HomeTelevisionSuccession Season 4 Episode 8 Review: America Decides

Succession Season 4 Episode 8 Review: America Decides

As crazy as Succession Season 4 Episode 8 seems from the outside, that’s America in a nutshell right now.

The left and right are battling to the death based on emotion and slights, and nobody wins.

It’s absolutely brilliant to bring it all down to this level.

Sparring Over the Results - Succession

Connor Roy was actually running for the most important position in the world, but again, he’s the smallest slice of the Succession pie.

I’m so glad I didn’t drop out. It just makes an election so much more interesting when you’re in it.

Connor

There are so many games being played behind the scenes that it doesn’t really matter who is running because the levers are being pulled by people and entities with agendas far different than the survival of the US.

Connor on Stage - Succession Season 4 Episode 8

Still, it’s good to know that even on this daring and brilliant show, nobody was voting for Connor Roy. There’s hope for us all!

That hope is very slim if we use my hypothesis that “America Decides” is a statement on US elections today as much as it is on the Roy family dynamics and their overly large footprint on hypothetical America on Succession.

Kendall and Roman are the defacto CEOs, but Shiv’s a significant presence in the decision-making process.

Shiv is on the left, Roman is on the right, and Kendall wants to do whatever will make him a good person, a notion Shiv understands too well and sadly used to her scheming advantage against him.

Roman on Election Day - Succession Season 4 Episode 8

At ATN, ownership behind the scenes features wide-ranging views for a right-leaning endeavor, but they can’t see well enough to play it straight. They’re deeply entrenched in their personal issues to the point doing the right thing barely factors.

Shiv was making it seem like she was thinking about America first, and I think she honestly believes that to be true. But you can’t be thinking about America first if you’ve also got a personal agenda you’re trying to swing.

First and foremost, she wants to carve a niche outside of her family by aligning with Matsson. She feels slighted by her brothers, and she’s putting herself first.

If there’s another reason she’s aligning with Matsson, please point it out to me because that’s how I’m reading her. But Matsson isn’t a horse I’d want to bet on knowing what Shiv knows about him so far.

Shiv Makes a Face - Succession Season 4 Episode 8

Roman was angered enough by Matsson and his plans to destroy what Logan built that he’ll do anything to cave the GoJo deal.

Has he ever been a right-wingnut before wanting to tank the GoJo deal?

It never seemed like he cared too much one way or another. His political thoughts came by way of his father and ATN instead of any philosophical discussion points.

He’s singularly focused on ending the GoJo deal, though, so he was willing to call an election with really bad data.

Connor Talks with Shiv - Succession Season 4 Episode 8

Shiv and Roman were duking it out from the left and right, but Roman was pulling Tom’s strings. Tom is the man of the hour, pulled in so many different directions and not capable enough to take a stand against the Roys.

Information, Greg, is like a bottle of fine wine. You store it, you hoard it, you save it for a special occasion, and then you smash someone’s fuckin’ face in with it.

Tom

Tom and Greg both shift with the tide. As much on the inside as either of them are, they are not Roys, and as a result, they aren’t willing to make waves for fear of being abandoned.

It’s Tom’s first election post-Logan and Cyd, and he wasn’t leading in any way. He was taking and giving orders acting as a middleman between the Roys and the newsroom floor.

While his top man was rallying the troops, he was trading social barbs with Greg on the sidelines. That’s the perfect description for them. Professionally and personally, they’re sidelined by the Roys.

Kendall in the Hall - Succession Season 4 Episode 8

Tom learned he was going to be a father in the middle of the melee, and his reaction showed the irreparable damage done to his marriage to Shiv. He didn’t know if she was being truthful or if it was a military tactic to twist his thinking.

Greg proved he does what needs to be done whether he agrees with it or not, harkening back to Succession Season 4 Episode 7 and Matsson’s “Do you though?

After Matsson said he got Greg’s input as a “normalist,” I considered that Greg as a wildcard in all of this could be coming to fruition. But then he was asked to take Manken’s win to the floor.

Jess stopped him long enough on his way to the floor that I thought he might do the right thing, but he merely talked himself into doing what had to be done, and that wasn’t the right thing, but exactly what he was told to do.

Kendall Looks Up - Succession Season 4 Episode 8

It was Kendall who pulled away from the pack, thinking, even momentarily, as a father and a man with values.

It’s hard to remember sometimes everything that Kendall has been through since the show began. He was responsible for a man’s death and actually grew from the experience. He has tried hard to be better than his father, even if he falters continuously.

Kendall: I don’t think I’m a very good father.
Shiv: You are. You’re, eh, you’re OK. You tried. That’s all we can do.
Kendall: Maybe the poison drips through.

He attempted a coup to great fanfare and defeat. All of this led to his confusion about what was the right thing to do on election night.

His heart was telling him Mencken because it would block the GoJo deal. His gut was telling him to listen to the numbers and read the night for what it was rather than what it could be for him.

Shiv Looks Concerned - Succession Season 4 Episode 8

Kendall does need reassurance and validation. He sought it from Shiv, who had the opportunity to help him see the world differently on a very important night. 

Instead of taking the opportunity to eloquently explain the importance of what ATN can be to the nation and the world, she was thinking with her own interests. She used his needs against him, and he discovered the tactic, calling the election for Mencken.

Kendall: He’s a guy we can do business with.
Roman: Yeah. He’ll play ball. You should hear him talk semiconductors.
Kendall: The market’s holding the leash.
Roman: We just made a night of good TV. That’s what we’ve done. Nothing happens.
Shiv: Things do happen, Rome.

It’s not hard to imagine that things like this go on in newsrooms all the time. They may not be based on outside deals or family, but catering to the audience you think you have and thinking of the almighty dollar rather than doing what’s right doesn’t seem far from the truth.

We’ll never see the repercussions of all of this as we’re quickly running out of time.

I’m sensing a Sopranos ending coming for Succession, and as much as I know that’s how it was always going to be, I don’t know that I’ll ever be satisfied.

Kendall Peers in on the ATN Newsroom Floor - Succession Season 4 Episode 8

Who fills Logan’s shoes was always going to be a far larger question than the first one to get the chair. The easiest way to end the series is for the GoJo deal to go through, leaving everyone to their own devices with billions of dollars in their pockets.

How they behaved on election night suggests that’s not only the best option but the most likely outcome.

There is a full recap of the night by clicking the episode link at the top of the article, and again there are more Succession quotes than you can shake a stick at, so have your fill.

Better yet, why not share your takeaways from the night by clicking the Show Comments bar below? You probably disagree with me on many points, so let’s talk!

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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