try to convince her to vote “no” on GoJo. He tells a sweet sad story about Logan naming him successor at the Candy Kitchen in Bridgehampton when Kendall was 7 years old. Between that story and Roman’s honest assessment that no one with any real power sees Shiv or himself as the new Logan, I cringe.

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This is where this episode gets interesting. United at last, these three get a hilarious taunt, whether it’s Roman expressing his angst about swimming in the sea (which he calls “a huge watery subway of things that want to eat me”) or Chef doing her impression of Kendall’s deadpan monotony as she seems to have tried to kill him. The good vibes continue when they return to New York to hear Connor explain his plan to distribute their father’s personal belongings to whoever puts the most labels on whatever he wants, following the strict guidelines of his “wandering conjoined circuits”.

Everything eventually starts to fall apart again, of course. When Tom learns that Chief will be voting against GoJo, he admits to her that he is Mattson’s favorite CEO and she is furious, calling him an empty suit. (Tom responds to this by getting into a silly fight with Greg, while Greg is still clutching a roll of inheritance stickers from Connor.)

But no matter how much Shiv and Roman hate Mattson and Tom, when the time comes to cast their votes for Kendall, they both hesitate. They simply don’t feel good about seeing Kendall in Logan’s chair, in an office filled with memorabilia of their father’s amazing accomplishments.

Roman starts to wiggle first, realizing he doesn’t want to compound the embarrassment of his funeral meltdown by showing up with a bandaged head in front of the baseboard (including Jerry) and condescending to Kendall. Roman was brought back into line by Kendall by embracing him in a sisterly manner and then grinding his injured forehead into his shoulder. But chef? With the vote tied 6-6 and she was the one to decide “yes” or “no”, she ran out of the boardroom, with Kendall and Roman following behind.

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Kendall offers one final throw, telling Schiff to take some pity on a man “like a cog built to fit just one machine.” But when she returns his confession in Italy about causing the death of a caterer in a drunk driving accident – an unforgettable moment of realism and sympathy for the three brothers – Kendall screws up his response, lying that he made it up. the whole story. Roman then makes some unforgivable comments about Kendall’s children who weren’t really as much a part of Roy’s “bloodline” as Shiv’s unborn child; And Kendall turns violent. By the time the dust settled, Shiv had already cast her vote.

And so we’re left with three broken royals, one by one. Roman reassures Kendall that nothing Waystar produces (“broken offers,” “fake news”) really matters, then reluctantly shares the big publicity photo of Mattson signing the acquisition papers. Perhaps Shiv would admit to herself that she was as willing to sell Tom as he would have betrayed her; When he asked her to ride with him to his after-signing party, she agreed and even placed her hand gently—very lightly—on top of the back seat of the car.

As for Kendall… well, throughout the series, we’ve seen Kendall either get swallowed up in the water or get back up, depending on whether or not he’s thriving. As “Succession” ended, he was just staring dead-eyed at the water, stubbornly staring into the distance. He didn’t really lose out, because he’s still obscenely rich. But he certainly didn’t win either. If anything, he was kicked out of the game completely.

Are these three refundable? definitely. This is what makes it all the more punishing that they are never replaced.

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