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Digest the ‘Succession’ finale with us and the internet

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Being the only person in the office to have watched the Succession finale is the closest I'll ever feel to Tom carrying around the confidential information about cruises. If you haven't laid eyes on With Open Eyes, this is your chance to jump ship before we run into some huge iceberg spoilers.

It turns out Succession was less about who would come next, and more a case study on how to lose an empire in one generation. The season finale opens a day out from the momentous board meeting; Kendall is lining up a defence, Shiv is confident in her numbers with Matsson and Roman is missing, only to be found when Caroline calls her daughter, asking her to come round and visit her beat-up brother. On the flight, Shiv calls Tom, hoping to mend their marriage and begin a "real" relationship. Tom recognises her plea as a symptom of not liking to fail the school test.

Kendall gets wind of Roman hiding out at his mother's coastal mansion, and completes the troika. When he arrives in an attempt to rally his brother, he finds a fragile Roman and a gloating Shiv. Given this is about 20 minutes into an hour-and-a-half-long episode, Shiv's victory is short-lived.

Back in New York, Tom is cosying up to Matsson to ensure his place in Waystar Royco's future and Greg is loitering around the pair. Things are looking grim for Tom until Matsson confides over dinner that he's getting cold feet with the plans to install Shiv as the American CEO. Matsson isn't after Shiv's ideas or another messy situation like the one with Eba (he wants to have sex with Shiv and he's scared it'll make things complicated), instead he wants a shit-eater, a "pain sponge" and given his track record, Tom is the man for the job. Word gets out via Greg, thanks to a translation app, and Kendall is alerted to this change of plans at Caroline's.

Then begins the mission to reunite the sibling's alliance. At their mother's home, they toss around who should be put forth as CEO. Kendall is angling for the top job and he's asking for his sibling's blessing. Roman and Shiv discuss killing their brother, made all the more ominous as they're standing on a beach while Kendall jumps in first for a late night swim. Finally, Shiv and Roman resign to the idea and we get this joyful dynamic of the three siblings as children, messing about in the ocean, making "a meal fit for a king" in their mother's kitchen – a brown sludge that Kendall must drink as a hazing/baptism of sorts – and Roman makes out with Peter's off-limits cheese.

Things are looking optimistic. We're given a scene at Logan's old home where Connor and Willa ask family members (tiered by importance) to put a sticker on the furniture they hope to inherit. Shiv and Tom are pitted together where through some bad lying, Shiv learns that Matsson has anointed Tom CEO and Tom corners Greg in the bathroom for a hard word followed by a slap, which Greg returns.

Propelled by rage, the siblings storm the Waystar Royco office for the board meeting. Roman catches sight of Gerri and loses his nerve. A vote to overturn the GoJo deal is at 6 all, and then it's Shiv's turn to cast her decision. She falters and walks out. All three siblings gather in a separate office and the dynamic in their mother's kitchen has vanished. This is the real world, with decade-long hurts sowed by their father. As predicted, Shiv brings up the waiter. In a move to assuage Shiv's worries, Kendall denies the death ever happened. Even Roman is disgusted and proceeds to contest Kendall's right to lead by mentioning the pedigree of Kendall's children; Iverson is from Rava's past relationship, Sophie is adopted. Once their greatest protector, Kendall and Roman get physical, before rounding on Shiv. The row is witnessed and heard by all the board members and Shiv escapes a hysterical Kendall and catatonic Roman to finalise her "yes" to the GoJo deal. "I love you, but I can't stomach you", she tells Kendall. Roman also faces his brother, in a line that's more for himself than anyone else, and says that Kendall, Shiv – even himself are "bullshit".

GoJo is signed. Kendall walks out before the photo opportunity with Matsson, Roman is forced to stand in despite the stitches on his forehead weeping. Tom, the new CEO of Waystar Royco, waltzes in and issues out a kill list of his own. Gerri is safe and back in the inner sanctum. Karl and Frank are out – cushioned by their own golden parachutes. After betraying Tom, Greg's fate is a question mark. But friends close and enemies closer, Tom keeps Greg around. Then he lines up a car to take him and Shiv – the person that got the deal over the line – back home, keeping Waystar Royco in the family for their unborn heir. Sitting in the car, the two resemble the final scene from The Graduate... now what? Shiv sabotaged her own brother for an inch of power, but at the cost of being the CEO's wife.

Roman sits in a bar, orders a martini in the fashion of Gerri, and celebrates his freedom. Kendall walks through Central Park supervised by Colin, mirroring Logan's own solo strolls, and just when we think he's going to plunge himself into the open water, he sits before it to contemplate the rubble of his life.

Anyway, time to invite some more voices into the room. Below, the best reactions to the Succession finale.

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Episode 10

If you're looking for more Succession-related content to sink your teeth into, here's the characters paired with their zodiac sign. Struck by the stealth wealth fashion? We've dissected the season's wardrobe in case you're into subtle cashmere and quiet statements of old money.

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Images: @nocontextsuccession