the death pit

Who, If Anyone, Will Die in the Succession Season Finale?

Photo: Graeme Hunter/HBO

Eight episodes into Succession’s third season, there’s something rotten in the state of Waystar-Royco, even more rotten than usual. As the Roy family heads off on a jaunt to sunny Tuscany, everyone’s general moral decay has gone rancid: Connor and Willa are at odds over his sudden marriage proposal, Shiv and Tom’s attempts to keep their own marriage alive basically put it on life support, and, well, Roman accidentally texts a dick pic to his dad. Of course, the worst off seems to be Kendall, who tries to surrender to his father over dinner only to have Logan drive in the knife further, denying his request to leave the family for good and tormenting him about killing the server at Tom and Shiv’s wedding.

The episode ends with Kendall lying on a pool float, his face in the water — perhaps he’s drowning, perhaps he’s imagining drowning. Either way, the moment is ambiguous. But if this image presages anything, it seems to be that death is creeping toward the Roys. It has lingered over the show since the first episodes, which kicked off with the threat of Logan’s death, and resurfaced this season as Kendall spiraled and Logan’s health issues returned. Something is breaking. Might those closing moments be a sign that someone will die in the season finale, whether it’s Kendall or not? And if the show decides to surprise the audience, which character is most likely to bite the bullet? In the hallowed tradition of assuming HBO series will kill off someone at the end of a season, we ran down the odds of most of the major players biting the bullet.

Marcia Roy (Hiam Abbass), 10,000:1 
She may be popping up less and less this season (we miss you, Hiam Abbass!), but there’s no way Marcia, one of Succession’s best schemers, is going to get herself hurt.

Caroline Collingwood (Harriet Walter), 1,000:1
Harriet Walter laughs in the face of death, pours herself a nice drink, and says something withering about death’s choice of attire.

Jess (Juliana Canfield), 500:1
Similarly too competent to die. Also, though she is a crucial helper in Kendall’s many schemes, her death would probably not register as overwhelmingly impactful to the rest of the Roy family. They didn’t even invite her to Italy. (Sorry they don’t appreciate you the way they should, Jess!)

Karolina (Dagmara Domińczyk), 400:1
Also not invited to Italy! Rude!

Frank Vernon (Peter Friedman), 300:1
Gerri and the other executive-level schemers would probably appreciate it if Frank died and cleared up some competition, but really he’s too gooey a slimeball to get on anyone’s bad side long enough to become a target.

Kerry (Zoë Winters), 250:1
Congrats to Zoë Winters for nabbing the promotion from “assistant who is around a lot” to “target of Logan’s affections.” That upgrade is probably a sign that Kerry may be more of a target for members of the family (suspicions from the children, outright malice from Marcia), but again, she’s not likely to be killed. Maybe paid off by various parties and shuffled to a life far away from Waystar, maybe threatened within an inch of her life by Marcia in a way that makes her wish she were dead — but not actually dead!

Caroline’s new husband who isn’t that posh (Pip Torrens), 200:1
Would be funny.

Stewy Hosseini (Arian Moayed), 150:1
He could get roped into a dangerous drug binge alongside Kendall, but Stewy’s more likely to be the one doing the pressuring, and he’s smart enough to slip away from any consequences.

Connor Roy (Alan Ruck), 100:1
Connor does have a tendency to injure himself and come up with kooky schemes (like, you know, running for president), but there’s not much of a sense of death and risk about him. Maybe he could fall off a roof trying to prove something to Willa?

Willa Ferreyra (Justine Lupe), 90:1
Unlikely to die but likely to fake her death to escape marrying Connor.

Karl Muller (David Rasche), 85:1
I dunno, I just feel like Karl’s got a death drive.

Comfry (Dasha Nekrasova), 75:1
Why is she here, aside from letting the show wink at people who listen to too many podcasts?

Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun), 60:1
It’s easy to imagine a goofy series of events wherein Greg tries to pull off an elaborate scheme to protect his image and ends up on a Greenpeace boat, slain by an endangered whale species. But it’s easier to imagine Greg getting caught up in a series of events that ends with his actually killing someone.

Gerri Kellman (J. Smith-Cameron), 50:1
Things are looking dire for Gerri’s position now that Logan has learned about her little situation with Roman. He may be angrier at Roman for sending the text, but on Succession, blood is always thicker than water so Gerri may be subject to worse backlash. Does that mean death? Probably not, but can you imagine Gerri without her job, her entire identity? A fate possibly worse than death for her.

Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård), 45:1
He has the means to get really high and crash a plane, boat, or other vehicle. Just saying.

Nate Sofrelli (Ashley Zukerman), whatever the numerical value of the lost symbol is:1
Hear me out: What if Shiv’s political strategist fuck-buddy ex discovered the secret to a long-hidden — one might even say lost — symbol? There could be a lot of risking of death involved in that.

Shiv Roy (Sarah Snook), 30:1
Of everyone on the show, Shiv is the most confident, at all times, that she is immortal. This is why I think she is not.

Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen), 20:1
His soul has already crumpled so fully, how much further is there to go?

Roman Roy (Kieran Culkin), 10:1 
Up until two-thirds of the way through Sunday night’s episode, everything this season was coming up Roman. While Shiv and Kendall tried to prove they’re smarter than their father, Roman’s dealmaking appealed to Logan’s ruthless instincts as a businessman. But now that Logan has had to confront the fact that his son is, in his opinion, a sicko? Well, I don’t exactly think death will follow from there, but it would make for a nice big dramatic arc.

Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong), 4:1
Maybe Kendall’s already dead, and we watched the beginning of his final moments at the end of Sunday night’s episode. Maybe he isn’t dead yet, but that moment prefigured his end with Kendall contemplating the void. There’s some extratextual supporting evidence in favor of this possibility, considering The New Yorker ran a profile of Jeremy Strong in which his fellow cast members make it clear that he’s awfully hard to work with and speak frankly about him in a way that implies they don’t expect to work together much longer. Either that, or there will be a lot of awkward conversations on set in season four — well, more awkward than they already appear to be.

No one, 3:1
What if Succession is actually more like a sitcom and the status quo is God after all? There would be a crushing awfulness to the show revealing, in the finale, that the Roy family is above consequences — that their souls just keep plunging forward accumulating hurt because they’re too rich to experience any sort of consequences, as though their money broke the Aristotelian rules of drama. Only nobodies like the cater waiter die on this show.

Logan Roy (Brian Cox), 2:1
Kendall’s death would bring his attempt to turn against his father to a bitter close, but storytelling-wise, it feels like a dead end for the show. There’s more to be mined between the Roy siblings fighting for control, and if Dad wins every time, then season four might not have a lot more to say. So maybe it’s time for Succession to do the thing it has been threatening to do since the pilot: kill Logan. Suddenly, the show opens a bunch of new narrative possibilities — there’s more to do with all the Roy kids, even Kendall. (How does he carry on with all his unresolved trauma?) That would also fulfill Brian Cox’s prophecy that the show has a five-season ceiling, with a nice two-season off-ramp for the Roy family to try to find their way without his overbearing presence.

Kendall’s Kids’ Rabbit, 1:1
Already killed by a bagel.

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Who, If Anyone, Will Die in the Succession Season Finale?