Cousin Greg Is the Only Logical Choice to Win “Succession”

Everyone else has been too busy jockeying for position to notice his quiet ascent

May 25, 2023 6:17 am
Greg (Nicholas Braun) on "Succession"
Greg (Nicholas Braun) on "Succession"

We’re just a few days away from the highly anticipated series finale of Succession, and one major question remains: who will succeed the late Logan Roy and permanently take over as CEO of Waystar Royco? Kendall and Roman have been tag-teaming it since their father’s death, serving as interim co-CEOs (or “CE-Bros,” as Hugo describes them), but the understanding has always been that once the deal goes through with Lukas Matsson, the Swede will name a new CEO to usher the company into a new, post-Logan era.

That is, of course, one of many reasons why Kendall and Roman have been trying so hard to tank the deal and retain ownership of Waystar, so they can duke it out on their own and decide which CE-Bro deserves the throne for good. But, for the time being at least, they’ve been outmaneuvered by their sister Shiv, who has cozied up to Matsson and essentially handed him the company in last Sunday’s episode by advising him to promise President-elect/neo-Nazi Jeryd Mencken that he’ll name an American CEO in exchange for Mencken waving the deal through.

Shiv, naturally, assumes that she’ll be said American CEO. But any Succession fan who’s been paying attention knows there’s another American who could potentially stand in her way: Cousin Greg.

Shiv and Tom’s Relationship in “Succession” Says a Lot About Marriage
It might be time to split, but something keeps you hanging on.

As we pointed out at the beginning of the season, Greg would “certainly be the most entertaining choice, and it would be rather poetic to see the goofy outsider who we first saw working as a theme-park character (and puking inside the costume) beat out all the entitled, calculating ultra-wealthy people who overlooked him and rise all the way up the ranks.” And over the course of four seasons, he’s proven to be smarter than he looks. He saved some of the sensitive documents related to the cruise scandal that Tom instructed him to destroy back in season 2 and used them as leverage to negotiate a different position in the company, and we also know that after Logan’s death this season, Tom instructed him to delete a folder called “Logistics” off of his computer. Is it possible Greg actually saved himself a copy of whatever that folder contains? (The “Logistics” folder feels like Chekhov’s Gun. There’s no way whatever it contains won’t back to haunt Tom in the finale.) We’ve seen Greg trying to distance himself from Tom, who no longer has Logan to protect him and who is considered a fool by Matsson, attempting instead to curry favor with Shiv, Kendall and Roman instead. (Too bad he wasn’t able to make “Quad Squad” take off.)

But mostly, it has to be Greg because it can’t be anyone else. The whole point of Succession is that the Roy siblings have been irreparably destroyed by their brutish father and his obscene wealth. They’re too dumb and entitled and deeply messed-up to be successful, and they all want it too much to deserve it. None of them are good people who have earned a happy ending — the Election Night episode was a bleak reminder of that — and while Greg is bad too, he represents a corrupted innocent. As an outsider, his evolution from awkward comic relief to scheming mid-level executive (and perhaps, eventually, CEO of a media conglomerate) serves as a reminder of just how toxic the Roys’ world is and how gross the naked pursuit of money and power can be. (“Disgusting Brothers,” anyone?)

It won’t be Shiv because she’s a woman living in a sexist society, and Matsson doesn’t like the fact that she’s currently pregnant. (And let’s not forget that Shiv’s not as smart as she thinks she is; both Roman and Kendall are onto her, and now actively working against her.) It won’t be Roman because he’s still a mess after his father’s death; his breakdown at the funeral has gone viral on social media, and last we saw him he was goading protesters into beating the shit out of him in the street. It won’t be Kendall because we’ve seen time and time again that it won’t be Kendall — he’s tried and failed so many times to overthrow his father and become CEO of Waystar that finally giving it to him now feels unrealistic. Tom is too much of a social climber to deserve the crown; his subservience was only able to get him so far, his new-money snobbery makes him more of a candidate for a tragic downfall than a happy ending, and he’s got too much to figure out in his personal life now to be bothered with running Waystar. (The guy’s on the verge of a breakdown just from running ATN; how can we expect him to handle the whole thing?) He and the Roy siblings are willing to throw each other — and anyone else close to them, children included — to the wolves if it means getting ahead, and all that in-fighting has simply left them vulnerable and distracted.

Instead, it’ll be Greg the Egg — the guy who used to sing the praises of California Pizza Kitchen’s Cajun chicken linguine and now complains about the quality of the champagne he’s choking down — who scrambles his way to the top. As he himself put it, “If it is to be said, so it be — so it is.”

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.